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6 Best Travel Cards for Mexico

Getting an international travel card before you travel to Mexico can make it cheaper and more convenient when you spend in Mexican Peso. You'll be able to easily top up your card in USD before you leave the US, to convert seamlessly to MXN for secure and flexible spending and withdrawals.

This guide walks through our picks of the best travel cards available for anyone from the US heading to Mexico, like Wise or Revolut. We'll walk through a head to head comparison, and a detailed look at their features, benefits and drawbacks.

travel money card mexico

6 best travel money cards for Mexico:

Let's kick off our roundup of the best travel cards for Mexico with a head to head comparison on important features. Here's an overview of the providers we've picked to look at, for customers looking for ways to spend conveniently overseas when travelling from the US:

Wise travel card

Each of the international travel cards we’ve picked out have their own features and fees, which may mean they suit different customer needs. Keep reading to learn more about the features, advantages and disadvantages of each - plus a look at how to order the travel card of your choice before you head off to Mexico.

Wise travel card

Open a Wise account online or in the Wise app, to order a Wise travel card you can use for convenient spending and withdrawals in Mexico. Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies, so you can top up in USD easily from your bank or using your card. Whenever you travel, to Mexico or beyond, you’ll have the option to convert to the currency you need in advance if it’s supported for holding a balance, or simply let the card do the conversion at the point of payment.

In either case you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees whenever you spend in MXN, plus some free ATM withdrawals every month - perfect if you’re looking for easy ways to arrange your travel cash.

Wise travel card

Wise features

Wise travel card pros and cons.

  • Hold and exchange 40+ currencies with the mid-market rate
  • Spend seamlessly in MXN when you travel
  • Some free ATM withdrawals every month, for those times only cash will do
  • Ways to receive payments to your Wise account conveniently
  • Manage your account and card from your phone
  • 9 USD delivery fee for your first card
  • ATM fees apply once you've exhausted your monthly free withdrawals
  • Physical cards may take 14 - 21 days to arrive

How to apply for a Wise card

Here’s how to apply for a Wise account and order a Wise  travel card in the US:

Open the Wise app or desktop site

Select Register and confirm you want to open a personal account

Register with your email, Facebook, Apple or Google ID

Upload your ID document to complete the verification step

Tap the Cards tab to order your card

Pay the one time 9 USD fee, confirm your mailing address, and your card will be on the way, and should arrive in 14 - 21 days

Revolut travel card

Choose a Revolut account, from the Standard plan which has no monthly fee, to higher tier options which have monthly charges but unlock extra features and benefits. All accounts come with a smart Revolut card you can use in Mexico, with some no fee ATM withdrawals and currency conversion monthly, depending on the plan you pick. Use your Revolut account to hold and exchange 25+ currencies, and get extras like account options for under 18s, budgeting tools and more.

Revolut travel card

Revolut features

Revolut travel card pros and cons.

  • Pick the Revolut account plan that suits your spending needs
  • Hold and exchange 25+ currencies, and spend in 150 countries
  • Accounts come with different card types, depending on which you select
  • All accounts have some no fee currency exchange and some no fee ATM withdrawals monthly
  • Some account tiers have travel perks like complimentary or discounted lounge access
  • You need to upgrade to an account with a monthly fee to get all account features
  • Delivery fees may apply for your travel card
  • Fair usage limits apply once you exhaust your currency conversion and ATM no fee allowances
  • Out of hours currency conversion has additional fees

How to apply for a Revolut card

Set up your Revolut account before you leave the US and order your travel card. Here’s how:

Download and open the Revolut app

Register by adding your personal and contact information

Follow the prompts to confirm your address and order your card

Pay any required delivery fee - costs depend on your account type

Chime travel card

Use your Chime account and card to spend in Mexico with no foreign transaction fee. You’ll just need to load a balance in USD and then the money is converted to MXN instantly with the Visa rate whenever you spend or make a withdrawal. There’s a fee to make an ATM withdrawal out of network, which sits at 2.5 USD, but there are very few other costs to worry about. Plus you can get lots of extra services from Chime if you need them, such as ways to save.

Chime travel card

Chime features

Chime travel card pros and cons.

  • No Chime foreign transaction fees
  • No ongoing charges for your account
  • Lots of extra products and services if you need them
  • Easy ways to manage your money online and in app
  • Virtual cards available
  • You'll need to inform Chime you're traveling to use your card abroad
  • Low ATM limits
  • Cards take 7 - 10 days to arrive by mail

How to apply for a Chime card

Here’s how to apply for a Chime account and order a travel card in the US:

Visit the Chime website or download the app

Click Get started and add your personal details

Add a balance

Your card will be delivered in the mail and you can use your virtual card instantly

Monzo travel card

Monzo cards can be ordered easily in the US and used for spending in Mexico and globally. Monzo accounts are designed for holding USD only - but you can spend in MXN and pretty much any other currency easily, with no foreign transaction fee. Your funds are just converted using the network exchange rate whenever you pay or make a withdrawal.

Monzo doesn’t usually apply ATM fees, but it’s worth knowing that the operator of the specific ATM you pick may have their own costs you’ll need to check out.

Monzo travel card

Monzo features

Monzo travel card pros and cons.

  • Good selection of services available
  • No foreign transaction fee to pay
  • No Monzo ATM fee to pay
  • Manage your card from your phone conveniently
  • Deposits are FDIC protected
  • You can't hold a foreign currency balance
  • ATM operators might apply their own fees

How to apply for a Monzo card

Here’s how to apply for a Monzo account and order a travel card in the US:

Visit the Monzo website or download the app

Click Get Sign up and add your personal details

Check and confirm your mailing address and your card will be delivered in the mail

Netspend travel card

Netspend has a selection of prepaid debit cards you can use for spending securely in Mexico. While these cards don’t usually let you hold a balance in MXN, they’re popular with travelers as they’re not linked to your regular checking account. That increases security overseas - plus, Netspend offers virtual cards you can use to hide your physical card details from retailers if you want to.

The options with Netspend vary a lot depending on the card you pick. Usually you can top up digitally or in cash in USD and then spend overseas with a fixed foreign transaction fee applying every time you spend in a foreign currency. You’ll be able to view the terms and conditions of your specific card - including the fees - online, by entering the code you’ll find when your card is sent to you.

Netspend travel card

Netspend features

Netspend travel card pros and cons.

  • Large selection of different card options depending on your needs
  • Some cards have no overseas ATM fees
  • Prepaid card which is secure to use overseas
  • Manage your account in app
  • Change from one card plan to another if you need to
  • You may pay a monthly fee for your card
  • Some cards have foreign transaction fees for all overseas use, which can be around 4%
  • Selection of fees apply depending on the card you pick

How to apply for a Netspend card

Here’s how to apply for a Netspend account and order a travel card in the US:

Visit the Netspend website

Click Apply now

Complete the details, following the onscreen prompts

Get verified

Your card will arrive by mail - add a balance and activate it to get started

PayPal travel card

PayPal has a debit card you can link to your PayPal balance account, to spend in Mexico as well as locally, in person and online. One advantage of PayPal is that there are lots of easy ways to add money in USD - but bear in mind that when you spend in MXN you’ll likely pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.5%. ATM fees apply when you make out of network withdrawals, too, which can push up the costs depending on how you use your card.

PayPal travel cards aren’t connected to your checking account which makes them a handy and secure way to spend, particularly if you already have a PayPal balance account.

PayPal travel card

PayPal features

Paypal travel card pros and cons.

  • Globally accepted card
  • Easy ways to top up your PayPal balance including cash and check
  • Popular and reliable provider
  • Use your card for spending online easily as well
  • 2.5 USD fee for out of network ATM withdrawals
  • 2.5% fee when you spend in a foreign currency
  • Other charges may apply depending on how you fund and use your account

How to apply for a PayPal card

Here’s how to apply for a PayPal account and order a travel card in the US:

Visit the PayPal website or download the app

Click Get Sign up or log into your existing account

Add your personal details to create an account, or tap Request a card if you already have a PayPal account

Follow the prompts to order your card

What is a travel money card?

A travel money card is a card you can use for secure and convenient payments and withdrawals overseas.

You can use a travel money card to tap and pay in stores and restaurants, with a wallet like Apple Pay, or to make ATM withdrawals so you'll always have a bit of cash in your pocket when you travel.

Although there are lots of different travel money cards on the market, all of which are unique, one similarity you'll spot is that the features and fees have always been optimised for international use. That might mean you get a better exchange rate compared to using your normal card overseas, or that you run into fewer fees for common international transactions like ATM withdrawals.

Travel money cards also offer distinct benefits when it comes to security. Your travel money card isn't linked to your United States Dollar everyday account, so even if you were unlucky and had your card stolen, your primary bank account remains secure.

Travel money vs prepaid card vs travel credit card

It's helpful to know that you'll be able to pick from several different types of travel cards, depending on your priorities and preferences. Travel cards commonly include:

  • Travel debit cards
  • Travel prepaid cards
  • Travel credit cards

They all have distinct benefits when you head off to Mexico or elsewhere in the world, but they do work a bit differently.

Travel debit and prepaid cards are usually linked to an online account, and may come from specialist digital providers - like the Wise card. These cards are usually flexible and cheap to use. You'll be able to manage your account and card through an app or on the web.

Travel credit cards are different and may suit different customer needs. As with any other credit card, you may need to pay an annual fee or interest and penalties depending on how you manage your account - but you could also earn extra rewards when spending in a foreign currency, or travel benefits like free insurance for example. Generally using a travel credit card can be more expensive compared to a debit or prepaid card - but it does let you spread out the costs of your travel across several months if you'd like to and don't mind paying interest to do so.

What is a prepaid travel money card best for?

Let's take a look at the advantages of using a prepaid travel money card for travellers going to Mexico. While each travel card is a little different, you'll usually find some or all of the following benefits:

  • Hold and exchange foreign currencies - allowing you to lock in exchange rates and set a travel budget before you leave
  • Convenient for spending in person and through mobile wallets like Apple Pay, as well as for cash withdrawals
  • You may find you get a better exchange rate compared to your bank - and you'll usually be able to avoid any foreign transaction fee, too
  • Travel cards are secure as they're not linked to your everyday USD account - and because you can make ATM withdrawals when you need to, you can also avoid carrying too much cash at once

Overall, travel cards offer flexible and low cost ways to avoid bank foreign transaction and international ATM fees, while accessing decent exchange rates.

How to choose the best travel card for Mexico

We've picked out 6 great travel cards available in the US - but there are also more options available, which can make choosing a daunting task. Some things to consider when picking a travel card for Mexico include:

  • What exchange rates does the card use? Choosing one with the mid-market rate or as close as possible to it is usually a smart plan
  • What fees are unavoidable? For example, ATM charges or top up fees for your preferred top up methods
  • Does the card support a good range of currencies? Getting a card which allows you to hold and spend in MXN can give you the most flexibility, but it's also a good idea to pick a card with lots of currency options, so you can use it again in future, too
  • Are there any other charges? Check in particular for foreign transaction fees, local ATM withdrawal fees, inactivity fees and account close fees

Ultimately the right card for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

What makes a good travel card for Mexico

The best travel debit card for Mexico really depends on your personal preferences and how you like to manage your money.

Overall, it pays to look for a card which lets you minimise fees and access favourable exchange rates - ideally the mid-market rate. While currency exchange rates do change all the time, the mid-market rate is a good benchmark to use as it’s the one available to banks when trading on wholesale markets. Getting this rate, with transparent conversion fees, makes it easier to compare costs and see exactly what you’re paying when you spend in MXN.

Other features and benefits to look out for include low ATM withdrawal fees, complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge access or emergency cash if your card is stolen. It’s also important to look into the security features of any travel card you might pick for Mexico. Look for a card which uses 2 factor authentication when accessing the account app, which allows you to set instant transaction notifications, and which has easy ways to freeze, unfreeze and cancel your card with your phone.

When you head off to Mexico you can expect to find you’ll be able to use your card - but not always. Some merchants still prefer cash payments - so choosing a card which is easy to pay with, but which also has simple and low cost ways to make ATM withdrawals should mean you’re covered no matter what happens

Ways to pay in Mexico

Cash and card payments - including contactless, mobile wallet, debit, credit and prepaid card payments - are the most popular ways to pay globally.

In Mexico card payments are common in most situations. You’ll be able to make Chip and PIN or contactless payments or use your favourite mobile wallet like Apple Pay to tap and pay on the go. It’s still worth having a little cash on you just in case - and for the odd situations where cash is more convenient, such as when tipping or buying a small item in a market.

Which countries use MXN?

You’ll find that MXN can only be used in Mexico. If you don’t travel to Mexico frequently it’s worth thinking carefully about how much to exchange so you’re not left with extra foreign currency after your trip. Or pick a travel card from a provider like Wise or Revolut which lets you leave your money in USD and convert at the point of payment with no penalty.

What should you be aware of when travelling to Mexico

You’re sure to have a great time in Mexico - but whenever you’re travelling abroad it's worth putting in a little advance thought to make sure everything is organised and your trip goes smoothly. Here are a few things to think about:

1. Double check the latest entry requirements and visas - rules can change abruptly, so even if you’re been to Mexico before it’s worth looking up the most recent entry requirements so you don’t have any hassle on the border

2. Plan your currency exchange and payment methods - you can change USD to MXN before you travel to Mexico if you’d like to, but as card payments are common, and ATMs widely available, you can actually leave it until you arrive to get everything sorted as long as you have a travel money card. Top up your travel money card in USD and either exchange to MXN in advance or at the point of payment, and make ATM withdrawals whenever you need cash. Bear in mind that currency exchange at the airport will be expensive - so hold on until you reach Mexico to make an ATM withdrawal in MXN if you can.

3. Get clued up on any health or safety concerns - get travel insurance before you leave the US so you have peace of mind. It’s also worth reading up on any common scams or issues experienced by tourists. These tend to change over time, but may include things like rip off taxis or tour agents which don’t offer fair prices or adequate services.

Conclusion - Best travel cards for Mexico

Ultimately the best travel card for your trip to Mexico will depend on how you like to manage your money. Use this guide to get some insights into the most popular options out there, and to decide which may suit your specific needs.

FAQ - best travel cards for Mexico

When you use a travel money card you may find there’s an ATM withdrawal fee from your card issuer, and there may also be a cost applied by the ATM operator. Some of our travel cards - like the Wise and Revolut card options - have some no fee ATM withdrawals every month, which can help keep down costs.

Travel money cards may be debit, prepaid or credit cards. Which is best for you will depend on your personal preferences. Debit and prepaid cards are usually pretty cheap and secure to spend with, while credit cards may have higher fees but often come with extra perks like free travel insurance and extra reward points.

There’s no single best prepaid card for international use. Look out for one which supports a large range of currencies, with good exchange rates and low fees. This guide can help you compare some popular options, including Wise, Revolut and Monzo.

Yes, you can use your local debit card when you’re overseas. However, it’s common to find extra fees apply when spending in foreign currencies with a regular debit card. These can include foreign transaction fees and international ATM charges.

Usually having a selection of ways to pay - including a travel card, your credit or debit card, and some cash - is the best bet. That means that no matter what happens, you have an alternative payment method you can use conveniently.

Yes. Most travel debit cards have options to make ATM withdrawals. Check the fees that apply as card charges do vary a lot. Some cards have local and international fees on all withdrawals, while others like Wise and Revolut, let you make some no fee withdrawals monthly before a fee kicks in.

Both Visa and Mastercard are globally accepted. Look out for the logo on ATMs and payment terminals in Mexico.

The cards you see on this page are ordered as follows:

For card providers that publish their exchange rates on their website, we used their USD / MXN rate to calculate how much Mexican Peso you would receive when exchanging / spending $4,000 USD. The card provider offering the most MXN is displayed at the top, the next highest below that, and so on.

The rates were collected at 09:36:26 GMT on 25 May 2024.

Below this we display card providers for which we could not verify their exchange rates. These are displayed in alphabetical order.

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More travel card guides.

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6 Best Travel Money Cards for Mexico - 2024

Claire Millard

If you’ve got an upcoming trip planned to Mexico, a dedicated travel money card can make spending and withdrawing Mexican pesos cheaper and more convenient. There are different types of travel money cards which support different customer needs, including travel debit cards, prepaid travel cards and travel credit cards. The right one for you will depend on your personal preference and how you like to manage your money.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know, including a closer look at travel money card types, some great options to consider, and the sorts of fees you need to think about when you choose.

Wise - travel debit card for Mexico

Before we get into details about different travel money card options, let's start with the Wise card, which is a flexible travel money debit card that allows you to hold and spend MXN and a selection of other currencies.

Wise accounts can hold and exchange 50+ currencies , and you can get a linked Wise card for a one time delivery fee. Top up your account in pounds and switch to MXN before you travel, so you know your travel money budget in advance - or just allow the card to automatically switch currencies when you spend. All currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate, with low fees from 0.41%. Here are some of the pros and cons of the Wise travel money debit card, to help you decide if it’s right for you.

travel money card mexico

Hold and exchange 50+ currencies alongside MXN

No fee to spend any currency you hold, low conversion fees from 0.41%

Mid market rate on all currency conversion

Some fee free ATM withdrawals every month

No ongoing fees and no interest to pay

7 GBP delivery fee

No option to earn points or rewards

Click here to read a full Wise review

What is a travel money card?

A travel money card can be used just like your regular bank card, for payments online and in stores, and for cash withdrawals. The main difference you’ll see is that with a travel money card the features and fees available have been optimised for international use. Depending on the card you pick, that can mean you get a better exchange rate compared to using your normal card overseas, or that you need to pay fewer fees. Some travel cards also have options to earn cashback and rewards when you use your card internationally.

6 travel money cards for Mexico compared

We’ll look at each of these card options in a little more detail in just a moment, but let’s start with an overview of how 6 top travel money cards for Mexico compare side by side:

As you can see, the features and fees of different travel money cards can vary widely. Generally travel debit cards can be convenient and cost effective to use, while travel credit cards often come with nice benefits like cashback or rewards - but do mean you might need to pay interest costs and late payment charges if you don’t clear your bill in full every month.

Travel debit cards often let you top up a linked account online or through an app, so you can set your budget and can’t spend more than you intend.

Travel credit cards on the other hand let you spend to your card limit, and then repay the amount over a few months if you’d prefer to. Which is best for you will come down to how you like to manage your money - we’ll dive into a few more details about each card type, next.

What are different types of travel cards?

UK customers can get a travel money card from either a regular bank or a specialist provider, which may be a travel debit card, travel prepaid card or a travel credit card. Let’s take a closer look at what each travel money card type is, and pick out a couple of good card options, so you can compare and choose.

1. Travel debit cards

2. Travel prepaid cards

3. Travel credit cards

1. Travel Debit Cards

Travel debit cards are usually offered by specialist providers, with linked digital accounts you can use to hold and convert a currency balance in a selection of currencies, often including MXN. Travel debit cards can usually be topped up easily online and through an app, with the option to see your balance and get transaction notifications through your phone too. That makes it easier to keep on top of your money, even when you travel.

Travel debit card Option 1: Wise

Wise is our best value travel money debit card for Mexico, which comes with a linked account you can use for holding MXN easily. There’s no fee to open a Wise account, and just a small delivery fee for your Wise card, with no minimum balance and no monthly charge. You just pay low Wise fees from 0.41% when you convert currencies, and transparent ATM withdrawal fees when you exhaust the monthly free transactions available with your account.

No fee to open a Wise account, no minimum balance requirement

7 GBP one time fee to get your Wise card

2 withdrawals, to 200 GBP value per month for free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75%

Hold MXN and 50+ other currencies, convert between them with the mid-market rate

wise-account-transfer-money.png

Travel debit card Option 2: Revolut

Revolut has a selection of different account tiers, so you can simply pick the account you prefer - from free Standard plans to the 12.99 GBP/month Metal plan. All Revolut accounts have linked cards, although exactly what type of card you get depends on your account tier. You can hold around 25 currencies including MXN, and convert currencies with the mid-market rate to your plan’s allowance.

No fee to open a Standard Revolut account, or upgrade for up to 12.99 GBP/month

Card delivery fees may apply depending on your account tier

All accounts have some fee free currency conversion with 0.5% fair usage fees after that

Standard plan holders can withdraw 200 GBP (up to 5 withdrawals in total) per month for free

Hold MXN and around 25 other currencies

revolut-card.jpeg

Pros and cons of using debit travel cards in Mexico

No interest costs or late payment fees

Real-time currency exchange options available

Digital top-up and account viewing features

Safe to use as they're not connected to your primary UK bank account

Issued on widely-used global payment networks

Transaction and currency conversion fees may apply

Cash back and rewards may not be available

How to choose the best travel debit card for Mexico?

The best travel debit card for Mexico really depends on your personal preferences and how you like to manage your money. If you’ll be travelling widely it makes sense to look for an account with mid-market currency exchange and a large selection of supported currencies as well as MXN, like Wise. Other providers like Revolut can also be a good pick, particularly if you’ll use your account very frequently and would prefer to pay a monthly fee to unlock lots of fee free transactions and extra perks.

Is there a spending limit with a travel debit card in Mexico?  

Different providers set their own limits for card use. Limits may apply daily, weekly or monthly, and can apply to different types of transactions. You might find you have a limit to the amount of ATM withdrawals you can make per day, for example, or the value of contactless payments - these limits are set for security and can sometimes be managed and changed in the provider’s app.

2. Prepaid Travel Cards

Prepaid travel cards can be ordered or collected from specialist providers - once you have a card you’ll just need to add funds in the supported currency of your choice. While prepaid travel cards are usually issued on large global networks - and can therefore be used pretty widely - not all cards support all currencies. MXN prepaid cards are pretty hard to come by, so you may find you pay a foreign transaction fee when you spend. However, a prepaid card can still be helpful from a security perspective, as it means you won’t need to use your regular bank card while you’re in Mexico.

Prepaid travel card option 1: Post Office

You can pick up a Post Office prepaid travel money card in a Post Office branch or order one online. You’ll then be able to top up in pounds or one of the 22 supported currencies. As MXN isn’t a supported currency you’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee to spend with your card in Mexico - however this card can still be a helpful choice because it means you can avoid using your regular bank card while overseas.

Hold and exchange 22 currencies (not including MXN)

No fee to spend a balance in a supported currency

3% foreign transaction fee when spending a currency you don’t hold on the card

Variable ATM withdrawal fees based on the currency you hold

No interest to pay

Illustration of the front and back of the Post Office prepaid travel card

Click here to read a full Post Office review

Prepaid travel card option 2: Monese

Monese accounts can be opened by UK residents to hold GBP, EUR and RON. There are several different types of accounts, from the Simple account which has no monthly fees, to fee paying account tiers which have more features. It’s free to spend a balance you hold - but as MXN isn’t a supported currency, you may find you pay a foreign transaction fee of 2% when you’re spending in Mexico. Foreign transaction fees may be waived for higher tier account holders.

Hold a balance in GBP, EUR or RON

Choose a free Simple account, or upgrade to an account with monthly fees

Foreign transaction fees of 2% may apply depending on your account tier

ATM withdrawal fees may apply, depending on the value of withdrawals and the account tier you hold

Track and spend Avios reward points within your account

iPhone with Monese app open on the homepage, alongside a white Monese debit card

Pros and cons of using prepaid travel cards in Mexico

Manage your account, add more money or convert funds online or with an app

Accounts with no monthly fees are available

Selection of supported currencies, with no fee to spend a currency you hold

ATM withdrawals supported globally

Some accounts have extras like options to earn reward points

MXN may not be a supported currency

Transaction fees apply to most accounts

How to choose the best travel prepaid card for Mexico?

There’s no single best travel prepaid card for Mexico - it’ll come down to your personal preference. If you hold a Monese Classic or Premium account already it’s good to know that the 2% foreign transaction fee is waived, which means you get the card network rate when you spend in Mexico. This may be cheaper than using your regular bank card. The Post Office card can also be an option if you’re simply looking for an alternative to your normal bank card when you’re in Mexico, plus you can get a card instantly by walking into a Post Office branch.

Is there a spending limit with a prepaid card in Mexico?

Different prepaid travel cards set their own limits for spending and withdrawals, which can vary between currencies. You’ll need to check your card’s terms and conditions carefully to make sure you pick a provider which suits your needs.

3. Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards typically offer some extra international features compared to regular credit cards, such as low or no foreign transaction fees or extra options to earn rewards when you’re abroad. In general, travel credit cards are safe and convenient but can be more expensive compared to using a debit card. Before you select the right card for you it’s important to check the fees, rates, eligibility rules and interest rates which apply, so you can make sure it’s a good fit for you.

Travel credit card option 1: Barclaycard Rewards Visa

With the Barclaycard Rewards Visa card, there are no international ATM or foreign transaction fees. Instead, your overseas expenses are converted to pounds at the Visa exchange rate and added to your monthly statement. To avoid fees and interest, you’ll need to repay your balance in full each month, but as a bonus you can earn cashback on your everyday expenditures.

No foreign transaction or foreign ATM fee

Earn cashback at 0.25% on spending

Protection on purchases over 100 GBP

International spending uses the Visa exchange rate

Variable interest rates which apply if you don’t pay off your bill in full

Travel credit card option 2: Halifax Clarity Mastercard

The Halifax Clarity Mastercard has a variable interest rate which you can see when you check your eligibility for the card. There’s no foreign transaction or foreign ATM fee to pay, and all currency conversion uses the Mastercard exchange rate.

Variable interest rates

Check your eligibility and order a card online easily

No foreign transaction fee

No ATM fee - but interest will accrue instantly when you make a withdrawal

Mastercard exchange rates apply

Pros and cons of using credit cards in Mexico

Spending more than 100 GBP covered by additional consumer protection

Option to pay for travel expenses over multiple months

Check card eligibility online without affecting your credit score

Potentially no foreign transaction or ATM fees

Network exchange rates usually apply, which are usually pretty fair

Interest charged if you don’t repay in full every month

Eligibility rules apply

How to choose the best travel credit card for Mexico?

The best travel credit card for Mexico will depend on your personal preferences. If you’re interested in earning rewards and cash back on your overseas spending, the Barclaycard Rewards Visa might be a good pick, as it has no foreign transaction fee and offers cashback on all spending. Whichever card you’re considering you’ll want to weigh up the potential fees you’ll need to pay against the rewards you can earn to make sure it’s worthwhile.

If you’re planning to travel to Mexico you might want to pick a travel money card for while you’re away. Travel money cards have different features, and can be picked up via regular banks, online specialists and even the Post Office.

Not all travel cards support MXN, so you’ll need to check out the fees and features of a few to pick the right one for you. For example, you could opt for a low cost travel debit card which can hold a selection of currencies including MXN - like the Wise account. Or you might prefer a prepaid travel money card like the Monese card which can be linked to either a fee free account or an account which has monthly fees in exchange for lower transaction charges. Finally, another option is to get a travel credit card either to earn cashback and rewards, or to avoid foreign transaction fees.

The UK market is well served for all types of travel money cards - use this guide to start your research and pick the right option for your specific needs.

FAQ - Best travel cards for Mexico

You can usually make cash withdrawals with a credit card in Mexico at any ATM that supports your card network. You’ll often find that a fee applies, and you may start to accumulate interest on the withdrawn amount immediately. Travel money debit cards from providers like Wise and Revolut can be a lower cost option for cash withdrawals in MXN.

You can normally use your debit card anywhere you see the card network’s logo displayed. Visa and Mastercard networks are very well supported globally, including in Mexico, making these good options to look out for when you pick your travel debit card for Mexico.

Prepaid cards from reputable providers are safe to use at home and abroad. They aren’t linked to your main bank account which can offer extra peace of mind, and may also make it easier to manage your travel budget. However, you’ll need to check the card features and fees carefully to make sure you're getting the best match for your needs.

MASTERCARD BENEFIT INQUIRIES

Within the U.S.: 1-800-Mastercard (1-800-627-8372) | Outside the U.S.: Mastercard Global Service Phone Numbers

Availability of insurance benefits on your card may vary by card issuer. Please refer to your issuing financial institution for complete insurance benefit coverage terms, conditions and exclusions.

*Card registration required. Certain exceptions apply. Click here for terms and conditions .

†Requirements may vary. See card packaging for details or contact card issuer.

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How Much Cash Should You Bring to Mexico? Calculate now!

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Wondering how much cash to bring to Mexico? You’ve come to the right guide!

As a travel blogger that lives in Mexico , I’ve become really familiar with how much things cost and how to manage your money in Mexico.

And it’s part of my job to help travelers like you budget your trip and have the best experience possible while traveling in Mexico.

In this post, I’m going to share my recommendations on how much cash you should bring to Mexico , as well as tons of helpful tips on money management.

So if you’re traveling to Mexico soon and wondering how much or what kind of money to bring, if you can use a credit card, or where to get pesos for your trip, I’ve got you covered in this comprehensive guide.

And I’ve even created a handy calculator to tell you exactly how much cash you should bring to Mexico, depending on your spending habits and the length of your trip.

Ready to find out all about bringing cash to Mexico? Let’s dive in!

Do You Need Pesos in Mexico?

It depends on where you’re going. In popular tourist destinations like Cancun , Playa del Carmen , Tulum , Puerto Vallarta, and Los Cabos, US dollars are accepted in most places.

So if you don’t plan to leave the resort, you can get away with only bringing US dollars.

But since the official currency of the country is the Mexican peso (MXN), you will get a better exchange rate when making cash payments in pesos.

So even if US dollars are accepted, I would still recommend bringing some pesos with you to Mexico.

Not only will you save money but it’s also good to have pesos on hand for smaller purchases, taxi rides, souvenir shopping at local shops, or dining at a local restaurant.

Alternatively, if you’re traveling to smaller towns or more remote destinations in Mexico, you’ll definitely want to bring pesos as United States dollars may not be accepted in these areas.

📱Ready to calculate now? Skip ahead here to the Mexico money calculator!

How Much Cash to Bring to Mexico

Can You Use Credit Cards in Mexico?

Yes, you can use credit cards in Mexico. Credit cards are widely accepted in large cities like Mexico City and popular tourist destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Vallarta, and Los Cabos.

I would recommend using a credit card for most of your purchases in Mexico as most restaurants, hotels, and retail stores accept credit cards.

Keep in mind though that some smaller stores may charge an extra fee for credit card purchases (anywhere from 1-5%).

When using your credit card in Mexico, you’ll want to make sure you use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

I personally use and recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred card as it has no foreign transaction fees and has some amazing travel perks.

I would also recommend using a credit card instead of a debit card as most debit cards charge foreign transaction fees and have fewer protections in case of credit card fraud.

What Will You Need Cash for in Mexico?

While you can use credit cards in many places in Mexico, I still recommend having cash on hand to use for tips, smaller purchases, and spending money in Mexico.

Here are some of the things you will need cash for in Mexico:

  • Airport Transportation Tips
  • Bell Staff Tips
  • Resort Staff Tips
  • Housekeeping Tips
  • Tour Guide Tips
  • Public Transportation
  • Entrance fees for tourist attractions, cenotes, and archaeological sites
  • Local Restaurants
  • Street Food or Street Vendors

Airport Transportation Tipping in Mexico

How Much Money Should You Bring to Mexico?

So now you know what you need cash for in Mexico, but how much money should you bring exactly? This depends on a few factors, such as the length of your stay and your spending habits.

Here is a general guideline to give you a rough idea of how much cash to bring to Mexico:

  • Below Average Spending: $20 USD per day
  • Average Spending: $40 USD per day
  • Above Average Spending: $60+ USD per day

Note these guidelines are based on how much cash to bring to Mexico for the tips and extras outlined above, assuming you’re using your credit cards for most of your purchases.

If you plan to pay with cash in Mexico exclusively, then you’ll want to bring more money in pesos than the amounts above.

Additionally, these amounts are based on a single traveler or a single party that’s traveling together.

If you are traveling with your family or a larger group, I recommend using my handy cash calculator below, which includes a multiplier for the number of people.

Just enter your trip details and it will tell you exactly how much cash to bring to Mexico!

What if you don’t bring enough money to Mexico?

It’s important not to bring too much cash with you to Mexico as it be a safety risk and flaunting large amounts of cash can make you a target.

But if you find that you run out or didn’t bring enough cash, don’t worry because you can always get more from an ATM in Mexico.

How Much Cash to Take to Mexico Calculator

Use the calculator below to get a rough estimate of the amount of money that you should bring with you to Mexico.

How Much Money to Bring to Mexico Calculator

⚠️ Calculator Disclaimers :

  • This calculator is based on how much cash to bring to Mexico for things that can’t be paid with a credit card. If you are not planning to use a credit card in Mexico, then you should budget considerably more for your daily expenses.
  • This calculator is intended to give you a rough estimate of the amount of cash you should bring to Mexico and may not be 100% accurate due to price variations and personal spending habits.
  • The exchange rate is set to a default rate of 17 to 1 but it can be adjusted if you want to use the exact exchange rate .
  • The calculator also contains a slight multiplier for the number of people in the group, assuming you will be traveling together in the same transportation, etc.

Tipping Standards in Mexico

Here’s an overview of the tipping standards in Mexico so you know how much to tip for various services.

Airport Transportation Tips in Mexico

If you’re taking private transportation or shuttle services from the airport to your hotel, it’s customary to tip the driver 10-15% of the fare.

🚐 Related Reading: The Best Airport Transfer for Cancun Mexico

Mexico Airport Transportation Tipping

Bell Staff Tips in Mexico

If you need help with your luggage at the hotel, it’s polite to give the bell staff a small tip of $1-$2 USD per bag.

If you have a lot of luggage that they are carrying for you, then it’s okay to tip a bit more.

Resort Staff Tips in Mexico

Tipping the staff at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico is not required but it’s appreciated. And you will probably find that if you tip, you will get better service.

I would recommend having some cash on hand in small bills to tip bartenders, pool staff, restaurant servers, and the activities staff.

You can give them a few dollars a day or just tip them when you receive exceptional service. It’s really up to you how much you want to give them.

Mexico All Inclusive Resort

Housekeeping Tips in Mexico

Leaving a small tip for housekeeping is not required but is common courtesy, especially if you are staying at a luxury hotel or resort in Mexico.

