Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees

International travel can be a thrilling experience, but paying a pesky little fee just to use your credit card in another country is about as unglamorous as it gets. Lucky for you, many of today’s best credit cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees for your overseas purchases. Check out our top picks for credit cards with no foreign transaction fees from our partners — and bon voyage!

Editor's Top Picks: Best No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards

Capital One Image

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
Welcome Offer:
20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 14.24% - 24.24% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for entertainment and dining enthusiasts

Capital One Image

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment Earn 2% at grocery stores Earn 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$300 after you spend $3000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
16.74% - 25.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for hotel rewards

Capital One Image

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day
Welcome Offer:
50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.99% - 25.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for redemption flexibility

Chase Image

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rewards Rate:
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
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®
Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
18.24% - 25.24% Variable

Card Details

  • 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
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for low balance transfer fee

Capital One Image

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Welcome Offer:
$150 after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for straightforward rewards

Bank of America Image

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Bank of America's secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
Welcome Offer:
25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Regular APR:
17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR will apply
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for simple earning

Discover Image

Discover it® Miles

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Discover's secure website

Discover it® Miles

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases all with no annual fee.
Welcome Offer:
Discover will match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That's $700 towards travel!
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
10.99% for 14 months
Regular APR:
14.24% - 25.24% Variable

Card Details

  • Unlimited Bonus: Discover will match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That's $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases all with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.

Best for long 0% APR period

Capital One Image

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment Earn 2% at grocery stores Earn 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$150 after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24% - 26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for low regular variable APR

HSBC Image

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent to Good (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On HSBC's secure website

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Rewards Rate:
10% Anniversary Bonus on all Cash Rewards earned once a year Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases
Welcome Offer:
Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Introductory APR on credit card purchases for the first 12 months from account opening
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months from account opening
Regular APR:
Variable APR of 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% will apply after the Introductory Period

Card Details

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases.
  • Earn an Introductory 3% Cash Back on all purchases in the first 12 months from Account opening, up to the first $10,000 in purchases
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus on all Cash Rewards earned once a year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable APR.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $0 liability for unauthorized purchases.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Discover Image

Discover it® Cash Back

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Discover's secure website

Discover it® Cash Back

Rewards Rate:
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Welcome Offer:
Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Regular APR:
14.24% - 25.24% Variable

Card Details

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.

Author: Barry Bridges | bbridges@bankrate.com


Choose the right credit card to make sure fees and charges don’t tag along on your next vacation

Bankrate research helps you find the credit cards that best fit your needs, but that’s not all. In addition to analyzing the best cards with no foreign transaction fees, we’ve also dug deep into the subject of international travel to reveal information that you can put to use on your next trip — and every trip.

How we review cards in this category

In the case of no-foreign-transaction-fee cards, we’ve emphasized the criteria most relevant to consumers looking to maximize the value of their travels and avoid paying extra for overseas purchases. Our Bankrate Scores for this category are weighted according to several specific factors:

  • Annual Fee: Most cards on our list are free of both annual fees and foreign transaction fees. However, some annual-fee cards offer incentives, like a large welcome or introductory offer, that offset the yearly cost of membership. For this category, we evaluated whether the total value justifies the cost of using the card.
  • Rewards Value: Instead of worrying about hidden fees, we place priority on cards that put money back in your wallet — regardless of whether you’re using it in Tucson or Tuscany. For each card, we’ve evaluated the earnings rate and corresponding redemption value to identify the cards that accomplish more than just offering a line of credit.
  • Additional Perks: Perks may not be the main driver behind getting a no-foreign-transaction-fee card, but they often provide additional benefits that increase the card’s total value. Several credit card issuers offer additional features, like travel accident insurance or trip delay insurance, to make their cards more useful (and attractive) to consumers.

