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Using a credit card with foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad can be a costly mistake. Imagine coming home from a lovely trip to seeing a huge bill — all because of a 3% foreign transaction fee added on top of your actual purchases.
Luckily, virtually all of the top rewards credit cards no longer charge this fee. Below, you'll find some of our favorite rewards credit cards without foreign transaction fees, with an emphasis on travel rewards cards that offer bonus points and miles for airfare, hotels, and more.
One of the most popular and recommended travel rewards credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining and travel, including internationally.
Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred card review
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 80,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
Read more: Chase Sapphire Reserve review
You get a $300 statement credit each cardmember year to cover your first $300 of travel charges, and a higher earning rate of 3x points on travel (which you earn after you earn your $300 travel credit) and dining purchases (plus 10x points on Lyft rides through March 2022 and 1 point per dollar on everything else).
The Sapphire Reserve earns a bonus of 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is more or less the flagship premium travel card, offering rewards, perks, and benefits that can net a ton of value for cardholders — whether you're traveling or staying close to home. That's more than enough to make up for its hefty $550 annual fee (See Rates).
Read more: Amex Platinum card review
The Platinum Card® from American Express has no foreign transaction fees and earns 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline and through Amex Travel (starting January 1, 2021, the 5x points will apply up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, and 1x points on everything else.
There's also an excellent welcome offer: 75,000 points after you spend at least $5,000 in your first 6 months of card membership. (Note: New Platinum Card® cardmembers can earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership)
You'll also get up to a $200 annual airline fee credit**, up to $200 in Uber credits (including Uber Eats)** each year ($15 each month, plus a bonus of $20 in December), access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott**, and up to $100 in Saks Fifth Avenue credits per year**.
The mainstream credit cards from the three major US airlines — American Airlines, Delta, and United — all come with similar perks, including variations of priority boarding, free checked bags, the opportunity to earn miles on everyday purchases, and more. Plus, these cards have no foreign transaction fees.
The best option 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 $95 to $99 that are waived the first year (See Rates).
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another great option without foreign transaction fees and with an annual fee under $100, especially now that you can transfer Capital One miles to various airline programs.
The card earns 2 miles per dollar on everything — the simplest rewards structure among travel credit cards. You can also redeem Capital One miles at a fixed rate of 1 cent each toward travel purchases made with your card, without having to worry about award charts and blackout dates.
How did we choose the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees?
Virtually all of the best travel rewards credit cards waive foreign transaction fees by this point, so for this guide, we focused on narrowing it down to the best options in a variety of categories. We drew heavily from our editors' expertise and the input of experts, as quoted in our guide to the best rewards credit cards, to come up with this list in the most popular categories of cards.
You'll find a top pick for cash back, a top pick for travel rewards (in two different budget categories), our top airline credit card options, and more.
How do foreign transaction fees work?
When you're using a credit card that charges a foreign transaction fee and you make a purchase abroad, you'll be charged an extra fee, as a percentage of your purchase amount. The fee is generally 3% of your purchase, and it will be added to your monthly bill.
Your foreign transaction fee may be broken down into two parts: a fee charged by the payment network (as in Visa or Mastercard) and a fee charged by your credit card company.
Do foreign transaction fees apply online?
In addition to applying to purchases you make while traveling abroad, a foreign transaction fee could be charged when you make a purchase from a vendor that's based outside of your home country. If you're shopping with a retailer or travel company based abroad, your best bet is paying with a credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees just to be safe.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.
Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.