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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 Sapphire vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Dining at a restaurant in Italy will net 2 points per dollar with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and no foreign transaction fees.

Chase

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:

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

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® 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 and the signup bonus is 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards ($750 value) by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. 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

The signup bonus for the Chase Sapphire Reserve is 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards ($750 value) after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

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:

  • Travel
  • 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.

American Express

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 takeaways and deliveries
  • 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) and an annual $100 airline fee credit for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline. The annual fee is $250 (See Rates & Fees).

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.

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. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Cardholders also earn 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com.

The annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees). The welcome offer is 60,000 bonus points ($600 value) by spending $5,000 in the first 3 months.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

Capital One

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 cardholders can earn a 100k mile bonus by spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Learn more: 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

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
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Supermarkets
  • 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

Both the Citi Premier® Card and the Citi Prestige are some of the best Citi credit cards available.

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.

FAQs

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.

Related: 7 Best Credit Cards For International Travel In 2020

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.

Related Articles:

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.

Josh Patoka
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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