Card comparison

Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees
Card Name Bankrate Score Best for
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card 4.1/5 Beginning travelers
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card 4.6/5 Entertainment & dining enthusiasts
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 4.6/5 Hotel rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 4.7/5 Redemption flexibility
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 4.8/5 Low balance transfer fee
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card (not currently available) 4.5/5 All-around reward rates
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card 4.2/5 Straightforward rewards
Discover it® Miles 4.7/5 Fixed rewards rate
Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card 4.7/5 Long 0% APR period
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card 4.3/5 Low regular variable APR

Recap: Editor’s analysis on the best no foreign transaction fee cards of 2019

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

With no foreign transaction fee, no annual fee and a low APR, the Capital One VentureOne really cuts down on those annoying credit card charges that nibble at your wallet. The card also makes it easy to earn miles whether you’re staying at an international hotel or making everyday purchases at home. Plus, the 20,000-bonus mile welcome offer (equal to $200 in travel) is easily attainable, with a threshold of $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

What you may not love

Other cards in the no-foreign-transaction fee category offer higher rewards rates and richer welcome offers, including big brother Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. It may have a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), but the Capital One Venture Rewards also delivers 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, it earns higher rewards on non-hotel purchases (2 miles per dollar vs. 1.25 miles per dollar.)

The bottom line

The VentureOne card is a great fit for casual international travelers who have little interest in dealing with complex rewards programs geared toward big spenders. The lack of foreign transaction fees only increases its appeal to travelers who put a premium on simplicity and low maintenance.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

Fans of culinary tourism will find this card plenty tasty. The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card offers unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, along with 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. The sign-up bonus of $300 after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening the card is a sizable and achievable bonus. Having no foreign transaction fee is a nice additional perk to an already long list of attributes. This card could more than pay for itself if you spend substantially on dining and entertainment.

What you may not love

Although the annual fee is waived the first year, you’ll have to pay $95 annually starting in your second year of card ownership. The robust dining and entertainment rewards help offset that cost, but every year after your inaugural season you would effectively be starting $95 in the hole.

The bottom line

The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards is a great fit for a particular kind of international traveler: the foodie who enjoys a side dish of entertainment. If you fit that profile, this card offers a great way to see (and taste) the world without foreign transaction fees.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

The 10X miles reward rate on hotel stays booked and paid through hotels.com/venture makes Capital One Venture Rewards one of the most generous travel credit cards on the market, if not the most. Plus, the Capital One-Hotels.com partnership can benefit you in more ways than one. With an estimated 325,000 affiliate hotels in 19,000 locations worldwide, Hotels.com should be able to accommodate you just about anywhere you travel.

What you might not love

Being locked in with Hotels.com to get that 10X rewards rate has a few downsides. You can’t book directly with a hotel or use a different booking site, for example, and most major hotel chains require you to book directly with them, rather than a third-party booking site, to earn loyalty points and use elite status benefits.

The bottom line

The Hotels.com arrangement has a couple of small blemishes, but you just might find that the 10X rewards rate (along with 2X on other purchases) is big enough to cover them. Plus, no foreign transaction fees plus 19,000 hotel locations equals extra appeal for international travelers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Why you’ll love it

A big bonus with bang for the buck — that’s a lot of B’s to describe an A-list card. Even more impressive than the size of the bonus (60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months) is the value. When you redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, you get a 25 percent boost in points value. That boost turns 60,000 points into $750 toward travel when you redeem the sign-up bonus. Perhaps more importantly, it also adds 25 percent value to your points every other time you redeem.

What you might not love

The annual fee will cost you $95 every year, with no first-year waiver. After riding the initial wave from the sign-up bonus in 2019, you’ll have to rely solely on rewards and perks (including the lack of foreign transaction fees) to offset the cost of the annual fee.

The bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a solid all-around rewards game, and the extra redemption value of Chase Ultimate Rewards helps compensate for areas where the card is less flashy than competitors.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

How would you like to put an overseas vacation on your credit card knowing that you wouldn’t have to pay interest for more than a year? Although the Capital One Quicksilver doesn’t offer big rewards, its 15-month 0% APR intro offer on purchases (16.24% – 26.24% variable afterward) could loom large for budget-conscious travelers.

