The 8 best 'no foreign transaction fee' credit cards that will save you money on international trips

Business Insider Traveling 1 month ago

During college, a friend and I spent 10 days visiting four different countries in Europe — and since some of them were outside of the Euro zone, that meant that we'd be using three different currencies. I decided to use my credit card whenever possible, and only use cash when I didn't have a choice.

Good plan, right? As I learned when I got back, not quite. I didn't realize that my basic student credit card, and, in fact, many popular mainstream credit cards, charged foreign transaction fees. I was hit with a 3% fee on every single transaction I made.

Since then, I've learned that while many consumer credit cards have foreign transaction fees, many other popular cards don't. These days when I travel, I make sure that the cards I bring don't have the fees, and — unless I'm in a country or area where cash is particularly preferred — I put most of my spending on the card without coming home to surprise charges.

Here are some of the best consumer credit cards that don't have foreign transaction fees. While there are other cards, too, that waive foreign transaction fees, these are some of our favorites based on the rewards and other benefits they offer, as well as the value they provide compared to their annual fees.

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these two cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Annual fee: $95

One of the most popular and recommended travel rewards credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel, including internationally. Dining includes things like restaurants, bars, pubs, coffee shops, and more, while travel includes airfare, hotels, Airbnb, taxis, ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, subways, and more.

Right now, the Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Annual fee: $450

The Sapphire Reserve is essentially a beefed-up version of the Preferred, with a higher annual fee and a few key differences. You get a $300 statement credit each cardmember year to cover your first $300 of travel charges, and a higher earning rate of 3x points on travel and dining purchases.

The Sapphire Reserve earns a bonus of 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Amex Platinum
American Express/Instagram

Annual fee: $550

The Platinum Card is more or less the flagship premium travel card, offering rewards, perks, and benefits that can net a ton of value for travelers — for instance, I got more than $2,000 from the card my first year with it. That's more than enough to make up for its hefty $550 annual fee.

The US version of the card has no foreign transaction fees and earns 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, on top of a welcome offer of 60,000 points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. You'll also get up to a $200 annual airline fee credit, up to $200 of credits for Uber each cardmember year, access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world, complimentary elite status at major hotel chains, and more.

Click here to learn more about the Platinum Card.

Major airline credit cards

Delta One 757
David Slotnick/Business Insider

The mainstream credit cards from the three major US airlines Delta, United, and American — all come with similar perks, including variations of priority boarding, free checked bags, the opportunity to earn miles on everyday purchases, and more. Plus, the cards have no foreign transaction fees.

The best optio for you depends on where you live and which airlines you have access to. The cards each come with different new member offers, and while there are a few other differences between them, they have annual fees of $95 to $99 that are waived the first year.

Click here to learn more about the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express.

Click here to learn more about the United Explorer Card.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express card

Annual fee: $0

The Wells Fargo Propel Amex is the rare credit card that waives foreign transaction fees and doesn't even charge an annual fee.

It also earns bonus cash back in lots of categories: You'll get 3x points (3% cash back) on eating out and ordering in, on travel, on gas stations, ride shares, and transit, and on popular streaming services (and 1 point per dollar on everything else).

Click here to learn more about the Wells Fargo Propel.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

CREDIT CARD SYDNEY AUSTRALIA capital onee venture 09
Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

This is another great option without foreign transaction fees and with an annual fee under $100, especially now that you can transfer miles to various airline programs. The Venture card earns 10x miles on paid hotels booked at hotels.com/venture, and 2 miles per dollar on everything else.

The card's currently offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. In addition to transferring miles to airlines, you can use them to wipe travel charges from your credit card statement.


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