Credit card in suitcase
Credit card in suitcase

Tips for Travel to Ireland: Picking the Right Credit Card

If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, you’ll no doubt be bringing credit cards with you. There’s really no other way to pay for the various and sundry expenses associated with travel, and it’s much safer than carrying lots of cash on you.

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Given the sheer number of credit cards available these days, it can be hard to know which ones are best, especially for use in another country.

Most people will simply use the debit or credit card that they normally use at home because it’s convenient, but when doing so, you are liable to run up lots of bank fees and if you’re going to Ireland on a budget, you don’t want to do that.

Here are 5 credit cards that you can easily use, all valuable tips for travel to Ireland.

They’ll come in handy for purchasing meals, paying for accommodation, and withdrawing cash from ATMs across Ireland.

If you want to save money on debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals in Ireland, be sure to check out this helpful blog post.

Using Credit Cards Abroad

Did you know that when you use your credit card to purchase things abroad, you are charged between 2 and 3 percent of the purchase price of the item?
Photo: Casper1774 Studio for Getty Images Pro

That may not seem like much, but when you add it all up, especially if you’re using your credit card on a daily basis during your vacation in Ireland, it can get pretty expensive.

If you use a foreign debit card in an Irish ATM, you could be charged anywhere from 1% to 3% for every transaction.

Here are 5 credit cards that you should consider bringing with you when you travel to Ireland.

1. Capital One Venture Rewards

This is considered one of the best credit cards in the industry for travel purposes. While there is an annual fee of $95, its other benefits outweigh the cost.

Not only are there no foreign transaction fees; you will also get 2 miles for every $1 spent on every purchase.
Photo: Stookking.

Capital One is currently running a sign-up up bonus that will give you up to 100,000 miles after spending $20,000 within 12 months of opening the account.

APR: 17.24% to 24.49%
Required Credit Score: 690-850

2. United Gateway Mileage Plus

If you’re planning to fly to Dublin on United Airlines, the United Gateway Mileage Plus credit card from Chase will come in handy.

There are no foreign transaction fees associated with using the card plus you can get 25% back on any inflight purchases that you make, including food, beverages, and Wifi.
Photo: United Airlines

You’ll also be earning 2 miles for every dollar you spend while you fly.

The same applies to purchases you make at home, such as gas, train tickets, tolls, and more.

Once you’ve spent $1,000 using the card within the first three months of getting it, you’ll be eligible for 20,000 bonus miles.

There is no annual fee for this card.

APR: 16.49% – 23.49%
Required Credit Score: 670+

3. Bank of America Travel Rewards

Like the United Gateway card, this one from Bank of America does not charge an annual fee nor a foreign transaction fee.

The card is ideal for applicants who are already Bank of America customers.

a woman holding a credit card over a laptop tips for travel to Ireland
Photo: Konstantin Kolosov.

Some of the perks include 1.5 points for every dollar you spend on practically anything, plus you’ll get awards not just on flights taken, but hotels, visits to amusement parks, aquariums, and more.

A nice sign-up bonus of 25,000 points comes after spending at least $1,000 in the first 90 days of opening the account.

APR: 0% for the first 12 billing cycles. After that, you’ll be charged 13.99% to 23.99%.
Required Credit Score: 690-950

4. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

This cash-back credit card is a great choice and the ideal travel tip for travel to Ireland. Spend $500 within the first three months of usage and you’ll get a one-time cash reward of  $200.

4 credit cards in a row tips for travel to Ireland
Photo: Johnstocker

In addition, you’ll be entitled to a 1.5% cashback on all future purchases.

There is no annual fee nor foreign transaction fee associated with the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card.

APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months and an ongoing 15.49% to 25.49% after that.
Required Credit Score: 690+

5. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Despite its annual $95 fee, this credit card is still a great choice for tourists traveling to Ireland.

Some of the benefits include the chance to earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of having the card and earning 2 points per dollar spent on a wide variety of travel-related expenses and more.

a credit card tips for traveling to Ireland
Photo: Johnstocker

In fact, the travel benefits category includes more than just airline tickets and hotel stays. It also includes things like timeshares, cruises, campgrounds, bus and train tickets, limos, ferries, and more.

In addition to the zero foreign transaction policy that’s in place with this card, if you’re interested in using points for your flight or hotel, this card is especially helpful.

a plane in the sky over the ocean tips for traveling to Ireland
An Aer Lingus plane over the cliffs in Ireland. Photo courtesy of Aer Lingus.

If you happen to have other Chase credit cards, you can transfer points from those to the Sapphire Preferred card and then use them to get a free flight or stay.

Aer Lingus, Air France/KLM, British Airways, Emirates, Iberia, JetBlue, Southwest, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic are all partners.

The hotels that participate include Hyatt, IHG, and Marriot Bonvoy.

a man handing another man a credit card tips for travel to Ireland
Using specific credit cards for car rental is among the tips for travel to Ireland that you should know. Photo: Dragonimages

This is also one of a handful of cards that you can use when booking your car rental in Ireland.

The car will cover the mandatory CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) insurance that is necessary to take out before you drive the car off the rental company lot.

Know that the car rental company will put a hold on your credit card (up to $5,000), which will come off once you return the car free of damage.

APR: 15.99% to 22.99%
Required Credit Score: 736

Renting a Car in Ireland: 9 Things You Should Know

Do you have any questions about getting to Ireland on the cheap?

Let me know if these particular tips for travel to Ireland were useful in the comments below or email me at [email protected].


Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

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