It’s customary to leave $1-$5 USD per day on the last day of your stay, which can be left in the hotel room.

Restaurant Tips in Mexico

When dining at restaurants in Mexico, it is customary to leave a 10-15% tip, although in major tourist areas higher tips are expected.

If paying with a credit card, the server will bring the credit card terminal to the table and will ask you if you would like to leave a tip.

You can typically just tell them the percentage amount and it will automatically be added on the credit terminal.

Tour Guide Tips in Mexico

Tipping the tour guide is not required but it’s appreciated and pretty much expected in Mexico.

You can tip the tour guide 10-15% of the total cost of the tour, or $10-$20 USD per person depending on the length and quality of service.

It’s also common to tip the driver and other staff if they are extra helpful during the tour.

Taxi Driver Tips in Mexico

It is not customary to tip taxi drivers in Mexico and they do not expect a tip. So you can feel comfortable simply paying the exact amount of the fare.

But if they help you a lot with your bags or provide you with exceptional service, you can round up and give them a small tip.

Taxi in Cancun Mexico

How to Get Pesos for Mexico

Here are a few options for getting pesos for your trip to Mexico:

Order pesos from your bank ahead of time

If you’re someone that likes to plan ahead and have everything ready to go before your trip, then I would recommend ordering pesos from your bank before you leave for Mexico.

While this option takes a bit more time and advance planning, it’s cheaper than exchanging currency at a counter in Mexico once you arrive.

Plus, you won’t have to deal with finding an ATM or currency counter once you get there, which can add stress to your vacation.

Most large banks have the option to order foreign currency online or through a mobile app but it typically takes 1-3 business days for delivery.

A screenshot of the Bank of America website to order foreign currency

Withdraw pesos from an ATM in Mexico

The quickest and easiest way to get pesos in Mexico is to simply withdraw cash from an ATM once you arrive.

You can find ATM machines in most major tourist spots, hotels, and grocery stores, or even at the airport once you land.

While your bank might charge a fee for withdrawing money from foreign ATMs, it will typically be cheaper compared to using currency exchange services or a commission-based money exchange counter.

HSBC ATM in Mexico

Exchange at a currency counter (not recommended)

The final option for getting pesos in Mexico is to exchange U.S. dollars for pesos at the airport or a foreign currency exchange counter.

While this is a bit more convenient, I wouldn’t recommend it because it’s typically the most expensive option.

You’ll have access to cash right away but currency exchange counters in Mexico typically have some of the highest conversion rates.

If you really do need to use a currency exchange counter, be sure to check the current exchange rate before deciding whether or not this is the best option for you.

CiBanco Currency Exchange Counter at Cancun International Airport

Using ATMs in Mexico

Here are some tips for withdrawing money from ATMs in Mexico:

Best ATMs in Mexico

When using ATMs in Mexico, it is important to use only official bank ATMs and avoid using any random or unidentified ATMs found on the street.

You might find nameless ATMs in the main tourist areas but these are known to have card skimmers and hackers that could potentially drain your bank account.

For optimal security, it is best to use official bank ATMs located directly at a bank or at places such as grocery stores or shopping malls.

You can also find bank ATMs conveniently located in many Oxxo convenience stores.

The most popular banks and ATM locations in Mexico include:

  • BBVA Bancomer
  • Scotiabank (partnered with Bank of America)

Woman Using an ATM in Mexico

Bank Partnerships

Before your trip to Mexico, it’s a good idea to check with your bank to see if they have any partnerships with Mexican banks.

Several major banks, including Bank of America, have established partnerships with foreign banks around the world.

If your bank does have a partnership with a Mexican bank, you will likely be able to withdraw money without a usage fee.

However, there is typically still an international withdrawal fee that is a small percentage of the total withdrawal amount.

For example, Bank of America has a partnership with Scotiabank in Mexico. This means you can withdraw money from a Scotiabank ATM in Mexico and avoid a $5 USD international ATM usage fee.

However, you will still be charged 3% of the converted US dollar amount that you are withdrawing.

ATM Withdrawal Fees

When withdrawing money from ATMs in Mexico, you will likely be charged a usage fee and/or an international transaction fee that will be a small percentage of the total amount you take out.

Let’s say you are a Bank of America customer and you were to withdraw $2,000 pesos in local currency from a Scotiabank ATM in Mexico.

Here’s an example of the cost breakdown:

  • Usage Fee : $5 USD (waived) = $0 USD
  • Currency Conversion: $2000 MXN at BOA Conversion Rate (0.0484) = $96.80 USD
  • International Transaction Fee: $96.80 x 3% = $2.90 USD
  • Total Amount for this Withdrawal : $99.70 USD

If you weren’t to use a Scotiabank ATM, then you would be charged the $5 usage fee in addition. This can add up depending on how many times you visit the ATM!

ATM Conversion Rates

If there’s one thing to remember about using ATMs in Mexico, it’s to always decline the conversion rate offered by the ATM.

When withdrawing money from an ATM, you’ll be prompted to accept or decline the conversion rate offered by that particular ATM — hit DECLINE!

ATMs always offer terrible exchange rates and markups, which are much higher than what you would get from your bank.

By hitting decline, your financial institution will automatically charge you with the standard conversion rate, which is typically a much better deal.

An ATM screen pointing out where to press the decline button on the currency exchange

Using Mexican Currency

Here are some helpful things to know about using the official currency in Mexico:

Mexican Peso Bills

Here’s a rough USD conversion for the Mexican peso denominations to give you an idea of the value of money:

  • $10 peso coin = ~$.60 USD
  • $50 peso bill = ~$3 USD
  • $100 peso bill = ~$6 USD
  • $200 peso bill = ~$12 USD
  • $500 peso bill = ~$30 USD
  • $1000 peso bill =~$60 USD

Mexican Peso Bills

Easy Pesos to USD Currency Conversion Trick

If you’re not familiar with paying in Mexican pesos, it can be confusing to figure out exactly how much you’re spending.

However, there is a simple trick to convert pesos to American dollars easily in your head – just take off a zero and divide the price of the item by 2!

For example, if something is $500 pesos, you would take off a zero ($50) and divide the amount by 2 to get to a value of around $25 USD.

Of course, this is not an exact value but will give you a rough estimate of how much an item costs, which can help you keep track of your vacation budget and spending.

Alternatively, you can pull out the calculator on your phone or use a currency converter app to get the exact value.

💵 Easy MXN-USD Currency Conversion Trick: Take off a zero and divide by 2!

Mexico Money Saving Tips

Follow these Mexico travel money tips to save money when it comes to international travel and exchanging currency in Mexico:

  • When given the option, pay in pesos: When paying at restaurants or stores in major tourist destinations in Mexico, you’ll likely be given the option to pay in pesos or USD (even when paying with a credit card). Always choose pesos, as you’ll typically get a better exchange rate.
  • Decline the currency conversion rate at the ATM: When withdrawing cash from an ATM, you’ll be asked if you want to accept the ATM’s currency conversion rate. Always decline this option and instead you’ll be charged at the official exchange rate from your bank.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card: If you’re going to be paying with a card, it’s best to use a credit card instead of your debit card. Many travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card have no foreign transactions so you’ll save money on costly currency exchange fees on your debit card. Plus, credit cards typically have better protections if something goes wrong with your purchase.
  • Check with your bank to see if they have any partnerships with banks in Mexico: If your bank has a partnership with a Mexican bank, you can likely avoid added ATM fees when using your debit card to withdraw money in Mexico.
  • Only use official bank ATMs: Avoid using random or nameless ATMs, as these are often less secure and can be setup with card skimmers. Withdrawing money from official bank ATMs at banks, grocery stores, or shopping centers is a safer option. Some of the most popular local banks in Mexico are Scotiabank, Santander, Bancomer, and Banorte.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash: It’s best to only carry the amount of cash that you need for your daily expenses in case of theft. Flaunting large amounts of cash can make you a target for theft or getting ripped off. It’s also a good idea to keep a backup credit or debit card (and some cash) in the hotel safe in case anything happens to your primary card.

How Much Cash to Bring to Mexico

Money in Mexico: FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about money in Mexico:

Yes, while credit cards are accepted in many places, it’s still a good idea to bring some cash with you for tipping, transportation, and smaller purchases.

Yes, many tourist destinations in Mexico will accept US dollars for payment. However, you’ll almost always get a better deal by paying in pesos.

Yes, it’s a good idea to bring some pesos with you to Mexico. While US dollars are accepted in most tourist destinations, sometimes it’s easier to pay for things in pesos and you’ll save money on the exchange rate.

If you’re trying to decide between dollars or pesos for Mexico, the best money to bring to Mexico is Mexican pesos (MXN), which is the local currency. While US dollars are accepted in some places, you’ll get the best exchange rate by using Mexican pesos.

It’s best to only carry the amount of cash that you need for your daily expenses while in Mexico. There is no need to carry large amounts of cash as it can make you a target for theft or getting ripped off. Any extra cash should be kept in the hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to keep a backup credit or debit card in the hotel safe just in case anything happens to your primary card.

If you’re wondering how much money to take to Cancun , it’s recommended to bring approximately $40 USD per day for tips, transportation, and smaller purchases.

A good rule of thumb is to bring around $40 USD per day for tips, transportation, and smaller purchases. So for a week in Cancun, you’ll want to bring approximately $4760 pesos.

If you’re going to an all inclusive resort in Mexico, it’s recommended to bring around $40 USD per day for tips, transportation, and smaller purchases. If you tend to spend more than this mid-range budget on tips or other travel expenses, you may want to bring more.

That really depends on your budget and the amount of time you are going to spend in Mexico. Generally, it’s a good idea to have around $40 USD/day in cash when traveling to Mexico. This should cover things that cannot be paid with a credit card. And you can always withdraw additional money from ATMs if needed.

Legally, Mexican authorities allow US citizens to enter with up to $10,000 USD in cash without having to declare it. However, it is not advisable to bring that amount of money as it can make you a target for theft.

Uber services in Mexico are available in some cities but not all. And depending on the destination, it can be unsafe to try and use Uber. Most notably, it is currently unsafe to use Uber in the entire Riviera Maya region of Mexico including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum as there has been extremely strong opposition from taxi drivers. So if you plan on taking taxi rides in a destination that doesn’t have Uber, you’ll need to have cash on hand as credit cards are not typically accepted by cabs in Mexico.

Resorts in Cancun Hotel Zone

Final Thoughts: How Much Money Should I Take to Mexico?

I hope this guide has given you a better understanding of how much money to take to Mexico and the ins-and-outs of managing your money during your trip.

I recommend using a credit card for most of your purchases and bringing along about $40 USD per day in physical cash for tipping, transportation, and smaller purchases.

If you’re staying in major tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Los Cabos, US dollars are typically accepted but I still recommend getting some pesos as it’s good to have for smaller purchases and you’ll save money on the exchange rate.

Don’t forget you can use my handy calculator to find out the exact amount of cash you should bring for your trip depending on the length of your stay and spending habits.

You don’t want to bring too much money to Mexico as it can be a safety risk, but if run out and don’t have enough money, you can always withdraw more cash from an ATM.

Just remember to always decline the conversion rate offered by the ATM as it will always be worse than your bank’s!

By following these Mexico money tips, you’ll be able to make the most out of your trip without overspending or running out of money. ¡Buen viaje!

  • Do You Need Pesos in Cancun?
  • Will My Phone Work in Mexico?
  • Is There Uber in Mexico?

🇲🇽 Traveling to Mexico soon?

These are the Mexico travel resources I use and recommend:

🏨 Hotels : I always find the best deals for Mexico hotels and resorts on Expedia or Booking.com . If you prefer a vacation rental, check VRBO as they are often cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights : I recommend using Skyscanner for the best Mexico flight deals. Be sure to sign up for their price alerts for your preferred travel dates.

🚗 Rental Cars : I recommend using Discover Cars because you can compare multiple car rental companies and see detailed ratings for overall value, ease of pick-up, efficiency of agents, car condition, and overall time spent.

🚙 Cancun Airport Transportation : I recommend booking a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation for the quickest and most hassle-free option!

🤿 Tours & Activities: I always use Viator or GetYourGuide for booking tours and activities in Mexico. You can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour for a full refund, plus they have excellent customer service if you were to have any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: After my Dad broke his hand in a taxi accident in Playa del Carmen, I always recommend buying travel insurance before your trip for added peace of mind! I recommend Travel Insurance Master for short trips or Safety Wing for digital nomads.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen : Don’t forget to add biodegradable sunscreen to your Mexico packing list ! Regular sunscreen is prohibited when swimming in the ocean and cenotes in Mexico, so you’ll need to pack some biodegradable sunscreen for sun protection. I recommend Sun Bum Sunscreen , which is reef-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free.

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Allison Sicking is the founder of Viva La Travelista. After moving to Playa del Carmen, Mexico in 2018, she created her travel blog to empower others to travel safely and confidently in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries. Using her Spanish language skills and expertise in Mexico travel, she is passionate about teaching others to travel Mexico like a local.

Best ways to spend travel money in Mexico: Debit & prepaid cards

Learn more about the best card to use, if you should use a uk debit card and other ways to take spending money to mexico..

In this guide

Low cost travel money options for Mexico

How many mexican pesos do i need to bring, travel card, credit card or debit card, buying mexican pesos in the uk, where can i get money exchanged in mexico, using us dollars or mexican pesos in mexico, bottom line, frequently asked questions.

Planning a trip south of the border? Preparing your travel money options beforehand is the key to a stress-free holiday. Here you can compare prepaid travel cards, debit cards and credit cards to securely and conveniently access your money overseas. We cover what money you’ll need to use in Mexico, the types of cards to take to save on fees and insider tips on bringing and spending travel money in Mexico.

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Using a prepaid travel card.

Travel cards are generally a good way to take your funds overseas and spend in multiple currencies, but they’re not all suitable for use in Mexico:

  • Supported currencies. At the time of writing there are a few prepaid travel cards you can load with Mexican Pesos, including products from Wise and Travelex. Merchants in major tourist destinations like Tijuana, Cancun and Acapulco do accept U.S Dollars; however, this may not extend to card payments.
  • Currency conversion fees. If you’re using a prepaid travel card that charges currency conversion fees and doesn’t support Mexican Pesos, you’ll be charged a currency conversion fee. Travel card currency conversion fees are among the highest in the market. This fee alone makes it more cost effective to use another type of card in Mexico.

Using credit cards

A credit card can be a good option for financial security and emergency expenses on your trip to Mexico. There are some features and drawbacks that you’ll want to keep an eye on to ensure that you’re getting the most out of the credit card you choose:

  • Currency conversion fees. Unless you have a credit card that is designed for overseas use, you’re likely to be charged currency conversion fees (of around 3%) when you make a purchase in Mexican Pesos. Some merchants may accept US dollars, which are also supported across all British travel money cards.
  • ATM withdrawals. Cash advance and interest charges, ATM fees and currency conversion fees can wipe about £10 off your balance for every cash withdrawal. ATM withdrawals using credit are treated as a cash advance, so the transaction accrues interest right away and a cash advance fee is charged per transaction.
  • Emergency card replacement. Most Visa, Mastercard or American Express cards can be locked and replaced if lost or stolen. For example, Visa can arrange for emergency cash from a Western Union if you’re stuck in a tight spot while you wait for a replacement credit card from your bank.
  • Acceptance. Credit cards and other forms of plastic are widely accepted in Mexico. Keep in mind Visa and Mastercard are not accepted on buses, most taxis, tour guides, corner stores and taquerías. Look for a sign saying “No Tarjetas De Credito” or ask first if you want to find out whether you can use your card.

Can I use my debit card in Mexico?

Generally speaking, yes. Most shops, restaurants and bars accept debit cards from UK banks, however some smaller businesses may not accept them and it would be worth taking cash too.

Like a credit card, using a British debit card in Mexico has both benefits and drawbacks. Consider the following when comparing your options:

  • Currency conversion fees. Some British debit cards are designed to be used overseas, so they don’t charge currency conversion fees on foreign transactions. If you’re using your regular debit card, it’s likely that you’ll be charged a currency conversion fee of at least 3% per transaction when you make a purchase in Mexican Pesos.
  • ATM withdrawals. Look for a card that has an international ATM presence, as you might be able to use ATMs without being charged withdrawal fees.
  • EFTPOS card. You can use your EFTPOS card to make a cash withdrawal from an ATM in Mexico. Some ATMs take EFTPOS cards without a chip, but these ATMs can be few and far between. EFTPOS cards cannot be used over the counter; you need a Visa or Mastercard debit card to make purchases.

Paying with cash in Mexico

Dating back to Spanish colonisation, Mexican Pesos come in denominations of 10c, 20c, 50c, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1000. $20 is the lowest value banknote. MXN is the currency code for Mexican Pesos. Mexico uses the dollar sign ($) as the currency symbol.

Using a digital banking app

Digital banking apps like Revolut or N26 work in much the same way as conventional bank accounts do, coming with a debit card authorised by Visa or Mastercard which can be “topped up” from your mobile phone. The key advantage, though, is that they don’t charge withdrawal of transaction fees.

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change

The local currency in Mexico is the Mexican Peso, and there are a few ways you can make purchases in Pesos in Mexico. Here we compare prepaid travel cards, credit cards and debit cards to help you determine which one is best for your trip down Mexico way. ATMs are widely available in Mexico and are compatible with debit cards, credit cards and prepaid travel cards. You can find an ATM at every bank, supermarkets, shopping centres and at hotels.

Travel money options for Mexico at a glance

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

mexico-banknotes

1 GBP is worth approximately 28 MXN according to Google Finance, which means you will be paying approximately £40 for a double room in a midrange hotel, £13 for a good dinner including drinks and £3 for a taxi ride in the city. Mexican Pesos are widely available at most currency exchange offices including Travelex and major banks. Exchanging at your local/member bank can be a good idea to avoid extra fees and charges.

Cash, ATMs and how to exchange money in Mexico

There are a number of places you can get cash exchanged in Mexico, including Banco de Mexico (the nations national bank) and at casa de cambios (exchange bureaus). You can visit a bank during business hours between Monday and Friday. British pound are a common international currency; however, you may only be able to change British pounds to Pesos at larger banks. You can also get money changed at bureaux de change and casa de cambio outlets. These exchange offices are common and they can offer the same rate, if not better, than banks. Some cases de cambio offices may only exchange US Dollars, so shop around to find out where you can get British pounds changed to Mexican Pesos.

You can use $USD in Mexico, especially in the major tourist spots, where some merchants give you the option of paying in MXN or USD. The vendor can give you an “over the counter exchange rate” between USD and MXN. The price of the goods can be inflated by as much as 30% if you pay with USD in Mexico as vendors generally use an exchange rate of $10MXN to $1USD. To make your money go further use Mexican Pesos.

There is no single best travel money strategy, as the right one will ultimately depend on where you’re travelling, how you’re spending your money and what you can afford. For example, if you’re going to be making a lot of cash withdrawals, consider a debit card with an ATM alliance or a prepaid card with low withdrawal fees over a credit card.

If you want a backup to make emergency or large purchases, a credit card could come in handy. Plus, you’ll always need cash to make everyday purchases. Withdrawing a substantial amount of cash for when you arrive can be an ideal option to ensure a smooth transition into your destination country. Make sure to organise more than one option so you always have a backup plan should something go wrong.

There are many ways you can take your cash to Mexico, but the best option will depend on how you’re spending your money and the features that you are after. Consider your financial situation, your travel plans and how you’ll be spending your money to determine which combination of travel money options is the right one for you.

What rate do I get when I make an ATM withdrawal?

Is using an atm in mexico safe, what do i need to prepare before leaving for mexico.

  • Copy of your credit/ debit cards
  • Emergency contact numbers for your banks
  • Store your extra credit/ travel card in a separate compartment to your wallet in the case of theft

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Mexico

Money in Mexico: Your Complete 2024 Guide by an Expat

Managing your money in Mexico is an important consideration whether you are coming here on vacation or whether you are relocating here on a more permanent basis. You need to understand the currency used in Mexico (pesos), the best way to exchange currency, and any fees your credit and debit cards charge for international transactions and withdrawals. 

You are in good hands here because I have been living in Mexico (in Merida in the Yucatan) for the past two years. Not only am I accustomed to existing in pesos, but I have also been through lots of stressful things here like opening a local bank account, and transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mexico so that I could purchase property here. 

In this post, we will run through everything that you need to know about managing your money in Mexico. Then, if you have any additional questions or concerns at the end, you are more than welcome to reach out to me. 

Money in Mexico in different denominations and a cute Mexican Lele coin purse

Table of Contents

Money in Mexico 

The Mexican nuevo peso is the local currency in Mexico and it is the only official legal tender here. Pesos have been in circulation since way back in 1863 and despite technological progressions, cash is still very much king in Mexico. 

I am constantly hearing people ask whether they can use dollars, euros or other currencies in Mexico. The reality is that some tourist businesses in resort areas that are popular with Americans (like Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Cancun and Tulum) do accept dollars but people may try and trick you on the exchange rate (or simply not give you the best rate) so I would strongly advise using pesos in Mexico. 

In rural areas, many little shops and restaurants will be cash-only and sometimes it is alarming how many “serious” business transactions are conducted in cash in Mexico. (Even when I bought a house in Mexico, I paid part of the deposit and my legal fees in cash!) 

In major cities, most people have a POS (point of sale) device and accept credit/debit card payments. Machines that accept contactless payments are the norm, and a lot of modern businesses are starting to accept Apple Pay. 

Sometimes, some restaurants, hotels, etc will also accept payments by bank transfer, however, that is much easier if you have a local account. 

A pile of 100 (cien) pesos bills in Mexico

Mexico Currency 

The Mexican peso is the official currency in Mexico. It is often written as MXN or with a dollar symbol ($) as you would use for US dollars, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, etc.

Mexican pesos come in note denominations of 1000 (circa $50), 500 (circa $25), 200 (circa $12), 100 (circa $5), 50 (circa $2.50), and 20 (circa $1). Coins also come in denominations of 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 peso. 

Generally, when you exchange money for Mexican pesos or you use an ATM, you will not be given currency in denominations of more than 500 pesos. 1,000 peso notes are very rare and difficult to use to make smaller purchases. 

In my two years in Mexico, I have honestly never seen a $1,000 MXN peso note, even when I had to go and withdraw a whopping $110,000 MXN in cash from my bank to pay for a deposit on my house.

It is better not to carry wads of cash around with you so I would say around $4,000 to $4,500 MXN is the maximum you want to have on you at any given time and this should be plenty to last you a couple of days, even in pricier tourist areas.

Since things in Mexico typically cost a lot less than what you may be used to in the US, Canada, the UK, or elsewhere, it is important to make sure that you always have plenty of small denomination notes. Small vendors may struggle to give change for 500 peso bills. 

Try to make sure you always have plenty of coins and notes with a value of 100 pesos and below.

Money in Mexico

Currency in Mexico exchange rates 

The exchange rates for Mexican pesos vs other currencies fluctuate constantly throughout the year just like any other currency. However, a major topic of conversation in recent months has been how the Mexican peso is becoming stronger, meaning that you essentially get less bang for your buck when converting dollars into pesos.

This is thanks to various factors, including a nearshoring boom which has seen a lot of Canadian and US companies move their production and manufacturing businesses from China and the Far East to Mexico, thus investing millions of dollars into Mexico. 

A year ago, one US dollar bought you around 20.4 pesos and for a long period, the exchange rate would bounce around between 18-20 pesos per dollar.

In summer 2023, the Mexican peso reached its strongest level since 2015 , with an exchange rate of $1USD = 17MXN. BBVA, the largest Mexican bank predicted that 2023 would end with an exchange rate of around 19.5 pesos per dollar but that remains to be seen yet. 

Because of the strengthening peso, travelling in Mexico and investing in real estate here is becoming more expensive. 

To share just how much the peso has fluctuated over time, below, you will find the currency in Mexico exchange rates versus several other global currencies in January 2023 and November 2023. 

A pile of cincuenta (50) pesos bills in Mexico

January vs November 2023 currency in Mexico exchange rates

Standing in front of a church in Baca, Yucatan state

Exchanging money into Mexican pesos 

It is always handy to purchase a small number of Mexican pesos before your trip to Mexico. That way, you aren’t scrambling around trying to find an ATM as soon as you arrive. 

Consider exchanging a small number of pesos before your trip and then using an ATM to withdraw more money on arrival. Shop around as the exact exchange rate you are given can vary a lot from place to place. 

Xe.com gives you the market rate but you might not get such a competitive rate when you exchange your money. Banks tend to offer the most competitive exchange rates rather than travel agents and ATMs.

If you decide to go to a currency exchange, look for a place that does not charge a commission. Never use a currency exchange at the airport as they will not only not be competitive, they are likely to be the worst you encounter.

Rates in currency exchange centres in touristy areas (e.g. Zona Romantica in Puerto Vallarta or the hotel zone in Cancun) are a close second in terms of terrible exchange rates. It is better to exchange just a small amount of money into pesos before your trip and then use your ATM card to make a withdrawal once you arrive in Mexico.

Money in Mexico

Key tips for managing your money in Mexico 

As a tourist, some of the main things you ought to consider when it comes to managing your money in Mexico are as per the below. A lot of these things are common sense but are worth reiterating here. 

  • Open a borderless bank account to cut down on ATM and foreign conversion fees while abroad. (E.g. Charles Schwab in the US or Revolut/Wise). $2 here or $3 there might not seem much initially but small fees quickly add up
  • Use ATMs at banks or in malls rather than standalone machines as they are less likely to have been tampered with
  • Opening a Mexican bank account isn’t really necessary unless you are moving here or plan on purchasing real estate/investing in something
  • Don’t carry too much cash with you. $4,000-$4,500 MXN pesos should be the maximum you carry. Ideally separate your money out into a wallet that contains most of your money, and a little coin purse that has what you need for the day. That way, you dont flash tons of cash every time you buy something
  • Keep a spare $50 USD or so of cash and a backup debit/credit card in your suitcase or hotel safe just in case
  • Always check your surroundings when using ATMs and never make withdrawals at night or in dark, secluded places
  • Never accept the exchange rate on the screen at a Mexican ATM, it will not be competitive
  • Monitor your bank account activity while travelling and ideally, have a banking app set up on your phone so you notice right away if anything is untoward
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies before you travel so they dont note your trip to Mexico as suspicious activity and block your card.

travel money card mexico

Using ATMs in Mexico

You will find plenty of ATMs scattered around Mexico. Various Mexican and international banks operate here. 

The most common bank ATMs that you are likely to see are Santander, Citi Banamex, BBVA, Banco Azteca, Banorte·, and HSBC. ATMs in malls, airports, bus stations, etc often charge ludicrously high fees. Most of the time if you have an international bank card and you try to make a withdrawal at a Mexican ATM, the machine will charge you for the transaction anyway. However, in an official bank, this is often only around 40 pesos (circa USD 2).  

Some standalone machines can charge anywhere between 100 and 180 pesos. That is between USD 5.50 and USD 9.50 and not exactly a small amount to lose! 

Then, depending on what bank card you are using, your own bank may charge you a fee for using your card internationally. Don’t assume that if you bank with a certain bank in your home country, that means that you will have favourable treatment for using the ATMs of that bank in Mexico. 

For instance, HSBC ATMs often charge some of the highest withdrawal and foreign transaction fees. Even if you have an HSBC US or UK account, you may find it better to use an alternative ATM. 

travel money card mexico

Making a withdrawal at an ATM in Mexico

Virtually all ATMs in Mexico show their displays in Spanish and English. Sometimes other languages are available too. 

Remember that the rate will be displayed in pesos along with the “$” sign. So don’t panic when it looks like the machine is asking if you want to withdraw values of 3,000 or 4,000 dollars – the amount is in pesos! 

Keep in mind that any withdrawal limits that are in place on your card in your home country will apply in Mexico too. It is important to find the balance between drawing out enough cash so that you are not constantly having to go back and forth to the ATM and incur extra fees, and not drawing out too much that you feel uneasy carrying it. 

Money in Mexico

Money in Mexico FAQs

Do you have any further questions or concerns about managing or getting money in Mexico? The answers to some frequently asked questions on the topic are detailed below.

Hopefully, you will find the answers you are looking for there. If not, feel free to reach out to me.

How much is $1 USD in Mexico?

As of the 1st November 2023, $1 USD converts to 17.76 Mexican pesos. It is important to check these conversions in real time because the peso has been bouncing around a lot lately.

Historically, $1 USD was always around 20 pesos but the peso has strengthened significantly in recent years.

Is $100 a lot of money in Mexico? 

Yes. $100 USD goes a lot further in Mexico than in the United States and in other Western currencies. You could effectively live off this for several days in some parts of the country. Meals are often available for as little as $5, and budget hotels, even in popular areas like Valladolid or Izamal , can be purchased for just $30 USD a night. 

What is the best currency to use in Mexico?

Mexican pesos (MXN) are the best currency to use in Mexico. This is the national currency and official legal tender. 

Some tourist places may accept US dollars but it is better not to depend on that happening. 

Is it better to tip in pesos or dollars in Mexico?

When it comes to tipping in Mexico , it is preferable to tip in pesos. This is the local currency and it will be much easier for the person that you are tipping to use. 

If you tip in US dollars or another form of currency, they will have to exchange it to be able to use it. 

How much is $100 Mexican pesos?

As of November 1st 2023, $100 Mexican pesos works out at about $5.63 USD or £4.62. However, do keep in mind that global exchange rates are constantly fluctuating.

Is it better to have cash or a card in Mexico? 

It is better to carry a small amount of cash with you at all times in Mexico just to be safe as many small stores, street food vendors and public transport operators only accept cash. You should also make sure that you carry one or two cards. 

(It is good to take two just in case one is locked overseas or you lose it).

Should I get pesos at the airport in Mexico?

Absolutely not. Airports across the globe are renowned for providing the absolute worst exchange rates. 

Use them at your peril. (Ok that’s a bit dramatic). 

Exchanging money at an airport exchange office with an uncompetitive rate can mean that you actually lose a lot of money. The only time that you should even consider this option is if you arrive and you don’t have any cash whatsoever, and you just want to change a very small amount to get to where you are going. ($20 to $30 USD or so)

Can I pay with US dollars in Mexico?

US dollars are sometimes accepted in touristy parts of Mexico, like Cancun airport hotels , downtown Puerto Vallarta and Mahahual on the Mexican Caribbean coast . There are even some ATMs in the Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta that allow you to withdraw US Dollars.

However, you will usually get a better rate if you pay in pesos and since US dollars are not widely accepted everywhere you go, it is better to use the local currency if you can.

A traditional market in Muna, Yucatan

Final thoughts on managing money in Mexico

Hopefully, this article will give you some peace of mind about managing and getting money in Mexico. If this is your first time travelling to Mexico, you might also enjoy reading these Mexico travel tips .

I have been living in the Yucatan capital of Merida for over a year now. So I am well-versed in managing money in Mexico and I am here if you need to contact me with any questions

Have a wonderful trip and enjoy Mexico! Buen Viaje! Melissa xo

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Melissa Douglas

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travel money card mexico

What's the Best Credit Card for Travel to Mexico? Here Are Our Top 7 Picks in 2024

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com

Byron Mühlberg

Monito's Managing Editor, Byron has spent several years writing extensively about financial- and migration-related topics.

Jarrod Suda

travel money card mexico

A writer and editor at Monito, Jarrod is passionate about helping people apply today’s powerful finance technologies to their lives. He brings his background in international affairs and his experiences living in Japan to provide readers with comprehensive information that also acknowledges the local context.

Links on this page, including products and brands featured on ‘Sponsored’ content, may earn us an affiliate commission. This does not affect the opinions and recommendations of our editors.

When choosing the best credit card for your foreign travels, steer clear of cards with foreign transaction fees and opt for ones with universal acceptance. In Mexico, Visa and Mastercard are seamless choices. AMEX is also fairly accepted while you'll have a harder time finding businesses that accept Discover.

You will also definitely need cash on hand for local markets, street vendors, and those iconic street tacos. In this guide, we consider debit cards like  Revolut  and  Wise  for ATM withdrawals to dodge credit card cash advance fees.

Revolut and Wise offer multi-currency accounts, allowing you to convert your USD balances to Mexican pesos at the mid-market rate:

  • Revolut : Withdraw $400/mo, then a 2% fee applies (for Standard tier members);
  • Wise : Withdraw $100/mo, then a $1.50 charge plus 2% fee applies.

7 Best Credit Cards for Travel to Mexico in 2024

  • 01. Chime Credit Builder Card — Best credit builder scroll down
  • 02. Revolut Standard Card — Cheapest way to get cash and lounge access scroll down
  • 03. Wise Multi-Currency Card — Best prepaid travel debit card scroll down
  • 04. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — Best for dining and travel points scroll down
  • 05. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card — Best intro offer scroll down
  • 06. American Express® Gold Card — Best way to redeem at airlines scroll down
  • 07. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card — Best premium travel card scroll down

The Best Credit Cards to Use in Mexico in 2024

Explore the best cards for travel spending in Mexico this vacation season. In addition to a credit card without foreign transaction fees that earns points on purchases, also consider debit cards to take out cash cheaply from ATMs.

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

The Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card is the best no-nonsense and cost-effective choice for travelers heading to Mexico — especially thanks to a large number of ATMs in Mexico within Chime's fee-free network . This card not only provides the convenience and security of a credit card but also offers a unique opportunity to build credit while abroad.

Whether you're paying for tapas in Cancun or buying an entrance ticket to the ancient ruins of Tikal, Chime's no foreign transaction fee debit card allows you to easily make purchases in US dollars that are converted to pesos at VISA's exchange rate, which is generally only a 0.2% markup on the interbank rate. Chime charges no foreign transaction fees of its own.

Does Chime Work in Mexico?

Yes, Chime offers instant notifications and real-time spending insights, empowering you to stay on top of your travel expenses. Furthermore, Chime's credit builder feature is designed to help you establish and improve your credit history. It's a secured credit card that helps you demonstrate creditworthiness without having to take on debt. Chime reports your activity to Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, allowing you to track your progress and take steps towards financial stability.

