American Express is accepted in more than 160 countries and territories internationally. That includes all the members of the United Nations, except for those under U.S. sanctions. Amex cards are more widely accepted in some international destinations than others, though. It should be pretty easy to find merchants that take American Express cards in Australia, Canada, Mexico and India, for example. But it will be much tougher in smaller countries that aren’t known for doing business with the U.S. or attracting American tourists.
Overall, American Express credit cards and prepaid cards aren’t nearly as widely accepted internationally as cards that belong to the three other major U.S. card networks: Visa, Mastercard and Discover. Discover is accepted in 185 countries and territories. Visa is accepted in 200+ countries and territories. And Mastercard works in 210+. So you should probably bring a Visa or Mastercard credit card with no foreign transaction fee when you travel abroad, at least as a backup to your Amex.
On that note, it’s worth mentioning that some American Express credit cards will cost you more to use internationally than others. Several American Express credit cards have no foreign transaction fee. Others charge 2.7% of every international purchase.
The best American Express credit cards for international travel are the Starwood Preferred Guest and Gold Delta SkyMiles® cards. Both offer great travel rewards, including nice initial spending bonuses. Neither charges foreign transaction fees. And Amex waives their annual fees the first year your account is open.
You may also want to consider the USAA Rewards American Express Card, which is the best credit card on the Amex network for other types of international perks. It gives you very good travel insurance coverage, for example. And you can even get financial assistance for emergencies while you’re out of the country. You don’t have to worry about paying a foreign fee or an annual fee, either.
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