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A decade ago, finding credit cards with no foreign transaction fees was a challenging task. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case as many banks waive the maximum 3% fee on non-United States purchases. Even cards with no annual fee waive the foreign transaction fee these days. Let’s take a bank-by-bank approach to compare your options.
Chase probably has the largest lineup of cards without foreign transaction fees. Visa issues most Chase credit cards but Mastercard has the IHG Rewards Club cards. Being a Visa or Mastercard means worldwide merchant acceptance. Some of the co-brand travel and retail credit cards waive the foreign transaction fee:
- United Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Avios (British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus)
- Marriott Bonvoy
- IHG Rewards Club
- World of Hyatt
However, only three of the seven credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t have a foreign transaction fee. But, these three cards all charge an annual fee. The other four are the no annual fee cards in the Freedom and Ink Business card lineups.
These Chase credit cards with no foreign transaction fees earn Ultimate Rewards points. They are also some of the best Chase credit cards.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best overall travel rewards credit cards. You earn 2x Ultimate Rewards on travel and dining plus 1x point for everything else.
Your points are worth 25% more when booking award travel on the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to travel loyalty programs including United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, and World of Hyatt.
The annual fee is $95.
New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus, they can earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within the first year of account opening.
You can learn more about the benefits of this card in our detailed Chase Sapphire Preferred review.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is an attractive premium travel credit card albeit with a $550 annual fee:
- $300 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Select lounge access
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- Points are worth 50% more when redeeming for award travel
- 1:1 point transfer to airlines and hotels
- $60 DoorDash credits in 2020 and $60 in 2021
Gas station and grocery store purchases will also count towards earning the annual $300 travel credit, through December 31, 2021. Additionally, through April 30, 2021, cardholders automatically earn 3x points per $1 spent at grocery stores, up to $1,000 per month. Cardholders can also earn up to $120 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021.
This is in addition to the complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription that lets cardholders get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees. They also earn up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases ($60 in statement credits through 2020 and another $60 in statement credits through 2021).
Sapphire Reserve cardholders earn 10x points on Lyft rides, including bikes and scooters. Complimentary Lyft Pink Membership is also available when activated by March 21, 2022. Points are worth 50% more through April 30, 2021, when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. Points are also worth 50% more when redeemed through the Chase Dining hub in Ultimate Rewards, now through April 30, 2021.
New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has a $95 annual fee and has an impressive signup bonus of up to 100k points. Earn the 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That’s $1,250 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This Ink Business Preferred Card review can help you explore rewards options in more detail.
Cardholders earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 in combined annual spending for these purchases:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable, and phone services
- Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
All non-bonus spending earns 1 point per $1. This is easily one of the best credit cards for international travel for business owners.
Most of the American Express travel credit cards waive the foreign transaction fee.
American Express offers co-brand cards for these airline and hotel brands:
Even the $0 annual fee cards for these three loyalty programs have no foreign transaction fees. Some of the cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points also waive the purchase fee. You may put these Amex credit cards on your shortlist for foreign purchases.
American Express Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card earns up to 4 Membership Rewards per $1 on purchases:
- 4x points on restaurants worldwide, including on takeout and deliveries, plus, 4x for Uber Eats purchases, too
- 4x points at US supermarkets (on the first $25,000 annually then 1x points)
- 3x points on flights booked directly from the airline or on AmexTravel.com
You also get a $120 annual dining credit at select restaurants (enrollment required). The annual fee is $250 and there are no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees).
American Express® Gold Card cardholders can also get up to $120 in Uber Cash annually. Plus, you’ll earn 4x Membership Rewards® points for each Uber Eats purchase on your card. To use this perk, simply add your card to your Uber account and you’ll automatically get $10 in Uber Cash each month in your Uber account for U.S. Uber Eats orders or U.S. Uber rides. Any unused Uber Cash expires at the end of each month (it does not roll over to the next month).
Cardholders also get up to 12 complimentary months of Eats Pass when you subscribe with your American Express Gold Card. That’s a value of up to $119 annually (based on the $9.99 monthly price over 12 months). With the Uber Eats Pass, you can get unlimited $0 Delivery Fees and 5% off orders over $15 at eligible restaurants. Note that taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum.
This benefit applies only in the U.S. on U.S. orders at eligible restaurants and on eligible restaurant purchases.
