Top credit cards for foreign travel: Fees, freebies

If you are someone travels frequently then it is advisable to get a credit card that offers lounge access, discounts on hotel and flight bookings, discount on fees and more.

“To save on their international travel spends, consumers generally look for a credit card with low forex mark-up charges. However, there are several other ways how international travellers can use a credit card to their advantage. Benefits like complimentary international lounge access, accelerated rewards on international spends, airport concierge service, etc. can also help users save a significant amount. Since such benefits are generally available on premium and super-premium credit cards, eligibility should be one of the first things to consider. Before choosing a credit card for international travel, you must check whether the services offered come with global acceptance. For example, if a card offers complimentary hotel memberships, you must ensure that the benefit is applicable globally. Apart from the travel benefits, you must check if the rewards program and other features also align with your spending patterns,” said Rohit Chhibbar, Head of Credit Cards Business, Paisabazaar.

The list given below shows credit cards that can help users avail considerable savings on international travel through a low forex mark-up fee, complimentary international airport lounge access, hotel memberships and other benefits.

(Source: Paisabazaar. All card information is sourced from the card provider website as of March 11, 2024.)

Also read: Top banks’ credit cards with low annual fee

HDFC Bank

HDFC Regalia Gold Credit Card

Annual Fee

  • Rs. 2,500

Best Features

  • Low forex mark-up fee of 2%
  • Club Vistara Silver membership, MMT Black Elite membership and gift voucher worth Rs. 2,500 on card activation
  • 12 complimentary lounge access within India at both International & domestic terminals
  • 6 complimentary lounge access outside India via Priority Pass Membership on completing 4 retail transactions on the card
  • Flight vouchers worth Rs. 5,000 on spending Rs. 5 Lakh in a year and additional voucher of Rs. 5,000 on spending Rs. 7.5 Lakh in a year
  • 4 reward points on every Rs. 150 spent (including insurance, utilities and education)
  • 20 reward points on every Rs. 150 spent at Nykaa, Myntra, Marks & Spencer and Reliance Digital
  • Value of 1 reward point = Up to Rs. 0.65 or up to 0.5 air mile
  • Milestone benefits worth Rs. 1,500 on spending Rs. 1.5 Lakh in a quarter
  • Annual fee waiver on spending Rs. 4 Lakh a year.

Also read: Top credit cards with airport lounge access

HDFC Bank Infinia Credit Card* (Invite-only card)

Annual Fee

  • Rs. 12,500

Best Features

  • Low forex mark-up fee of 2%
  • Complimentary Club Marriott membership for first year and 12,500 bonus reward points on card activation
  • Unlimited airport lounge access across the globe for Primary and Add-on member
  • 5 reward points for every Rs. 150 spent
  • 10x rewards on travel and shopping spends at Smartbuy
  • Redeem reward points in 1:1 ratio against flight and hotel bookings via Smartbuy, Apple products & Tanishq vouchers and for air mile conversion
  • Unlimited complimentary golf games at leading courses across India and select courses worldwide
  • Renewal fee waiver on spending Rs. 10 Lakh in a year
  • Bonus 12,500 reward points on payment of card renewal fee
  • Complimentary nights & buffet at participating ITC hotels
  • Global Personal Concierge – 24 X 7

*Super-premium credit cards

Also read: Top banks’ luxury credit cards: Annual fees, benefits, reward pointsSBI Card

SBI Card Elite



Annual Fee

  • Rs. 4,999

Best Features

  • Low forex mark-up fee of 1.99%
  • 2 rewards per Rs. 100 spent on international spends
  • Complimentary Trident Privilege Red Tier Membership
  • Complimentary Club Vistara membership with 1 upgrade voucher
  • 9 CV points on every Rs. 100 spent on Vistara Flights
  • 6 complimentary airport lounge access internationally in a year via Priority Pass Program (max. 2 per quarter)
  • 2 complimentary domestic lounge access every quarter
  • E-gift voucher worth Rs. 5,000 as welcome benefit
  • Free movie tickets worth Rs. 6,000 every year
  • 5x reward points on dining, grocery and departmental store spends
  • 2 reward points per Rs. 100 spent on all other spends
  • Value of 4 reward points = Rs. 1
  • 10,000 bonus reward points on spending Rs. 3 Lakh & Rs. 4 Lakh in a year
  • 15,000 bonus reward points on spending Rs. 5 Lakh & Rs. 8 Lakh in a year
  • Annual fee waiver on spending Rs. 10 Lakhs.

