Credit Card -

How to choose a credit card brand that is suitable for overseas travel [VISA Master ANEX]

Table of Contents

  1. What are international credit card brands?
  2. VISA - Visa Card
  4. American Express / AMEX
  5. JCB - JCB Card
    1. JCB is a must if you go to Hawaii!
  6. DINERS - Diners Club
  7. It is best to use different credit card brands

What are international credit card brands?

Which international credit card brands are recommended for travel?

The familiar logo mark on credit cards. It shows which international brand payment systems the credit card can be used with.

Currently, international credit card brands commonly seen in Japan include VISA, MASTER, AMEX, JCB, DINERS, UnionPay, and DISCOVER.


When traveling overseas, it is recommended to keep cash to a minimum from the standpoint of safety and convenience, and to pay by credit card in places where credit cards are accepted. With so many different types, many people may wonder if it's a good idea to take them with them when traveling.

Therefore, this time, we will introduce the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of each international credit card brand, and share which card brands are strong and recommended for overseas travel.

Please note that UnionPay and DISCOVER cards are difficult to make in Japan, so I will omit them from this introduction to international brands, and will only explain international brands that are generally easy to make.

VISA - Visa Card

Which international credit card brands are recommended for travel?

There are almost no stores in the world where you can't use credit cards. VISA is a card brand with such recognition and convenience.

VISA is a huge credit card brand with an estimated number of members of over 2 billion people, and is based in the United States. Founded in 1958 by Bank of America, it is the world's largest credit card company, but VISA Card itself does not issue cards, and its main business is brand licensing.

If you only want to make credit card payments for things like shopping, having a VISA brand credit card is pretty much all you need.

However, since the card brand itself is so well-known, the benefits and benefits provided by the card are poor, so if you are looking for great benefits for holding and using the card, the VISA brand is not that attractive.


Which international credit card brands are recommended for travel?

The world's second-largest credit card brand with approximately 1 billion members is 'MasterCard.' While MasterCard is accepted at almost any store where credit cards are used worldwide, there are rare occasions, particularly in some regions like Southeast Asia, where VISA may be accepted, but MasterCard is not.(The reverse is also true)

The brand company is based in the United States, just like VISA. Like VISA, it does not issue credit cards on its own; instead, card issuance is handled by affiliated companies through brand licensing. The logo was also updated in 2016, with a modern flat design.

In the past, with the regular MasterCard (Gold), you could have your suitcase delivered for free from the airport to your home. However, currently, this service is no longer free but is offered at a discount. Similar to VISA, MasterCard has become a brand of credit card with relatively few perks.

The ease of using credit cards is almost the same as VISA, so if you have one MASTER card, you can rest assured that you will almost never have trouble paying.

American Express / AMEX

Which international credit card brands are recommended for travel?

The number of members is approximately 100 million. American Express (commonly known as Amex) is a credit card brand with unique characteristics that focuses on use for travel and leisure, with the concept of T&E (Travel & Entertainment).

As the card's theme is to focus on travel and leisure, American Express branded credit cards come with a variety of benefits, making them very attractive to travelers.

For example, with the Delta Amex Gold Card, you receive membership eligibility for Delta Air Lines' Gold Medallion status. The Marriott Amex Card provides access to Marriott's Gold Elite membership, and the Mitsubishi UFJ Platinum American Express Card offers a complimentary Priority Pass for free access to airport lounges.

Furthermore, each credit card has its own unique benefits, such as travel support and free baggage delivery service between the airport and home, so it's fun to choose the benefits you want and create a card.

Another feature of American Express cards is that they include cards issued by Amex itself and corporate cards issued by licensed partner companies.

When traveling overseas, credit cards are not as easy to use as VISA or MASTER cards, as they may not be usable in some rural areas. Therefore, when traveling overseas, it is recommended that while enjoying the benefits of an Amex card (lounge access and advanced membership), you also prepare a VISA or MASTER card for stores that do not accept Amex cards.

In Japan, AMEX has a partnership with JCB, and AMEX can also be used at stores that accept JCB, so it can be used almost anywhere.

JCB - JCB Card

Which international credit card brands are recommended for travel?

JCB Card is a card payment business brand based in Japan.

The number of members is over 100 million. Since it is a Japanese credit card brand, it can be said that it is the most convenient card in Japan.

They also run various campaigns on a regular basis, so having a JCB branded card has the advantage of giving you a variety of benefits in Japan. (Private rental of Disneyland, private rental of USJ, etc.)

Overseas, in Hawaii and Singapore, where Japanese people often go, there are many affiliated stores that often run campaigns, so you can often get great deals, but in Hawaii, Taiwan, Thailand, Guam, It is often difficult to use outside of Singapore.