Here's a quick breakdown of the benefits of using Chime as both a travel card and a credit builder:

  • No annual fees;
  • Fee-free ATMs available in Mexico;
  • No foreign transaction fees in Mexico;
  • Variable APR of 0%;
  • Helps build credit history;
  • Reports to Experian for credit monitoring and improvement.

Learn more:  Read our in-depth  Chime review  or visit their website .

Revolut Travel Multi-Currency Debit Card

Revolut  is the second best option to take out cash cheaply in Mexico, thanks to its favorable ATM withdrawal policy that allows for $400 worth of free withdrawals each month. By converting your USD ($) deposits to MXN prior to your transaction (which you can do in the mobile app), the ATMs will recognize your  Revolut card  as local, bypassing the need for  dynamic currency conversion .

Moreover, Revolut offers the added luxury of lounge access not only in Cancun International Airport but also worldwide, at a cost of $37 per person. This one-off cost certainly beats the high annual membership fees charged by lounge-access credit cards. If you are a paid member of Revolut's higher tiers, you'll receive discounts on lounge access and get a suite of travel insurance benefits.

While the  paid tiers  offer higher allowances and more perks, this is what you'll get under Revolut's Standard plan:

  • No monthly fee for the Standard Plan;
  • $400 of fee-free ATM withdrawals per month, then a 2% fee;
  • Airport lounge passes for $37 per person;
  • Supports 35 currency balances including MXN;
  • No FX fee for the first $1,000 exchanged monthly;
  • Revolut's FX rate is industry-low, usually ~0.5% ( check live here ).

Learn more:  Read our in-depth  Revolut review  or watch our  video review .

Do not fall for the dynamic currency conversion trap.

If prompted by ATMs abroad to pay in either USD or the local currency, always choose the local currency. At ATMs in Mexico, always choose to pay in MXN.

Wise Multi-Currency Card

The  Wise Multi-Currency Account  is well-suited if you just need a small amount in cash in Mexico, since Wise offers a $100 limit on fee-free withdrawals per month. Beyond this, withdrawals incur a $1.50 fee plus 2%.

If you are not going to take out cash, then card or digital wallet purchases with Wise are a great debit option because it applies the  mid-market exchange rate  on your purchases (Wise will instead charge an industry-low fee of around 0.5%).

However, just remember that Revolut offers a slightly better deal with $1,000 of fee-free exchanges per month, a feature that Wise does not match.

Here are benefits of the Wise multi-currency account at a glance:

  • Opening an account costs $0;
  • Offers $100 fee-free ATM withdrawals per month;
  • Supports over 40 currencies, including MXN;
  • Offers foreign bank details for 10 countries;
  • Uses the mid-market rate ( check live here ), with a small fixed fee.

Learn more:  Read our in-depth  Wise review  or watch our  video review .

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a staple for many international travelers, serving as a go-to card for all card transactions. The bonus offer should pay for a sizeable round-trip flight when redeemed through Chase Travel.

For the perks that Chase offers, the $95 annual fee is very reasonable. You'll pay 21.49%–28.49% variable APR on unpaid balances, so pay your monthly balance on time in full to  avoid accumulating interest .

Here's a breakdown of the card's offerings:

  • Earn 60,000 points after meeting a $4,000 spend in the first 3 months;
  • Get $50 in credits each year for hotels through Chase Travel;
  • 5x points on travel booked through Chase Travel;
  • 2x on other travel purchases;
  • 3x points on dining, online groceries, and select streaming services;
  • 1x points on all other purchases;
  • Each anniversary, get points equal to 10% of total yearly purchases;
  • 1:1 point transfer to partners;
  • Comprehensive travel and purchase coverage;
  • Uses Visa network rate ( check live rate here );
  • No foreign transaction fees .

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

We like this credit card largely for its generous bonus offer and the simplicity of earning 2x miles on every purchase. The bonus miles could conceivably cover the entire cost of a US to Mexico round trip.

The card carries a $95 annual fee, a great trade for the value it delivers, especially for avid travelers. The 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR is similar to that of Chase. It's wise to pay off your full balance monthly to avoid interest.

Here's what makes the Capital One Venture Card a great option for travelers to Mexico:

  • Earn 75,000 miles after meeting a $4,000 spend in the first 3 months;
  • Unlimited 2x miles;
  • Earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars through Capital One Travel;
  • If you find a better price with 24 hours, Capital One will match it;
  • Get up to $50 in travel credit if price drops within 10 days of booking;
  • Emergency replacement and cash advance if card is lost or stolen;
  • Flexibility to transfer miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs;
  • Uses Visa ( check here ) or Mastercard network rate ( check here );

American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card is an appealing option for those looking for a travel card from American Express, which is known for its points programs. This card is best for domestic spending within the USA since some spending categories can only earn extra points within the country. AMEX has the most airline points transfer partners of any major U.S. credit card loyalty program, making it an ideal card to help you pay for your flight to Mexico.

Some of the best airlines active in Mexico that also allow the transfer of AMEX points include Aeromexico, Delta, and JetBlue.

With a $250 annual fee, the AMEX Gold Card is more expensive than the other cards on this list. But when compared to other AMEX cards, this one is fairly average in terms of price (The Green Card has a $150 annual fee while the Platinum Card's fee is $695). AMEX Gold charges a variable APR of 21.24% to 29.24%.

Here are the benefits that come with this AMEX credit card:

  • Earn 60,000 points after meeting a $6,000 spend in the first 6 months;
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide;
  • 4x points for takeout and delivery in the US;
  • 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year);
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on AMEX Travel;
  • 1x points on other eligible purchases;
  • $120 Dining Credit, up to $10 monthly at participating partners;
  • $120 Uber Cash, get $10 each month for Uber;
  • Receive $100 credit with a two-night minimum stay on AMEX Travel;
  • Uses AMEX network rate ( check here );

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X credit card is one of the best-priced premium cards on the market, offering exceptional benefits for frequent travelers. It has an incredible 10x reward rate on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One's portal and 5x on flight purchases, with 2x on all other purchases. The card essentially pays for itself with a $300 travel credit applicable to any booking through Capital One's travel portal.

The 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR is the same as the regular Venture Rewards card. The main up front difference is the $395 annual fee, as opposed to the Venture card's $95 annual fee.

Here are the key benefits of the Venture X card:

  • Earn 75,000 points after meeting a $4,000 spend in the first 3 months;
  • Receive 10,000 bonus miles every year starting on first anniversary;
  • $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel;
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®;
  • Unlimited lounge access for you and 2 guests worldwide;
  • Hertz President’s Circle status for free car upgrades;

What Are the Best Credit Cards to Use in Mexico For Travel in 2024?

Chime is a great choice for international spending, since it helps you build up your credit history in the process. According to the in-app Cash Map, Chime even has fee-free ATMs in Mexico! Otherwise, they will charge $2.50 per out-of-network withdrawal.

Revolut  stands out as a great debit option for withdrawing cash at ATMs in Mexico, thanks to its generous $400 monthly fee-free withdrawal limit. If you exceed this limit,  Wise  is a reliable backup, also doubling as an excellent  debit card for international spending .

When it comes to Chase and Capital One, it's a tough call for me; I'd use both if I wanted. The great AMEX rewards program pays for itself, but also seems like a good tool to use before heading to Mexico.

Ultimately, your choice of card for your trip to Mexico will likely hinge on a mix of  cash withdrawal needs , earning points while on your trip, and using accumulated points to pay for your flights:

  • Chime Credit Builder Card — Best credit builder
  • Revolut Standard Card  — Cheapest way to get cash and lounge access
  • Wise Multi-Currency Card  — Best prepaid travel debit card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card  — Best for dining and travel points
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card  — Best intro offer
  • American Express® Gold Card  — Best way to transfer points to flights
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card  — Best premium travel

Disclaimers

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A.

¹ Out-of-network ATM withdrawal and over-the-counter advance fees may apply. See here for details.

² To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

³ The Annual Percentage Yield ("APY") for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change anytime. The disclosed APY is effective as of September 20, 2023. No minimum balance is required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

⁴ On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Results may vary.

⁵ SpotMe® on Credit is an optional, no-interest/no-fee overdraft line of credit tied to the Secured Deposit Account available to qualifying members with an active Chime Credit Builder Account. SpotMe on Debit is an optional, no-fee overdraft service attached to the Chime Checking Account available to qualifying members after Visa debit card activation. Both SpotMe on Credit and SpotMe on Debit are sometimes collectively referred to as "SpotMe" or, if you have signed up to use SpotMe with only one account, "SpotMe" means the elected service. To qualify for SpotMe, you must receive $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to your Chime Checking Account monthly. Qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their Chime Checking Account and/or Secured Deposit Account (associated with your Chime Credit Builder credit card) up to $20 but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on Chime account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. The SpotMe limit will be displayed within the Chime mobile app and is subject to change at any time, at Chime’s sole discretion. Although Chime does not charge any overdraft fees for SpotMe, there may be out-of-network or third-party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe Debit Terms and Conditions and SpotMe on Credit Terms and Conditions .

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5 Best Travel Cards for Mexico

Getting an international travel card before you travel to Mexico can make it cheaper and more convenient when you spend in Mexican Peso. You'll be able to easily top up your card in CAD before you leave Canada, to convert seamlessly to MXN for secure and flexible spending and withdrawals.

This guide walks through our picks of the 5 best travel cards available for anyone from Canada heading to Mexico, like Wise, BMO or KOHO. We'll walk through a head to head comparison, and a detailed look at their features, benefits and drawbacks.

travel money card mexico

5 best travel money cards for Mexico:

Let's kick off our roundup of the best travel cards for Mexico with a head to head comparison on important features. Here's an overview of the providers we've picked to look at, for customers looking for ways to spend conveniently overseas when travelling from Canada:

Wise travel card

Each of the international travel cards we’ve picked out have their own features and fees, which may mean they suit different customer needs. Keep reading to learn more about the features, advantages and disadvantages of each - plus a look at how to order the travel card of your choice before you head off to Mexico.

Wise travel card

Open a Wise account online or in the Wise app, to order a Wise travel card you can use for convenient spending and withdrawals in Mexico. Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies, so you can top up in CAD easily from your bank or using your card. Whenever you travel, to Mexico or beyond, you’ll have the option to convert to the currency you need in advance if it’s supported for holding a balance, or simply let the card do the conversion at the point of payment.

In either case you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees whenever you spend in MXN, plus some free ATM withdrawals every month - perfect if you’re looking for easy ways to arrange your travel cash.

Wise travel card

Wise features

Wise travel card pros and cons.

  • Hold and exchange 40+ currencies with the mid-market rate
  • Spend seamlessly in MXN when you travel
  • Some free ATM withdrawals every month, for those times only cash will do
  • Ways to receive payments to your Wise account conveniently
  • Manage your account and card from your phone
  • ATM fees apply once you've exhausted your monthly free withdrawals
  • Physical cards may take 14 days to arrive (you can use your virtual card right away)

How to apply for a Wise card

Here’s how to apply for a Wise account and order a Wise  travel card in Canada:

Open the Wise app or desktop site

Select Register and confirm you want to open a personal account

Register with your email, Facebook, Apple or Google ID

Upload your ID document to complete the verification step

Tap the Cards tab to order your card

Confirm your mailing address, and your card will be on the way, and should arrive in 14 days

BMO travel card

If you’re looking for a card from a major bank for spending in Mexico, you may be considering BMO. There are a few different card options which may appeal to travellers, including a prepaid card which allows you to top up in CAD and spend in MXN with a foreign transaction fee. This is a useful product when overseas as it’s not linked to your normal bank account - but the fees do push up costs overall.

Alternatively, check out the BMO credit card options - these are helpful if you want to spread the costs of your travel over a few months, but can also come with their own fees and charges.

BMO travel card

BMO features

Bmo travel card pros and cons.

  • Selection of cards including credit and prepaid options
  • Not linked to your everyday account which can be more secure when spending overseas
  • Various perks available depending on the card you pick
  • Full range of banking services available
  • 2.5% foreign transaction fee for prepaid card
  • 6.95 CAD annual fee for prepaid card - credit cards are also likely to have an annual fee
  • ATM fees and cash advance charges apply

How to apply for a BMO card

Here’s how to apply for a BMO account and order a travel card in Canada:

Visit the BMO website or app

Select the card you want - for a prepaid Mastercard there’s no credit check, spo ordering is quick and easy

Tap Apply now and complete the details as prompted

Pay any annual fee required

Your card will be mailed to you

CIBC travel card

CIBC has a prepaid Visa card you can use for spending conveniently in Mexico if you’d like to get a card that’s not linked to your normal bank account. You can even pick your card up at the airport, add some money in CAD and either convert to the currency you want in advance, or pay a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% when spending.

There are also lots of options for CIBC credit cards you could use for secure spending in MXN, which can be handy if you’d like to spread the costs of your trip over a few months and don’t mind paying interest on your balance while you do so.

CIBC travel card

CIBC features

Cibc travel card pros and cons.

  • Hold 10 currencies on the prepaid card - credit cards are also available
  • Collect your prepaid card easily at the airport
  • Cards are accepted anywhere you see the Visa logo
  • Lots of other services available if you want a full bank account
  • Prepaid cards have a 2.5% fee when spending a currency you don't hold
  • ATM fees apply
  • Exchange rate markups may apply when you add a foreign currency balance

How to apply for a CIBC card

You can apply for a CIBC account and order a travel card in Canada online, or as you pass through Pearson airport. You don’t have to be an existing CIBC customer to get a card - bear in mind that delivery fees apply if you order online.

Canada Post travel card

You can collect a Canada Post Cash Passport instantly in a post office, and then link it to the Mastercard app to top up, view your balance and manage your money with your phone. The Cash Passport is accepted anywhere you see the Mastercard logo, globally, and supports holding of 7 major currencies. If you use your card to spend an unsupported currency there’s a 3.25% fee - this also applies if you spend a supported currency but don’t have enough of that specific currency in your balance to cover the cost of a purchase.

Canada Post Cash Passport

Canada Post features

Canada post cash passport pros and cons.

  • 7 supported currencies, covering popular tourist destinations
  • Secure way to spend and withdraw
  • Accepted at millions of Mastercard merchants worldwide
  • No fee to get a replacement card if yours is lost or stolen
  • 3.25% foreign exchange fee when spending a currency you don’t hold on your card
  • 15 CAD card order fee

Apply for your Canada Post Cash Passport at your local post office. Once you have your card you’ll need to create a Mastercard account and link it to your Cash Passport to start to manage your money with the Mastercard app.

KOHO travel card

KOHO has several different cards which could be handy for spending in Mexico. There are basic KOHO card options which have a foreign transaction fee of 1.5%, or you can choose to upgrade to a card with a monthly fee which may mean your foreign transaction fee is either waived or reduced. You’ll need to top up a balance in CAD, and there’s no option to switch over to MXN before you travel - but you can easily keep an eye on all your transactions and the applied exchange rates in the KOHO app.

KOHO travel card

KOHO features

Koho travel card pros and cons.

  • Various cards available depending on your needs
  • Widely accepted
  • Some accounts offer extra perks like no foreign transaction fee or cash back
  • Virtual cards available
  • 1.5% foreign transaction fee for the basic card
  • ATM fees apply when overseas, which vary depending on the ATM operator
  • Some accounts have monthly fees

How to apply for a KOHO card

Here’s how to apply for a KOHO account and order a travel card in Canada:

Visit the KOHO website or app

Select the card you want to apply for

Tap Open account and complete the details as prompted

Your card will be mailed to you once your account has been verified and any required fee has been settled

What is a travel money card?

A travel money card is a card you can use for secure and convenient payments and withdrawals overseas.

You can use a travel money card to tap and pay in stores and restaurants, with a wallet like Apple Pay, or to make ATM withdrawals so you'll always have a bit of cash in your pocket when you travel.

Although there are lots of different travel money cards on the market, all of which are unique, one similarity you'll spot is that the features and fees have always been optimised for international use. That might mean you get a better exchange rate compared to using your normal card overseas, or that you run into fewer fees for common international transactions like ATM withdrawals.

Travel money cards also offer distinct benefits when it comes to security. Your travel money card isn't linked to your Canadian dollar everyday account, so even if you were unlucky and had your card stolen, your primary bank account remains secure.

Travel money vs prepaid card vs travel credit card

It's helpful to know that you'll be able to pick from several different types of travel cards, depending on your priorities and preferences. Travel cards commonly include:

  • Travel debit cards
  • Travel prepaid cards
  • Travel credit cards

They all have distinct benefits when you head off to Mexico or elsewhere in the world, but they do work a bit differently.

Travel debit and prepaid cards are usually linked to an online account, and may come from specialist digital providers - like the Wise card. These cards are usually flexible and cheap to use. You'll be able to manage your account and card through an app, although you can also often add money in person by visiting a branch, if the card provider has in-person branches.

Travel credit cards are different and may suit different customer needs. As with any other credit card, you may need to pay an annual fee or interest and penalties depending on how you manage your account - but you could also earn extra rewards when spending in a foreign currency, or travel benefits like free insurance for example. Generally using a travel credit card can be more expensive compared to a debit or prepaid card - but it does let you spread out the costs of your travel across several months if you'd like to and don't mind paying interest to do so.

What is a prepaid travel money card best for?

Let's take a look at the advantages of using a prepaid travel money card for travellers going to Mexico. While each travel card is a little different, you'll usually find some or all of the following benefits:

  • Hold and exchange foreign currencies - allowing you to lock in exchange rates and set a travel budget before you leave
  • Convenient for spending in person and through mobile wallets like Apple Pay, as well as for cash withdrawals
  • You may find you get a better exchange rate compared to your bank - and you'll usually be able to avoid any foreign transaction fee, too
  • Travel cards are secure as they're not linked to your everyday CAD account - and because you can make ATM withdrawals when you need to, you can also avoid carrying too much cash at once

Overall, travel cards offer flexible and low cost ways to avoid bank foreign transaction and international ATM fees, while accessing decent exchange rates.

How to choose the best travel card for Mexico

We've picked out 5 great travel cards available in Canada - but there are also more options available, which can make choosing a daunting task. Some things to consider when picking a travel card for Mexico include:

  • What exchange rates does the card use? Choosing one with the mid-market rate or as close as possible to it is usually a smart plan
  • What fees are unavoidable? For example, ATM charges or top up fees for your preferred top up methods
  • Does the card support a good range of currencies? Getting a card which allows you to hold and spend in MXN can give you the most flexibility, but it's also a good idea to pick a card with lots of currency options, so you can use it again in future, too
  • Are there any other charges? Check in particular for foreign transaction fees, local ATM withdrawal fees, inactivity fees and account close fees

Ultimately the right card for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you're looking for a low cost card with the mid-market rate, which you can use in 150+ countries, the Wise card may be a good fit. If you'd prefer to pay a monthly fee to get higher no-fee transaction limits, take a look at Wise. And if you need to get a card in a hurry, check out a travel card from a provider with a physical branch network, or your high-street bank.

What makes a good travel card for Mexico

The best travel debit card for Mexico really depends on your personal preferences and how you like to manage your money.

Overall, it pays to look for a card which lets you minimise fees and access favourable exchange rates - ideally the mid-market rate. While currency exchange rates do change all the time, the mid-market rate is a good benchmark to use as it’s the one available to banks when trading on wholesale markets. Getting this rate, with transparent conversion fees, makes it easier to compare costs and see exactly what you’re paying when you spend in MXN.

Other features and benefits to look out for include low ATM withdrawal fees, complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge access or emergency cash if your card is stolen. It’s also important to look into the security features of any travel card you might pick for Mexico. Look for a card which uses 2 factor authentication when accessing the account app, which allows you to set instant transaction notifications, and which has easy ways to freeze, unfreeze and cancel your card with your phone.

When you head off to Mexico you can expect to find you’ll be able to use your card - but not always. Some merchants still prefer cash payments - so choosing a card which is easy to pay with, but which also has simple and low cost ways to make ATM withdrawals should mean you’re covered no matter what happens

Ways to pay in Mexico

Cash and card payments - including contactless, mobile wallet, debit, credit and prepaid card payments - are the most popular ways to pay globally.

In Mexico card payments are common in most situations. You’ll be able to make Chip and PIN or contactless payments or use your favourite mobile wallet like Apple Pay to tap and pay on the go. It’s still worth having a little cash on you just in case - and for the odd situations where cash is more convenient, such as when tipping or buying a small item in a market.

Which countries use MXN?

You’ll find that MXN can only be used in Mexico. If you don’t travel to Mexico frequently it’s worth thinking carefully about how much to exchange so you’re not left with extra foreign currency after your trip. Or pick a travel card from a provider like Wise or KOHO which lets you leave your money in CAD and convert at the point of payment with no penalty.

What should you be aware of when travelling to Mexico

You’re sure to have a great time in Mexico - but whenever you’re travelling abroad it's worth putting in a little advance thought to make sure everything is organised and your trip goes smoothly. Here are a few things to think about:

1. Double check the latest entry requirements and visas - rules can change abruptly, so even if you’re been to Mexico before it’s worth looking up the most recent entry requirements so you don’t have any hassle on the border

2. Plan your currency exchange and payment methods - you can change CAD to MXN before you travel to Mexico if you’d like to, but as card payments are common, and ATMs widely available, you can actually leave it until you arrive to get everything sorted as long as you have a travel money card. Top up your travel money card in CAD and either exchange to MXN in advance or at the point of payment, and make ATM withdrawals whenever you need cash. Bear in mind that currency exchange at the airport will be expensive - so hold on until you reach Mexico to make an ATM withdrawal in MXN if you can.

3. Get clued up on any health or safety concerns - get travel insurance before you leave Canada so you have peace of mind. It’s also worth reading up on any common scams or issues experienced by tourists. These tend to change over time, but may include things like rip off taxis or tour agents which don’t offer fair prices or adequate services.

Conclusion - Best travel cards for Mexico

Ultimately the best travel card for your trip to Mexico will depend on how you like to manage your money. Use this guide to get some insights into the most popular options out there, and to decide which may suit your specific needs.

FAQ - best travel cards for Mexico

When you use a travel money card you may find there’s an ATM withdrawal fee from your card issuer, and there may also be a cost applied by the ATM operator. Some of our travel cards - like the Wise card - have some no fee ATM withdrawals every month, which can help keep down costs.

Travel money cards may be debit, prepaid or credit cards. Which is best for you will depend on your personal preferences. Debit and prepaid cards are usually pretty cheap and secure to spend with, while credit cards may have higher fees but often come with extra perks like free travel insurance and extra reward points.

There’s no single best prepaid card for international use. Look out for one which supports a large range of currencies, with good exchange rates and low fees. This guide can help you compare some popular options, including Wise, BMO or KOHO.

Yes, you can use your local debit card when you’re overseas. However, it’s common to find extra fees apply when spending in foreign currencies with a regular debit card. These can include foreign transaction fees and international ATM charges.

Usually having a selection of ways to pay - including a travel card, your credit or debit card, and some cash - is the best bet. That means that no matter what happens, you have an alternative payment method you can use conveniently.

Yes. Most travel debit cards have options to make ATM withdrawals. Check the fees that apply as card charges do vary a lot. Some cards have local and international fees on all withdrawals, while others like Wise let you make some no fee withdrawals monthly before a fee kicks in.

Both Visa and Mastercard are globally accepted. Look out for the logo on ATMs and payment terminals in Mexico.

The cards you see on this page are ordered as follows:

For card providers that publish their exchange rates on their website, we used their CAD / MXN rate to calculate how much Mexican Peso you would receive when exchanging / spending $5,000 CAD. The card provider offering the most MXN is displayed at the top, the next highest below that, and so on.

The rates were collected at 09:36:26 GMT on 25 May 2024.

Below this we display card providers for which we could not verify their exchange rates. These are displayed in alphabetical order.

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Exchanging Money in Mexico

Find out about exchange rates and where to change your money

travel money card mexico

If you're planning to travel to Mexico , you may be concerned with how you will access your funds to pay for expenses during your trip. You should be aware that credit and debit cards are not accepted in all establishments in Mexico. Also, when paying for small expenses on-the-go such as taxis, bottled water, admission fees for museums and archaeological sites, as well as paying at local restaurants or food stands, and tips , you will need to use cash, and that means pesos, not dollars. So before your trip, you should consider how you will get those pesos.

An easy way to access money while traveling is to use your debit or credit card in an ATM or cash machine in Mexico: you will receive Mexican currency, and your bank will withdraw the equivalent funds from your account plus a fee for the transaction. However, you may also wish to bring a certain amount of cash with you to exchange during your trip, and the following is a primer on what you need to know about exchanging money in Mexico.

The Currency in Mexico

The currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso. The "dollar sign" $ is used to designate pesos, which can be confusing to tourists who may be unsure whether prices are quoted in dollars or pesos (this symbol was used in Mexico to designate pesos before it was used in the United States). The code for the Mexican peso is MXN.

Mexican Peso Exchange Rate

The exchange rate of the Mexican peso to the US dollar has varied from 10 to around 20 pesos within the last decade and can be expected to continue to fluctuate over time. You can find out the present exchange rate here, and see the exchange rate of the Mexican peso to various other currencies.

You can also use Yahoo's Currency Converter, or you can use Google as a currency converter. To find out the amount in the currency of your choice, simply type in the Google search box:

  • (amount) MXN in USD (or EURO, or other currency)

Cap on Exchanging U.S. Currency

When exchanging U.S. dollars to pesos at banks and exchange booths in Mexico, you should be aware that there is a cap on the number of dollars that can be changed per day and per month for each individual. This law was put into effect in 2010 to help combat money laundering. You will need to bring your passport with you when you change money so that the government can keep track of how much money you change so that you don't go over the limit. Read more about the currency exchange regulations.

Exchange Money Before Your Trip

It's a good idea to get some Mexican pesos before your arrival in Mexico, if possible (your bank, travel agency, or exchange bureau should be able to arrange this for you). Although you won't receive the best rate of exchange, it may save you worries upon your arrival.

Where to Exchange Money in Mexico

You can change money in banks, but it is often more convenient to change currency in a casa de cambio (exchange bureau). These businesses are open longer hours than banks, usually do not have long line-ups as banks often do, and they offer comparable exchange rates (though banks may offer a slightly better rate). Check around to see where you will receive the best exchange rate (the exchange rate is usually posted prominently outside the bank or casa de cambio .

ATMs in Mexico

Most cities and towns in Mexico have an abundance of ATMs (cash machines), where you can withdraw Mexican pesos directly from your credit card or debit card. This is often the most convenient way of accessing money while traveling - it's safer than carrying cash, and the exchange rate offered is usually very competitive. If you're going to be traveling in rural areas or staying in remote villages, be sure to take enough cash with you, as ATMs may be scarce.

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Currency in Mexico

A Travel Money Guide to Mexico

Whether relaxing in a beachside resort in Cancun, admiring the archaeological sites of Teotihuacan or participating in the Day of the Dead festival, Mexico has a wide range of attractions for many tourists. Therefore it’s a good idea to learn everything you can about the local currency and payment options before you go.

Want to learn more about the Mexican Peso and how to get your hands on it for the best value:

  • What currency is used in Mexico
  • How to buy Mexican Peso before you go
  • AUD to MXN exchange rates
  • The average costs of things in Mexico
  • Currency exchange in Mexico
  • Using bank cards

What Currency is Used in Mexico?

The Mexican currency is called Pesos.

The official currency in Mexico is the Mexican Peso, which is represented by the symbol $ and the international code is MXN. Mexican banknotes have 6 denominations: $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1,000. Even though it was the first currency to use the $ sign it sometimes is presented as MX$, so it is not confused with US dollars .

The Mexican coin is called a ‘centavos’ and has 10 coin denominations: 5¢ 10¢, 20¢, and 50¢, as well as $1, $2, $5, $10, and $20.

Using Your Bank Card in Mexico

Most Mexican businesses are well set up to receive card payments. Some of the best travel money cards include debit, credit and prepaid cards. But before you use your bank card willy-nilly, it’s worth reading up on the fees and charges you might incur.

Debit Cards

You’ll probably want a debit card if you plan to withdraw money from an ATM. While you may also be able to pay with a debit card in some businesses in the major destinations, you might discover some hefty fees on your account summary.

Depending on your bank, you could be hit with fees for foreign ATM withdrawals or currency conversions. But some banks are better than others; we recommend checking out Wise , ING and Revolut , all of which have travel-friendly debit cards that waive these charges.

travel money card mexico

Credit Cards

Credit cards can come with some enticing perks, including added security, loyalty programs, and even free travel insurance.

But are they worth it?

Major local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, airline offices, and department stores, accept credit cards. But you might have to pay a surcharge.

Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted. You may also be able to use your American Express card, though local ATMs won’t accept them.

Just be aware of additional charges you may incur for foreign transactions. These could include:

  • International transaction fees
  • High exchange rate margins
  • Potential ‘cash advance fees’ if you use an ATM

If you still prefer credit cards over any other payment, consider going with a company that offers cards that waive certain travel fees. Bankwest Platinum and 28 Degrees both have travel-friendly cards.

Prepaid Travel Cards

The biggest advantages of prepaid travel cards are that you can lock in a favourable exchange rate. You also get a handy back-up card.

Just remember that while they are convenient, you could end up paying a long list of hidden fees. Many travel cards still impose:

  • Currency conversion fees
  • Uncompetitive exchange rates
  • International ATM withdrawal fees
  • Initial load fees
  • Reload fees
  • Inactivity fees

travel money card mexico

How to Buy Mexican Peso Before You Go

There’s a certain reassurance that comes with stepping off the plane (or cruise ship) already cashed up with Mexican Peso .

Buying Mexican Peso before you leave Australian shores isn’t just convenient. It can also save you money. But it all depends on where you get your Mexican Peso in Australia. There are three main options:

  • Buy MXN online and have it delivered or collect it in-store
  • Swap Australian dollars for Mexican currency from a money changer
  • Buy your Mexican currency at your home airport

Currency exchange offices at Australian airports are notorious for their poor rates and commissions so we recommend avoiding that option entirely.

You’ll easily find a bureau de change near you; even suburban shopping centres should have at least one. But it’s better to get your money from an inner-city bureau if possible. They have more competition, which is likely to drive their rates down.

If there’s already too much running around to do ahead of your trip, consider ordering Mexican Peso online. You can choose to have them delivered or made available for pick-up at a location near you.

Online orders are often the best value too, especially if you go with S Money , which offers the same rates listed on Google and XE.com.

How Much Cash Should I Bring to Mexico?

Thanks to the surplus of ATMs and the ease of plastic payments, there’s not too much pressure on you to bring the exact amount of cash you need from the get-go.

Still, it’s a good idea to have a general daily budget to help you cost out the trip and make sure you don’t have leftover loonies at the end of your stay.

The average daily travel budget in Mexico is about $115 . Some of the expenses you might be looking at include:

travel money card mexico

$90 per night

A double room in a hotel

travel money card mexico

A meal at a restaurant

travel money card mexico

A local beer

travel money card mexico

A one-way public transport ticket

travel money card mexico

Entrance ticket to a show or exhibit

How to Exchange Currency in Mexico

Places like Mexico City, and Cancun receive great numbers of tourists, so there are facilities to cater to money exchanges. Beyond these major destinations, it’s best to get cash before you venture into remote territory.

Using an ATM to access Mexican currency is a good idea.

ATMs are always open, reliable and available in most places in Mexico. Visa and Mastercard are commonly accepted as part of the Cirrus and Plus global networks.

Most Mexican banks charge a transaction fee to withdraw Mexico currency from a non Mexican account, so it better to take large sums out of ATMs than lots of little withdrawals.

Don’t forget : Let your bank know you’re travelling! If they detect a foreign transaction but aren’t aware you’re overseas, they could end up freezing your card.

Currency Exchange in Mexico

You won’t have any problem changing money in the city. There are plenty of money exchangers in Mexico City, Inter Foreign Exchange and Centro de Cambios are examples of 2 chains but most are stand alone businesses.

Money changers tend to offer marginally better rates than banks as many banks charge flat fees per transaction. Also, banks only exchange currencies on weekdays.

Currency exchanges are available for Mexican currency.

Travellers Cheques

Not worth the bother! Travellers cheques are so outdated, very few banks even accept them any more.

They can’t be used as direct payment, so the only way to use them once you’re in the country is to swap them for currency at a bank or a money exchange office. Even then, very few banks will accept travellers cheques if you don’t have an account with them. And exchange services apply exorbitant fees and rates to them.

Track the best time to buy Mexican Peso

We match the currency exchange rate with the rate shown on google or xe. in real time..

This means you never pay over-inflated rates and can be 100% positive you are getting the most competitive rate for currency exchange.

  • Check out the daily rates:

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ASIC regulated

Like all reputable money exchanges, we are registered with AUSTRAC and regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

ASIC regulated

S Money complies with the relevant laws pertaining to privacy, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance. This means you are required to provide I.D. when you place an order. It also means the order must be paid for by the same person ordering the currency and you must show your identification again when receiving your order.

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Best Ways to Send Money to Mexico

Enjoy fast transfers, low fees, great exchange rates and helpful service when you send money to Mexico.

Read on for quick reviews, expert tips and everything you need to transfer money to Mexico.

Jonathan Merry

Wise is the top rated money transfer provider that usually appears in our search results to Mexico.

XE tends to offer fast transfer times to Mexico for many origin countries and send amounts.

Instarem often has the lowest rates and fees for sending money to Mexico.

How much does it cost to send money to Mexico?

Sending money to Mexico can be more affordable than you might think. However, understanding the fees can be confusing. This confusion arises because money transfer providers make money in different ways. They can charge transfer fees, mark up the exchange rate, or do both simultaneously.

Let's imagine you want to send $1,000 from the United States to Mexico.

After analyzing the 20+ providers in our database, we have found that your best option would be to make a bank transfer with Wise . They add no markup to the exchange rate , and charge a fee of approximately $10.32 .

Mid-market rate versus markup

The mid-market rate is the average between the buying and selling prices of two currencies. It fluctuates over time. The markup is the additional amount charged by the provider above this rate.

