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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 some cards with no annual fee waive the foreign transaction fee these days. Let’s take a bank-by-bank approach to compare your options.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
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 foreign transaction fees.
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. 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 Chase Sapphire Preferred earns unlimited:
- 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Anniversary Hotel Credit)
- 3x points on dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out)
- 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target®, Walmart®, and wholesale clubs)
- Also 3x points on select streaming services
- 2x points on all other travel purchases
- 1x point per $1 spent on all non-bonus purchases
There is a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit. It comes in the form of a statement credit that will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for hotel accommodation purchases made through the Ultimate Rewards program, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $50.
Plus, on each account anniversary, you’ll earn bonus points equal to 10% of your total purchases made the previous year. So, if you spend $25,000 on purchases, you’ll get 2,500 bonus points.
The annual fee is $95.
New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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 redeemed for award travel
- 1:1 point transfer to airlines and hotels
Chase Sapphire Reserve purchases earn up to 10x Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Cardholders can earn unlimited:
- 10x total points on hotels and car rental purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards
- 5x total points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 3x points on other travel worldwide (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 3x points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out
- 1x points for all remaining purchases
You will not receive rewards points on your first $300 in annual travel purchases as the annual travel statement credit reimburses these purchases.
New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $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 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 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earns 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Plus, earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Another perk is the ability to earn up to $10 in statement credits on a monthly basis when you use your Gold Card to pay at the following dining establishments (enrollment is required):
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Milk Bar
- Shake Shack (only at participating locations)
This perk can save you up to $120 annually.
The annual fee is $250 and there are no foreign transaction fees (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. Also, Rose Gold is back! Cardholders can choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great fit if you’re a frequent flyer. This is thanks to the many perks that come with it and its benefits.
The Platinum Card from American Express benefits includes the following:
- Up to $200 in annual airline fee statement credits for incidental fees at one qualifying airline (in the form of a statement credit; enrollment required)
- Complimentary airport lounge access (Centurion, Priority Pass (enrollment required), Delta Sky Club)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- Terms apply
Cardholders 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, and earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
Cardholders can get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when they pay with your Platinum Card®.
Also, select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card.
Plus, American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
Other Platinum Card from American Express Benefits
There’s also a digital entertainment credit. Cardholders can get up to $20 in statement credits each month when they pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, The New York Times, and other participating providers. Enrollment required.
In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card.
Another exciting benefit is the ability for cardholders to get up to $300 back each year on an Equinox+ subscription or any Equinox club membership when they pay with their Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
Plus, get a $155 Walmart+ credit, which covers the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. The cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
Get the full details and learn more in our in-depth The Platinum Card from American Express review.
The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees) but can be offset with the perks, which are valued at over $1,400.
Welcome Bonus Offer
New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $6,000 on purchases on the Card in the 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 purchases.
However, if you are wanting to earn a few more miles on travel, good news—earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Plus, Venture cardholders will earn 5x miles when booking through the Turo app or on Turo.com (through May 16, 2023).
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.
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
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. However, earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 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.
New Citi Premier® Card cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus is redeemable for $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com.
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.
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) charges 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 are 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 Rewards
- No annual fee: Capital One VentureOne
- Business travel: Chase Ink Business Preferred
Related: 7 Best Credit Cards For International Travel
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.