The disadvantage is that it is not very useful as a main card for shopping payments during general overseas travel, but in the United States it is affiliated with the DISCOVER brand, and in places where DISCOVER cards can be used, JCB cards can also be used (some Stores may not be allowed).

When traveling overseas, we recommend bringing a JCB card and VISA (or MASTER) with you.

JCB is a must if you go to Hawaii!

Which international credit card brands are recommended for travel?

Although the JCB card is weak for overseas use, it is a must-have item if you are going on a trip to Hawaii (Oahu/Honolulu/Waikiki).

The reason why it is necessary is that you can ride the Waikiki Trolley's Pink Line as many times as you like (card holder and accompanying person can ride for free for up to 1 adult and 2 children, or up to 4 family members).

The Waikiki Trolley's Pink Line is a shopping line that connects major hotels in the Waikiki area with Ala Moana Shopping Center, and usually costs $2 per person.

However, if you show your JCB card, up to 4 members of your family (2 adults + 2 children) can enter for free. In other words, you can save $8 per use, which is good for your wallet.

Also, the last bus runs from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM (depending on the route), so it's a very convenient card for staying around Waikiki.

 Click here for the Waikiki Trolley Pink Line time schedule

Any JCB card that has the JCB brand mark and is within its expiration date can be used for free rides on the Pink Line, but please note that JCB prepaid and cardless type JCB cards are not eligible for this service.

For more information [Hawaii Recommended Credit Cards - Save tens of thousands of yen just by knowing! 】Reference.

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DINERS - Diners Club

Which international credit card brands are recommended for travel?

[DINERS CLUB] is a rare card brand that mainly operates in the United States.

The number of members is estimated to be around 5-6 million worldwide, but details are unknown. There is no specified limit on the amount that can be used on a credit card, and since it is mainly owned by wealthy people, it is rumored that you can even buy a house with the card.

[DINERS CLUB] was once acquired by the CITI Group due to poor business performance. After that, due to poor management of the CITI group, it is now a card affiliated with the DISCOVER group, and its business in Japan is handled by Sumitomo Mitsui.

In Japan, it is a highly convenient card as it is affiliated with JCB, but unfortunately there are very few stores where it can be used overseas, so it is not recommended for taking it overseas.

However, with the Diners Club card, you can create a Priority Pass, and points from card usage can be exchanged for ANA or United miles (though there is an additional annual membership fee of 6,000 yen required for mile exchanges). Depending on how it's used, there are potential benefits to be enjoyed.

It is best to use different credit card brands

Which international credit card brands are recommended for travel?

In the past, many people used to hold credit cards for status purposes, but various shifts in the era, including events like the Lehman shock, have turned aspects like card brand status into something akin to a fantasy.

It can be said that we are now in an era where the criteria for choosing a credit card brand is based on one's lifestyle, purpose of use, benefits, etc.

Of course, if you look only at convenience, there is no brand that can beat VISA or MASTER. However, when it comes to benefits that come with cards, Amex, JCB, and DINERS are the favorites. Furthermore, even VISA and MASTER cards are often not available due to incompatibility with the ATM or cash register on the spot.

In other words, One card brand can't cover everything. This is the conclusion for those of us who frequently travel abroad.

If you are going on a trip abroad, bring two types of credit card brands.
  • Main card for payment at local stores: VISA or MASTER
  • For lounge use and various benefits…Amex, JCB, DINERS

When traveling abroad, it is recommended to have a main card for payments at local stores, preferably VISA or MasterCard, and additionally, for lounge access and various perks, having an American Express, JCB, or Diners Club card, or even all three, is a recommended style.

Although there is a risk that the card's annual fee will be hefty, the benefits each credit card offers outweigh the annual fee. Please carefully examine the characteristics of the cards and find a combination of cards that suits you.

For your reference, below are the credit cards that we think are the best to take with you when traveling abroad. If you're having trouble choosing a card for overseas travel, check it out. So, use your credit card wisely and have comfortable and wonderful memories of your overseas trip!

Credit card with airline elite benefits
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Advantages and disadvantages of Mitsubishi UFJ Platinum Card Credit Card Advantages and disadvantages of Mitsubishi UFJ Platinum Card Advantages and disadvantages of credit card [Mitsubishi UFJ Card Platinum American Express Card]. I've been holding the Mitsubishi UFJ Card Platinum American Express® Card (MUFG Platinum Card) for over 7 years, and while compiling information on the card's benefits such as Priority Pass and Concierge Desk, I checked to see if it was really a recommended credit card.