At MoneyTransfers.com, we make it easy to compare rates by providing the updated exchange rate markup for each money transfer provider. Additionally, you can review fees, transfer times, and read customer reviews.

Best services to send money to Mexico

When choosing a method to send money to Mexico, you'll want to consider factors like convenience, cost, and transfer times.

Wise focuses on providing a great balance between low fees, the mid-market exchange rate, and fast transfer times to and from Mexico.

Instarem prioritizes keeping the costs down, so you have always a cheap way to send money to Mexico.

XE offers the fastest transfer times and a no fees for transfers above $500.

Use our data to find the best options for you and discover the money transfer providers that offer the exact service you need.

The suggestions below are created by combining data from thousands of real-life searches that were conducted on MoneyTransfers.com by individuals who, like you, wanted to send money internationally to Mexico.

Overall, Wise is the best way to send money to Mexico. They have low, transparent fees and offer the mid market exchange rate.

This isn't just our opinion, this is based on thorough analysis of the benefits, costs, and speed of using Wise for your transfers.

Cost: Wise fees aren't always the lowest, but their mid-market exchange rate is unbeatable. You can also calculate your exact fees before you send any money.

Speed: Wise is one of the fastest providers on the market. Transfers to Mexico are usually completed in 48 hours.

Ease of use: Wise is the most user-friendly provider we've reviewed, with an intuitive app and clear navigation.

You can calculate your fees for sending money to Mexico with Wise before you send any money using their online, in-app calculator. You can also open a multi-currency account, in which you can hold up to nine different currencies at once, including Mexican pesos.

Watch our video review of Wise

Our data and evaluations show that Instarem offers the most competitive rates for sending funds to Mexico. This affordability makes it an ideal choice, especially for those who want to get the most value, even if it means slightly longer transfer times.

Instarem's commitment to low-cost transfers is evident in their pricing structure. They offer highly competitive fees and exchange rates that consistently are lower than those of many other providers. This approach is especially beneficial for regular transfers, as savings can accumulate over time.

Despite focusing on affordability, Instarem does not compromise on reliability. Our findings show that they provide dependable transfer services, ensuring that your funds reach Mexico securely and without unnecessary expenses.

Instarem's ability to balance economical rates with reliable transfers makes them the preferred choice for cheap international money transfers to Mexico.

XE is the fastest way to send money to Mexico, based on our research.

A key benefit here is the lack of fees for transfer amounts over $500. This makes them widely recognized for larger transfers, but they come out ahead on some smaller ones too.

Check out our review for more details on XE's main benefits.

Need more options? Compare ALL rates

Get more for your money: compare and choose from over 20 money transfer providers and find the top options to send money to - best rates guaranteed!

What is the cheapest way to send money to Mexico?

Money transfer services are the cheapest way to send money to Mexico

Whether you need to send money to your loved ones in Mexico, pay for tuition fees, or send large amounts of money to invest in a property, money transfer services help you avoid bank charges and processes.

The exact cost of sending money to MXN can be influenced by factors like:

The country of origin

The amount you need to send

The payment method you select

The current exchange rates

Our comparison engine helps you find the best deal for your transfer by comparing the exact cost s of all the most reliable money transfer services on the market in 2024.

USD to MXN Live Exchange Rate

Sending money to another country requires an understanding of exchange rates . An exchange rate can be compared to a constantly changing price tag that indicates the value of your currency in relation to another country's currency, in this case Mexico's MXN.

A favorable exchange rate means that you will receive more foreign currency for each unit of your own currency, making your transfer more effective.

Use the tool on this page to get the latest exchange rate for your currency to MXN. It's pre-set to USD but, you are dealing with different currencies such as Euros or Mexican pesos, you can easily adjust the settings and get the values you need. This helps you know exactly how much money will arrive in Mexico when you send it.

Expert Tip: Watch the Exchange Rate

Did you know you can save money by keeping an eye on exchange rates? If you're not in a hurry to send money to Mexico, watching how the rates change can be smart. When the USD to Mexican Peso rate is good, your money will get you more in Mexico. This means you can send more money without spending extra!

Sign up for our automated notifications. We'll let you know the best time to send money. With these alerts, you won't miss out on a great rate. It's like having a money-saving expert in your pocket!

How long does it take to send money to Mexico?

Quick and efficient - that's what you need when sending money to Mexico. Money transfer services offer a great solution to those times when speed is of the essence, as their transfer times tend to be much shorter compared to banks.

Take, for instance, an urgent need to transfer $1,000 from the USA to Mexico. Services like XE excel in this regard, offering near-instantaneous transfers. Even other providers like Instarem and Wise, while not as fast, ensure your money arrives swiftly.

Bear in mind that speed, like costs, can be influenced by:

The amount you're transferring. Smaller sums often move through the system quicker, while larger amounts may face delays due to necessary security verifications.

The time you start the transfer. To maximize speed when you send the money via bank transfer, initiate the operation before your bank's cut-off time. Miss this, and your transfer gets postponed to the next business day.

How to send and receive money in Mexico

Sending money to Mexico, is easy, especially when you gather the necessary documentation, and meet all legal requirements. To help you avoid unnecessary complications and delays, we have compiled a simple step-by-step process.

Important information

Transfer limits in Mexico. There are no legal limits on the amount of money you can send to Mexico.

Mexican tax laws. When you send a lot of money, it's smart to know about tax rules in Mexico. Remittances to Mexico aren’t usually taxed if the money is an inheritance, part of an estate, or a gift. Gifts to children, spouses, or parents in Mexico are also exempt from taxes. Otherwise, the recipient must report the transfer when filing their income tax.

What do you need to complete an international transfer to Mexico?

When you open an account with a money transfer service, you will be asked to provide your personal information. Before the transfer is executed, you will also need to share the necessary details of your recipient.

Your contact details

You will need to share your contact details with the provider of your choice, so make sure to double check your email and address are correct.

Money transfer services will need you to share a photo ID to confirm your identity. Have it ready and make sure it's valid.

Proof of address (optional)

Some providers may ask you to share a phone bill or a bank statement to prove your address.

Financial regulators in Mexico

Mexican financial bodies are regulated by the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV).

Analysis and methodology

At MoneyTransfers.com, we're not just another comparison site; we're your ally in beating the high costs and complexities of international money transfers. Our platform is designed to turn the tables on overpriced banks and providers, ensuring you get the best deal every time.

What sets us apart

Unmatched Transparency: We believe in honesty and clarity. With us, what you see is what you get - no hidden agendas, no preferential treatment for providers.

Comprehensive Provider Network: We go the extra mile to include an extensive range of providers in our comparisons. From industry giants to innovative newcomers, we partner with a diverse array of trusted providers, ensuring you have access to the best options available.

Tailored Solutions: We understand that every customer's needs are unique. That's why we offer personalized recommendations based on your specific requirements, ensuring you find the perfect match to send money to Mexico.

The results displayed on this page are based on data we collected via our comparison engine during the past six months and show you a simple way to get the best fees, fastest transfer times, or most helpful customer support.

What are the best options for sending money to Mexico?

The best options include international money transfer services, wire transfers, bank transfers, and cash pickup. Providers like Wise , Instarem , and XE are recommended for their efficiency and competitive rates.

How do exchange rates affect my money transfer to Mexico?

Exchange rates determine how many Mexican pesos you get per unit of your currency. It's crucial to monitor exchange rate movements, as fluctuations can significantly impact the amount received. Money transfer services often offer favorable rates compared to traditional banks.

What are the fees associated with sending money to Mexico?

Fees vary depending on the service provider and the method of transfer. Some providers charge low transaction fees, while others might have higher fees but offer better exchange rates. Before you choose what provider to use, you should consider both fees and exchange rates to determine the total cost of the transfer.

Transfer times can range from a few minutes to a couple of working days, depending on the service used. Providers like XE offer fast transfers, often within minutes, especially for major currencies.

Is it safe to send money to Mexico online?

Yes, it is safe to send money online to Mexico. The country is regulated by multiple financial regulators, including the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV), ensuring the safety of online money transfers.

What information do I need to send money to Mexico?

You'll need a government-issued identity card (like a passport or driving license), the amount to send, recipient's name as per official documents, their phone number and address, and for bank transfers, the BIC/SWIFT code, BSB number, and account number.

Can I send money to Mexico from any country?

Generally, yes, but it depends on the service provider's network and any specific country restrictions they may have.

Are there limits to how much money I can send to Mexico?

No, there are no legal limits on the amount of money you can send to Mexico.

How can I track my money transfer to Mexico?

Most money transfer services offer tracking options through their websites or mobile apps, allowing you to monitor the status of your transfer.

What should I do if my money transfer to Mexico goes wrong?

Contact the customer support of the service provider used for the transfer. They can assist in troubleshooting and resolving any issues.

Can I send money to Mexico via MoneyTransfers.com?

No, MoneyTransfers.com does not directly facilitate money transfers. Our website serves as a comprehensive guide and comparison site, helping users find and compare the best options for sending money to Mexico based on fees, exchange rates, transfer speed, and service provider reliability.

Do I pay taxes on money transfers to Mexico?

Remittances to Mexico aren’t usually taxed if the money is an inheritance, part of an estate, or a gift. Gifts to children, spouses, or parents in Mexico are also exempt from taxes. Otherwise, the recipient must report the transfer when filing their income tax.

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Contributors

Jonathan Merry

Jonathan Merry

Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

Mexico Travel Guide

Last Updated: May 2, 2024

Historic ruins near the ocean in Tulum, Mexico with lush greenery on a sunny day

While most people visit Mexico for its big tourist centers like Tulum , Cabo, Cancun , or Cozumel, there’s a lot more to the country than just its luxurious resorts.

Now, I’ll be honest: I was late to visiting Mexico.

But when I did, I fell in love with it. Mexico is an incredible destination with a rich history, amazing food, and friendly people.

It’s an awesome country to backpack around, drive through, or just vacation in. There’s a ton of stuff to do here, and the locals are some of the friendliest people on the planet.

From Mayan ruins to pristine beaches to Mexico City’s art and food and Oaxaca’s mezcal scene, Mexico has it all.

And the food? World-class. Gorge yourself on delicious tacos, tostadas, tamales, sopas, seafood, and mole (to name a few items from Mexico’s very long list of traditional dishes).

I could go on forever as to why I love this country. Whatever amount of time you’re planning to visit is not enough — you’ll always leave wanting more.

This Mexico travel guide will help you get out of the touristy towns, explore the country, and fall in love with what you discover!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Mexico

Click Here for City Guides

Top 5 things to see and do in mexico.

The famous ruins of Chichen Itza, the Wonder of the World, in beautiful Mexico

1. Explore Oaxaca

Located in a valley surrounded by craggy mountains in southwestern Mexico, Oaxaca and its surrounds have been inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous Zapotec and Mixtec peoples. A city of colorful buildings, scenic rooftop restaurants and bars, street art, historic Spanish colonial churches, cobblestone streets, and many parks, it’s a center for heritage tourism. It’s also one of the gastronomic hotbeds of Mexico as well as the hub of mezcal production too. With fascinating museums, bustling markets, historic buildings, delicious food and much more, there really is something for everyone in Oaxaca . I loved my time there ! You must visit!

2. Tour Mexico City

Found in the Valley of Mexico at an altitude of around 2,225 meters (7,300 feet), Mexico City is a sprawling, chaotic, messy city in the best way possible. Originally built over a lake, it has some 150 world-class museums, sprawling markets, tons of historic buildings, city squares, and more. In the historic center, you can visit the impressive main square (the only one bigger in the world is Red Square in Moscow). To the south of the city there’s a network of beautiful canals, and Teotihuacan, the City of the Gods, is just a 45-minute drive away. The city also has an incredible foodie scene and is fast becoming one of the centers of gastronomy in the world.

3. Relax on the Pacific Coast

Vacation spots like Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, and Sayulita on Mexico’s Pacific Coast offer just as many epic beaches and resort properties as the Caribbean Coast. Go to Puerto Vallarta or Los Cabos to hang out on the pristine white sandy beaches, or head to Sayulita to check out the busy surf scene. Surf and enjoy watersports, visit historical monuments, and check out all the local art by day. By night, you can indulge in sunset cocktails, enjoy fresh shrimp tacos or seafood skewers, and salsa the evening away.

4. See the Mayan Ruins

Mexico is filled with ruins. You have Chichén Itzá, which dates back to 550 CE and is one of the largest (and most popular) Mayan sites in Mexico for its enormous Kukulkan Pyramid (which is considered one of the new Wonders of the World). Other ruins worth visiting are the Tulum Archaeological Zone, the Palenque Archaeological Zone, the Calakmul ruins (which are inside the huge Calakmul Biosphere Reserve), the ruins at Ek Balam, and so many more! Admission is 571 MXN for the Wonder of the World Chichén Itzá while the rest cost anywhere from 80-500 MXN.

5. Visit a volcano

Other things to see and do in mexico, 1. wander through mexico city’s chapultepec park.

Chapultepec is one of the largest city parks in the world, spanning over 1,700 acres. It encompasses the Mexico City Zoo, La Feria amusement park, and the Museum of Anthropology, which houses a vast collection of sculptures, jewels, and artifacts from ancient Mexican civilizations. The museum costs 85 MXN, as does the Chapultepec Castillo (Castle) which houses the National History Museum. You can also rent a rowboat or paddle boat and go out on Chapultepec Lake for 60 MXN. Entry to the park itself is free.

2. Visit the markets

Just about every town in Mexico has a busy, diverse market where you can enjoy traditional food, pick up some bargain items, and purchase souvenirs. Two of the best are the Mercado Ciudadela in Mexico City (for handmade textiles and artwork), and Oaxaca’s Mercado Benito Juárez (for local foods like fresh ground coffee beans, juices, and grasshopper tacos). If you’re in Merida, check out Mercado Santa Ana for their Yucatecan cuisine, like cochito horneado , a marinated pork dish that is slow-cooked in underground pits, or head to El Mercado Lucas de Galvez for their specialty seafood cocktails (the locals swear by it to cure your hangover).

3. Explore Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución)

Zócalo is the main plaza in the heart of Mexico City. It dates back to the Aztecs, encompassing both the Templo Mayor (an ancient Aztec temple) and the Palacio Nacional (a colonial palace with offices of Mexico’s president). Situated just off the Zócalo is La Catedral Metropolitana, a magnificent cathedral with a gold altar. It’s a perfect example of Spanish colonial architecture.

4. Go diving

The seas surrounding Mexico have some of the world’s best diving spots thanks to their diverse marine life, large coral reefs (including the second largest reef system in the world, the Great Maya Barrier Reef), and excellent visibility. The Gulf of Mexico is home to five different species of sea turtles, blue whales, lemon sharks, and dolphins, and so much more! Aside from diving, the waters are popular for snorkeling, sports fishing, waterboarding, surfing, and more or less any other watersports. A two-tank dive starts at 2,800 MXN. Some of the best places to dive in Mexico are Discovery Bay, Cenote Dos Ojos, Revillagigedo Islands, and Isla Mujeres.

5. Relax in Cancún

Depending on what you’re looking to do, Cancún can offer you a crazy-fun party in the sun or some quiet and hidden local markets and restaurants. You have spas, resorts, and picturesque beaches as well as Mayan ruins, archaeological sites, and little nearby villages. There’s a ton to see and do here if you leave the resorts!

6. Get lost in Guadalajara

Guadalajara is the second-largest city in Mexico and is known for its tequila and mariachi. It’s chock full of museums, such as Cabañas (a UNESCO building with incredible murals), MUSA (paintings & sculptures by local artists), and the Páramo Galeria (contemporary art); nightlife venues, and a labyrinth of old colonial streets. Visit the Hospicio Cabañas, a hospital built in the 19th century, and then spend some time at the Guadalajara Cathedral. The cathedral’s Gothic interior features artworks from famous Mexican artists like Murillo (a Baroque painter).

7. See Teotihuacan

The Aztec empire left an enormous mark on Mexico. Don’t miss the awe-inspiring Aztec pyramids at Teotihuacan, located 48 kilometers (30 miles) outside of Mexico City. Teotihuacan was founded as early as 400 BCE, but its biggest structures weren’t completed until around 300 BCE. Its three giant pyramids are known as the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Moon, and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, and they dominate the landscape. If you’re going to visit just one Aztec site, this is it. It’s unsheltered here, so bring sunscreen and a hat. Admission is 85 MXN. Full-day guided tours from Mexico City cost 880 MXN.

8. Visit the bizarre Island of Dolls

Known as “La Isla de la Muñecas” in Spanish, this is perhaps one of the creepiest tourist attractions in the world. Decades ago, a hermit named Don Julian Santana moved here, learned a girl drowned in the nearby lake, and started collecting and hanging dolls all over the island to please the drowned girl’s spirit. It’s creepy. Like beyond creepy. You’ll have to hire a boat from Xochimilco to get there but it’s worth it!

9. Honor the Day of the Dead

Yearly on November 1st and 2nd, Mexico celebrates a major festival: Día de Los Muertos. The festival is a vibrant and lively affair with celebrations for those who are gone but not forgotten, including parades and elaborate and colorful costumes. Families also commemorate their dead relatives by setting up ofrendas , or altars, with pictures of the deceased, candles, yellow marigold petals, and food. This meant to encourage the deceased to cross back over into the land of the living and join in the celebrations. Oaxaca or Mexico City are the two best places to experience this celebration.

10. Visit the UNAM Botanical Garden

If you need to escape the hustle and bustle of Mexico City for a little while, the Botanical Garden at the National Autonomous University of Mexico is the perfect place. Keeping with the Aztec traditions of having gardens for both medicinal and ornamental purposes, there is also an added focus on conservation and environmental education here. Built on top of and around lava formations from the eruption of the volcano Xitle (which happened over 2,000 years ago), visitors can explore the naturally formed grottoes, ponds, and waterfalls. This garden has the most diverse cactus collection in the world (800 different kinds!), and ponds full of koi and turtles, an orchidarium, and a medicinal garden. Admission is free.

11. Relax on Isla Holbox

Holbox is an island located off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and is home to white sand beaches and crystalline waters. It is a relaxing, slow-paced island that’s easy to get stuck on. One day can easily turn into a week. It’s an island paradise where you can relax in a hammock on the beach, hike in the jungles, swim, dive, snorkel, and everything in between! While it used to be a hidden gem, it’s slowly becoming more and more popular (and developed). Be sure to see bioluminescent waters here. From Cancún, you can get to the ferry port at Chiquilá in around two hours by bus. The ferry takes 25 minutes and costs 220 MXN. If you just want to visit for the day, full-day tours from Cancún/Playa del Carmen cost 3,000 MXN.

12. Visit Mérida

Mérida is one of my favorite places in all of Mexico. It is a safe and wonderful city filled with history, cool mezcal bars, and some of the best food in the country. Some of my favorite places to eat and drink in town are La Chaya Maya Casona, Acervo Mezcalero, La Negrita Cantina, and Café Créme. Also, don’t miss the nearby Uxmal ruins, which are just one-hour away. There are also some cool museums here, like the Folk Art Museum of Yucatan, the Yucatan Music Museum, and the City Museum (which has all kinds of Mayan artifacts). For accommodation suggestions, check out this post on where to stay in Merida .

13. Enjoy San Cristóbal de las Casas’ architecture

San Cristóbal is a highland town known for its charming colonial architecture. There are narrow cobblestone streets, local craft markets, and the entire area is enveloped in pine forests. Don’t miss the town’s 16th-century cathedral, and if you want to get out and explore the nearby nature, take a boat tour of the Cañón de Sumidero. You’ll see tons of birds, monkeys, and crocodiles. For a view of the town and surrounding area, visit the Guadalupe Church to enjoy the view from the roof. Free Walking San Cristóbal offers daily tours if you want a guide to show you the highlights.

14. Sample the Cenotes of Yucatan

Cenotes are natural sinkholes that are full of groundwater. They were used by the Mayans as sources for freshwater, however, today they are popular swimming holes for locals and tourists alike (you can even scuba dive in some). There are tons of them all around the Yucatan Peninsula. Some are completely exposed, some are walled in by cliffs, and some are covered entirely by caves. Calavera, Cristalino, Casa Cenote, Yaxmuul, Choo-Ha, and Escondido Cenote are some of the most popular cenotes in the region. If you’d rather do a tour, you can join a cenote tour for around 1,350 MXN.

15. Visit Sayulita

Located on the Pacific coast, Sayulita is a hip beach town with a lively community of expats and surfers. The town has a laid-back vibe owing to the sizable surfing and yoga community. It’s a great place to surf and there are plenty of yoga retreats available here. You can also take a jungle trek, go zip lining, ride ATVs along the coast, and simply soak up the sun on the beach. It’s the perfect place to chill for a few days. Canopy tours start at 1,800 MXN.

16. Explore Campeche

Campeche is located just south of Merida on the Yucatan. It’s home to UNESCO World Heritage colonial architecture, including fortified walls and over 2,000 historic buildings. Visit the Museo De La Arquitectura Maya for Mayan history and antiquities, see the Mayan ruins at Edzná (which is just 45 minutes away and sees very few tourists), and wander the old city wall to take in the view.

  For information on specific cities in Mexico, check out these guides:

  • Cancún Travel Guide
  • Mexico City Travel Guide
  • Oaxaca Travel Guide

Mexico Travel Costs

The beautiful beaches and coastline of Cancun, in sunny Mexico

Accommodation – In Mexico, hostels start at 250 MXN per night for a dorm bed, but average closer to 300 MXN. Private hostel rooms cost anything from 600-1,900 MXN per night. Prices are usually a bit lower in the low-season or shoulder-season. Free Wi-Fi and free breakfast are both common, as are self-catering facilities.

For those traveling with a tent, a basic plot for two people without electricity costs around 200 MXN per night.

For budget hotels, expect to pay 700 MXN for a basic room in a two-star hotel. These two-star rooms typically include an en-suite bathroom and free Wi-Fi, but not always air conditioning.

Airbnb is also an option in Mexico, with private rooms starting around 300 MXN but averaging much more (usually between 600-1,200 MXN). Entire homes and apartments average around 1,000-1,800 MXN although you can find them for as little as 600 MXN if you book early.

Food – You’ll find a lot of rice, beans, fruits, and veggies like tomatoes, corn, avocado, and peppers in Mexican cuisine, which is a mix of Mayan, Aztec, and Spanish traditions. Typical Mexican dishes include tacos, mole (a sauce with lots of ingredients, often including chocolate), salsa, enchiladas, tamales (stuffed corn pockets), pozole (hominy stew topped with onion, avocado, and chili), and guacamole.

Street stalls and markets are the best way to go for authentic and inexpensive food. Tacos, quesadilla, sopas, tortas, and other street foods are generally 15-45 MXN. Sometimes, you’ll find tacos for as cheap as 10 MXN. In Mexico, street food is the best — and most affordable — option.

A meal at a local Mexican restaurant serving traditional cuisine costs around 150 MXN. Look for the ones filled with locals as that is generally a sign that the food is really good. Expect to pay around 300 MXN for a multi-course meal in a mid-range restaurant.

A beer is about 20 MXN in the street but double that at a restaurant, while a cocktail shouldn’t cost more than 80 MXN in most places. A combo meal at McDonald’s costs around 120 MXN and a cappuccino costs around 50 MXN.

Tap water is not safe to drink in Mexico. If you’re buying bottles of water, expect to pay 15 MXN (less if you buy in bulk but a more environmentally friendly (and cheaper) solution is to bring a portable water purifier ( LifeStraw makes a good one.

If you plan to cook your meals, expect to pay between 750 MXN per week for groceries including rice, vegetables, chicken, and beans.

Backpacking Mexico Suggested Budgets

If you’re backpacking Mexico, expect to spend around 800 MXN per day. This budget gets you a hostel dorm, street food and self-cooked meals, public transportation, and a few attractions (such as museums and galleries) each day. If you plan on eating out more or drinking, you’ll need to add another 100 MXN per day.

On a mid-range budget of about 1,800 MXN per day, you can stay in a private hostel room or Airbnb, eat out at restaurants serving cheap traditional cuisine for every meal, visit more attractions, enjoy a few drinks, and take the occasional taxi to get around.

On a “luxury” budget of 3,600 MXN or more per day, you can stay at a hotel, eat out for all your meals, enjoy plenty of drinks, take taxis everywhere or rent a car, and do some guided trips and tours. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in MXN.

Mexico Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Mexico is incredibly budget-friendly. Unless you’re splurging on food or resorts, it’s really easy to visit on a budget. That said, it never hurts to save more money! Here are some ways to save in Mexico:

  • Shop at the markets for food – Mexico’s markets are a great place to eat inexpensively and stock up on food for day trips. Most towns have a local market selling fresh fruits, veggies, and other goods for cheap.
  • Eat street food – Street food is the best food in the country — and the cheapest. Stick to street stalls to save money and enjoy the country’s best eats.
  • Take a free walking tour – Many cities have free walking tours that give you a solid introduction to the main sights. Both Mexico City and Oaxaca have excellent free tours — just be sure to tip your guide!
  • Travel off-season – By traveling between late April and early December, you can pick up bargain accommodation, food and travel rates as this is low season.
  • Venture inland – Mexico’s coasts are the most famous, most touristy parts of the country, but the interior has an amazing amount to offer. Prices are cheaper, and you’ll be more likely to meet some locals if you head away from the coast.
  • Stay with a local – Use Couchsurfing to stay with locals and connect with people who can share their insider tips and advice. Just make sure to send your requests early.
  • Embrace “comida corrida” – This hearty mid-day meal option is usually available between 2pm-4pm and is often quite affordable. It’s a set menu, but it’s much cheaper than most lunch or dinner options. If you plan on eating out on a budget, aim for places that offer comida corrida.
  • Drink less – Alcohol is cheap in Mexico, but it’s definitely more expensive at bars and clubs. Try to buy your alcohol from a local store instead of drinking at the bar if you’re on a budget.
  • Skip the taxis – Taxis are overpriced and not always safe. Skip them. If you do need a taxi, don’t just hail one on the street. Head into a nearby hotel/hostel and ask them to call one for you. Only get in taxis that use a meter.
  • Being a water filter – Since the tap water here isn’t safe to drink and single-use plastic is bad for the environment, bring a water bottle with a built-in filter. LifeStraw makes reusable bottles with a built-in filter so you can ensure your water is always clean and safe.

Where to Stay in Mexico

Hostels are plentiful in most of Mexico’s cities. Here are some of my favorite places to stay in Mexico:

  • Suites DF Hostel (Mexico City)
  • Mexico City Hostel (Mexico City)
  • Hostel Ka’beh Cancún (Cancún)
  • Mama’s Home (Tulum)
  • Gran Hostal (Playa del Carmen)
  • Casa Angel Youth Hostel (Oaxaca)

How to Get Around Mexico

Ancient buildings in bustling Mexico City, Mexico with a MExican flag in the foreground

Public transportation – Public buses (also known as camiones ) are the most common way to get around in cities and towns (and to nearby villages). These buses are also the cheapest, costing no more than a few pesos per journey. In some cities, smaller microbuses have replaced the older buses, but the cost is still the same.

Mexico City and Guadalajara have subway systems. One-way tickets for the subway and the bus system are around 5 MXN. In Mexico City, you’ll have to buy a rechargeable Metro Card at any of the Metro stations for 15 MXN, and you can use the card for the Metro, Metrobús, Light Rail, Ecobici, Trolleybus, RTP buses, and on Cablebús.

Bus – Most of Mexico is served by buses. On longer journeys, make sure to take an express bus (called a “directo”) if you can as they are much faster and stop less. A bus from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara (5.5 hours) costs around 585 MXN. A bus from Cancún to Mexico City (27 hours) costs around 1,800 MXN. A bus from Puebla to Mexico City (2 hours) costs around 200 MXN.

Some of the biggest and most reliable bus companies include:

  • Primera Plus
  • Estrella de Oro
  • Omnibuses de Mexico
  • ETN (Enlaces Terrestres Nacionales)

Most cities have a central bus terminal from where all long-distance buses depart. You can show up to buy your ticket, or research routes and ticket prices via each company’s website.

To find bus routes and prices, use BusBud .

Train – There are virtually no passenger train services remaining in Mexico. For long-distance travel, you’ll need to fly or take the bus.

Flying – For long journeys, consider flying. The route from Cancún to Mexico City by bus takes 27 hours and costs around 1,800 MXN but a flight starts around 470 MXN and only takes two hours. A one-way fare from Mexico City to Guadalajara is about 525 MXN. Even a four-hour flight from coast to coast from Cancún to Puerto Vallarta is just 1,200 MXN one-way.

Aeroméxico is the biggest airline in Mexico, but low-cost carriers are becoming more popular. These include:

  • VivaAerobus

Car rentals – Car rentals are surprisingly affordable in Mexico. You can find week-long rentals for around 3,000 MXN. Renters must be 21 years of age and have had their license for at least two years. Some companies require renters to be over 25 and it’s best to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP). Avoid driving at night, when crimes against drivers are more likely to occur. Also, don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle overnight as break-ins can occur.

For the best car rental prices, use Discover Cars .

When to Go to Mexico

Summer (June to October) is the rainy season in Mexico, but this is mostly just in the center of the country. You can expect it to rain each day heavily, but the downpour is usually short. It hardly ever rains in the northern part of the country, and humidity is thick in the south and along the coastal areas. Temperatures during this time hover somewhere between 26-32°C (79-90°F).

September to the middle of October is hurricane season and is not a good time to visit.

December to the end of April (winter) is the busiest tourist season as temperatures are hot, but the coastal areas provide plenty of relief for vacationers. This is the best time to visit if you’re looking to take advantage of Mexico’s tropical environment. It’s the dry season, so you’ll experience very little rain. You can expect big crowds as people flock to the resort areas around Cancún and Puerto Vallarta.

The average daily temperature during this time is 28°C (82°F). But if you’re in the mountains, pack lots of layers! It can get frigid, especially in the evenings.

How to Stay Safe in Mexico

The media (especially the American media) likes to paint Mexico as a dangerous place to visit but the reality is far more complex. While petty theft is very common in Mexico, most of the serious conflicts occur between the authorities and Mexican drug cartels. The people who tend to be involved in major incidents are usually doing drugs or taking part in sex tourism. Avoid those, and you’ll drastically increase your chances of staying safe.

Moreover, where you are greatly influences how safe you are. Yucatan and Oaxaca are incredibly safe states to visit while states near the US border are less so and more likely to experience violence and crime.

Officials looking for bribes are pretty common in Quintana Roo, as is drug-related violence due to tourists looking for drugs there. States near the southern border can also be sketchy and it’s wiser to keep an eye out on your stuff there though violent crime is pretty uncommon.

So don’t believe the media that “Mexico is unsafe.” Mexico is like any big country – some parts are safe, and some parts aren’t. Use some common sense when you travel: don’t flash your money, avoid wearing expensive watches or jewelry, don’t walk along drunk at night, make copies of your passport and official documents, and tell people where you are regularly.

Another important safety tip to keep in mind is about the water. While Mexico’s water purification and treatment systems have improved, it still is not safe to drink ordinary tap water when visiting. Luckily, bottled water is available everywhere. Bringing water filter like LifeStraw is advised as it has a built-in filter so your water is always clean and safe.

Keep an eye out for common scams against tourists , such as fake ATMs, taxis that don’t use a meter, and questionable tour operators.

The emergency services number in Mexico is 911. However, if that doesn’t work (since it isn’t in use in every region of Mexico), try 066.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.

Mexico Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Mexico Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Mexico and continue planning your trip:

The 20 Best Things to Do in Mexico City

The 20 Best Things to Do in Mexico City

The 5 Best Hotels in Oaxaca

The 5 Best Hotels in Oaxaca

Where to Stay in Oaxaca: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Oaxaca: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

How to Spend 5 Days in Oaxaca

How to Spend 5 Days in Oaxaca

The 15 Best Things to Do in Oaxaca

The 15 Best Things to Do in Oaxaca

Is Tulum Safe?

Is Tulum Safe?

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Using Money and Credit Cards in Mexico

Inspiration Travel

As you plan for your upcoming Christian cruise with Inspiration, you may be wondering about using money and credit cards during your travels. We’ve made the following recommendations to help you save money, avoid unnecessary fees and focus on an exceptional travel experience.

  • Consider leaving all unnecessary debit and/or credit cards at home.
  • Once you determine which cards you’ll bring, remember to notify each credit card company of your intended travel dates and locations to ensure fraud alerts and holds are not placed on your accounts.
  • For each card, you’ll want to store the bank’s contact information in a separate, secure location in the unlikely event your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.

Almost all Mexican destinations accept U.S. credit or debit cards (debit cards will only work with ATMs, however, as most Mexican businesses don’t have PIN machines). If you’re planning to use your credit cards, you’ll want to check with each credit card company to determine the international exchange fee for each card . Because the difference of a few percentage points could wind up costing you hundreds of dollars (depending on your purchases), we recommend using cards with lower international exchange fees. Using your credit card for large purchases gives you more protection for the items you buy on your trip (you can look at your credit card statement to verify all of your purchases).

Mexico’s official currency is the Peso (MEX$), however U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Most businesses will give change back in U.S. dollars but it is always a good idea to bring small bills in case you get change in Pesos. If travelling with currency other than the U.S. dollar you may exchange money onboard the ship, although we always recommend checking the exchange rate before traveling to a foreign country.

For more information please call one of our Reservation Coordinators at 800 247 1899 , Monday through Friday between 8:30am-5:00pm, Pacific Time.

travel money card mexico

Riviera Maya Currency Guide for Travel in 2024

P lanning a trip to Mexico and wondering what the Riviera Maya currency is and the best ways to pay for things during your vacation? You’ve come to the right guide!

As a travel blogger that lives in Playa del Carmen , I’m here to help you understand the basics of money management in Riviera Maya so that you can have a stress-free and enjoyable vacation.

In this Riviera Maya currency guide , I’ll explain the official currency used in Riviera Maya, whether or not you need to bring pesos with you, and provide some tips on using ATMs and managing money while traveling.