What you might not love

Many credit cards have more travel-specific rewards programs with higher rewards rates. You’ll even find several on this page’s list of cards that, like the Capital One Quicksilver, don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

The bottom line

You might not find a 1.5 percent cash back rewards rate anything to write home about. However, if you’re writing home from an overseas trip that won’t cost you any credit card APR for 15 months, the Capital One Quicksilver could be worth putting in your wallet. Not paying foreign transaction fees isn’t bad either, especially when you need to get resourceful to pay for your big excursion.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card (not currently available)

Why you’ll love it

By offering 3x points on categories that include eating out and ordering in, gas stations and travel, the Propel card gives you the opportunity to consistently earn above-average rewards. Top that off with the fact that you won’t have to pay foreign transaction fees or annual fees and this can be your new go-to card for using on almost anything, anywhere.

What you might not love

If the Wells Fargo Propel has one flaw, it’s not with the card itself. It involves the Wells Fargo Go Far® Rewards program. Since flights can be redeemed only through that portal, you could find your travel options somewhat limited.

The bottom line

If you don’t mind arranging travel exclusively through the Go Far Rewards portal, there’s a lot to like about the Wells Fargo Propel card. One of the things you’ll love is not having to pay foreign transaction fees as you earn generous rewards across a diverse range of categories.

The information related to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card has been collected by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Why you’ll love it

If you’re a BofA Preferred Rewards member who travels abroad, this card may be one you can bank on. The Preferred Rewards bonus gives the 1.5x rewards rate quite the boost — 25-75 percent, depending on which tier you qualify for. With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees added to the mix, world travelers who bank and invest with BofA will find a lot to like.

What you might not love

You have to be a Preferred Rewards member to benefit from the bonus at all, and your bonus mileage on every purchase will vary significantly depending on your tier (Gold = 25 percent, Platinum = 50 percent and Platinum Honors = 75 percent). In other words, only a select few will be able to fully maximize the benefits of this particular card.

The bottom line

If you have a Preferred Rewards portfolio, this card provides an easy and convenient way to earn travel rewards. No foreign transaction fees translate to less hassle and less expense for international travelers who bank and invest with BofA.

Discover it® Miles

Why you’ll love it

If you can handle some delayed gratification, Discover it Miles could be worth the wait. The welcome offer is back-loaded but lucrative: Discover automatically matches all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. In the meantime, you’ll earn unlimited 1.5x miles per $1 on all purchases.

What you might not love

Compared with some of the other travel cards on this list, the 1.5x rewards rate isn’t that competitive. Also, most credit card welcome offers pay off within the first 3 months as long as you meet the spending requirements. If your patience wavers as you wait for the year-end miles match, you could experience some buyer’s remorse. Also, Discover is not as commonly accepted abroad as other networks, such as Visa and Mastercard.

The bottom line

This card is well suited for someone who has a big international trip planned for 2020 or beyond and won’t mind waiting for the miles match. While you may not be able to use this card while overseas, you can use it to plan travel, such as airfare. All in all, Discover it Miles is a low-maintenance travel card that goes easy on the fees, including foreign transaction and annual. Good things can come to those who wait.

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why you’ll love it

The SavorOne offers many things that international leisure travelers will like (including generous reward rates on dining and entertainment) while sparing them from some of the things that could give them pause (such as foreign transaction fees and annual fees). The welcome offer, a one-time $150 cash bonus after spending $500 in purchases within 3 months of opening your account, is easily attainable if a bit modest.

What you might not love

Consider the premier version of this card, the Capital One Savor. You may find yourself debating whether its $95 annual fee (waived the first year) truly justifies opting for the SavorOne despite higher reward rates and a larger welcome offer.

The bottom line

Rewards on dining and entertainment and at grocery stores. No foreign transaction fees. Plus a 15-month 0% intro APR offer on purchases (16.24% – 26.24% variable thereafter). It seems like the SavorOne could mesh well with young, budget-conscious foodies who’ve been looking for ways to finance their first international jaunt.

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

Why you’ll love it

The most intriguing feature of the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard is the anniversary gift that keeps on giving. You’ll receive a 10 percent anniversary bonus each year on all cash rewards. As credit card perks go, a 10 percent bump in your cash back earnings every year is definitely something to look forward to. The same goes for no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee.

