Here are the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees in 2019:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- United Explorer Card
- Citi® /AAdvantage Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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 realise 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 favourites 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.
When you’re working to earn credit-card rewards, it’s important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.
Annual fee: $US95
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 $US4,000 in the first three months.
Annual fee: $US450
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 $US300 statement credit each cardmember year to cover your first $US300 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 $US4,000 in the first three months.
Chase Sapphire Reserve card review
Annual fee: $US550
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 travellers – for instance, I got more than $US2,000 from the card my first year with it. That’s more than enough to make up for its hefty $US550 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 $US5,000 in the first three months. You’ll also get up to a $US200 annual airline fee credit, up to $US200 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.
Major airline credit cards
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 $US95 to $US99 that are waived the first year.
Annual fee: $US0
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).
Wells Fargo Propel Amex card review
Annual fee: $US95 (waived the first year)
This is another great option without foreign transaction fees and with an annual fee under $US100, 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 $US3,000 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.
Capital One Venture card review
- More credit card coverage
- What’s the best airline credit card?
- The best cash-back credit cards
- Southwest credit card review
- Best rewards credit cards
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