Where to stay (and how to earn rewards) when you travel abroad

Courtesy of Radisson

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Courtesy of Radisson


Details about the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card were last updated on 03.03.2020.


Traveling abroad can be one of the more rewarding experiences of your life. However, there are quite a few moving parts to consider. There’s paperwork, travel logistics and figuring out where in the world you’re going to stay.

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have a couch to crash on when traveling abroad, so we’ll have to make arrangements based on our needs and budget. The good news is, there are lots of options out there. Also, certain credit cards offer rewards points for eligible travel purchases.

Figuring out how to plan for your lodging needs when traveling overseas doesn’t take a world of knowledge. You just need to focus on the essentials.

The luxury route

If you want your vacation to truly be a time to relax, this is the way to go. Luxury hotels and resorts offer you amazing spaces to sleep, eat and take in the scenery. Staff at these locations will most likely be conversant in a variety of languages to help make communication barriers a non-issue. You also might have access to other amenities like onsite restaurants, spa services, and excursions.

While this kind of lodging is going to cost more than the others listed in this article, you may find it worth the price to have so many services at your fingertips.

One of the most recognized names in this lodging category is Hilton. With 570 properties across six continents, availability shouldn’t be a problem. Hilton also has a co-branded awards card, the Hilton Honors American Express Card.

This card offers:

  • 7 Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort in the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands
  • 3 Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases
  • A welcome offer of 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you use your new card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership

All those points can be put toward more time at your favorite Hilton location.

Budget-friendly options

Luxury hotels are just that, a luxury. If that kind of lodging doesn’t fit into your plans, you have many budget-friendly options to choose from.

Affordable hotels

While economy hotels may not have all the frills of a resort, most will offer continental breakfast service to get you on your way and Wi-Fi to keep you connected. This is definitely the option to go for if you are on a budget but want the privacy of your own space. Other perks may include temperature controlled rooms, cleaning services and airport shuttles. For this option, you will have access to many local branded hotels and some global chains like Hampton Inn and Courtyard.

If you’re looking to explore mid-range options and still want to get in on travel rewards, check out the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. You can search through a huge database of hotels to find an eligible location that meets your needs and price range. And you’ll earn 10 miles per dollar when you book and pay using your Venture card (ends January 2020). An added perk is that there are no foreign transaction fees with this card.


Hotels are great for privacy, but maybe you prefer something with a little lived-in personality. This is where the hostel comes in.

This budget-friendly option is known for communal spaces like shared kitchens, game rooms, lounge spaces and dorm spaces. Many hostels also offer affordable private room options for people who want to sleep in their own space but still participate in the communal vibe. As a bonus, hostels often offer tour services that will save you some time trying to figure out how to see the best sites in town.

You can book your hostel ahead of time using a site like Hostelworld. Hostelworld accepts Visa and Mastercard, so you could earn some rewards by paying with a credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card.


If you’re looking for a private space to call your own but also want the conveniences of home, home-sharing offers a happy medium between the hotel and hostel experience. Home-sharing is also budget-friendly, especially if you’re traveling with a group. You can often rent a full house for the price of a hotel stay.

One of the bigger players in the home-sharing game is Airbnb. Not only do they offer a variety of lodging options from a single room to a full house, but they also offer in-country experiences with reliable local guides.

Try booking your stay with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. This card allows you to redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, rental cars or baggage fees. You can earn an unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. Points never expire and there’s a welcome offer of 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account.

While Airbnb may be the biggest player for home-sharing at the moment, there are some up-and-coming competitors. For example, Marriott Hotels is expanding its properties to include home-sharing through its new Homes and Villas properties. This home-sharing experience is for the traveler who wants the comforts of home but is also looking for some luxury.

With around 7,000 properties worldwide, Marriott should be easy to find in your destination country. And if you book in conjunction with Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program, you’ll stand to earn substantial points toward free lodging. Don’t forget the additional benefits if you pay with your Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, which automatically places you at Silver Elite level in the program and includes a welcome bonus of 75,000 points, worth around $675, after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Travelers have plenty of ways to stay

You have a lot of things to manage when you’re in a foreign country, and a safe, comfortable place to stay shouldn’t be one of them. It also helps if your lodging meets your travel needs. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious vacation locale or a homey space to set up your traveling office, you have a lot of choices.

You also have lots of ways to pay for your lodging that will earn rewards you can put toward your next trip.

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