Enrollment is required by 12/31/2021. After that, the Uber Eats Pass will begin auto-billing 12 months after your enrollment in this offer, at the then-current monthly price. Learn more about the Uber Eats partnership for more information.
New American Express® Gold Card cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months. Also, Rose Gold is back! Cardholders can choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great fit if you’re a frequent flyer, thanks to the many perks that come with it.
Platinum Card from American Express benefits include:
- Up to $200 in annual airline fee statement credits for incidental fees at one qualifying airline
- Complimentary airport lounge access (Centurion, Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- Fine Hotels and Resorts on-property credits (average value of $550)
Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Cardholders also earn 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on American Express Travel.
The annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees).
New cardmembers can earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Capital One waives the foreign transaction fee for the travel and cash rewards credit cards. Here are the best Capital One credit cards for travel options.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card makes earning travel rewards simple. You earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 on all purchases. You can redeem your Venture miles for travel statement credits, book upcoming travel, and transferring to airline and hotel partners. The annual fee is $95.
New Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards
The comparison of the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Capital One Venture, two of the top travel credit cards, can help if you’re undecided.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is an anomaly. Most cash back credit cards don’t have an annual fee but still charge a foreign transaction fee. The Quicksilver is fee-free.
You earn an unlimited 1.5% back on all domestic and foreign purchases. Plus, you can redeem your rewards in any amount for cash back. It’s an easy card to have in your wallet.
New cardholders can earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards
Citi has two cards with no foreign transaction fees that earn ThankYou points. They also have several credit cards for American Airlines fliers. You may consider these two Citi credit cards first.
Citi Premier Card
The Citi Premier® Card bonus categories include earning 3x ThankYou points on these purchases:
- Air travel
- Gas stations
You can also get an annual $100 savings benefit when you book a single $500+ hotel stay (excluding taxes and fees) through thankyou.com. Your ThankYou points are transferrable to airlines including Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. The annual fee for the Citi Premier card is $95 with a one-time 60,000-point signup bonus ($600 value) by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Citi Prestige Card
The information for the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Another premium travel credit card to consider is the Citi Prestige® Card. Travel benefits for the Citi Prestige include:
- $250 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge access
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- 4th night free on 4+ night hotel stays (twice per year)
- 1:1 airline point transfers
You can earn 5x ThankYou points on purchases:
- 5x points on air travel and restaurants
- 3x points on hotels and cruise lines
- 1x points for everything else
Summary of Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees
The largest banks all offer credit cards with no foreign transaction fees that can be as high as 3%. Some of the best credit cards don’t charge an annual fee either. Even if you only travel abroad occasionally, these cards make it easy to maximize your daily spending.
What does no foreign transaction fee mean?
Most credit cards charge a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases based outside the United States. This fee is for purchases you make when traveling abroad. Your bank may also charge the fee for foreign-based merchants, even if you’re making online purchases in the United States.
The foreign transaction fee is usually 3%. The bank charges a 2% fee and the credit card issuer (Visa or Mastercard) charge the final 1%. Some credit cards charge a fee as low as 1% and even no foreign transaction fees.
If a card still charges a 1% fee, that’s likely the portion that Visa or Mastercard charges. However, many of the best travel credit cards and even some of the best no annual fee travel credit cards waive the foreign transaction fee.
What credit cards are best for international travel?
Here some of the best credit cards to consider first for international travel. The best one can depend on how you want to redeem your points or your travel style.
- Premium award travel and airport lounge access: Platinum Card from American Express
- Travel redemption bonus and 1:1 point transfers: Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Flat-rate rewards: Capital One Venture
- No annual fee: Capital One VentureOne
- Business travel: Chase Ink Business Preferred
Is it better to use debit or credit abroad?
It’s normally better to use a credit card for international travel. Credit cards can have stronger fraud protection benefits and are more likely to have no foreign transaction fees. Also, credit cards are more likely to earn rewards points or travel miles on foreign purchases.
Debit cards are better if you need to make ATM withdrawals. Using a credit card for ATM withdrawals means you pay a cash advance fee with a high APR until you repay the balance. One of the best debit cards for international travel can be with a Chase Sapphire Banking account. Charles Schwab Bank also offers banking services with no foreign transaction fees.
For rates and fees of The American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
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