So if you’re wondering if you need dollars or pesos in Riviera Maya and exactly how much money to bring along, I’ve got you covered in this comprehensive currency guide!

Ready to learn how to safely and securely manage your money in Riviera Maya? Let’s get started!

Planning a trip to Mexico? Use my favorite travel resources!

Hotels: Expedia or Booking.com

Flights: Skyscanner

Rental Cars: Discover Cars

Tours & Activities: Viator

Travel Insurance: Travel Insurance Master

What Currency is Used in Riviera Maya Mexico?

The official currency used in Riviera Maya (and all of Mexico) is the Mexican Peso (MXN). However, you’ll find that US dollars are widely accepted, particularly in tourist areas.

You may even find that some restaurants and shops will display prices in both pesos and US dollars and accept payments with either currency.

What is the Best Currency to Take to Riviera Maya?

The best currency to take to Riviera Maya is the Mexican Peso (MXN), as it’s the official currency of the country.

While US dollars are widely accepted in Riviera Maya, you’ll often get better exchange rates and prices when paying with pesos.

Does Riviera Maya Accept US Dollars?

Yes, US dollars are widely accepted in Riviera Maya at restaurants, beach clubs, hotels, and grocery stores. You can even pay for taxis with USD.

Riviera Maya thrives on tourism, so they’ve become used to dealing with American tourists and thus the US dollar is accepted pretty much everywhere.

This makes paying in US dollars very easy but keep in mind that each restaurant, hotel, or establishment will have their own set exchange rate, which may be worse than the official exchange rate.

So if you really want to save money on your purchases, it’s best to pay in pesos.

Additionally, when paying in United States dollars, you’ll typically receive your change in pesos, which can get confusing if you’re not familiar with using the currency.

Is it Better to Pay in Dollars or Pesos in Riviera Maya?

US dollars are accepted pretty much everywhere in Riviera Maya so it’s possible to get by without needing to exchange any money.

However, since the official currency in Riviera Maya is the Mexican peso (MXN), you’ll typically save money if you pay in pesos.

Basically, if you’re not worried about losing a few dollars here and there on the exchange rate, it’s possible to just use US dollars for your entire trip.

But if you want to get the best value for money, it’s best to pay in Mexican pesos.

And while credit cards are accepted in many places, you’ll still need cash to pay for taxis, tips, souvenir shopping, and smaller purchases.

Are Credit Cards Accepted in Riviera Maya?

Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in Riviera Maya and you can use them in most restaurants, large retail stores, hotels, and beach clubs.

Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards, and American Express and Discover are less commonly accepted.

You’ll just want to make sure to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. I personally use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card which has tons of great travel perks.

I would also recommend using a credit card instead of a debit card when possible, as there are typically less fees and the protection benefits are much better.

And even though credit cards are accepted in many places, it’s still a good idea to have some cash on hand to pay for transportation, tips, and smaller purchases. For example, some smaller restaurants and taco joints in Playa del Carmen will be cash only.

It’s also important to know that taxis in Riviera Maya do not accept credit cards so you’ll need to carry enough cash if you’re planning on taking taxis.

Should You Get Pesos Before Going to Riviera Maya?

If you want to be really prepared, I would recommend getting some pesos before going to Riviera Maya so you won’t have to worry about getting them once you arrive.

The easiest way to do this is to order Mexican pesos from your bank ahead of time and it typically takes around 1-3 days for delivery.

If you don’t want to do that or don’t have enough time to do so, you can always withdraw pesos from an ATM once you arrive in Mexico or change dollars to pesos at a currency exchange counter.

Just be sure to check with your bank ahead of time to see if they have any fees for international ATM withdrawals.

What Will You Need Cash for in Riviera Maya?

While credit cards are widely accepted in Riviera Maya, you’ll still need to have some cash on hand if you’re planning to leave the resort, explore the nearby towns, or do some Riviera Maya excursions .

Here are some examples of things you will need cash for in Riviera Maya:

  • Tips for hotel staff at all-inclusive resorts
  • Tips for your Cancun airport transportation driver
  • Tips for tour guides
  • Souvenir shopping at local shops
  • Local taco joints or mom-and-pop type restaurants
  • Street food and street vendors
  • Entrance fees for Riviera Maya cenotes
  • Entrance fees for archeological sites (like the Tulum Ruins or Chichen Itza )

How Many Pesos Should You Bring to Riviera Maya?

Here is a general guideline to give you a rough idea of how much cash to bring to Riviera Maya:

  • Below Average Spending: $20 USD (~$340 pesos) per day
  • Average Spending: $40 USD (~$680 pesos) per day
  • Above Average Spending: $60+ USD (~$1020 pesos) per day

Note these guidelines are based on how much cash to bring to Riviera Maya Mexico for the tips and extras outlined above, assuming you’re using your credit cards for most of your purchases.

Additionally, these amounts are based on a single traveler or a single party that’s traveling together.

If you plan to pay with cash in Mexico exclusively, then you’ll want to bring more money than the amounts above.

You can also play around with my Mexico cash calculator ! This is a handy tool to give you an estimate of how much cash you’ll need during your trip depending on the length of your stay, number of people, and spending habits.

How to Get Pesos for Riviera Maya

Here are a few options for getting pesos for your trip to Riviera Maya Mexico:

Order pesos from your bank ahead of time

If you’re someone that likes to plan ahead and have everything ready to go before your trip, then I would recommend ordering pesos from your bank before you leave for Mexico.

While this option takes a bit more time and advance planning, it’s cheaper than exchanging currency at a counter in Mexico once you arrive.

Plus, you won’t have to deal with finding an ATM or currency counter once you get there, which can add stress to your trip.

Most large banks have the option to order foreign currency online or through a mobile app but it typically takes 1-3 business days for delivery.

Withdraw pesos from an ATM in Mexico

If you don’t want to order pesos ahead of time, the quickest and easiest way to get pesos in Mexico is to simply withdraw cash from an ATM once you arrive.

You can find ATM machines in most major tourist spots, hotels, and grocery stores, or even at the Cancun Airport once you land.

While your bank might charge a fee for withdrawing money from foreign ATMs, it will typically be cheaper compared to a commission-based money exchange counter.

Exchange dollars for pesos at a currency exchange counter

The final option for getting pesos is to exchange US dollars for pesos at the Cancun Airport or at a foreign currency exchange counter.

While this is a bit more convenient, I wouldn’t recommend it because it’s typically the most expensive option.

You’ll have access to cash right away but currency exchange counters in Mexico typically have some of the highest conversion rates–and they can be a little sketchy looking.

If you really do need to use a currency exchange counter, be sure to check the current exchange rate carefully before deciding whether or not this is the best option for you.

Using ATMs in Riviera Maya

Here are some tips for withdrawing money from ATMs in Riviera Maya:

Best ATMs in Riviera Maya

When using ATMs in Riviera Maya, it is important to only use an official bank ATM and avoid using any random or unidentified ATM found on the street.

You might find nameless ATMs in the main tourist areas (like when shopping on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen ) but these are more likely to have card skimmers and hackers that could potentially drain your bank account.

For optimal security, it is best to use official bank ATMs located directly at a local bank or at places such as grocery stores or shopping centers.

If you are staying at one of the larger resorts in Riviera Maya , they will likely have an ATM in the hotel lobby and they are typically pretty safe to use.

And if you go to Playa del Carmen , Cancun , Tulum , or Puerto Morelos , you can find bank ATMs not far from the tourist areas or at larger grocery stores like Chedraui, Walmart , or Mega.

These are the major banks and ATM locations in Riviera Maya that you’ll want to look out for:

  • BBVA Bancomer
  • Scotiabank (partnered with Bank of America)

Do you need travel insurance for Mexico? Yes! Most insurance plans in your home country will not cover incidents abroad. I recommend using Travel Insurance Master, which is a handy travel insurance marketplace where you can compare policies. Get a FREE quote by clicking here !

Bank Partnerships

Before your trip to Mexico, it’s a good idea to check with your bank to see if they have any partnerships with Mexican banks.

Several large banks, including Bank of America, have established partnerships with foreign banks around the world.

If your bank does have a partnership with a Mexican bank, you will likely be able to withdraw money without a usage fee.

However, there is typically still an international withdrawal fee that is a small percentage of the total withdrawal amount.

For example, Bank of America has a partnership with Scotiabank in Mexico. This means you can withdraw money from a Scotiabank ATM in Mexico and avoid a $5 USD international ATM usage fee.

However, you will still be charged 3% of the converted US dollar amount that you are withdrawing.

Riviera Maya ATM Fees

When withdrawing money from ATMs in Riviera Maya, you will likely be charged a usage fee and/or an international transaction fee that will be a small percentage of the total amount you take out.

Let’s say you are a Bank of America customer and you were to withdraw $2,000 pesos in local currency from a Scotiabank ATM in Mexico.

Here’s an example of the cost breakdown:

  • Usage Fee : $5 USD (waived) = $0 USD
  • Currency Conversion: $2000 MXN at BOA Conversion Rate (.0548) = $109.60 USD
  • International Transaction Fee: $110.60 x 3% = $3.28 USD
  • Total Amount for this Withdrawal : $112.88 USD

If you weren’t to use a Scotiabank ATM, then you would be charged the $5 usage fee in addition. This can add up depending on how many times you visit the ATM!

Riviera Maya ATM Conversion Rates

If there’s one thing to remember about using ATMs in Riviera Maya (and anywhere in Mexico), it’s to always decline the conversion rate offered by the ATM.

When withdrawing money from an ATM, you’ll be prompted to accept or decline the conversion rate offered by that particular ATM– always hit DECLINE!

ATMs always offer terrible exchange rates, which are much higher than what you would get from your bank.

By hitting decline, your financial institution will automatically charge you with the standard conversion rate, which is typically a much better deal.

Using Mexican Currency

Here are some helpful things to know about using the official currency in Mexico:

Mexican Peso Bills

Here’s a rough USD conversion for the Mexican peso denominations to give you an idea of the value of money:

  • $10 peso coin = ~$.50 USD
  • $50 peso bill = ~$2.50 USD
  • $100 peso bill = ~$5 USD
  • $200 peso bill = ~$10 USD
  • $500 peso bill = ~$25 USD
  • $1000 peso bill =~$50 USD

Easy Pesos to USD Currency Conversion Trick

If you’re not familiar with paying in Mexican pesos, it can be confusing to figure out exactly how much you’re spending.

However, there is a simple trick to convert pesos to American dollars easily in your head – just take off a zero and divide the price of the item by 2!

For example, if something is $500 pesos, you would take off a zero ($50) and divide the amount by 2 to get to a value of around $25 USD.

Of course, this is not an exact value (especially recently with the peso gaining value) but will give you a rough estimate of how much an item costs.

Alternatively, you can pull out the calculator on your phone or use a currency converter app to get the exact value.

Easy MXN-USD Currency Conversion Trick: Take off a zero and divide by 2!

Riviera Maya Money Tips

Follow these Riviera Maya travel tips to save money when it comes to Riviera Maya and Playa del Carmen money management:

  • Consider your options when choosing between pesos or USD: When paying at restaurants or retail stores in Riviera Maya, you’ll likely be given the option to pay in pesos or USD (even when paying with a credit card). If you really want to save money, do a quick currency conversion on your phone to see which is the better deal. It used to always be a better deal to pay in pesos but with current exchange rates, it may be cheaper to pay in USD.
  • Decline the currency conversion rate at the ATM: When withdrawing cash from an ATM, you’ll be asked if you want to accept the ATM’s currency conversion rate. Always decline this option and instead you’ll be charged at the best exchange rate from your bank.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card: If you’re going to be paying with a card, it’s best to use a credit card instead of your debit card. Many travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card have no foreign transaction fees so you’ll save money on costly currency exchange fees on your debit card. Plus, credit cards typically have better protections in case of fraud or theft.
  • Check with your bank to see if they have any partnerships with banks in Mexico: If your bank has a partnership with a Mexican bank, you can likely avoid added ATM fees when using your debit card to withdraw money in Mexico.
  • Only use official bank ATMs: Avoid using random or nameless ATMs, as these are often less secure and can be setup with card skimmers. Withdrawing money from official bank ATMs at banks, grocery stores, or shopping centers is a safer option. Some of the most popular local banks in Riviera Maya are Scotiabank, HSBC, CiBanco, Santander, and BBVA.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash: It’s best to only carry the amount of cash that you need for your daily expenses in case of theft. Flaunting large amounts of cash is a safety risk in Riviera Maya and can make you a target for theft or getting ripped off. It’s also a good idea to keep a backup credit or debit card (and some cash) in the hotel safe in case anything happens to your primary card.
  • Don’t forget to bring cash for tips: If you’re planning to do any of the fun activities in Riviera Maya like Riviera Maya zipline tours , snorkeling tours , or ATV adventures , be sure to bring cash to tip the tour guides. It’s customary to tip around 10-15% of the total tour price.

Riviera Maya Currency: FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about money and currency in Riviera Maya Mexico:

Yes, tipping is expected at all inclusive resorts in Playa del Carmen , Cancun, and Riviera Maya although it’s not required. You can give tips to the waiters, bartenders, and housekeeping staff as a sign of appreciation for their service.

It’s customary to tip around 10-15% of the total tour price. However, if the tour guide did a particularly good job, you can give them more.

No, it is not customary to tip taxi drivers in Riviera Maya so you can feel comfortable just paying the exact price of the fare.

Yes, you can use a debit card in Riviera Maya, however I would recommend using a credit card if possible. Most travel credit cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred have no foreign transaction fees and offer greater protection in case of fraud or theft.

No, Uber in Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya is currently not available or safe to use. While legislation was passed allowing Uber to operate in the state of Quintana Roo, opposition from local taxi drivers has still made it unsafe to try and use Uber in the region. So if you’re planning on taking taxis in Riviera Maya, you’ll need to make sure you have enough cash on hand as credit cards are not accepted.

Conclusion: Riviera Maya Currency Guide

So should you use pesos or dollars when visiting Riviera Maya Mexico? I hope this Riviera Maya Mexico currency guide has helped you to decide which type of currency to bring to Mexico!

The official currency of Riviera Maya is the Mexican peso so you’ll typically save money if you pay in pesos. But US dollars are widely accepted so it’s possible to get by with just using dollars if you need to.

It’s also a good idea to have some cash on hand for taxis, tipping, and smaller purchases.

Just be sure to follow the Riviera Maya money tips listed above to save money when exchanging currency and paying for things in Riviera Maya.

Now that you know how to handle currency when you travel to Riviera Maya, you can enjoy your trip without worrying about money!

  • How Much Cash Should You Bring to Mexico? Calculate Now!
  • Is Riviera Maya Safe?
  • Where to Stay in Riviera Maya
  • Best Things to Do in Riviera Maya

Traveling to Mexico soon?

These are the Mexico travel resources I use and recommend:

Hotels : I always find the best deals for Mexico hotels and resorts on Expedia or Booking.com . If you prefer a vacation rental, check VRBO as they are often cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

Flights : I recommend using Skyscanner for the best Mexico flight deals. Be sure to sign up for their price alerts for your preferred travel dates.

Rental Cars : I recommend using Discover Cars because you can compare multiple car rental companies and see detailed ratings for overall value, ease of pick-up, efficiency of agents, car condition, and overall time spent.

Cancun Airport Transportation : I recommend booking a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation for the quickest and most hassle-free option!

Tours & Activities: I always use Viator or GetYourGuide for booking tours and activities in Mexico. You can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour for a full refund, plus they have excellent customer service if you were to have any issues.

Travel Insurance: After my Dad broke his hand in a taxi accident in Playa del Carmen, I always recommend buying travel insurance before your trip for added peace of mind! I recommend Travel Insurance Master for short trips or Safety Wing for digital nomads.

Biodegradable Sunscreen : Don’t forget to add biodegradable sunscreen to your Mexico packing list ! Regular sunscreen is prohibited when swimming in the ocean and cenotes in Mexico, so you’ll need to pack some biodegradable sunscreen for sun protection. I recommend Sun Bum Sunscreen , which is reef-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free.

The post Riviera Maya Currency Guide for Travel in 2024 appeared first on Viva La Travelista .

Planning a trip to Mexico and wondering what the Riviera Maya currency is and the best ways to pay for things during your vacation? You've come to the right guide! As a travel blogger that lives in Playa del Carmen, I'm here to help you understand the basics of money management in Riviera Maya so that you can have a stress-free and enjoyable vacation. In this Riviera Maya currency guide, I'll explain the official currency used in Riviera Maya, whether or not you need to bring pesos with you, and provide some tips on using ATMs and managing money while traveling. So if you're wondering if you need dollars or pesos in Riviera Maya and exactly how much money to bring along, I've got you covered in this comprehensive currency guide! Ready to learn how to safely and securely manage your money in Riviera Maya? Let's get started!

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Can I use my credit card in Mexico?

June 13, 2024 | 6 min read

If you’re heading to Mexico for the first time, you might wonder how you’ll pay for things like excursions, meals and souvenirs. A credit card can help simplify your spending and might even earn you rewards throughout your trip. 

Depending on your card and issuer, there may be additional benefits to using a credit card while traveling through Mexico. 

What you’ll learn:

  • Credit cards are accepted throughout Mexico at many major retail and dining establishments.
  • Depending on your card, there may be extra benefits to using it in Mexico, including perks like airport lounge access and protections like lost luggage reimbursement.
  • Some fees may apply when using your credit card in Mexico. Capital One doesn’t charge foreign transaction or currency conversion fees. View important rates and disclosures.
  • It can be a good idea to bring some cash as well as your card to Mexico.

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How to use a credit card in Mexico

The way to use a U.S.-issued credit card in Mexico is the same as it is at home. But when you buy something in Mexican pesos, the card issuer typically automatically converts the price into U.S. dollars and incorporates the exchange rate.

You can use your credit card at any store in Mexico that accepts your card’s payment network, such as Visa® or Mastercard® .

Potential fees

With some credit cards, fees may be added when you make transactions abroad with foreign merchants: 

  • A foreign transaction fee is a surcharge on credit card purchases made outside of the U.S.
  • A currency conversion fee is charged by the credit or debit card payment network or ATM network for converting the foreign currency to your home currency. This has to happen so that the card issuer can process it and charge it to your account.

Capital One doesn’t charge foreign transaction or currency conversion fees. View important rates and disclosures. Other issuers might.

Something else to watch out for is vendors offering dynamic currency conversion. This optional service converts the price in pesos to your home currency right at the point of purchase. It’s convenient, but it typically costs more than any standard exchange rate your credit card issuer might charge.

Can you use a debit card in Mexico?

Debit cards are widely accepted throughout Mexico. As with a credit card, the issuer converts purchases made in pesos into U.S. dollars. 

Depending on your checking account and the ATM you use, you could incur fees when using your debit card to withdraw cash from an ATM in Mexico. Those fees can include:

  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Currency conversion fees
  • Dynamic currency conversion fees
  • International ATM withdrawal fees
  • ATM-operator fees

Capital One doesn’t charge foreign transaction or currency conversion fees for debit card transactions. Some ATM operators charge a fee for using an out-of-network ATM.

Benefits of using your credit card in Mexico

It could be useful to have some pesos on you while you’re in Mexico. But taking only cash on any trip, whether it’s to Mexico or elsewhere, can have disadvantages. Handling unfamiliar bills and coins can be confusing and unwieldy. And if cash is lost or stolen, there’s no getting it back. 

Using a credit card in Mexico could offer these benefits:

  • Convenience: With a credit card, you can avoid exchanging cash for pesos during your trip and potentially paying a higher exchange rate. 
  • Security features: You may have access to security features and card management tools that can benefit travelers. For example, Capital One offers $0 liability for unauthorized charges and an emergency replacement card and cash advance if your card is lost or stolen. 
  • Credit card rewards: With a rewards credit card , you can keep earning rewards on qualifying purchases when you’re south of the border.
  • Travel-related perks: Some credit cards come with benefits that are particularly useful for travelers. Eligible Capital One cardholders get travel protections like lost luggage reimbursement and perks like complimentary access to airport lounges and a statement credit for TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry enrollment, up to $100 once every four years.

Tips for using your credit card in Mexico

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, there are a few things to keep in mind when using your credit card .

Do some research

Credit cards are widely accepted in Mexico. But if you need more reassurance, you could contact your hotel and ask whether there’s anything in particular you should know about the area you’re staying in. You could also consult with a travel agent or look online for other travelers’ experiences.

Plan to carry some cash

Using cash alone may not be the best idea. But it could still be beneficial to have some pesos in Mexico. Small businesses and those outside of major metropolitan areas might not have the technology to process credit card transactions or might just prefer to take cash. And it’s always useful for tipping.

Consider a card with no foreign transaction fees

Before you leave, check if your credit card issuer charges foreign transaction fees. Where they apply, fees typically range from 1% to 3% of each transaction. 

Not all cards charge foreign transaction fees. That includes any card from Capital One. View important rates and disclosures.

Bring a spare credit card

Bringing an additional card as a backup can be useful, especially if you keep it separate from your primary one. If you’re a Capital One cardholder and report your card lost or stolen, you can lock it to prevent others from using it. With a backup, you won’t have to be without funds.

Check if your card issuer needs notice of your trip

Some credit card issuers might request that you set up a travel notice when you’re leaving the country. That’s so they know you’re abroad and don’t flag your card for potential fraud. You can typically inform your issuer of your travel plans on its website or through its mobile app. 

Capital One no longer requires that you share your international travel plans. But it still recommends updating your contact information in case it needs to reach you about suspected fraud.

Using a credit card in Mexico FAQ

Check out these answers to some frequently asked questions about using your credit card in Mexico:

Can I use my Capital One credit card in Mexico?

Capital One credit cards are accepted worldwide, including in Mexico. Make sure your contact information is up to date before you go. You can also download the Capital One Mobile app on your tablet or smart device. The app can help you manage your account on the go while allowing you to do things like lock your cards and monitor your transactions.

Is it better to use cash or credit cards in Mexico?

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to using cash or credit in Mexico. It depends on the situation. A credit card may be more secure and easier to carry, and you won’t need to worry about conversion rates. But cash can be useful if you’re tipping or shopping with small businesses.

What is the most popular payment method in Mexico?

Cash is still widely used throughout Mexico, but millions of establishments throughout the country accept credit and debit cards.

Key takeaways: Using a credit card in Mexico

Using a credit card in Mexico is easy and convenient. You can plan to use it throughout the country for most of your purchases and avoid worrying about conversion rates. Plus, a credit card is more secure than cash and may even come with some useful travel perks and protections.

If you want to get rewarded for planning your next big trip, consider a travel rewards credit card from Capital One . And before you leave, check out these tips for using a credit card internationally to help you get the most out of your card.

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Your next great adventure is never far away when you're maximizing points and benefits with the best cards; Mattertal, Switzerland © mbbirdy / Getty

This series of articles about credit cards, points and miles, and budgeting for travel is brought to you in partnership with The Points Guy .

Advertiser Disclosure:  This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. This relationship may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. All information about the Wells Fargo Autograph Card has been collected independently by Lonely Planet. This card is not available through Lonely Planet.

When traveling abroad, the right credit card can be as crucial as your passport. The best credit card can help you not only earn more rewards, but it can also provide valuable protections and benefits. A credit card can save you money on foreign transaction fees and protect your purchases from fraudulent activity and theft.

Some credit cards can make your travels more comfortable with valuable perks like lounge access, elite status benefits and travel insurance. 

For international travel, you’ll want a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees and offers bonus points on travel along with travel insurance. We’ve taken the guesswork out of this task for you by rounding up the best credit cards for international travel:

How to get started with travel points and airline miles

Huilo-Huilo waterfall; Los Ríos, Chile

The best credit cards for international travel in 2024:

  • Best overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Best for luxury travel perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express *
  • Best for travel insurance: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Best for tours and activities: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for dining around the world: American Express® Gold Card *
  • Best for no annual fee: Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

The best credit cards for airline miles

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best overall for international travel in 2024

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent card for international travel because it checks all the boxes regarding benefits you’ll need when traveling abroad. The card provides vital travel protections and earns valuable rewards at a reasonable $95 annual fee. Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through the Chase Travel℠ portal and 2 on all other travel purchases. The card also comes with valuable travel insurance, which is vital when traveling abroad. 

Cardholders pay no foreign transaction fees, which hover around 3% for purchases abroad on standard credit cards. Whether paying your hotel bill or doing extra shopping, the waived fee can add substantial savings.

Sapphire Preferred cardholders get up to $10,000 per person in trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary rental car coverage (in the U.S. and abroad), up to $100 per day in baggage delay insurance (maximum of five days) and up to $500 in trip delay reimbursement per ticket. These protections can be beneficial in case of travel delays or emergencies. While you may consider buying supplemental travel insurance for certain trips, these credit card protections provide excellent baseline coverage.

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Rewards: Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠ (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Annual Chase Travel℠ hotel credit);  3X points on dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out; 3X points on online grocery purchases; 3X points on select streaming services; 2X points on all other travel; 1X on other purchases.

Travel benefits: Annual $50 Chase Travel℠ hotel credit, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary rental car insurance, trip delay reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel and emergency assistance services.

Credit score required: Good to Excellent.

Annual fee: $95. See rates and fees .

  • Generous category bonuses.
  • Excellent rewards program with a great selection of airline and hotel transfer partners.
  • $50 annual travel credit.
  • Extensive travel protections, including primary rental car insurance abroad. 
  • The card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule (meaning you won’t be approved if you’ve opened five credit cards at any bank in the last 24 months).
  • The $50 annual hotel credit is limited to Chase Travel℠ bookings (and does not earn bonus points).

How to use points and miles to save money on travel

The American Express Platinum Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for travel perks

No other credit card can compete with The Platinum Card® from American Express  regarding travel perks. The card offers over $1,500 in annual statement credits for airline fees, hotel bookings and trusted-traveler programs like CLEAR® Plus and Global Entry . Global Entry is particularly useful for international trips, as it expedites the passport control process.

Cardholders can upgrade to Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status without ever stepping foot in a hotel lobby. These higher status levels can provide added perks like room upgrades and complimentary breakfast, enhancing your hotel experience. 

The Platinum Card 's travel protections can provide added peace of mind with trip delay coverage and cancellation/interruption insurance.*

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 points after $8,000 spent within six months of account opening. 

Rewards: Earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel (up to $500,000 per calendar year); 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel; 1X point on everything else.

Travel benefits: Annual airline fee credit up to $200; annual hotel booking credit up to $200 (Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay); annual Uber Cash up to $200; $20 monthly digital entertainment credit for select streaming services; $155 Walmart+ Credit; $300 annual Equinox statement credit; $50 Saks credit issued semi-annually; $189 CLEAR Plus credit; Hilton and Marriott Gold elite status; elite status with Avis, Hertz and National rental car; trip delay insurance; trip cancellation & interruption insurance.

Credit score required: Good to Excellent.

Annual fee: $695. See rates and fees .

  • Wide range of travel credits that offset the annual fee (if you use them).
  • Earns valuable Membership Rewards points.
  • Exceptional travel protections.
  • High annual fee.
  • Category bonuses are limited to Amex Travel and direct bookings.
  • The current welcome bonus isn’t the highest to date, and the card is subject to the Amex once-per-lifetime rule.

Best travel credit cards for foodies

Earn 10x rewards on hotel stays with Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for travel insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance is essential when traveling abroad – things always go wrong, and you don’t want to incur added expenses on top of your trip. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides exceptional travel insurance. Depending on your travel habits, you may not even need to buy a policy. Simply charge your travel expenses to the card, and you’ll be covered in case of trip delays, lost luggage and rental car accidents. The card provides emergency medical services and transportation up to $100,000 and trip cancellation/interruption coverage up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. In case of trip delays of six hours or longer, each passenger will be reimbursed up to $500 per ticket for meals and lodging. 

If you arrive at your destination and discover your luggage is missing, you’ll get up to $3,000 per passenger to buy essentials. This policy also applies to damaged luggage, including carry-ons.

The Sapphire Reserve ’s auto rental collision damage waiver is one of the best in class. It applies to rentals made abroad and covers up to $75,000 in case of theft or collision damage.

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Rewards: Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Travel benefits: Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits, including airfare, hotels and rental cars; get 50% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠; Priority Pass Select membership; application fee credit towards Global Entry, TSA Precheck or NEXUS every four years; travel protections including cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, primary rental car insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and emergency evacuation and transportation.

Credit score:  Excellent.

Annual fee: $550 (plus $75 per authorized user). See rates and fees .

  • Comprehensive travel insurance when you use the Sapphire Card for booking.
  • Application fee credits for Global Entry, TSA Precheck and NEXUS.
  • Priority Pass Select membership for access to over 1300 airline lounges worldwide.
  • The $300 annual travel credit partially offsets the high annual fee. 
  • Approval is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule (ie, you might not qualify for the card if you've signed up for 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months).
  • $75 authorized user fee.

10 amazing hotels around the world you can book with points

The overwater bungalows at Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa

Capital One Venture Card: Best for international tours and activities 

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the best card for tours and activities because it offers unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, making it easy to earn rewards quickly. Plus, the miles can be redeemed for any travel-related expense, so you can use them to book flights, hotels, rental cars and more. 

Additionally, cardholders get six months of complimentary membership to The Cultivist. This subscription platform typically costs $40 per month and provides free admission to over 60 museums, including the New York Met, Paris Louvre and The Art Institute of Chicago. You can bring up to three guests for free, making the Venture Card a terrific credit card for tours and activities.

With its simple reward structure and no-hassle redemption process, the Capital One Venture Card is an ideal choice for travelers looking to save money on their next tour or activity.

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.

Rewards: 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 2X miles on all other purchases.

Travel benefits: Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, Hertz Five Star status, rental car insurance and travel accident insurance, Capital One Dining access; complimentary six-month membership to The Cultivist.

Credit score:  Good to Excellent.

Annual fee: $95. 

  • $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees every four years.
  • Generous lounge benefit for a $95 annual fee card.
  • Simple rewards structure with multiple international airline transfer partners.
  • Limited lounge network compared to other credit cards.

Should you book travel with cash or points?

The Rose Gold American Express Card

American Express Gold Card: Best for dining around the world

Dining is one of the most significant expenses when you’re traveling abroad. The American Express Gold Card is the best card to pack in your wallet, earning 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants. The card also earns 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel so that you can maximize every dollar spent on vacation. 

The Amex Gold Card also offers up to $10 in monthly Uber Cash and another $10 towards Grubhub, Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Granted, you may not find many Cheesecake Factories abroad, but it’s a nice bonus that could come in handy during domestic travels. The card qualifies for Amex Offers, a rotating list of discounts at popular retailers, restaurants and hotels. You can save hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of dining deals through this portal.

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 within the first six months of account opening.

Rewards: Earn 4X points at restaurants; 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases and then 1x after); 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel; 1X points on all other purchases. 

Travel benefits: Receive up to $10 in monthly Uber Cash (valid for rides or Uber Eats orders); up to $10 in monthly dining credit at Grubhub, Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations; secondary rental car coverage*; baggage insurance plan; Global Assist hotline; access to experience credits and travel perks through The Hotel Collection.

Credit score: Good to Excellent.

Annual fee: $250. See rates and fees .

  • High earnings on popular travel spending categories.
  • Up to $240 in annual dining credits.
  • Amex Offers provides additional savings on travel.
  • Includes valuable travel protections.
  • The current welcome bonus isn’t the highest to date. 
  • The card is subject to American Express’s once-per-lifetime rule.

American Express Gold Card review: a 'gold' standard with impressive benefits

Wells Fargo Autograph Card

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card: Best for no annual fee

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card is a great option for international travel if you want a card that earns generous rewards and minimal fees. The card waives foreign transaction fees, which is unusual for a card with no annual fee. It also offers generous bonuses on popular travel spending categories like dining, gas, transit, airfare, hotels, rental cars and cruises. With a 0% intro APR for 12 months, this is an excellent choice if you need to finance some purchases in the short term.

Welcome bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months.

Rewards: Earn 3X points on travel, gas, restaurant, transit and popular streaming services; 1X points on all other purchases. 

Travel benefits: Secondary rental car insurance in the US., primary rental car coverage abroad, travel and emergency services assistance, emergency cash disbursement and card replacement, cell phone protection (up to $600 per year). 

Annual fee: $0. 

  • High earning potential in board travel spending categories.
  • One of the few credit cards offering cell phone protection.
  • Primary rental car coverage abroad and secondary in the U.S.
  • Low welcome bonus.
  • Points are not transferable to airline or hotel loyalty programs.
  • No travel protections outside of rental car insurance. 

How to travel to Bali with points and miles

Consider upgrading your travel experience with the right credit card

Who should get a credit card for international travel?

Anyone who frequently travels internationally should consider getting a credit card for international travel. There are added costs and hassles associated with traveling abroad that these credit cards can eliminate. With the right credit card, you’ll earn bonus points in popular spending categories restricted abroad. 

You don’t have to be a frequent traveler to benefit from these cards either. They can provide peace of mind by serving as a backup form of payment if your debit or cash is lost or stolen while abroad. In fact, the right credit card can serve you well even when you’re just going about your daily routine.

Below are some of the features and benefits you should look for when choosing a credit card for international travel:

Traveling to Europe using points and miles

How to choose the best credit card for international travel

When it comes to international travel, selecting the right credit card is essential. The right credit card can save you money on fees and travel expenses and provide you with a range of benefits to make your trip easier and more enjoyable. Here are some tips for choosing the best credit card for international travel: 

No foreign transaction fees:  Many credit cards charge a fee of up to 3% when you use them abroad. Look for a card that doesn’t charge these fees so you can save money when making purchases in other countries. 

Bonus points on travel:  Many cards offer rewards in popular spending categories like travel, dining, groceries and gas. These points can then be redeemed for free flights, hotel stays or other travel perks. Some credit cards limit bonus points on dining and grocery spending to U.S. supermarkets and restaurants only. You’ll want a card in your wallet that offers bonus points in the U.S. and abroad since these expenses add up during travels. 