What you might not love

After you hit the $10,000 spending cap on the intro offer (3% cash back in the first 12 months from account opening), the rewards rate will revert to the usual 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Compared with what’s available from other cards in this category, those numbers are respectable but not remarkable.

The bottom line

If you’re into things that happen like clockwork — say, a foreign vacation every spring that you can partially bankroll with a 10 percent cash back windfall every summer — you may also be into the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard. Long-term value helps make this relatively unheralded card a potential find for the right kind of traveler.

What are foreign transaction fees?

When you use a credit card overseas to buy something in the local currency, your credit card issuer has to convert the money you’ve spent into U.S. dollars to properly bill you. It may seem like any other transaction from your perspective, but behind the scenes the credit card issuer pays various costs associated with currency conversion, transferring money through a foreign bank and so on.

Many issuers offset these costs by charging a foreign transaction fee for every overseas purchase.

The fee usually ranges from 3%-5% of the amount spent on each transaction, which means the cost to you can really add up:

 

Foreign purchase in dollars +3% foreign transaction fee +5% foreign transaction fee
$50 $51.50 $52.50
$100 $103 $105
$500 $515 $525

Fortunately, a number of credit card issuers have stopped charging foreign transaction fees. The cards profiled on this page offer several examples of issuers banking on the idea that consumers will appreciate issuers absorbing those costs rather than passing them along.

Foreign transaction fees and credit card rewards

Foreign transaction fees don’t apply to rewards spending, since they’re not part of the purchase price. Using the chart above as an example, consider how it would work with a 1 point per dollar credit card charging a 5% foreign transaction fee. A $500 overseas purchase would show up as $525 on your bill, but you’d earn 500 rewards points instead of 525.

In other words, you could:

  • Spend 444 euros (about $500 U.S.) for a hotel on your 2019 summer vacation to Barcelona
  • Owe your credit card issuer $525 for that purchase, counting the foreign transaction fee
  • Earn 500 rewards points, leaving a potential 25 points (5%) on the table

Foreign transaction fees by issuer

Foreign transaction fees among credit card issuers vary according to different factors, including processing fees from payment networks. This chart shows how much most issuers charge for foreign transaction fees (for their cards that have them).

American Express
● Issuer fee: 2.7%
● Mastercard/Visa fee: N/A
● Total: 2.7%Cards with no foreign transaction fee include:
● American Express® Gold Card
● The Platinum Card® from American Express
● Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
● Hilton Honors American Express Card
● Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
● Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card
● Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Bank of America
● Issuer fee: 2%
● Mastercard/Visa fee: 1%
● Total: 3%Cards with no foreign transaction fee include:
● Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
● Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
● Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
● Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®
● Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®
● Royal Caribbean®
● Virgin Atlantic
● Asiana Visa Signature®
● Celebrity Cruises®
Barclaycard
● Issuer fee: 2%
● Mastercard/Visa fee: 1%
● Total: 3%Cards with no foreign transaction fee include:
● Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
● Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®
● Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®
● JetBlue Card
● JetBlue Plus Card
● AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
● Carnival® World Mastercard®
● Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card
● Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®
● Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card
● Princess Cruises Rewards Visa® Card
● RCI® Elite Rewards® Mastercard®
Capital One
● Issuer fee: none.
● Mastercard/Visa fee: 1%; absorbed by Capital One
● Total: 0%
Chase
● Issuer fee: 2%
● Mastercard/Visa fee: 1%
● Total: 3%Cards with no foreign transaction fee include:
● Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
● Chase Sapphire Reserve®
● United℠ Explorer Card
● United℠ TravelBank Card
● United MileagePlus® Club Card
● British Airways Visa Signature® card
● Aer Lingus Visa Signature® card
● Iberia Visa Signature® card
● Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ credit card
● The World of Hyatt Credit Card
● IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
● Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
● Ink Business Preferred℠ credit card
● Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
● United℠ Explorer Business Card
● Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
● Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Citi
● Issuer fee: 2%
● Mastercard/Visa fee: 1%
● Total: 3%Cards with no foreign transaction fee include:
● Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
● CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
● Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
● Citi Prestige® Card
● Costco Anywhere Visa® Card By Citi
● Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card By Citi
Discover
● Issuer fee: none.
● Mastercard/Visa fee: N/A
● Total: 0%
Wells Fargo
● Issuer fee: 3%
● Mastercard/Visa fee: 1%
● Total: 3%Cards with no foreign transaction fee include:
● Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card
● Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
● Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®
● Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

