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The best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

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The best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

Joseph HostetlerThe best no foreign transaction fee credit cardsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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When you travel internationally there’s plenty to think about, such as finding the next Wi-Fi spot, translating that super-confusing sign or searching for the local delicacy. The last thing you need is an unpleasant surprise when you get your credit card bill and find you’ve been charged foreign transaction fees.

Luckily, there are plenty of fantastic credit cards that let you make overseas purchases for no additional fee. If you’re a big spender, you could save hundreds of dollars on one trip abroad.

Let’s look at some of the best no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards to help you decide which is best for your wallet.

Best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

Shopping in Tokyo? Use one of the best no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards to avoid spending more than you have to. (Photo by Jasmin Baron/Million Mile Secrets.)

You can use these cards abroad exactly like you would use them at home, with no additional fees.

Comparing credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Card nameAnnual feeIntro bonus offerBest perk
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$9560,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $600 in cash back or $750 in travel) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account openingFantastic travel insurance
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
$9580,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $800 in cash back or $1,000 in travel) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account openingUp to $600 in cell phone insurance for you and any employees listed on your monthly bill after paying a $100 deductible
Chase Sapphire Reserve®$45050,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $500 in cash back or $750 in travel) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening$300 annual travel credit
The Platinum Card® from American Express$550 (See rates and fees)60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account openingThe most comprehensive lounge access of any card on the market
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

$95 (waived the first year)50,000 Venture miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
No blackout dates when booking travel
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card$030,000 Marriott points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account openingIf your baggage is delayed 6+ hours you can be reimbursed up to $100 per day (for five days) for essentials like toiletries and clothing
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business$95 (waived the first year)Up to 200,000 bonus miles (worth up to $2,000 in travel):
- 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening
- 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 on purchases in the first six months of opening your account
Earn 5 miles per dollar on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles card
American Express® Gold Card$250 (see rates and fees)35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account openingUp to $120 in dining credits each year

Best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Bonus: Our favorite first credit card for beginners, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Chase points value depends on how you redeem them, but this bonus is worth $600 in cash back or $750 in travel (1.25 cents per point) when you redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. But the best way to use Chase points is with Chase airline and hotel transfer partners. You can potentially receive a much greater value when you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to these partners.

Insider secrets: Many of us on the Million Mile Secrets team use the Chase Sapphire Preferred almost exclusively when dining out overseas. Because it’s a Visa card, it’s accepted more frequently. Choose this card if you’re new to the hobby, or if you spend lots on travel and dining abroad. And read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

Benefits: This card also comes with:

  • 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining worldwide
  • 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage due to theft or collision to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card
  • Trip delay reimbursement – Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours

Annual fee: The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee.

Chase Ink Business Preferred

Bonus: With the Chase Ink Business Preferred, you’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Again, Chase points value varies, but the bonus is worth at least $800 in cash back or $1,000 in travel (1.25 cents per point) when you redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

And, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can potentially get much more value from this card by transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Chase airline and hotel partners.

Insider secrets: If you’re a small business owner who travels a lot or makes a lot of purchases from foreign countries, consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred. It’s currently got the highest welcome bonus of any Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning card.

Choose this card if you own a small business and spend a lot of money on travel and other 3x categories like shipping or online advertising. Read our Chase Ink Business Preferred review for all the details.

Benefits: You’ll earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 you spend per account anniversary year (combined) in the following categories:

  • Travel
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines

You’ll also get:

Annual fee: The card has a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. A number of us on the team have the Chase Ink Business Preferred and keep it for the excellent earning and benefits like cellphone insurance.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Bonus: With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

That bonus alone is worth $500 in cash back or $750 in travel (1.5 cents per point) when you redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. And you can potentially get much more value from Ultimate Rewards points when you transfer them to Chase partners like United Airlines, Hyatt or Singapore Airlines.

Insider secrets: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the premier card for people who travel a lot, so it’s no surprise that it doesn’t add foreign transaction fees.

This card actually increases the Chase points value of other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, too. If you have other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, you can combine all your points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve so they’re all worth 1.5 cents per point towards travel.

Choose this card if you travel frequently and spend a lot on travel and dining abroad. And read our Chase Sapphire Reserve review for everything you need to know about the card.

Benefits: The card also comes with:

Annual fee: The $450 annual fee isn’t waived the first year, but the annual travel credit and airport lounge access can more than offset the annual fee.

American Express Platinum

Bonus: With the Amex Platinum, you’ll earn 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Amex points value can vary greatly, but often the best way to use Amex points is by redeeming them through Amex transfer partners like Singapore Airlines, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic.

Insider secrets: With no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees) and a ton of outstanding travel perks, the Amex Platinum makes our list for its top earning on airfare (even international airlines) and airport lounge access. If you can make the most of the annual airline fee and Uber credits and will spend a lot of time in airport lounges, you can more than offset the annual fee.

Keep in mind, this is a charge card, so you must pay your balance off in full every month. Choose this card if you spend a lot on paid airfare and enjoy airport lounges. And read our full Amex Platinum review for all the details.

Benefits: You’ll also get:

Annual fee: The card comes with a $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).

Capital One Venture Card

Bonus: The Capital One Venture welcome bonus is 50,000 Venture miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account. Because you can redeem your Venture miles at a flat rate of 1 cent per mile toward travel, the welcome bonus is worth $500.

To redeem your Capital One miles for travel, use your Capital One Venture card to pay for your travel purchase. Once it’s posted to your account, you can “erase” the cost with miles. However, you must redeem the miles within 90 days of your purchase.