Trusted traveler programs:  Navigating airports can be a stressful experience both in the U.S. and abroad. Trusted traveler programs like TSA Precheck , Global Entry and NEXUS can eliminate the hassle (and long lines). When choosing a credit card for international travel, consider one that offers an application fee credit for trusted traveler programs. These credits can offset high annual fees and make your next trip abroad much more pleasant.

TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry: A guide to picking the best one for you

Unlock benefits like seat upgrades with the best international travel cards

International credit cards FAQ

Which cards are best for international travel.

The best international travel cards are those with no foreign transaction fees, offer travel protections and earn bonus rewards on travel purchases. Some of the top cards for international travel include the Chase Sapphire Preferred , Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express .

The best credit cards for airport lounge access

What’s the advantage of using a credit card when traveling internationally?

The main advantage of using a credit card when traveling abroad is its convenience and security. Credit cards offer a secure way to make purchases without carrying large amounts of cash. Some credit cards also earn rewards on travel purchases, offer travel insurance and waive foreign exchange fees.

The best credit cards with no international fees

Herengracht Canal in Amsterdam

Is American Express or Visa better for international travel?

It depends on the country you are traveling to and which cards are accepted in that country. Generally, Visa is accepted more widely than American Express, so it may be the better option for international travel.

The best travel credit cards

* Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit  americanexpress.com/ benefitsguide  for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit  americanexpress.com  to learn more.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

This article was first published Aug 2, 2023 and updated Dec 29, 2023.

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Best travel credit cards of June 2024

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Travel credit cards help you earn valuable points and miles on your purchases. For maximum value, some cards earn rewards not only on travel, but also everyday purchases like dining, groceries and gas. You can redeem these rewards for free or discounted flights, hotel stays or to cover other travel-related expenses.

The best travel cards also come with additional features. Even no-annual-fee travel cards are likely to offer perks like sign-up bonuses, intro APR offers and travel insurance. But for top-of-the-line benefits like airport lounge access, elite status and travel credits, expect to pay an annual fee.

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Bankrate's Best Travel Credit Cards of June 2024

  • Best starter travel card:  Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Best for flat-rate rewards:  Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for luxury travel:  The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Best for no annual fee:  Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card  ( See Rates & Fees )
  • Best for foodies:  American Express® Gold Card
  • Best for everyday spending: Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
  • Best for intro APR:  Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
  • Best for point values:  Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Best for practical perks:  Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for pairing:  Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Best for hotel bookings: Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card
  • Best no-annual-fee hotel card:  Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • Best for luxury hotel perks: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
  • Best for transfer partners:  Bilt Mastercard®
  • Best for gas:  Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
  • Best for companion tickets:  Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
  • Best starter airline card:  Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
  • Best for savers: Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
  • Best for first-year value:  Discover it® Miles
  • Best for fair credit:  Credit One Bank Wander® Card
  • What to know about travel credit cards
  • Tips for choosing the best travel card

Travel credit card perks

How do credit card points and miles work.

  • Expert advice on travel cards

How we assess the best travel credit cards

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Ask the experts

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Intro offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

60,000 bonus points

We calculate this number by multiplying the card's intro offer by Bankrate's valuation of this issuer's rewards program , showing you how much your points or miles are worth in dollars.

Rewards rate

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠. 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries. 2x on all other travel purchases. 1x on all other purchases.

Regular APR

21.49% - 28.49% Variable

  • 5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠.
  • 3x 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries.
  • 2x 2x on all other travel purchases.
  • 1x 1x on all other purchases.

What we love: This popular card comes loaded with features that can make it easy even for occasional travelers to offset the modest $95 annual fee without eating into hard-earned rewards. Plus, its rewards program is one of the best, giving you some of the most valuable travel redemptions — through both Chase and transfer partners — and Chase card pairing opportunities if you want to build your card portfolio eventually. Learn more: Why expert Margaret Weck loves using the Chase Sapphire Preferred Alternatives:   If you’re looking for an even simpler travel card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a terrific option. Its flat rewards rate makes it easy to know exactly how much you’ll earn with every purchase and though it can’t match the Sapphire Preferred’s redemption flexibility, it offers more redemption options than the typical travel rewards card. 

  • You earn Ultimate Rewards points with this card — some of the most valuable and flexible rewards around, especially if you pair it with Chase’s cash back cards in the future.
  • The card touts significant long-term benefits like anniversary bonus points and travel credits, as well as travel protections like trip cancellation insurance and a car rental collision damage waiver.
  • Doesn’t offer airline- or hotel-specific perks like free checked bags, elite status or free night stays.
  • The sign-up bonus is decent, but the card has previously offered higher, chart-topping bonus points.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Best for flat-rate rewards

Image of Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

New Venture cardholders can earn 75,000 miles once they spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Earn 75,000 miles

5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.

2 Miles - 5 Miles

19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

  • 5 Miles 5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2 Miles 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

What we love: It’s a great option for travelers looking for a straightforward rewards program and flexible redemption options. You'll earn unlimited miles on all eligible spending and can redeem not only for travel bookings, but also as a statement credit to cover travel purchases made in the past 90 days. Learn more: Why expert Jacqueline DeMarco loves the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Alternatives: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a higher rewards rate in some everyday spending categories and potentially more valuable points. Chase points are worth 1.25 cents each if you redeem for travel through Chase, while Capital One miles are only worth 1 cent each when you redeem for travel. Plus, Chase rewards are more helpful for occasional travelers since you can redeem as cash back at 1-cent-per-point value.

  • Carries solid perks given its low annual fee, including expedited airport purchase security and hotel experience credits, lost luggage reimbursement and more.
  • Zero foreign transaction fees make this an excellent choice for international travelers.
  • You can’t offset the annual fee with annual travel credits or bonuses alone as you can with some rival cards.
  • The card’s sign-up bonus carries a high spending requirement, so it may be tough to earn if you don’t have large purchases on the horizon.
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Best for luxury travel

Image of The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 80,000 points

Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

See Pay Over Time APR

  • 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

What we love: Luxury travelers and big spenders will appreciate the bevy of travel benefits, including annual statement credits worth around $1,700, elite hotel loyalty status and access to perhaps the most comprehensive airport lounge access available with a credit card. Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Platinum Card® from American Express Alternatives: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers a taste of luxury at a lower cost than many premium travel cards. You can unlock a generous rewards rate on both travel and general purchases, complimentary access to popular airport lounge memberships and valuable annual travel credits and anniversary miles.

  • Comes with a generous welcome offer and a longer time period to earn it compared to most rewards cards.
  • A robust line-up of airline and hotel partners and related perks make this card truly valuable for travelers.
  • The $695 annual fee may not be worth it if you don’t spend much on travel frequently or can’t take full advantage of the card’s luxury — and often niche — perks.
  • Redeeming and maximizing the card’s credit and benefits requires some legwork and can be a bit confusing.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best for no annual fee

Image of Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel

20,000 miles

5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.

1.25 Miles - 5 Miles

  • 1.25 Miles 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

What we love: This card offers some of the same advantages as the Capital One Venture, without the burden of an annual fee. It gives you the chance to earn flat-rate miles on your everyday spending and the option to transfer miles to over 15 loyalty program partners to even cover travel purchases outside Capital One — a unique level of redemption flexibility for a starter travel card. Learn more: Reasons to get the VentureOne Rewards Card Alternatives: A general-purpose flat-rate credit card that offers 2X points or 2 percent cash back on all purchases may bring more value if you don’t travel often and aren’t ready to upgrade to a travel rewards credit card with an annual fee. However, the Discover it® Miles earns a flat-rate 1.5X miles that can also be redeemed for cash back at 1-cent per mile, which is unusual for travel rewards.

  • The welcome offer is generous for a no-annual-fee travel credit card.
  • Booking hotel stays and rental cars through Capital One Travel nets you an impressive 5X miles.
  • Unlike several no-annual-fee travel cards, redeeming for non-travel purchases waters down your rewards’ value.
  • Capital One has no major U.S. carrier in its line-up of travel partners.
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies

Best for foodies

Image of American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points

Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • 3X Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

What we love: Few credit cards are more rewarding for traveling foodies than the American Express Gold Card. Both the food-related annual credits and the rewards rates at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and on flights booked directly with airlines or via the Amex travel portal are some of the best on the market. In fact, the up to $240 in credits each year alone nearly make up for the annual fee. Learn more: Why the Amex Gold is worth the annual fee Alternatives: If the Amex Gold Card’s annual fee sounds high, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card . It carries key travel perks, high travel and dining rewards rates, and a much lower annual fee.

  • This card features one of the best rewards return rates available on dining, groceries and food deliveries.
  • There is no preset spending limit, so you can enjoy extended purchasing power, and you also have the option to pay off purchases with Pay Over Time if necessary.
  • Although the card touts a solid collection of travel perks, it doesn’t include popular premium card perks like airport lounge access or trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
  • Only eligible airfare earns more than 1X points, while rival cards often earn similar (or higher) reward rates on hotel stays and other travel purchases as well.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.

Best for everyday spending

Image of Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

Citi Strata Premier℠ Card

  • Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com

70,000 bonus points

Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com. Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations. Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

21.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

  • 10X Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.
  • 3X Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.
  • 1X Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

What we love: This card’s high rewards rate in everyday bonus categories makes it an especially good choice for occasional travelers and people looking for a standalone rewards card. Its practical bonus categories mean you can earn rewards quickly, even if you don’t actually spend a ton on travel. Alternatives:   As long as you don’t mind buying groceries online, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could be an even more lucrative everyday rewards card. That’s thanks mostly to its high point redemption value (1.25 cents per point when you use points to book travel with Chase, versus just 1 cent per point when you book with Citi using the Strata Premier).

  • It’s one of the only travel cards that offers a high rewards rate on groceries, dining and gas, so it should work well whether it’s your standalone card or just one part of your card stack.
  • Its annual hotel benefit carries enough value to potentially offset the annual fee on its own.
  • The annual hotel benefit, though generous, isn’t very flexible: You’ll only get the $100 discount if you book a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through CitiTravel.com.
  • Based on Bankrate’s latest point and mile valuations, Citi ThankYou rewards carry a lower average redemption value than Chase, Amex and Capital One rewards.
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Hotels, Car Rentals, and Attractions booked on CitiTravel.com.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on Air Travel and Other Hotel Purchases, at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas and EV Charging Stations.
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $100 Annual Hotel Benefit: Once per calendar year, enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com. Benefit applied instantly at time of booking.
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Best for intro APR

Image of Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

25,000 points

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.

19.24% - 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • 1.5X Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.

What we love: This entry-level travel card keeps things simple for occasional travelers. It offers simple flat-rate rewards and lets you redeem for a broad mix of travel options not typically available on many travel cards, such as cash back toward purchases with travel agencies,  zoos, art galleries and more. It’s even more valuable if you’re a Bank of America customer and can qualify for a rewards boost through the Bank of America Preferred Rewards® program. Learn more: Is the Bank of America Travel Rewards card worth it? Alternatives: The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is another great starter travel card, but, unlike many cards in this category, it lets you transfer your miles to airline and hotel partners, potentially for a higher redemption value.

  • Its easy-to-earn sign-up bonus and intro APR offers give this card good short-term value.
  • No annual fees or foreign transaction fees sweeten this offer.
  • It only offers 1.5X points on purchases, and you can’t transfer points can’t to airline partners for more rewards value, so it may not be as lucrative as competing cards.
  • The top tiers of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards® program may be out of reach for many cardholders.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Best for point values

Image of Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠. Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Travel℠. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

22.49% - 29.49% Variable

  • 10x Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠.
  • 5x Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Travel℠.
  • 3x Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.
  • 1x Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

What we love: Rewards-savvy travelers will be hard-pressed to find a card with better rewards potential than the Sapphire Reserve. Points are worth 50 percent more through Chase Travel, and potentially more with the right transfer partner. It’s a stellar partner for Chase’s cash back cards and stacks on even more value with enough perks to recoup the annual fee without relying on hard-earned rewards. Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Alternatives: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers some of the same key perks as the Sapphire Reserve at a much lower cost. Along with a generous rewards rate on both Capital One Travel and general purchases, the card boasts valuable, practical benefits like competitive airport lounge access , up to $300 in annual Capital One Travel credits and 10,000 bonus miles every year on your account anniversary.

  • You can kickstart your rewards bank with one of the most valuable sign-up bonuses on the market.
  • Its top-tier benefits include up to $300 in annual travel statement credits, Priority Pass airport lounge access, exhaustive travel protections and stand-out partner perks.
  • The card’s cost could be a deterrent for some new cardholders, especially if they plan on encountering adding multiple authorized users.
  • You won’t get as many luxury hotel and airport lounge perks with this card as you would with some of its rivals.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®

Best for practical perks

Image of Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

75,000 miles

10 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 5 Miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel. 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.

2 Miles - 10 Miles

  • 10 Miles 10 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5 Miles 5 Miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel

What we love: This is the perfect middleground for travelers who want the practical benefits from luxury travel cards without dealing with bloated features and an annual fee upwards of $500. It offers complimentary lounge access, high-earning bonus rewards categories, anniversary credits and bonus miles, which can easily make the card worth it for frequent travelers. Learn more: Capital One Venture X Benefits Guide Alternatives: If a higher annual fee is no issue, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express. It’s a top choice for frequent travelers thanks to its impressive welcome offer and luxury perks like annual travel credits, lounge access and hotel elite status. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® may be better if your luxury travel experience calls for racking up more rewards.

  • Offers anniversary bonus miles and a chance to earn credits worth hundreds of dollars starting at your first account anniversary.
  • Comes with complimentary lounge access at over 1,300 lounges for you and two guests per visit.
  • To earn the anniversary credit, travel must be booked through the Capital One Travel portal. That’s not as flexible as some other cards, which offer credits that cover any travel purchases, regardless of how you book.
  • Lacks some perks found on other premium travel cards like airline or hotel elite status, which can get you benefits like free checked bags or room upgrades.
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more

Best for pairing

Image of Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

Up to $300 cash back

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more. 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service. 1.5% on all other purchases.

20.49% - 29.24% Variable

  • 5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • 1.5% 1.5% on all other purchases

What we love: Not only does it earn 1.5 percent cash back on general spending, but it also has a bonus cash back rate for drugstores and dining at restaurants. And if you pair it with one or two premium Chase travel cards, you could pool your rewards for better travel redemption value.  Learn more: Why I love the Chase Freedom Unlimited Alternatives: If you want to take advantage of even more rewarding cash back categories and remain in the Chase family, consider the Chase Freedom Flex℠ .

  • You can pool rewards with other Chase cards to maximize your earnings.
  • The additional rewards rate offer can add even more cash back to your pocket for the first year.
  • The welcome offer isn’t as competitive as other cards’ offers.
  • Maximizing rewards with this and other Chase cards can get complicated for people who like simple rewards programs.
  • Intro Offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
  • No annual fee – You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, alerts, and more.

Best for hotel bookings

Image of Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s $600 toward your next trip.

Earn unlimited 5X points on hotels. Earn unlimited 4X points on airlines. Earn unlimited 3X points on other travel and restaurants. Earn 1X points on other purchases.

21.24%, 26.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

  • 5X Earn unlimited 5X points on hotels
  • 4X Earn unlimited 4X points on airlines
  • 3X Earn unlimited 3X points on other travel and restaurants
  • 1X Earn 1X points on other purchases

What we love: It offers a great rewards rate on hotel bookings and gives you a chance to earn a $50 annual statement credit with a $50 minimum airline purchase. Add in a solid rate on airline purchases, other travel and restaurants and this card carries great value as a standalone mid-tier card for occasional travelers. Alternatives: If you want to earn travel rewards but don’t actually spend much on hotels and airfare, the lower-tier Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card is also worth a look. Though it earns also rewards on travel, it boasts a great mix of other practical everyday categories (including gas stations).

  • You can transfer points to Wells Fargo’s new list of airline and hotel partners, including popular programs like British Airways Executive Club, Choice Privileges and more, which could boost the redemption value of your rewards.
  • The $50 annual statement credit offsets more than half the card’s $95 annual fee and should be a cinch to earn if you fly at least once per year.
  • Wells Fargo only offers one other card that earns travel rewards (the Autograph), and there is some category overlap between the two, so they may not be as lucrative as some competing card stacks.
  • The card doesn’t carry some popular travel perks available on other mid-tier travel cards, such as credits for expedited airport security screening or rideshares.
  • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn unlimited 5X points on hotels, 4X points on airlines, 3X points on other travel and restaurants, and 1X points on other purchases.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Book your travel with the Autograph Journey Card and enjoy Travel Accident Insurance, Lost Baggage Reimbursement, Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.
  • Earn a $50 annual statement credit with $50 minimum airline purchase.
  • Up to $1,000 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.

Best no-annual-fee hotel card

Image of Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • Earn 70,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024.

Earn 70,000 points

Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio. Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

20.99%-29.99% Variable

  • 7X Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • 5X Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

What we love: This card earns rewards in a terrific mix of everyday bonus categories, so it should be easy to rack up Hilton points even if you don’t spend a ton on hotel bookings. Since it charges no annual fee and provides a few Hilton Honors benefits like Silver status, it’s also a great fit if you’re new to hotel cards and want a single no-annual-fee option instead of juggling multiple rewards cards. Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Hilton Honors American Express Card Alternatives: The American Express® Green Card could be more flexible since it lets you earn and redeem rewards on a much wider variety of travel purchases, including airfare and bookings with several hotel brands, not just Hilton. You can transfer points to the Hilton Honors program as well, but the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card may be better if you prefer upgraded Hilton-specific rewards, loyalty status and other perks.

  • Comes with automatic Silver Elite status, which includes a free fifth award night when you book at least four consecutive nights with points.
  • Earns rewards in three of the average person’s biggest spending categories, making it a terrific standalone option for earning Hilton points.
  • A higher-tier Hilton card would earn more on Hilton bookings and could be more lucrative for frequent guests, even with an annual fee.
  • You can only redeem points with Hilton and its partners, which limits the rewards value you earn on the everyday categories compared to a general-purpose cards’ rewards.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Points per dollar on purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors™ Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors™ Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • No Annual Fee.

Best for luxury hotel perks

Image of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

  • Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points

  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • 6X Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®
  • 3X 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X 2X points on all other eligible purchases

What we love: Frequent Marriott guests looking for luxury card-level perks and elite status should be able to justify this premium card. Along with a terrific rewards rate on Marriott bookings and an annual free night award, you could enjoy generous annual credits for restaurant purchases and Marriott property stays, airport lounge access, elite night credits and more. Learn more: Best Marriott credit cards Alternatives: If you’re looking for top-tier travel perks but want the flexibility to earn and redeem rewards for stays at any hotel chain, consider an elite travel card from Chase or Amex, which can come with generous travel benefits, airport lounge access and the ability to transfer points to Marriott. The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is another lucrative alternative.

  • Outperforms other Marriott cards with its boosted rewards on travel-related categories and 21X points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, thanks to the automatic Platinum Elite status.
  • It’s one of the only hotel cards that includes complimentary Priority Pass lounge access, top travel protections and credits for expedited airport security screening.
  • Unlocking some of the card’s best perks — like Five Suite Night Awards — requires a $60,000 annual spend, which may be tough to reach even for frequent Marriott guests.
  • Unless luxury perks are at the top of your wishlist, the annual fee may not be worth it and a lower-tier hotel card may offer more value overall.
  • $300 Brilliant Dining Credit: Each calendar year, get up to $300 (up to $25 per month) in statement credits for eligible purchases made on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card at restaurants worldwide.
  • With Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you can receive room upgrades, including enhanced views or suites, when available at select properties and booked with a Qualifying Rate.
  • Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you will be eligible to select a Brilliant Earned Choice Award benefit. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year. See https://www.choice-benefit.marriott.com/brilliant for Award options.
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, which offers unlimited airport lounge visits to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • With Cell Phone Protection, you can be reimbursed, the lesser of, your repair or replacement costs following damage, such as a cracked screen, or theft for a maximum of $800 per claim when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month's wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible will apply to each approved claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12-month period. Additional terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.

Best for transfer partners

Image of Bilt Mastercard®

Bilt Mastercard®

Intro offer is not available for this Wells Fargo credit card.

3x points on dining. 2x points on travel. 1x points on other purchases. Earn up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee, up to 100,000 points each calendar year. When you make at least 5 posted transactions in a statement period using your Bilt Mastercard, you'll earn points on rent and qualifying net purchases.

1X Points - 3X Points

  • 3X Points 3x points on dining
  • 2X Points 2x points on travel
  • 1X Points 1x points on other purchases
  • 1X Points Earn up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee, up to 100,000 points each calendar year. When you make at least 5 posted transactions in a statement period using your Bilt Mastercard, you'll earn points on rent and qualifying net purchases.

What we love: Not only is this card is a terrific choice for renters since it earns rewards and waives transaction fees when using it to pay rent, it’s also great for rewards strategists considering the extremely robust travel rewards program. You can earn rewards on travel and dining and your points carry a high value whether you redeem through the Bilt travel portal or one of the many airline and hotel transfer partners. Alternatives: If you like the Bilt card’s travel rewards program but don’t see yourself renting long term, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It earns generously on both travel and dining and also boasts high-value points and transfer partners. If the way you pay rent doesn’t incur credit card payment fees, a flat-rate card may also be worth weighing. 

  • It’s the only card that helps you avoid the fees typically associated with paying rent with a credit card.
  • Offers a solid collection of travel perks for a no-annual-fee card, including trip cancellation and interruption protection, trip delay reimbursement and other high-level travel protections.
  • You can only use rewards to cover rent, toward a future home down payment or for travel and shopping. Cash back isn’t an option.
  • There is no sign-up bonus. Most competing travel cards — even those with no annual fee — offer at least a $200 bonus.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • Earn up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee, up to 100,000 points each calendar year.
  • 2x points on travel.
  • 3x points on dining.
  • 1x points on other purchases.
  • Earn points when you make 5 transactions that post each statement period.
  • When renting at a Bilt Alliance property, you can choose to have your rent payments automatically reported by Bilt to the three major credit bureaus each month; Experian™, TransUnion™, and Equifax™.

Best for gas

Image of Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.

20,000 bonus points

Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services and phone plans. Earn 1X points on other purchases.

20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

  • 3X Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services and phone plans.

What we love: The Wells Fargo Autograph card is a great option for occasional travelers and households on the go looking to earn rewards while avoiding an annual fee and reduced redemption value for cash rewards. It’s one of a few entry-level travel cards to offer high, year-round bonus rewards for gas, dining, transit and other key travel needs. Learn more: Is the Wells Fargo Autograph worth it? Alternatives: If you’re looking for ways to maximize the value of your rewards, you should consider a travel card that lets you transfer your points to airlines or hotels, like the Bilt Mastercard® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

  • While some issuers only reward travel purchases made directly with airlines or through issuer portals, this card lets you shop around for the best deal on third-party travel sites and still earn extra rewards.
  • Carries decent perks such as rental car collision damage waiver coverage, roadside assistance and Visa Signature® Concierge benefits, like access to Visa’s Luxury Hotel Collection (terms apply).
  • Unlike with traditional travel cards, you cannot transfer your points to airlines or hotels
  • The travel perks and intro APR are weak compared to competing travel-oriented cards’ offers.
  • Select "Apply Now" to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits. Or shop at millions of online stores and redeem your rewards when you check out with PayPal.

Best for companion tickets

Image of Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • Earn 85,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 85,000 miles

Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

  • 3X Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • 2X Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • 1X Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.

What we love: The annual companion certificate on Main Cabin domestic flights (taxes and fees apply) comes with this card after the first year is valuable enough to justify the annual fee even if you’re just looking for great Delta perks to make travel smoother with a partner. Plus, the companion certificate is easier to obtain than other airline cards’ since it carries no spending requirement that must be met beyond the card’s annual fee. Alternatives: The American Express® Green Card could be a great alternative since it charges a lower $150 annual fee, lets you earn and redeem rewards on travel with any eligible airline (not just Delta) and offers credits for Loungebuddy lounge access and Clear Plus. You can even transfer points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio.

  • Boasts several valuable travel perks, including priority boarding, a free first checked bag and specialized annual credits for select rideshare services and reservations with Delta Stays and Resy.
  • Gets you closer to Medallion Status and discounts on in-flight purchases, complimentary upgrades, and more.
  • Its rewards rate on non-travel purchases is lacking — a general-purpose travel card could potentially offer better rewards value and flexibility for rewards travel outside Delta.
  • No longer offers complimentary Delta Sky Club lounge access as of this year, although airport lounge access is a staple perk for premium travel cards.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Earn $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $20 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Receive Zone 5 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members and Reserve Card Members.
  • $350 Annual Fee.

Best starter airline card

Image of Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 85,000 points

Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming. Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

  • 2X Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • 2X Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • 2X Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2X Earn 2X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners.
  • 1X Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

What we love: This card’s anniversary bonus offers enough value to nearly offset the annual fee on its own, so it should be a terrific low-stakes option whether you’re new to airline cards or a regular Southwest flyer looking for a low-maintenance card. Plus, its sign-up bonus value is on par with the value you’ll get with much pricier airline and travel cards. Learn more: Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus benefits guide Alternatives: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card could offer better value overall, despite its $149 annual fee. It carries an annual $75 Southwest travel credit and 7,500 bonus points each year on your account anniversary — more than enough value to justify the higher fee.

  • You’ll automatically earn 3,000 Rapid Rewards points each year after your account anniversary, which could offset much of the card’s already-low annual fee.
  • Delivers the same hefty sign-up bonus as higher-tier Southwest cards.
  • Unlike several travel cards, it doesn’t carry rewards categories for popular everyday purchases like gas or dining.
  • It may not be the best Southwest value for frequent flyers since it poses a 3 percent foreign transaction fee and doesn’t offer perks like upgraded boardings or elite status benefits.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Best for savers

Image of Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

  • Receive 60,000 online bonus points - a $600 value - after you make at least $4,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

60,000 points

Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases. Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

21.24% - 29.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • 2X Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases.
  • 1.5X Earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

What we love: If you do your banking with Bank of America and qualify for Preferred Rewards status, this card could provide an exclusive 25 percent to 75 percent rewards rate boost. The  rewards rates — 2X points on dining and travel, with 1.5X points on all other purchases — could increase to an incredible 3.5X on travel and dining with an unrivaled flat 2.62X points rate. Learn more: Why expert Sara Coleman loves the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card Alternatives: The similarly-priced Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best alternatives thanks to its stellar travel protections, yearly bonus rewards and stronger rewards program. However, flat-rate cards like the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card or the Discover it® Miles card could be lucrative if you don’t think the $95 annual fee is worth it.

  • The $95 annual fee is relatively affordable for this card category thanks to the up to $100 in yearly airline incidental statement credits.
  • You can smooth out your travel experience with great benefits like credits toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Attaining the highest rewards rate is not an easy feat, since you’ll need to hold significant funds in Bank of America accounts.
  • This card does not offer a few popular premium travel perks like lounge access.
  • Low $95 annual fee.
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn 2.5-3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and 1.87 - 2.62 points on all other purchases, for every $1 you spend.
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center.
  • Get up to $100 in Airline Incidental Statement Credits annually and TSA PreCheck®/Global Entry Statement Credits of up to $100, every four years.
  • Travel Insurance protections to assist with trip delays, cancellations and interruptions, baggage delays and lost luggage.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Best for first-year value

Image of Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

  • Unlimited Bonus: Unlimited Mile-for-Mile match for all new cardmembers—only from Discover. Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. You could turn 35,000 Miles to 70,000 Miles. There’s no signing up, no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a Miles-for-Miles match.

Discover Match®

Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase.

18.24% - 28.24% Variable APR

  • 1.5X Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase.

What we love: In addition to the exceptionally valuable Discover Match® , this card combines solid flat-rate rewards with consumer-friendly terms, like minimal fees and an equal value for both travel and cash back redemptions. Travelers who value simplicity will appreciate this card’s straightforward rewards and adaptability — even when you aren’t traveling. Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Discover it® Miles Alternatives: The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card carries a more straightforward and still easy-to-reach welcome bonus. The VentureOne card also gives you the option of transferring miles to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners, which could increase the redemption value of your rewards.

  • All miles earned in your first year will be matched at the end of the year, which could make it one of the most valuable first-year offers for no annual fee.
  • Miles don’t lose value when they’re redeemed for cash back, which gives it a leg up over many travel rewards programs for occasional travelers.
  • You’ll miss out on pretty standard travel perks like travel insurance, and car rental damage protection.
  • The rewards structure lacks flexibility; you won’t be able to transfer your miles or use them to book travel.
  • Automatically earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on every dollar of every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • Turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 18.24% - 28.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR will apply.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
  • Terms and conditions apply.

Best for fair credit

Image of Credit One Bank Wander® Card

Credit One Bank Wander® Card

Intro offer is not available for this Credit One Bank credit card.

Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site. Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.

29.74% Variable

  • 10X Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
  • 5X Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • 1X Earn 1x points on all other purchases

What we love: The Credit One Bank Wander® Card is a solid option if you want to earn points on travel but have trouble qualifying for mainstream travel cards. Not only is this card accessible with only fair credit, but its rewards program boasts generously high rewards rates in key travel categories. Learn more: Best travel cards for people with bad or fair credit Alternatives: If you don’t mind putting down a refundable security deposit, consider a no-annual-fee secured card like the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card *. It’s a unique secured card that lets you build credit while earning rewards in a category of your choice (with travel just one of many popular options) as well as grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

  • It’s one of the only travel rewards cards available with a fair credit score, making it a decent option if you want to earn travel rewards as you work on your score.
  • Provides 5X points in travel, dining and gas, plus 10X points on eligible hotel and rental car bookings through Credit One Bank — rare and impressive rates with only fair credit.
  • Its annual fee is high compared to other cards you can get with a fair credit score , so it may not be the best fit if you prioritize building credit over earning rewards.
  • Other travel cards may offer better perks, fewer redemption restrictions and more value, so it may be worth working on your score with a lower-cost card before committing to the costly annual fee.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees

Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit  AmericanExpress.com/benefitsguide  for more details. Underwritten by Amex assurance company.

The information about the American Express® Green Card and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuers.

Compare Bankrate's best travel credit cards of 2024

What are travel credit cards.

Travel credit cards allow cardholders to earn points or miles on a variety of purchases (typically travel-related), which are redeemable for travel bookings, statement credits, gift cards and more.

The best travel credit cards do more than help you foot the bill for your next flight — travel cards also offer perks to upgrade your entire travel experience. Trip insurance , annual travel credits, concierge services and lounge access are all common benefits. Airline and hotel co-branded credit cards sometimes offer specific discounts and perks for loyalty program members.

Pros and cons of travel credit cards

Although a well-chosen travel card can pay huge dividends, it might not be the right move for every traveler. Before you apply, take time to weigh the benefits versus the drawbacks of travel credit cards .

Tips on choosing the best travel credit card for you

The right travel credit card for you will carry features and benefits that give you the best value. To help you narrow down your choices, here are the steps to choosing the best travel card.

How to choose a travel credit card

1. know how you prefer to travel.

Knowing whether your travel expenses lean toward airfare, hotel stays or a mix of other travel will help you decide whether you should get an airline card, hotel card or general-purpose travel card. A co-branded airline or hotel credit card may be a good fit if you mostly travel with a certain brand and want exclusive privileges to enhance your experience. A general-purpose travel card is better if you prefer to keep your travel options open.

2. Prioritize redemption value

You may have to pick between simplicity and maximum value when comparing cards and rewards programs. Many travel cards offer a standard point or mile redemption value of 1 cent when you redeem toward travel through the issuer portal, but some cards can get you a higher redemption value when you transfer rewards to airline or hotel partners. However, it's common for many travel reward programs to reduce the redemption value toward non-travel options or limit these redemption options altogether. If you prefer simplicity over maximizing rewards, you may want to consider cards that allow you to redeem points or miles at an equal 1-cent value toward general travel purchase credits, cash back or other non-travel options.

3. Match your card to your spending habits

Take a look at your typical spending and find which travel categories and non-travel categories you spend the most in to help you choose a card that offers a high rewards rate for your regular spending. Just make sure you factor in rewards spending caps.

4. Note what's worth the extra money

High rewards rates and valuable travel perks are the biggest reasons to get a travel card, but many of the best cards carry a high annual fee. You could stick with a no-annual-fee travel card (or at least one with around a $99 fee) if you're mainly focused on earning rewards, but you may have to pay up to $500 or more for luxurious perks like airport lounge access, comprehensive travel insurance and hundreds of dollars in annual travel credits .

5. Look toward your next trip abroad

If you travel overseas, check to see if the card you're considering charges a foreign transaction fee. And since some credit cards aren't as widely accepted as others, you'll also want to make sure your credit card will work when traveling overseas . For example, merchants may not accept Discover and American Express cards as widely as Visa and Mastercard. If a trip is coming up in the next three to six months, keep an eye out for the big sign-up bonuses travel cards are known for. As a rule of thumb, the higher the annual fee, the higher the sign-up bonus should be.

Co-branded travel cards vs. general travel cards

Experts typically divide travel credit cards into two categories: co-branded travel cards and general travel cards. Co-branded cards are linked to a particular airline or hotel, while general travel cards offer more flexible reward opportunities. Here’s why and when you might want one or the other.

  • Co-branded cards
  • General travel cards

Co-branded travel cards tend to offer higher rewards rates on eligible travel purchases in exchange for limiting your reward redemption options to just one airline or hotel program . These cards may also feature more specific perks associated with the respective hotel or airline, such as free award nights, complimentary airline elite status or priority boarding — which general-purpose travel cards don’t often carry).

However, you won’t be able to use your rewards with a wide variety of different hotels and airlines like general-purpose cards allow. Plus, despite co-branded travel cards’ typically higher rewards rates, many brand-specific rewards tend to be worth less than the potential value of general-purpose cards’ points and miles.

When to get a co-branded travel card : When you often fly or stay with a specific airline or hotel and want to maximize your benefits with that brand.

General travel cards earn rewards on various travel categories and aren’t limited to a particular airline or hotel. Such cards may lack some of the dedicated perks you’ll find on a co-branded travel card, such as in-flight discounts, but make up for it with rewards flexibility and broader perks like general travel credits, expedited security screening and wider airport lounge access. 

The top travel cards even let you transfer your points or miles to airline and hotel loyalty programs, often at a 1:1 rate. Redeeming with some airlines and hotels can even make your rewards more valuable than they would be if you redeemed with the card issuer.