The information for the following cards has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

  • Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®
  • Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®
  • Royal Caribbean®
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Asiana Visa Signature®
  • Celebrity Cruises®
  • Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®
  • Frontier Airlines World Mastercard®
  • JetBlue Card
  • JetBlue Plus Card
  • AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
  • Carnival® World Mastercard®
  • Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card
  • Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®
  • Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card
  • Princess Cruises Rewards Visa® Card
  • RCI® Elite Rewards® Mastercard®
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • United℠ Explorer Card
  • United℠ TravelBank Card
  • United MileagePlus® Club Card
  • British Airways Visa Signature® card
  • Aer Lingus Visa Signature® card
  • Iberia Visa Signature® card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ credit card
  • The World of Hyatt Credit Card
  • IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
  • Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • Ink Business Preferred℠ credit card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
  • United℠ Explorer Business Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
  • Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card
  • Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
  • Wells Fargo Business Elite Card®
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

How to save money while traveling internationally

Avoiding foreign transaction fees should be at the top of your list when looking for a credit card to take with you on an overseas trip. Here’s some advice to help save even more:

  • Use a specialization strategy. If you venture abroad with multiple no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards, think about using the right card to maximize your rewards. For example: The Capital One Savor has a rewards rate of 4 percent cash back in dining and entertainment. A second, flat-rate card such as the Capital One Quicksilver would earn more than the Savor (1.5 percent cash back vs.1 percent cash back) on other purchases. You could use Savor for dining and entertainment and make Quicksilver your general-purpose card.
  • Know how your rewards programs define “travel” beyond airfare and hotels. Many rewards cards offer bonus points on smaller travel purchases, but issuers have their own definitions of travel. Chase puts rideshares and parking fees in the travel category, while American Express generally doesn’t. Pay attention to the specifics of your rewards program to earn the most points.
  • Book through rewards portals or affiliate sites that add value. If you book a hotel room through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you may be able to boost your points value by 25%-50% depending on which card you have. Capital One Venture and VentureOne travel cards earn 10x miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020, when you book and pay through hotels.com/venture. With certain cards, American Express offers credits up to $100 at Hotel Collection locations.

Compare different payment options for foreign travel

No single payment option offers an ideal solution for every possible set of circumstances, especially when you’re traveling abroad. Consider the pros and cons of your various options. Depending on your destination and personal preference, you may find that a combination of payment methods proves most useful.

Credit cards

  • Pro: They’re safer than cash or a debit card. With a credit card, you can dispute and resolve fraudulent charges before your statement closes or freeze your card before thieves get a chance to use it.
  • Con: They’re not accepted everywhere, particularly in rural areas.

Debit cards

  • Pro: Convenience is probably their best attribute.
  • Con: Even though they’re safer than cash, they have fewer protections against theft than credit cards — and a worse exchange rate.

Cash

  • Pro: Cash is still king in some settings, including open-air markets where chip readers can be hard to come by.
  • Con: Unlike electronic payment methods, cash is untraceable. If your wallet is stolen, the cash inside is likely gone forever.

Travelers checks

  • Pro: (Yes, they still exist.)They’re secure, replaceable if lost or stolen and accepted at many places worldwide.
  • Con: They may involve fees and commissions. Also, you may take a hit on the exchange rate.

Which credit cards are best for international travel?

Let’s start with the stipulation that the best international travel cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees. From there, you can narrow your focus to decide which card has the most appeal based on your interests and priorities.

Cuisine and culture

  1. Capital One Savor
  2. Capital One SavorOne
  3. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Hotel rewards

  1. Capital One Venture
  2. Capital One VentureOne

Booking flexibility (no blackout dates)

  1. Discover it Miles

Lucrative signup bonus

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
  2. Discover it Miles

Get more money-wise information on overseas travel

If you still need to do some research, check out this information from some of the most trusted names in personal finance:

Bankrate

Creditcards.com

NextAdvisor

The Simple Dollar

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.