IDFC FIRST Bank

IDFC FIRST Wealth Credit Card

Annual Fee

  • Nil

Best Features

  • Low forex mark-up fee of 1.5%
  • 4 domestic & international airport lounge and spa visits per quarter, on spending Rs. 5,000 per month
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance Cover of USD 1200
  • Interest-free cash withdrawal anywhere in the world
  • 4 railway lounge visits per quarter
  • 10x rewards on spends above Rs. 30,000 in a month and on birthdays
  • 6x and 3x rewards on online and offline spends respectively on spends up to Rs. 30,000 per month
  • 3x rewards on rental and property management transactions
  • 1x= 1 reward point per Rs. 100
  • Value of 1 reward point = Rs. 0.25
  • Gift vouchers worth Rs. 500 on spending Rs. 15,000 within 90 days of card set-up
  • 5% cashback (up to Rs. 1,000) on your first EMI transaction done within 90 days of card set-up
  • Buy One Get One offer up to Rs. 500 on movie tickets via Paytm mobile app (valid twice per month)
  • Up to 20% discount at 1500+ restaurants
  • Up to 15% discount at 3000+ Health & Wellness outlets
  • 2 complimentary golf rounds per month for every Rs. 20,000 of monthly statement spends.

AU Small Finance Bank

AU Bank Zenith+ Credit Card

Annual Fee

  • Rs. 4,999

Best Features

  • Low forex mark-up fee of 0.99%
  • 4 end-to-end airport VIP check-in services per year, 1 per quarter
  • 16 international airport lounge access visits via Priority Pass membership (4 per quarter)
  • Complimentary Taj Epicure membership subject to spending Rs. 12 Lakh per year
  • 2 reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on travel, dining, and international spends
  • 1 reward point per Rs. 100 on retail spends
  • 1 Reward Point = Rs. 1
  • Luxury brand vouchers or reward points worth Rs. 5,000 on card activation
  • 1,000 reward points as milestone benefits on spending Rs. 75,000 in a month
  • 16 domestic airport lounge visits every year
  • 8 golf games or lessons annually (2 per quarter)
  • Buy One Get One offer at BookMyShow (Up to 4 tickets per quarter)
  • Bonus 5,000 reward points on paying annual fee
  • Annual fee waiver on spending Rs. 8 Lakh a year.

Federal Bank

Federal Bank Scapia Credit Card



Annual Fee

  • Nil

Best Features

  • Zero forex mark-up fee
  • 10% Scapia coins on online and offline transactions
  • 20% Scapia coins on travel bookings done on Scapia app
  • Redeem Scapia coins for travel bookings, at 5 Scapia coins = Rs. 1
  • Unlimited domestic lounge access on minimum spends of Rs. 5,000.

Axis Bank

Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card*



Annual Fee

  • Rs. 12,500

Best Features

  • Low forex mark-up fee of 2%
  • Low forex mark-up fee of 2%
  • Luxe gift card/ The Postcard Hotels/ Yatra voucher worth Rs. 12,500 on card activation (subject to making first transaction within 30 days from card issuance)
  • 8 complimentary end-to-end airport concierge services
  • Unlimited complimentary international lounge visits with Priority Pass and 8 additional guest visits per year
  • 12 EDGE reward points on every Rs. 200 spent on cumulative monthly spends of up to Rs. 1.5 Lakh
  • 35 EDGE reward points per Rs. 200 spent above cumulative monthly spends of Rs. 1.5 Lakh
  • 60 EDGE reward points per Rs. 200 spent on Travel EDGE portal up to cumulative monthly spends of Rs. 2 Lakh
  • 35 EDGE reward points per Rs. 200 spent on Travel EDGE portal above monthly spends of Rs. 2 Lakh
  • Transfer reward points to select airline/hotel loyalty programme in the ratio of 5:2 (5:4 for Burgundy customers)
  • Unlimited visits to select domestic airport lounges for both primary and add-on cardholders
  • Buy one movie/event ticket on BookMyShow and get up to Rs. 500 off on the second ticket (maximum of 5 tickets per month)
  • Up to 40% discount at 4,000+ partner restaurants in India
  • Medical and insurance concierge services
  • Annual fee reversal on spending Rs. 25 Lakh in a year.

*Super-premium credit cards

Harry Byrne

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