When to get a general travel card : When you have no preferred airline or hotel and want the additional flexibility a general travel card offers. 

Who should get a travel credit card?

A travel credit card is almost always worth it for frequent travelers or anyone who wants to earn rewards toward their next vacation.

If you can save up airline miles, rack up points for free nights at hotels or get discounted travel through your credit card issuer, you’re on your way to significant travel savings. However, the right travel card for you will depend on your travel habits.

Frequent travelers

Naturally, the ideal candidate for a travel card is someone who travels a lot or plans to book several flights and hotel stays per year. However, in some cases, you don’t have to be a frequent traveler to reap the benefits of a travel rewards card. A number of cards offer good rewards rates on general purchases.

Travel beginners

If you’re new to travel rewards, a good place to start is with a travel card that makes it easy to earn and redeem points, without requiring you to navigate a complex rewards program or worry about tiered rewards rates or varying point redemption values. 

Brand loyalists

If you tend to book travel with the same brands frequently or already belong to an airline or hotel loyalty program, a co-branded travel card can offer terrific value.  Airline- and hotel-specific rewards cards often earn a top rate on bookings with the brand as well as exclusive perks like lounge access and automatic elite status. 

Business travelers

Some of the most valuable travel credit cards are business cards . Whether you're a freelancer on the go or the CEO of a Fortune 500, the right travel credit card can help you earn high rewards rates on everyday business purchases. 

International travelers

If you frequently travel abroad, a card with no foreign transaction fees is a great way to help you avoid extra costs on overseas purchases. Plus, if you hate waiting in line at airport security or customs, a lot of travel cards offer statement credits to reimburse you for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees.

Luxury travelers

Luxury travel cards often charge a pretty penny but also offer a ton of value via perks like lounge access and annual travel credits. These perks not only make travel more comfortable, but also often carry enough value to offset the card’s cost on their own.

Still unsure if a travel credit card is right for you? Check out our Credit Card Spender Type Tool where you can get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits and daily needs.

Here’s how a Bankrate editor chose his travel card

Here’s how a bankrate editor chose his travel card.

With all of this advice in mind, let’s see how a credit card expert made their pick. Here’s Bankrate editor Nouri Zarrugh on how he chose his travel card:

When it comes to earning rewards, I’ve always stuck with cash back cards, preferring the simplicity of knowing exactly how much my rewards are worth and the ease of redeeming for statement credits. Recently, though, I decided I wanted to travel a bit more frequently, and I figured a new travel rewards card could be a great tool to help me earn free trips. When choosing the right card for me, a few major points of consideration stood out: Cost: I didn’t feel like I traveled enough to justify a huge annual fee. Simplicity : I wanted to stick with a single, streamlined travel card and not worry about juggling multiple rewards programs or rewards rates. Perks : While I didn’t need anything too fancy, I thought it might be nice to have a perk like TSA Precheck included, since I hate waiting in long airport security lines. To my surprise, the card that stood out most was the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Though it carried an intimidating annual fee of $395 ( See Rates & Fees ), I found this cost was more than worth it once I dug into the details. In fact, its benefits were so valuable, I barely needed to worry about offsetting the cost.  Two of its annual perks — a $300 Capital One travel credit and 10,000 bonus miles every year on my account anniversary — are valuable enough to offset the fee on their own. This means as long as I take one flight a year, I can basically break even on the card. Any rewards or perks I get beyond that feel like pure upside. It’s a huge bonus, then, that the card also includes practical benefits like Priority Pass lounge access and a credit of up to $100 toward the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. While I’ve never frequented airport lounges, I see these privileges as essentially free considering the value of the annual travel credit and bonus miles. So, I figure, why not take advantage?  For me, the Venture X strikes the perfect balance: A flat rewards rate that makes it easy to earn miles on everything I buy; flexible redemption through Capital One or via transfer to airlines and hotels, and practical perks I know I’ll use when I travel. I never imagined I’d have a $395 travel card in my wallet, but for me, it’s at worst a coupon for a flight every year, which can nudge me to take that next trip. — Nouri Zarrugh, Editor, Bankrate

Travel benefits may differ from card to card, but some of the most popular travel cards available often feature a few key perks. 

Travel insurance

Travel cards may offer various travel insurances , such as trip delay protection, trip cancellation insurance, lost baggage insurance or car rental insurance. These benefits aren’t worth anything until you need them, but you’ll be glad you have them when your flight is canceled or your luggage gets lost.

Travel credits

Credits toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry are a popular and common benefit on many travel cards. You can typically use this credit once every four years, which roughly corresponds to how long a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership lasts. Some cards may also provide an annual credit toward Clear Plus — another expedited security membership. Higher-end travel cards often offer annual statement credits toward travel purchases, and many of these credits nearly offset these cards’ annual fees. 

In-flight perks

Co-branded airline cards typically offer some airport and in-flight benefits on top of their reward-earning capabilities. These can include discounts on in-flight purchases (usually 25 percent back on refreshments and WiFi), free checked bags, flight seating upgrades or priority boarding. 

Free hotel award nights

Co-branded hotel cards may include free hotel award nights annually as part of their benefits. Some cards also add an extra complimentary awards night to your stay if you’ve booked a certain number of consecutive nights. These nights are typically capped at a certain value (sometimes based on the card or your elite status), and may be valuable enough to make up for some cards’ annual fees.

Airport lounge access

One of the most popular (and valuable) travel benefits featured on high-end and luxury travel cards is complimentary access to airport lounges. The lounges you gain access to depend on the card, though co-branded cards will often grant access to the lounge corresponding to the card’s airline. The Amex Platinum card currently offers the best airport lounge access .

If you want to add a credit card to your portfolio for your travel needs, knowing what cards are popular and why people like them can help steer your decision. We regularly stay abreast of these conversations online and noticed two travel cards come up regularly: the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express .

These cards shine because they offer some of the best rates on travel purchases and the most comprehensive set of benefits and perks . Despite their annual fees, what you get in return can far outweigh your costs. And the conversation around these two cards isn’t new: Is the effort of maximizing their perks worth it?

What people say about travel credit cards perks

The Sapphire Reserve is often referred to as the gold standard in travel benefits and protections, and the value of its trip insurance is a big part of that. A member of the Rick Steves Forum remarks on the value of the insurance: “It has pretty extensive coverage wherever I travel … my entire trip is covered as long as I charged any portion of the trip to my card.” This feature is unique to the Sapphire Reserve and sets it apart from other premium cards, which require you to charge your entire trip purchase to the card to have active coverage.

But using trip insurance isn’t always a simple process. As a user in the r/CreditCards forum on Reddit cautions: “Credit card travel insurance in general is very specific on what it covers, and people tend to overestimate just how useful the coverage actually is,” they write. “These are named peril policies, so unless you see your exact situation as a covered hazard the policies won't pay out.”

The Platinum Card from American Express gets a lot of buzz for reasons similar to the Sapphire Reserve. The card gives so many benefits, credits and additional perks that it’s often called a coupon book for luxury travel. But for many people, the value comes down to whether they’re willing to do the work to maximize its features. Another r/CreditCards member says they use the card’s Hilton and Marriott status boosters, rental car company loyalty program automatic status features, Centurion lounge access, hotel and airline incidental credits, membership credits and more. Using all these features helps them offset the annual fee.

While some people love maximizing the card’s features to extract  as much value as possible, others, like this Redditor, think it’s too much work:

“The only benefit the Platinum card really adds is Centurion but only to the [cardholder] … I believe the Platinum is worth [it] at least the first year for the [sign-up] bonus but then it doesn't get much use after that. Trust me the credits are really annoying to use.” — r/CreditCards user

These two premium cards stand out from the rest because they offer the most comprehensive features available to suit your travel needs and protect you from any issues that arise. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an exceptional option to protect you from travel issues, but make sure you know the fine print. While the Amex Platinum may not be as ideal for travel protections, the credits offered more than offset its annual fee if you can put in the effort to fully maximize them.

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned cardholder, your travel card should always work in your favor by offering the features and benefits you’ll actually use and that make your travels more enjoyable. But whether you’re willing to put in the effort to maximize a card’s value is something you’ll need to decide for yourself.

*The quotes and citations included on this page have been verified by our editorial team and are accurate as of the posting date. Be sure to check the issuer's website/terms and conditions for all up to date content. Outlinked content may contain views and opinions that do not reflect the views and opinions of Bankrate.

Credit card points and miles are two of the key types of credit card rewards , along with cash back. You’ll earn points and miles by making purchases with your credit card, but you can typically redeem these rewards for travel, gift cards and more — not just statement credits.

Points and miles tend to be more flexible than cash back, but since their value depends on how you redeem them — and, in the case of travel redemptions, where you’re going, when you book, your fare class and more — it may take a bit more effort to make the most of them.

What are your points and miles worth?

Since many airlines and hotels use dynamic pricing models that continually optimize airfare and room prices, it can be hard to know exactly how much your rewards are worth without doing a little math.

Luckily, you don’t need to be a travel hacker to get a sense of this idea. Before you redeem, you can check your reward redemption value by dividing the cost of a plane or hotel booking in cash by its cost in points or miles. This calculation will result in the cash value of your points or miles.

You can also compare this value to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations to determine if you’re getting a good deal on your redemptions. Bankrate collected data on hundreds of bookings across dozens of airline, hotel and credit card rewards programs and estimated how much each program’s rewards are worth on average .

  • Airline rewards values
  • Hotel rewards values
  • Credit card program rewards values

The table below shows Bankrate’s estimated reward redemption value for a variety of popular airline loyalty programs. You’ll notice how widely the value varies between airlines, with some offering close to 3 cents per point in average redemption value and others struggling to meet a 1-cent-per-point value.

Keep in mind, however, that these values are averages based on a variety of fare classes, destinations, booking periods and more. For example, while Bankrate estimates Delta SkyMiles carry an average redemption value of around 1.2 cents per mile, they could be worth more or less depending on the details of your booking. 

*Based on weighted average of median point/mile values across economy and first/business class fares.

Like airline miles, hotel points fluctuate in value. The table below shows Bankrate’s estimated point values for some of the most popular hotel brands. 

As you can see, hotel points tend to be worth less than airline and credit card rewards on average, often carrying less than 1 cent per point in redemption value. That said, hotel loyalty programs sometimes offer more favorable exchange rates when you transfer rewards from a credit card rewards program. For example, you may be able to turn 1,000 credit card points into 2,000 hotel points (a 2:1 transfer ratio). 

*Based on median point values across budget, mid-tier and luxury hotel bookings.

Unlike hotel and airline rewards programs, credit card reward programs typically earn points or miles that offer a consistent redemption value when you use them with the issuer. Though the redemption value of your rewards may vary based on how you redeem, each redemption method should offer a consistent baseline value. 

Some credit card rewards programs may also allow you to transfer your points or miles to airline and hotel loyalty programs, which could boost their value considerably. For each major credit card rewards program, we estimate a baseline redemption value (assuming you book for travel with the issuer) and a Bankrate’s Value, which averages the program’s best-value transfer partners.

*Based on an average of the issuer’s five highest-value transfer partners (if available).

When to use rewards vs. cash

To demonstrate when it’s best to use your reward miles versus paying in cash, we set up this example:

We estimate American Airlines AAdvantage miles are worth 1.0 cents. If you book a seat in the main cabin on a one-way flight from Boston to Miami, and it costs either $139 or 21,500 miles, your miles are only worth $0.006 ($139 / 21,500 miles = $0.006). Since your miles for this flight are worth less than 1.0 cents, you may want to save your miles and pay cash for this flight.

But if you book a first-class seat on the same flight for $433 or 31,500 miles, your miles are now worth $0.013 ($433 / 31,500 = $0.013). Since 1.3 cents is higher than our latest valuation, you’re coming out ahead if you use your miles to pay for this flight.

Bankrate experts share their advice on using travel credit cards

It’s important to know how to maximize your rewards and perks. Otherwise, a travel card could end up being a money pit. Here are a few pointers from our experts for making the most of your travel card: 

Combine cards to maximize rewards

Knowing how much you spend in different categories and which merchants are eligible for rewards will help you earn more and build an optimized stack of rewards cards. A flat-rate card is often a great starting point to earn the same rate on every purchase you make. As you build out a rewards strategy, you can incorporate a card with bonus categories to earn even more in your highest spending areas.

Expert Insight:

“For a long time, I’ve used a combination of Chase credit cards known as the Chase trifecta for all my family’s spending…. [I] don’t typically use my Sapphire Reserve for everyday spending and bills. Since it only offers 1X points on non-bonus category spending, I use my Freedom Unlimited to make sure I earn a minimum of 1.5 percent cash back on everything I buy.” “I use each card strategically to earn as much in rewards as possible, then I pool them in my Sapphire Reserve account to redeem them for airfare, excursions, hotels and more.” — Holly D. Johnson — Award-winning personal finance writer and Bankrate contributor: Why I love the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Maximize your rewards value with transfer partners and issuer travel

Save your rewards for the most valuable redemption options. Travel points and miles often lose value toward non-travel options like cash back, so you’ll want to redeem your rewards for travel through the issuer portal for at least 1 cent per point or mile. However, transferring your rewards to the right airline or hotel partner program is usually worth the extra effort since it could net you even more value.

Expert Insight

“When I redeem my points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, the most I can get is 1.25 cents apiece, which is pretty good. However, if I transfer them to a partner airline’s loyalty program, I will often get much more. For example, I can transfer my points to United Airlines MileagePlus and use them to pay for flights. When I do, I generally get a value of 2 or more cents per point — in line with Bankrate estimates that Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth around 2 cents apiece on average when used with the right transfer partner.” — Margaret Wack — Personal finance expert and Bankrate contributor: Why I love the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Make the most of your travel perks

Travel benefits are one of the main reasons to get a travel card, and are often key to making up a card’s annual fee. Be sure to read the fine print to make sure you can take full advantage of these offers . For example, one card’s travel credit may apply to any travel purchase, including airfare, while another card’s may only cover costs like baggage fees or in-flight purchases. 

“This is the year to take inventory of your credit cards and make sure they’re serving you well. If you’re paying an annual fee, look for a card with recurring benefits. Whether it’s annual award nights, waived luggage fees or elite status benefits, these perks can offset your annual fee and make your travels more pleasant … Despite putting minimal spending on my Hilton Honors Amex Aspire card, I keep renewing it every year. That’s because the card provides automatic Hilton Diamond elite status, which can easily offset the $550 annual fee. Recurring card benefits like [these] can save you a lot on travel and are worth considering when shopping for a new credit card.” — Ariana Arghandewal — Travel rewards expert and Bankrate contributor: Five benefits you need from a travel credit card

Plan for the sign-up bonus

The best travel cards come with generous welcome offers, but these bonuses may require a high spend in a short timeframe. That’s why it’s important to consider whether the spending requirement fits with your typical spending habits or whether you need to plan purchases to meet the requirement. Just be sure not to overextend yourself or take on debt you can’t pay back just to earn a bonus — interest and fees can easily eat through any value you’d get.

“Keep in mind that credit card sign-up offers change often. So if you’re interested in a particular card but not blown away by its current offer (there are some for 100,000 points or more that aren’t always worth the trouble), it could be worth your while to wait for a better one.” — Ariana Arghandewal — Travel rewards expert and Bankrate contributor: 6 ways to get bigger credit card bonuses

Look out for limited-time offers, partner perks and other benefits

Keeping an eye out for limited-time offers like extraordinarily high sign-up bonuses, perks with partner services (like rideshares or delivery services) and other reward-earning opportunities is a great way to squeeze the most value from your travel card. Issuers sometimes provide shopping and travel portals and card-linked reward programs for select purchases (like for pre-paid dining or participating merchant spending), which can help you bank extra rewards.

“Keep an eye on your email inbox and rewards portal for any limited-time promotions your issuer may be offering. Many American Express cards feature Amex Offers, which lets you access perks like statement credits for spending a certain amount on specific hotels and other retailers.  Other cards, like the Capital One Venture X, also have occasional promotional offers, such as a credit for 5 percent back on VRBO rentals.” — Lori Zaino — Travel expert and Bankrate contributor: How to maximize credit cards for cheaper accommodations this holiday season

Track your spending and rewards each account statement

Track your favorite stores’ and services’ merchant category codes (MCCs) to fine-tune your spending habits for maximum rewards. If you notice your expenses changing, this practice may also help you notice whether you need to change which rewards cards you carry.

“The first step to optimizing your spending is to take the time to collect the MCCs of stores you frequently shop at. During the process, you might find that some stores in the same chain may have different MCCs, depending on their primary inventory. Even different counters or sections in the same department store may carry different MCCs. You can use this to your advantage if you know one location near you will provide a better cash back rate than the other. These “loopholes” can provide great opportunities to reap cash back on purchases that typically wouldn’t earn rewards.” — Garrett Yarbrough — Writer and credit cards expert at Bankrate: Merchant category codes: How to earn more cash back

Our data: What credit score do you need for the best travel cards?

It’s no secret that your credit score heavily influences which cards you’re likely to get approval for. But how good does your credit need to be to get the best credit cards for travel? We analyzed our data of Bankrate readers who applied for credit cards on our pages in 2023 and compared the approval rates of readers’ different credit tiers.

We found that, on average, 61.9 percent of users with excellent credit were approved for travel cards on our site. Then, an average of 39.5 percent and 19.5 percent of users with good and fair credit, respectively, got approval for travel credit cards they applied to.

If you have fair or bad credit, you still have options for travel credit cards. For example, the Credit One Bank Wander Card caters to people with fair credit — 57 percent of people with fair credit who applied on our site in 2023 were approved for this card , according to our data.

Obviously, the better your credit, the more likely you are to get the card you apply for , but other factors can affect your application. Issuers may also consider your income, recent credit applications, homeownership status and monthly rental or mortgage payment. Keep these other factors in mind with your credit score when you apply for credit cards.

Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email , find us on Facebook , or Tweet us @Bankrate .

When evaluating the best travel cards, we consider a mix of factors, including how cards score in our proprietary card rating system and whether cards offer features that fit the priorities of a diverse group of cardholders, from earning rewards in popular categories to scoring a large sign-up bonus or high-value perks. Whenever possible, we also feature cards that are available at various credit levels and price points. 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular cards and scored each based on its rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more to determine whether it belonged in this month’s roundup of the best travel cards.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the key factors in our rewards card scoring methodology — our primary scoring category for travel cards — and details we considered when putting together our list of the best travel cards.  

  • Flexibility 15%
  • Customer experience 5%

Great rewards value

The primary criteria for a rewards-earning card’s rating is its rewards value. This includes the card’s average rewards rate, estimated annual rewards earnings, sign-up bonus value and reward redemption value.

To estimate a card’s average annual rewards earnings, we first calculate its average rewards rate based on how much it earns in different bonus categories and how closely its categories align with the average person’s spending habits. In other words, we assess whether the card earns rewards at a high rate in the most popular spending categories. 

We use consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to get a reliable third-party measure of people’s spending habits. The most recent BLS data estimates average total spending in 2022 was $72,967 per consumer. We then narrow our focus to which purchases are likely to be put on a credit card and earn rewards, subtracting expenditures like housing, vehicle purchases and education. This gives us a total “chargeable” annual spend of around $25,500.  

This includes the following spending by category:

  • Groceries: $5,700
  • Dining out: $3,600
  • Entertainment: $2,400
  • Gas: $3,100
  • Apparel and services: $1,900

Using this data, we assign a weighting to each of a card’s bonus categories. For example, a card’s grocery rewards rate receives a 22 percent weighting based on how much of the average person’s budget is spent on groceries.

We also estimate the redemption value of points or miles from various issuer, airline and hotel rewards programs.

This weighting and rewards valuation allows us to estimate a card’s average annual rewards earnings — how many points or miles you’d earn with a given card if your spending was about average and you used the card for all of your purchases — as well as what those points are worth. We also use point valuations to determine a card’s sign-up bonus value

With these calculations complete, we assign each card a score based on how its average rewards earnings, sign-up bonus value, rewards rate and redemption value stack up against other rewards cards.

The better these values, the higher its score will be, making it more worthy of inclusion in our list and increasing its potential ranking.

Reasonable rates and fees

We also score cards based on how much it costs to keep them in your wallet or carry a balance. 

To start, each card is scored based on whether it offers an intro APR and how its ongoing APR compares to the rates available on other rewards cards. However, the latter rating only has a slight influence on the card’s score and whether the card is included in our list, since rewards card users generally try to avoid carrying a balance.

More important to both a card’s score and its inclusion in our list is how its annual fee influences its overall value. We consider a card’s annual fee in two ways — how it ranks relative to the fees you’ll find on other cards in the category and how it impacts a card’s overall rewards value. 

Cards with an annual fee will always be at a slight disadvantage in our scoring system since annual fees inherently cut into your rewards value. However, if a card offers terrific value via its ongoing rewards and perks, it can earn a high score and a spot in our list even if it carries a high annual fee. After all, the highest rewards rates and most valuable perks are often found on cards with annual fees. 

With this in mind, we rate a card based primarily on how its ongoing rewards value and ongoing perk value (such as annual credits or bonuses) stack up against those of other cards in the category when you subtract annual fees.

That said, we strive to include as many no-annual-fee options in our list as possible since many people would rather not worry about offsetting fees, even if a card carries impressive rewards and perks.

Redemption flexibility

Rewards cards may make it easy to earn a lot of points, miles or cash back, but how easy is it to use those rewards? After all, if it takes a ton of effort to redeem rewards or you can only redeem rewards in a couple of ways, a card may be more trouble than it’s worth. 

As such, we rate each card’s flexibility based on the restrictions it imposes on earning and redeeming rewards. We factor this rating into a card’s overall score and consider it when deciding on a card’s inclusion in our list. 

Flexibility factors include whether a card only allows you to earn a high rewards rate on only a small amount of spending or requires you to meet a certain earning threshold before you can redeem rewards. We also examine whether your points are worth less when you opt for some redemption options over others and whether a card gives you the flexibility to transfer rewards to travel partners.

Valuable perks

We also score each card’s set of features – its perks and benefits — against five tiers of features to provide a rating. 

We break down these tiers as follows:

  • Tier 1 includes fewer features than even standard credit cards (for example, an ultra-streamlined card that offers basic utility and next to nothing in the way of ancillary benefits). 
  • Tier 2 includes the benefits you’d expect on standard Visa or Mastercard credit cards, such as free access to your credit score, car rental insurance and $0 liability for fraudulent charges. 
  • Tier 3 includes “prime card” or better-than-average card features like cellphone insurance, lost luggage insurance, concierge services and purchase protection. 
  • Tier 4 includes luxury features such as airport lounge access, elite status with an airline or hotel and credits for expedited security screening membership programs. 
  • Tier 5 includes the sort of exemplary benefits you’ll find on top-tier luxury cards, such as high-value travel credits, cardholder memberships and other unique and valuable perks.

In evaluating the best cards, we tend to favor cards that offer at least Tier 3 benefits, unless they include other unique features that could make up for less-impressive perks.

And since this list focuses on travel cards, we tend to favor cards that carry travel-centric features like travel insurance, airport lounge access and credits for expedited security screening, instead of more general perks like food delivery credits or shopping discounts.

More information on travel credit cards

Frequently asked questions about travel credit cards, are travel credit cards worth it.

Travel cards can be well worth it since they often have exclusive travel perks like credits for airfare, hotel stays, expedited airport security services and more, as well as complimentary airport lounge access and airline or hotel privileges. However, many of the best travel credit cards come with annual fees. It’s important to at least offset the cost of these cards by taking advantage of the various travel perks and features included on the card. 

What credit score do you need for a travel credit card?

It’s possible to get a travel credit card with bad or fair credit, but most travel rewards cards are geared toward people with good or excellent credit (a FICO score of at least 670, or a VantageScore of at least 661).

Do travel miles or points expire?

Even though many major credit cards earn rewards that don’t expire, you may lose your points and miles if your account closes or isn’t in good standing. However, some co-branded cards’ rewards may expire if you don’t earn or redeem rewards within a certain timeframe (typically 12 to 36 months after the rewards are earned).

Check out our guide to credit card rewards expiration for a thorough breakdown of several popular issuers’ policies.

Are points or miles better on a credit card?

Whether points or miles offer better value will depend on the specific rewards program and how you redeem rewards. One airline loyalty program may earn miles that offer less than 1 cent each in average redemption value while another program’s points may offer close to 3 cents each on average. Similarly, a hotel card’s points may be worth less than half of a credit card issuer’s rewards points. Some programs offer points with only average baseline redemption value but high value when transferred to a partner airline or hotel. 

Ask the experts: Is it a good idea to have multiple travel credit cards?

travel money card mexico

Thomas Nitzsche

travel money card mexico

Stephanie Zito

travel money card mexico

Erica Sandberg

travel money card mexico

Financial Educator, Debt and Credit

Whether you should have multiple travel credit cards depends on several factors, including your brand affinity, frequency of travel and ability to pay off your cards in full each month. As a credit counselor, I see many people carrying credit card debt at high interest rates while continuing to make charges to the account for the sake of earning rewards. They lose far more than they earn each month. Having more than one travel credit card could make sense for you if you’re able to maximize your earnings by strategizing spending across each card. Just take into account annual fees and actual interest paid.

Contributor, Personal Finance

If you’re up for managing multiple cards and their benefits, then there are definitely big reward payouts to be had. But if the thought of multiple cards is overwhelming, it’s also a good strategy to have one or two more flexible cards and focus on maximizing your earnings and redemptions until it becomes second nature.

travel money card mexico

Contributor, Credit Cards

Definitely! I currently have two travel credit cards. In addition to the Chase card that I use for my United Airlines purchases, I have the Capital One Venture card for all other airlines. I earn a solid amount of miles on everything I buy with it, so it's an easy go-to for non-travel related expenses.

Article sources

We use primary sources to support our work. Bankrate’s authors, reporters and editors are subject-matter experts who thoroughly fact-check editorial content to ensure the information you’re reading is accurate, timely and relevant.

Global entry: Trusted traveler enrollment program . U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Accessed on June 12, 2024.

Discover International acceptance . Discover. Accessed on June 5, 2024.

“ Consumer Expenditures 2022 ,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed on June 12, 2024.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.

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Credit cards

Best travel credit cards of June 2024

Robin Saks Frankel

Grace Pilling

Grace Pilling

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Updated 12:58 p.m. UTC June 5, 2024

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The best credit cards for travel set themselves apart from other credit cards by offering an array of benefits that make it easier and more rewarding to explore the world. These travel credit card offerings provide generous rewards and perks tailored to the needs of those on the go.

We analyzed all of the available options in this category, from issuers both large and small, to curate a list of the very best travel credit cards of 2024. Here are our selections.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Welcome bonus

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Regular APR

Credit score.

Credit Score ranges are based on FICO® credit scoring. This is just one scoring method and a credit card issuer may use another method when considering your application. These are provided as guidelines only and approval is not guaranteed.

Editor’s take

  • Over $1,500 in travel and entertainment credits can offset the annual fee.
  • Comprehensive lounge access benefit.
  • Generous travel and purchase protections.
  • High annual fee and spending requirements.
  • Amex’s once-per-lifetime rule limits welcome bonus eligibility.
  • Annual statement credits have limited use.

Card details

  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best travel credit cards

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. : Best credit card for travel.
  • IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card * The information for the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. : Best hotel card.
  • Aeroplan® Credit Card * The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. : Best cobranded airline card.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express : Best for airport lounge access.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card *: Best for simple redemption process.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card : Best for high value with a low annual fee.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® : Best for increased redemption value.
  • Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card *: Best for high rewards on all types of travel.
  • American Express® Green Card * The information for the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. : Best for high rewards on travel and dining.
  • Bilt World Elite Mastercard® : Best travel credit card for renters.

All information about American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Blueprint.

Why trust our credit card experts

Our team of experts evaluates hundreds of credit cards and analyzes thousands of data points to help you find the best card for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.

  • 85+ cards analyzed.
  • 20+ data points analyzed.
  • 5-step fact-checking process.

Best credit card for travel

Capital one venture x rewards credit card.

The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

  • High reward potential.
  • Wide selection of statement credits.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No hotel or airline-specific benefits.
  • Requires excellent credit.
  • High annual fee.
  • Annual fee: $395.
  • Rewards: 2 miles per $1 on purchases, 5 miles per $1 on flights booked through Capital One Travel and on purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 10 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.
  • Welcome bonus: 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • APR: 19.99% to 29.99% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers .
  • Other perks and benefits: No foreign transaction fees, 10,000 mile card ownership anniversary bonus, $300 annual credit reimbursement for travel bookings made through Capital One Travel, $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application reimbursement credit, airport lounge access benefits, cellphone protection benefit, transfer miles to travel and hotel partners, Hertz President’s Circle Status.

Best hotel card

Ihg one rewards premier credit card.

The information for the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card

Earn 140,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Earn up to 26 total points per $1 spent at IHG hotels.
  • Free night after your account anniversary each year.
  • Redeem three nights, get a fourth consecutive night free.
  • $99 annual fee.
  • Value per point may be low compared to competing hotel chains.
  • Potentially high APR.
  • Annual fee: $99.
  • Rewards: Earn 10 points per $1 at IHG Hotels and Resorts, another 10 points per $1 as an IHG One Rewards member, 6 points per $1 from IHG with Platinum Elite Status (a benefit of this card), 5 points per $1 on travel, dining and gas stations and 3 points per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 140,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • APR: 21.49% to 28.49% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. A balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of each transfer, whichever is greater, applies .
  • Foreign transaction fees: None.
  • Perks and benefits: Free night after your account anniversary, redeem three award nights and get a fourth consecutive night free, automatic Platinum Elite status, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, credit of up to $100 to reimburse Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS.

Best cobranded airline card

Aeroplan® credit card.

The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

  • Ability to spend your way to elite status is rare for a card at the $95 price point.
  • Generous rewards on everyday spending categories.
  • Discounts on award tickets.
  • Aeroplan charges high redemption rates on some award tickets compared to other Star Alliance carrier rates.
  • The annual fee may be hard to justify for those who don’t regularly fly Aeroplan to take advantage of the airline-specific perks.
  • Annual fee: $95.
  • Rewards: 3 points per $1 spent on dining, takeout and eligible delivery services, grocery stores and directly with Air Canada and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Earn 500 points for every $2,000 spent in a month (maximum 1,500 points per month).
  • Welcome offer: Earn 70,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • APR: 21.74% to 28.74% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. A balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of each transfer, whichever is greater, applies.
  • Foreign transaction fees: $0.
  • Perks and benefits: Aeroplan 25K status through the rest of the calendar year and next. Maintain status with $15,000 spent in a calendar year. Existing status holders can upgrade to 35K status with $50,000 in spending per calendar year, first checked bag free for cardmember and up to eight travel companions, $100 Global Entry, TSA Precheck or NEXUS application fee credit every four years, preferred pricing on award flights, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, secondary auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection.

Best for airport lounge access

Best for simple redemption process, capital one venture rewards credit card.

The information for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

  • Decent value for the annual fee.
  • Worthwhile collection of perks and travel protections.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • No low introductory APR period.
  • Rewards: 5 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 2 miles per $1 on other purchases.
  • Other perks and benefits: No foreign transaction fees, up to $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee, auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, extended warranty benefit, transfer miles to eligible loyalty programs.

Best for high value with a low annual fee

Chase sapphire preferred® card.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

  • Flexible points that can be transferred to 14 travel partners or redeemed through Chase Travel℠ at 1.25 cents each.
  • $50 annual statement credit toward Chase Travel hotel bookings.
  • Valuable travel protections.
  • Category bonuses are limited and not competitive against other travel cards.
  • Transfer partner list is limited compared to programs like Amex Membership® Rewards and Citi ThankYou®.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Best for increased redemption value

Chase sapphire reserve®.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

  • Up to $300 annual travel credit and Priority Pass Select lounge access.
  • Redeem points for 50% more value to book travel through Chase Travel℠.
  • Transfer points 1:1 to partners such as United Airlines and World of Hyatt.
  • Not ideal if you aren’t interested in transferring points.
  • May not qualify if you’ve applied for 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®

Best for high rewards on all types of travel

Wells fargo autograph journey℠ visa® card.

The information for the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card

60,000 bonus rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months

  • Rewards: 5 points per $1 on hotels, 4 points per $1 on airlines, 3 points per $1 on other travel and dining and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • APR: 21.24%, 26.24%, or 29.99% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. An intro balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, applies for 120 days from account opening. After that, a fee of up to 5% for each balance transfer, with a minimum of $5, applies.
  • Foreign transaction fee: None.

Best for high rewards on travel and dining

American express® green card.

The information for the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

American Express® Green Card

Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on your American Express® Green Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

  • Lower annual fee than some comparable cards.
  • Credits for CLEAR® Plus membership and airport lounges.
  • Fewer perks than more premium travel cards.
  • Complex rewards structure.
  • Some reward redemptions are a poor value.
  • Annual fee: $150.
  • Rewards: 3 points per $1 at restaurants, 3 points per $1 on travel including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services and 1 point per $1 on other purchases. Welcome bonus: 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership.
  • APR: See terms for Pay Over Time eligibility and program details.
  • Perks and benefits: Up to $100 LoungeBuddy statement credit, up to $189 CLEAR® Plus statement credit and additional travel protections.

Best travel credit card for renters

  • Bilt World Elite Mastercard®

Bilt World Elite Mastercard®

  • Earns rewards on rent payments.
  • No transaction fee for paying rent by credit card.
  • No annual fee or Foreign Currency Conversion Fee.
  • You must make five transactions per billing period to earn rewards.
  • No welcome bonus or intro APR period.
  • Restrictive definition of what counts as a travel purchase.
  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 3x points on dining, 2x points on travel (when booked directly with an airline, hotels, car rental agencies, and cruise lines), 1x points on rent payments without a transaction fee (on up to 100,000 points each calendar year) and 1x points on other purchases
  • Earn double points on the first of the month (i.e. 6X points on dining, 4X on travel and 2X on other purchases; except rent)
  • Earn points when you make 5 transactions that post each statement period
  • Cellular Telephone Protection
  • Purchase Security (theft and damage protection)
  • Concierge Service
  • Lyft Credits
  • No Foreign Currency Conversion Fee
  • Rewards & benefits terms
  • Select ‘Apply Now’ to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions.