Many of us like Capital One miles because you can redeem them for a wide variety of travel costs, including Airbnb stays, Uber rides, and flights or hotels with no blackout dates. Plus, there’s no minimum redemption increment when redeeming miles, unless you’re using miles to partially pay for a travel purchase. In that case, the minimum is 2,500 Venture miles ($25).

Choose this card if you prefer rewards that are straightforward to earn and redeem. And read our full Capital One Venture review.

Benefits: You’ll earn 2 Capital One miles per dollar on all purchases. The card also comes with a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit (up to $100).

You can even transfer Capital One miles to airline partners, including Singapore Airlines and Air Canada Aeroplan.

Prefer Airbnbs or staying off the beaten path? The Capital One Venture makes redeeming rewards easy. (Photo by Jasmin Baron/Million Mile Secrets.)

Annual fee: The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

Insider secrets: If you don’t want to fuss with bonus categories or award charts, the Capital One Venture is an excellent choice. With no foreign transaction fees and a straightforward rewards earning and redemption structure, this card is a top pick for folks who like simplicity.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card

Bonus: The new Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card earns 30,000 Marriott points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The best way to use Marriott points is often by redeeming them for free hotel stays. However, you can also receive outsized Marriott points value when you transfer Marriott points to airlines.

Benefits: This card also earns:

  • 3 Marriott points per dollar spent at participating Marriott hotels
  • 2 Marriott points per dollar spent on travel
  • 1 Marriott points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 15 elite night credits each calendar year

Annual fee: No annual fee.

Insider secrets: Keep in mind, there are other Marriott credit cards, like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, which earn more Marriott points per dollar, but you’ll pay an annual fee. Read our full Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card for more tips.

Capital One Spark Miles

Bonus: For a limited time, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business comes with up to 200,000 bonus miles worth up to $2,000 to spend on travel – flights, hotels and more.

  • 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months of account opening
  • 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening

That’s a big spending requirement! But this is a small business card, and anyone with a fair amount of business expenses shouldn’t have trouble meeting it. Capital One miles value is at least 1 cent each toward travel (read our Capital One miles review), though they can be much higher if you know how to use them. Transferring your miles to Capital One transfer partners like Avianca and Air Canada Aeroplan can occasionally provide more savings.

Insider secrets: For anyone who can’t meet the full $50,000 spending requirement to earn 200,000 miles, don’t give up on this card! Earning 50,000 miles by spending $5,000 in three months is still a great bonus. That’s at least $500 off your next vacation. Here’s our full Capital One Spark Miles review.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith)

Benefits: This card also earns:

  • 5 miles per dollar on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles card
  • 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Amex Gold Card

Bonus: The American Express® Gold Card comes with 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. We generally find Amex points value to be 2 cents each. That makes this bonus worth $700 on average. It depends on how you use your Amex points, but you’ll get the most value by redeeming them with Amex transfer partners. 35,000 points is enough for a one-way business class flight between Chicago and Madrid when you transfer them to Iberia. This seat costs at least $1,700 otherwise.

Insider secrets: If you use the card’s up to $120 dining credit and up to $100 airline incidental credit each year, you’re effectively paying only $30 of the $250 annual fee. You’ll receive $10 per month in dining credit at participating merchants:

  • GrubHub
  • Seamless
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
  • Participating Shake Shack locations

As you can see, GrubHub and Seamless make it easy to use. Read our full Amex Gold Card review for all the details of this and other valuable card perks.

Benefits: This card earns:

  • 4 points per dollar at restaurants
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year; then 1 point )
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • Up to $100 airline fee credit per year for incidental fees at one selected airline
  • Up to $120 in dining credits each year

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)

Cards with no foreign transaction fees can still get dinged

Even if you’re using a card with no foreign transaction fees, you can still end up on the hook for extra charges if you pay in the wrong currency. Overseas, especially throughout Europe or in popular tourist areas, a merchant will sometimes use a credit card machine that recognizes you’re using a U.S. credit card. It’ll offer you the choice to pay in local currency or U.S. dollars.

Always pay in the local currency. In these cases, the credit card processor is adding their own currency conversion fees (sometimes 3% or more) when you select payment in U.S. dollars. Even if you use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, you will still be overpaying and essentially incur a fee.

Note: You’ll get charged hefty cash advance fees and processing fees (up to ~$20) if you use your card at international ATMs to withdraw cash. Avoid doing that at all costs unless it’s an emergency.

Bottom line

The best no foreign transaction fee credit cards are:

These aren’t the only no foreign transaction fee cards out there, but based on their bonuses and benefits, we find they are the best credit cards for international travel. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.

Featured image courtesy of Martin Helgemeir / Shutterstock

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Citi Costco card removed the foreign transaction fee earlier this year. It will earn you 4% on gas, 3% on travel, dining, 2% costco, no annual fee if you pay Costco membership.

Luckily, it seems that most miles and points cards have for competitive reasons needed to get rid of that scammy “just because we can get away with it” fee. A decade ago there were only a select few cards I could carry when traveling abroad. Now there are only a few that I have to sock drawer when I’m taking a trip. The dynamic currency conversion trick is the one we need to watch out for now, and it’s good you mentioned that.

The top table’s right column is almost completely cut off, per my Android phone. Lots of good info in the article!

Hi again Karey – can you please take a peek with your phone and see if the table in this post looks better? You should be able to scroll the table sideways now. Just want to make sure before we make changes across the site. 🙂

Thanks again for the heads-up!

I can scoot it back & forth, it’s no longer locked in place. And quite readable at that. Good job!

Hi Karey – I’ll send this to our tech support and see if we can figure out what’s going on. Thanks for the info!