Compare the best credit cards for travel

travel money card mexico

Why it’s the best

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. offers great value with its lineup of travel credits, including a $300 annual credit reimbursement for travel bookings made through Capital One Travel — Capital One’s online travel agency. If fully maximized it can negate much of the card’s $395 annual fee. Plus, the card earns a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus each year. For a premium card, the Venture X is priced well below its peers.

  • Comes with airport lounge access.
  • Miles earned on the card can be transferred to multiple travel partners.
  • Elite rental status with Hertz¹.
  • The travel credit is only for bookings made through Capital One.
  • Redeeming your earnings for cash is a poor value.
  • There’s a sizable annual fee.

Card details:

  • Rewards: Earn 2 miles per $1 on purchases, 5 miles per $1 on flights booked through Capital One Travel and on purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 10 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

The IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card * The information for the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. earns rewards at a rapid pace, thanks to the automatic Platinum elite status granted to cardholders. The status, combined with the rewards earned from using the card at eligible IHG stays can earn you up to a whopping 26 points per dollar, fast-tracking you to free nights faster than you can say “InterContinental Hotels Group.”

  • Ultra-high rewards rate, especially on IHG spending.
  • Card offers a free anniversary night.
  • Robust travel protections and coverages.
  • The free anniversary night is capped at 40,000 points.
  • Points are relatively low value.
  • Travel coverage does not include auto rental insurance.

The Aeroplan® Credit Card * The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. is one of just a small handful of airline credit cards to include elite status as a cardholder perk. The card also allows you to pay yourself back on eligible travel purchases at a rate of 1.25 cents per point, and Aeroplan miles can be used on more than 45 partner airlines, making it a must-have in the wallets of frequent globetrotters.

  • Offers elite status for the remainder of the year and the full calendar year.
  • Discounted pricing on reward flights.
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions.
  • Elite status isn’t an ongoing perk.
  • Aeroplan doesn’t have U.S.-only flights.
  • There’s an annual fee.
  • Rewards: Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining, takeout and eligible delivery services, grocery stores and directly with Air Canada and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Earn 500 points for every $2,000 spent in a month (maximum 1,500 points per month).
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 70,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • Foreign transaction fee: $0.

The Platinum Card® from American Express (terms apply, rates & fees ) offers the most widespread lounge access benefits of any card on the market. While the high price point may be prohibitive for some, consider that the card offers more than a $1,000 value in potential statement credits. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

  • Expansive airport lounge access.
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash annually, up to $200 airline incidental fee statement credit per calendar year (applicable to one qualifying airline of your choice) and an up to $240 digital entertainment statement credit. Enrollment required.
  • Hotel and rental car elite status with several brands.
  • Sky-high annual fee.
  • Statement credits can be hard to fully maximize.
  • Rewards rate is mediocre outside of flights and travel booked through Amex.
  • Annual fee: $695.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 Membership Rewards® points per $1 for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 per calendar year, 5 points per $1 on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $8,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months of card membership.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. is an easy-to-use travel rewards card with a soft-on-the-wallet price. You can use your miles to book travel through Capital One, redeem them to cover a past travel purchase or transfer them to Capital One’s 15+ travel loyalty partners.

  • It’s easy to understand both earning the rewards and how to use them.
  • Application fee reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (up to $100).
  • Get Hertz Five Star rental card elite status¹.
  • No lounge access.
  • The highest rewards rate is for bookings through Capital One Travel.
  • Other cards may offer even higher rewards in areas where you spend the most.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 2 miles per $1 on other purchases.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers generous rewards on travel and dining and a straightforward redemption program. It’s an excellent choice for both frequent and aspiring travelers looking to maximize their everyday spending. Plus, rewards on this card are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Travel℠. You’d be hard-pressed to find another travel card that packs more punch in an affordable package.

  • Annual bonus point award equal to 10% of total purchases made in the past year.
  • Can transfer points 1:1 to Chase’s travel loyalty partners.
  • Extensive travel and purchase protections including primary auto rental coverage.
  • Lacks airport lounge access and hotel elite status.
  • Rewards are worth less than a penny per point when not used for travel redemptions.
  • Hotel bookings made through Chase aren’t eligible for elite loyalty benefits.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 points per $1 on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3 points per $1 on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 2 points per $1 on all other travel purchases and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® ‘s $550 annual fee can be offset by a slew of benefits. Plus, the Chase Ultimate Rewards® points earned on this card can be redeemed at a 50% increase in value when used to book travel through Chase Travel. So for example, 100,000 points on this card can be redeemed for $1,500 worth of travel booked through the issuer , helping you stretch the value of your rewards even further.

  • Up to $300 annual travel credit good for a wide variety of travel expenses.
  • Access to airport lounges via Chase Sapphire Lounges and the Priority Pass Select network (enrollment required).
  • 1:1 points transfer to a long list of airline and hotel loyalty program partners.
  • The annual fee may be hard to swallow for some, even with the potential credits.
  • You’ll need excellent credit to be approved for the card.
  • Low rewards rate on everyday expenses like groceries and gas.
  • Annual fee: $550, plus $75 per authorized user.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 points per $1 on flights and 10 points per $1 on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠ after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3 points per $1 on other travel and dining and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card * The information for the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. offers fantastic rewards across all things travel, without having to pledge loyalty to a specific brand or book through the issuer. That makes it a unicorn among other travel cards that are either cobranded or require booking through the bank’s travel site.

  • Ultra-high rewards on hotels with any brand and high rewards on airfare and other travel.
  • Rewards can be pooled with other Wells Fargo cards.
  • Robust travel protections cover your trip, baggage and cellphone protection.
  • Limited number of travel transfer partners.
  • Lacks lounge access and other elite perks like hotel or rental car status.
  • Lackluster rewards on everyday spending categories like groceries and gas.
  • Rewards: Earn 5 points per $1 on hotels, 4 points per $1 on airlines, 3 points per $1 on other travel and dining and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening.

The American Express® Green Card * The information for the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. (terms apply) may come with an annual fee slightly above its entry-level travel card peers, but its high rewards on travel and dining, plus the annual statement credits, can far outweigh that carrying cost.

  • Earns generous rewards on a wide array of travel spending, plus dining too.
  • Annual CLEAR ® Plus and LoungeBuddy credits are worth more than the annual fee. Enrollment required.
  • Valuable travel insurances and protections.
  • The LoungeBuddy credit may not be enough for frequent flyers.
  • The annual fee is higher than competing travel cards.
  • Redeeming your rewards for cash-back offers poor value for your points.
  • Rewards: Earn 3 points per $1 at restaurants, 3 points per $1 on travel including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services and 1 point per $1 on other purchases.
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership.

The Bilt World Elite Mastercard® is one-of-a-kind because you can earn rewards on paying rent without any additional transaction fees. Add in more than a dozen airline and hotel transfer partners, a long list of travel protections and other perks and this no-annual-fee card is one of the best travel cards on the market. You can even save up your Bilt Rewards toward a future down payment on a home.

  • Points are worth 25% more on travel booked through Bilt.
  • You can spend your way to elite status tiers, unlocking different benefits at each level.
  • The issuer offers bonus rewards and other benefits on the first of every month.
  • You have to use your card at least five times each statement period to earn rewards.
  • No welcome offer for new cardholders.
  • It’s best for renters as mortgage statements can’t be paid with the card.
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Rewards: 1 point per $1 on rent payments without a transaction fee (on up to 100,000 points each year), 2 points per $1 on travel (when booked through the Bilt Travel Portal or directly with an airline, hotel, car rental or cruise company), 3 points per $1 on dining and 1 point per $1 on other purchases. At least five transactions must be made per statement period to earn these rewards.
  • Welcome bonus: None.
  • Foreign currency conversion fee: None.

Methodology

Our credit cards team has spent hours analyzing hundreds of credit cards. We took a deep dive into the details of each product and that analysis, combined with our years of experience covering credit cards, informed us as we developed these credit card rankings. Factors we considered included:

  • Estimated annual earnings: 33%.
  • Flexibility of rewards earned on the card: 10%.
  • Booking flexibility with the card: 10%.
  • Hotel earnings: 8%.
  • Airline earnings: 8%.
  • Annual fee: 5%.
  • Free checked bag perk: 3%.
  • Lounge access: 3%.
  • Annual credits: 2%.
  • Potential credits: 2%.
  • Global Entry application fee reimbursement: 2%.
  • TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement: 2%.
  • CLEAR Plus application fee reimbursement: 2%.
  • Trip delay coverage: 2%.
  • Trip cancellation coverage: 2%.
  • Baggage delay coverage: 2%.
  • Hotel elite status: 2%.
  • Number of travel companions eligible for primary cardholder’s checked bag perk: 1%.
  • Flight companion certificate with card ownership: 1%.

What is a travel credit card?

A travel credit card is a card that earns points or miles on your spending and usually offers the best redemption values when those rewards are used for travel. 

Generally, there are two types of travel rewards cards: 

  • Cobranded cards: These earn a specific currency tied to an airline or hotel brand, like Delta SkyMiles or Hilton Honors points.
  • Flexible cards: These earn “flexible” rewards, like American Express Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou points, that can be used to book travel across several hotels and airlines.

Co-branded cards typically earn higher rewards for purchases made within the brand and general travel cards tend to earn rewards that can be redeemed for more types of travel.

How do travel credit cards work?

With a travel credit card, you’ll earn points or miles as you spend. When you’ve accumulated enough rewards, you can redeem them for flights, hotels and other travel expenses. Redemption options will vary depending on your card. Some issuers offer boosted redemption rates for booking through their travel portal, while others allow you to transfer points directly to airline and hotel partners or apply them as a statement credit to cover travel charges made with the card.

Many travel credit cards also come with perks for travelers, like a free checked bag for your flight, a free annual hotel night or a credit towards the application fee for a trusted traveler program like Global Entry or TSA PreCheck .

“Travel rewards cards are a great way to leverage personal and business card use and turn it into free airline tickets and hotel rooms. Be sure to choose a card that has rewards that are applicable to your preferred airline and hotel brands”, said John Ulzheimer, president of The Ulzheimer Group and nationally recognized credit expert.

Benefits of travel credit cards

Travel rewards credit cards offer a range of benefits to frequent and occasional travelers alike:

  • Earn rewards for everyday spending. Use your travel credit card to pay for purchases you’d be making anyway and earn rewards you can use for travel.
  • Lower the out-of-pocket cost of travel. Whether you use your points to pay for airfare, nights at a hotel or for a rental car, redeeming your earnings for travel can significantly reduce the cost of a trip.
  • Receive free nights, checked bags and other perks. Many cobranded credit cards come with a free night perk or waive the fees for checking luggage, both of which can save you money and may be worth more than the cost of the card itself.
  • Enjoy new travel experiences. Stories abound of people who have used their credit card rewards to take over-the-top luxury trips. Even if an overwater villa in the Maldives is not your thing, having enough points for a free flight or hotel may be enough incentive to nudge you towards taking a trip to a new city or to see family and friends in far-flung places.
What is Priority Pass and how does it work? Here’s everything you need to know about this airport lounge network

Who should get a travel credit card?

Most people can benefit from a travel credit card. Whether you’re a frequent traveler or are just looking for an occasional getaway, there’s likely a travel rewards card out there that can help you maximize your savings.

Consider how you like to travel and what you’re looking to achieve with a new travel card. Points and miles programs can be complex, and some travel credit cards require time and energy to get the most value. Other credit cards offer straightforward redemption as statement credits to offset a variety of travel spending you do directly with airlines, hotels and other travel services. Take time to plan how you would get the most out of a prospective rewards program and its transfer partners, or whether you’d be better off with a simpler approach.

Before you shell out a high annual fee for a perk-laden card, consider if the benefits it comes with are ones you’d actually use. In many cases, taking full advantage of statement credits, anniversary bonuses and other perks like free nights can more than offset the annual fee .

If you rarely travel and are considering saving up over a long period of time for a trip, keep in mind that rewards don’t earn interest. In fact, rewards often lose value over time and may even expire . It’s a general best practice not to sit on your rewards for too long.

Types of travel credit cards

Travel credit cards often provide a wide range of benefits, from travel and purchase protections to airfare and hotel redemptions.

Understanding the different types of travel rewards cards is the first step to finding the right card for you. There are several major types of travel credit cards:

Airline-specific cards 

The best airline credit cards offer exclusive discounts and rewards when you use them with a specific airline. Many also offer free companion tickets or priority boarding benefits. Examples of cobranded airline cards include: 

  • Aeroplan® Credit Card * The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
  • United℠ Explorer Card * The information for the United℠ Explorer Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
  • JetBlue Plus Card * The information for the JetBlue Plus Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Hotel-specific cards

These cards may give you access to exclusive discounts at certain hotel chains and resorts, as well as rewards to be redeemed for free nights or upgrades. Hotel loyalty status is a common benefit among the best hotel credit cards . Examples of cobranded hotel cards include: 

  • IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card * The information for the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card * The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. (terms apply)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (terms apply)

All information about Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Blueprint.

Flexible points cards

These cards allow you to earn points for every dollar spent that can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals and other travel bookings. Major issuers often offer boosted earning or redemption rates when using their online travel booking portals. These cards may also allow you to transfer points to airline or hotel partners, providing the most flexibility when it comes to redemptions. Examples include:

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®  

Flexible rewards vs. airline or hotel credit cards

For those who travel often but don’t have a particular brand loyalty, the best travel card is likely one that earns flexible rewards on every purchase. Flexible rewards are not tied to a specific airline or hotel loyalty program but rather to a card issuer’s travel agency redemption program. Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards® are two examples, but Capital One offers Miles , Citi offers ThankYou® Points and other major issuers have similar reward programs.

Airline- and hotel-specific cards offer rewards tied to a loyalty program with the airline or hotel, and typically offer better value with that carrier or brand, but not as much flexibility with redemption options. Only apply for a card like this if you’re sure the brand is the one you want.

If you only take an occasional trip, then a more flexible reward card may be a better choice. 

Cash-back cards offer simpler reward redemptions and the rewards earned can still be used toward future trips or redeemed for gift cards or other rewards if travel remains a priority.

travel money card mexico

How to compare and choose the best travel rewards card

When it comes to choosing the right card for your needs, there are several factors to consider:

  • What type of rewards do you want to earn? General points that can be used for travel expenses with different airlines and hotels are more flexible, but if you’re loyal to a particular travel brand you can earn their specific currency and enjoy elevated status and other perks.
  • Does the card come with a good welcome bonus? Many cards offer a generous welcome bonus (sometimes called a sign-up bonus) when you spend a certain amount on purchases in the first few months of receiving the card. This can be an easy way to get an infusion of rewards when you first open your account — but when calculating a card’s value, remember the welcome bonus is a one-time deal. 
  • Are you willing to pay the annual fee? Some cards have no annual fee, while others come with a hefty price tag but offer more generous rewards or benefits. Make sure you understand all the fees before making a decision so that you don’t end up paying for benefits you won’t actually use.
  • Does it come with any additional benefits that offer value? Card perks such as travel insurance , airport lounge access or exclusive discounts and offers can help make your travel smoother and your card more cost effective.
Wondering how two top travel cards compare to each other? We break down the differences between the Capital One Venture X vs. the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Evaluating reward potential

“Something to keep in mind when it comes to earning travel rewards is that your mileage may vary. Often the best value redemptions will come when used for less-traveled destinations or off-peak travel times. And your rewards redemptions don’t have to be luxurious to be meaningful. Some of my most cherished memories have come from when I’ve used rewards to visit family and friends where the location was not the focus,” – Robin Saks Frankel, USA TODAY Blueprint lead editor credit cards

We evaluate the reward potential of travel rewards credit cards based on what we’d expect a household in the 50th percentile of wage earners to spend each year on a credit card. We gather these figures from government sources and other publicly available data. 

In a year, we expect a household might spend about $25,087 of this on a credit card. Of this credit card spending, we’d expect about $2,941 to be spent on overall travel — which breaks down as $1,188 spent on airfare, $868 spent on hotels and $885 spent on all other travel. For frequent travelers carrying high-annual-fee travel rewards cards — like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. , which charges an annual fee of $395 — we expect about twice this much spending in the travel categories. 

The Capital One Venture X earns 2 miles per $1 on purchases, 5 miles per $1 on flights booked through Capital One Travel and on purchases through Capital One Entertainment and 10 miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.

Using government data and other publicly available information, we estimate that a household in the U.S. that would be in the market for this card has an annual income of $84,352 and $25,087 in annual expenses they are likely to be able to charge to a credit card. Here’s how our sample household would fare with the Capital One Venture X Card:

The cardholder in this example earns a grand total of 85,350 miles annually, which is worth $853.50 if used to book travel through Capital One or when eligible travel is booked elsewhere and you redeem your miles to cover the purchase. 

The right travel card can net you lucrative rewards. But make sure to select a card based on your spending and travel habits — the best card for travel will differ from person to person.

Tips for maximizing your travel credit card

There are several ways to get the most out of your travel credit card:

  • Pay your bill on time every month and aim to pay it in full. If you carry a balance, the accumulated interest fees will likely be more than the value of any rewards earned on the card.
  • Try to earn the card’s welcome bonus. Top travel cards offer outsized welcome bonuses for new cardholders who can meet a minimum spending requirement. Earning that bonus can give a nice boost to your rewards balance.
  • Be aware of the perks your card offers. Many travel cards offer discounts or statement credits for travel-related spending, like a discount within a hotel collection, cellphone insurance or elite status within a brand. Knowing what your card comes with means you can fully maximize those benefits.
  • Don’t sit on your rewards for too long. Unlike money in the bank, travel rewards do not earn interest and may actually be worth less over time. The value of your rewards is often tied to the cash price of travel and travel only tends to get more expensive year-over-year.

How to travel for cheaper with travel cards in 2024

New year, new travel possibilities. What’s more, it’s entirely possible to travel for cheaper by maximizing your credit card strategy with the right travel cards in hand. There are droves of rewards cards to choose from, so it can be hard to choose the right one for you.

Travel credit cards earn points or miles that can be redeemed for flights, hotels, rental cars and more, helping you subsidize the cost of your trip expenses. Beyond earning rewards, some cards even come with airport lounge access or credits to offset your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. 

For many travelers, a one-punch solution is the best fit. We’re talking about general travel credit cards , which earn rewards through a bank like American Express, Capital One, Chase, or Citi and don’t tie you to a specific airline or hotel program. Instead, the cardholder has the choice to redeem their earnings how they please toward any travel purchase.

Best places to travel with rewards in 2024 

While a European summer vacation never goes out of style, traveling during the shoulder season is the true winner. With fewer crowds, cheaper accommodations and pleasant weather, a fall trip to Portugal this year should be on your list.

If you’ve got travel rewards cards from American Express, Bilt, Capital One, Chase or Citi, you can transfer your points or miles over to the Air Canada Aeroplan program. You can book a business class flight from Miami (MIA) to Lisbon (LIS) in October 2024 for just 70,000 miles one way.

There’s so much to love about Costa Rica, from its lush jungles to the natural wildlife. Plus, this Central American country is quite accessible from many states in the U.S. With two main international airports — Liberia (LIR) and San José (SJO) — the toughest decision you’ll need to make is which part of Costa Rica to visit. 

Many major U.S. airlines fly to Costa Rica, so redeeming your rewards for a flight shouldn’t be too difficult depending on where your loyalty lies. For example, United Airlines offers a flight from Raleigh-Durham (RDU) to Liberia (LIR) with a layover in Houston (IAH). You’ll pay just 20,000 MileagePlus miles one-way — even during the peak winter season. 

One of the best ways to fly the whole family to Hawaii is by setting your sights on the British Airways Avios program. Earning points is a breeze: You can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards® , Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards®, Citi ThankYou® Points or Capital One Miles to this program at a simple 1:1 ratio.

Because British Airways is part of the Oneworld airline alliance, you can redeem your Avios for partner airlines like American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Both of these carriers offer plenty of routes to the Aloha State. 

Nonstop routes are priced favorably for just 17,500 Avios plus $18.10 in taxes and fees for a one way flight from the West Coast. Depending on when you’re traveling, you may also be able to find multiple award seats per flight. This is great news for big families.

Alternatives to travel credit cards

Instead of earning points or miles, you might consider a cash-back credit card to get a percentage back on all your purchases. Cash-back cards are generally more straightforward than travel rewards programs — after all, a dollar is a dollar — and often come with no annual fees. 

If you’re not ready to commit to a travel rewards program or simply don’t travel enough to reap the full benefits of a travel credit card, a cash-back credit card is a great way to still earn rewards on spending. 

When it comes to choosing a cash-rewards card , you can keep it simple with a straightforward flat-rate card such as the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card , which earns 2% cash rewards on purchases. 

Or you can pick a card with higher rewards rates in your biggest spending categories. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (terms apply, rates & fees ) offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Rewards Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or for eligible items at Amazon.com checkout. The card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

There’s no one “best” card that’s right for everyone. The best travel card for you will depend on a combination of factors including how often you travel, how you travel, your tolerance for annual fees and what you’re looking for in a travel card.

Generally speaking, the best travel credit cards earn bonus category rewards on airfare, hotels, car rentals and even dining. These cards typically also offer bonus points or miles when you spend a certain amount within the first few months of opening the account. Some will also offer perks such as travel protections, elite status with an airline or hotel loyalty program , priority boarding and airport lounge access.

The exact credit score needed for a travel rewards credit card will vary depending on the issuer and the specific card. Generally, you will need at least a good credit score, typically from 670 to 739 on the FICO Score scale — to be approved for most travel rewards cards. However, some of the more premium cards may require an excellent credit score, typically defined as a FICO Score of 740 or higher.

The most rewarding travel rewards cards, including most of the cards on this list, are not likely to offer approval to anyone without a good or better credit score. Some issuers also have rules in place preventing you from applying for a credit card, travel or otherwise, if you’ve applied for a certain number of cards within a certain period of time. 

The best type of card for you will depend on your spending habits and your financial goals. If you’re a loyal frequent flyer with an airline, an airline rewards card might make the most sense. If you spend plentifully at a specific hotel brand, you may be better suited to a hotel credit card.

If you’re not sure, or you have a wider variety of needs, a card with flexible point currencies — like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card * The information for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — may be a better bet.

Finally, If you’re looking for a simple way to get cash back on everyday purchases, then a cash-back credit card may be the way to go. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual needs and preferences — and in some cases, you might have a pattern of spending that justifies having both in your wallet.

The exact value of a point or mile earned on a travel credit card will depend on the type of point or mile and how you redeem it. In most cases, you should look to get at least a penny per point of value.  Points values vary because many airline and hotel pricing structures are dynamic and will change based on demand. The points values tend to be somewhat fixed however and this can lead to redemption values worth more – or less – than 1 cent each. Transferring rewards to airline programs when allowed and redeeming for business and first-class seating can often yield greater values per point.

Yes, travel credit cards with annual fees are worth it if you make the most of what the card has to offer. While travel credit cards with annual fees aren’t necessarily worth it for everyone, they certainly can be if you know you’ll get more value from the rewards and benefits than you’ll pay to hold the card each year. Generally speaking, the higher the annual fee, the better the perks. 

If you’re earning flexible rewards such as American Express Membership Rewards® Points or Chase Ultimate Rewards®, these generally don’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

However, points or miles earned on cobranded cards are a mixed bag. Some points don’t expire for the life of your account, while others will expire if there’s no account activity within the last 12 to 24 months. Read your card’s terms and conditions to see the expiration policy for your rewards.

There’s no difference between points and miles on a credit card, they’re simply two different ways to describe rewards. Airline cards tend to use the term “miles” (probably because it evokes the spirit of the miles you fly), while hotel and general rewards cards tend to use the term “points.” However, the two terms serve the same purpose: they’re a way of measuring both the rewards you earn on a particular credit card and the number of rewards it will take for a particular redemption.

There’s no one “best” card for international travel since there’s no one “best” way to travel. The best credit card for international travel for you will be the one where the rewards rates best align with your spending patterns. You’ll also have to decide if a card that comes with robust benefits is worth paying the annual fee versus a card with less bountiful benefits but a lower annual fee.

For rates and fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page .

For rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express please visit this page .

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

²Upon enrollment, accessible through the Capital One website or mobile app, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024. Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at Hertz.com) will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier. Additional terms apply.

*The information for the Aeroplan® Credit Card, American Express® Green Card, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card, JetBlue Plus Card, United℠ Explorer Card and Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Visa® Card has been collected independently by Blueprint. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Robin Saks Frankel

Robin Saks Frankel is a credit cards lead editor at USA TODAY Blueprint. Previously, she was a credit cards and personal finance deputy editor for Forbes Advisor. She has also covered credit cards and related content for other national web publications including NerdWallet, Bankrate and HerMoney. She's been featured as a personal finance expert in outlets including CNBC, Business Insider, CBS Marketplace, NASDAQ's Trade Talks and has appeared on or contributed to The New York Times, Fox News, CBS Radio, ABC Radio, NPR, International Business Times and NBC, ABC and CBS TV affiliates nationwide. She holds an M.S. in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University. Follow her on Twitter at @robinsaks.

Grace Pilling is a deputy editor for credit cards at USA TODAY Blueprint. She believes credit cards are the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure tools of the financial world and gets excited about helping people discover the best credit card strategy for their unique goals. Prior to joining Blueprint, Grace worked on and led personal finance teams at Bankrate, CreditCards.com, MoneyUnder30 and MoneyGeek. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and writing and a diploma in editing and publishing.

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    0.50% APY on checking balance. Up to 4.60% APY on savings. $0 account or overdraft fees. Get a $300 bonus with direct deposits of $5,000 or more. Free ATM transactions. Go to site. $50 waivable monthly fee. 0% foreign transaction fee. Securely move money domestically and globally.

  4. The 6 Best Travel Money Cards for Mexico

    Travel debit card Option 1: Wise. Wise is our best value travel money debit card for Mexico, which comes with a linked account you can use for holding MXN easily. There's no fee to open a Wise account, and just a small delivery fee for your Wise card, with no minimum balance and no monthly charge.

  5. Prepaid Travel Card by Mastercard

    Prepaid Travel Card by Mastercard | Reloadable Travel Cards. MASTERCARD BENEFIT INQUIRIES. Within the U.S.: 1-800-Mastercard (1-800-627-8372) | Outside the U.S.: Mastercard Global Service Phone Numbers. Availability of insurance benefits on your card may vary by card issuer. Please refer to your issuing financial institution for complete ...

  6. Get your Mexican Peso Currency Card

    Tips for saving money in Mexico. Don't exchange at airports or at home. No need to exchange cash before you travel — use your travel money card to spend or withdraw money from an ATM. Choose MXN as the local currency. Choose the local currency when spending with your card in shops and restaurants. Save with a travel money card

  7. How Much Cash Should You Bring to Mexico? Calculate now!

    This depends on a few factors, such as the length of your stay and your spending habits. Here is a general guideline to give you a rough idea of how much cash to bring to Mexico: Below Average Spending: $20 USD per day. Average Spending: $40 USD per day. Above Average Spending: $60+ USD per day.

  8. Best ways to spend travel money in Mexico: Debit & prepaid cards

    Here you can compare prepaid travel cards, debit cards and credit cards to securely and conveniently access your money overseas. We cover what money you'll need to use in Mexico, the types of cards to take to save on fees and insider tips on bringing and spending travel money in Mexico. Low cost travel money options for Mexico

  9. What Are Travel Money Cards & How Do They Work?

    Travel money cards are a popular payment method for individuals headed abroad. Customers will load funds onto the card, using the money as foreign currency when overseas, much like a debit card is used at home. Also known as travel money prepaid cards or currency cards, they facilitate free foreign transactions and overseas ATM withdrawals.

  10. Best Currency to Take to Mexico

    British pounds in Mexico. Euros in Mexico. Although Mexican peso is the best currency to use and the US dollar can be helpful at times too, exchanging currencies in the form of cash almost invariably leads to poor exchange rates for tourists (we've seen as high as 20% commissions, although the average is between 5% and 15% of the amount ...

  11. Money in Mexico: Your Complete 2024 Guide by an Expat

    The Mexican peso is the official currency in Mexico. It is often written as MXN or with a dollar symbol ($) as you would use for US dollars, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, etc. Mexican pesos come in note denominations of 1000 (circa $50), 500 (circa $25), 200 (circa $12), 100 (circa $5), 50 (circa $2.50), and 20 (circa $1).

  12. Mexico Money Guide: How to Manage Your Finances in Mexico

    Bank. The safest way to exchange money in Mexico is to exchange at a bank. Banks offer good exchange rates, and the process is quick and easy. That said, most banks will charge a small fee (around 1 to 1.5% of the amount). Here are some of the best banks to exchange money in Mexico: Banco de Mexico. Scotiabank.

  13. The 7 Best Credit Cards for Travel to Mexico in 2024

    Revolut Travel Multi-Currency Debit Card. Revolut is the second best option to take out cash cheaply in Mexico, thanks to its favorable ATM withdrawal policy that allows for $400 worth of free withdrawals each month.By converting your USD ($) deposits to MXN prior to your transaction (which you can do in the mobile app), the ATMs will recognize your Revolut card as local, bypassing the need ...

  14. 4 Best Travel Cards for Mexico

    Wise travel card. Delivered in Canada Visa/Mastercard debit card Virtual card available Mid-market exchange rate. Open a Wise account online or in the Wise app, to order a Wise travel card you can use for convenient spending and withdrawals in Mexico. Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies, so you can top up in CAD easily from your bank or using ...

  15. Buy Mexican pesos

    The Mexican peso (M$) is the official currency of Mexico, and it's sometimes accepted in towns on the Mexican border in the southern US. Like all exchange rates, the Peso rate can vary of course; as a rough guide, the average rate between the peso and the British pound in 2018 was M$21.50 to £1.

  16. Mexico

    Mastercard's prepaid travel money card is the safe, secure and convenient way to carry your holiday money. Brazil United Kingdom Australia Select the country where you got your Corporate Card. Brazil ... Mexico. Select your Cash Passport. Card Multi-Currency

  17. How to Exchange Money in Mexico

    An easy way to access money while traveling is to use your debit or credit card in an ATM or cash machine in Mexico: you will receive Mexican currency, and your bank will withdraw the equivalent funds from your account plus a fee for the transaction. However, you may also wish to bring a certain amount of cash with you to exchange during your ...

  18. How to Use Money in Mexico

    Final Thoughts on Using Money in Mexico. And now you have what you need to use money in Mexico. By using Google and doing simple math, exchange rates and prices are no longer a mystery. You know it is customary to tip at least 10% for most services. And that you should use a good travel credit card wherever you go.

  19. What You Need to Know About Currency in Mexico

    Some of the best travel money cards include debit, credit and prepaid cards. But before you use your bank card willy-nilly, it's worth reading up on the fees and charges you might incur. ... The average daily travel budget in Mexico is about $115. Some of the expenses you might be looking at include: $90 per night A double room in a hotel

  20. Cash or credit card in Mexico : r/travel

    Mexico is primarily a cash country. Don't count on your plastic being accepted everywhere. You should definitely arrive with some pesos and inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans in advance so they don't lock your cards. Airports are one of the worst places to exchange your money. You can easily get cash from ATM's while ...

  21. How to Send Money to Mexico

    XE. XE is the fastest way to send money to Mexico, based on our research. A key benefit here is the lack of fees for transfer amounts over $500. This makes them widely recognized for larger transfers, but they come out ahead on some smaller ones too. Check out our review for more details on XE's main benefits.

  22. Mexico Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    The route from Cancún to Mexico City by bus takes 27 hours and costs around 1,800 MXN but a flight starts around 470 MXN and only takes two hours. A one-way fare from Mexico City to Guadalajara is about 525 MXN. Even a four-hour flight from coast to coast from Cancún to Puerto Vallarta is just 1,200 MXN one-way.

  23. Using Money and Credit Cards in Mexico

    As you plan for your upcoming Christian cruise with Inspiration, you may be wondering about using money and credit cards during your travels. We've made the following recommendations to help you save money, avoid unnecessary fees and focus on an exceptional travel experience. Consider leaving all unnecessary debit and/or credit cards at home.

  24. 19 Best Travel Credit Cards Of June 2024

    Forbes Advisor considered dozens of airline, hotel and flexible-rewards credit cards to create this list of the best travel credit cards. The primary factors taken into consideration for all types ...

  25. Riviera Maya Currency Guide for Travel in 2024

    Usage Fee: $5 USD (waived) = $0 USD. Currency Conversion: $2000 MXN at BOA Conversion Rate (.0548) = $109.60 USD. International Transaction Fee: $110.60 x 3% = $3.28 USD. Total Amount for this ...

  26. Can I Use My Credit Card in Mexico?

    Using a credit card in Mexico could offer these benefits: Convenience: With a credit card, you can avoid exchanging cash for pesos during your trip and potentially paying a higher exchange rate. Security features: You may have access to security features and card management tools that can benefit travelers.

  27. Best credit cards for international travel 2024

    The best credit cards for international travel in 2024: Best overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Best for luxury travel perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express *. Best for travel insurance: Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Best for tours and activities: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Best for dining around the world: American ...

  28. 14 Best Travel Credit Cards of June 2024

    Money reviews the best travel credit cards. Our list of the best travel credit cards of 2024 includes the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, The Platinum Card® from American Express and more. ... NH New Hampshire VT Vermont New York NJ New Jersey DE Delaware MD Maryland West Virginia Ohio Michigan Arizona Nevada Utah Colorado New Mexico South Dakota ...

  29. Best Travel Credit Cards of June 2024

    Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Bankrate score. 4.9. Bankrate review. Recommended credit score: 670 - 850. Apply now. on Capital One's secure site. See Rates & Fees. Intro offer.

  30. Best Travel Credit Cards of June 2024

    The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for airport lounge access. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card *: Best for simple redemption process. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for ...