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8 credit cards without foreign transaction fees, so you can save money on international trips

This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

The best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees in 2021:

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.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Best travel card with an annual fee under $100:

Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Credit Score
Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application. A tooltip
Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.
Good to Excellent
A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
4.8 out of 5 Stars
Editor's Rating
Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed. A tooltip
Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed.
Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Credit Score
Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application. A tooltip
Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.
Good to Excellent
A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
4.8 out of 5 Stars
Editor's Rating
Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed. A tooltip
Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed.
Featured Reward
60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. A tooltip
60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
60,000 points
Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • 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 dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
    Pros
    • High sign-up bonus starts you off with lots of points
    • Strong travel coverage
    Cons
    • Doesn't offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit or any other statement credit benefits
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    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 $4,000 in the first three months. 

    Best premium travel card:

    Annual Fee
    $550
    Regular APR
    16.99%-23.99% Variable
    Credit Score
    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application. A tooltip
    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.
    Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.65 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed. A tooltip
    Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed.
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $550
    Regular APR
    16.99%-23.99% Variable
    Credit Score
    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application. A tooltip
    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.
    Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.65 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed. A tooltip
    Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed.
    Featured Reward
    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening A tooltip
    Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
    50,000 points
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Earn 50,000 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®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. From 6/1/20 through 6/30/21, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • Earn 3x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services
    Pros
    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    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 $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 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. 

    The premium card with the most benefits:

    Annual Fee
    $550
    Regular APR
    See Pay Over Time APR
    Credit Score
    Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.75 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $550
    Regular APR
    See Pay Over Time APR
    Credit Score
    Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.75 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward
    75,000 points after you spend at least $5,000 in your first 6 months of account opening
    Intro APR
    N/A
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
    • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That's an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
    • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
    • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
    • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
    • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
    • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
    • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
    • $550 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott
    • Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber
    Cons
    • Bonus categories leave something to be desired
    • One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    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 travelers — for instance, I got more than $2,000 from the card my first year with it. That's more than enough to make up for its hefty $550 annual fee (See Rates).

    The The Platinum Card® from American Express has no foreign transaction fees and earns 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel (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), on top of a welcome offer: 75,000 points after you spend at least $5,000 in your first 6 months of account opening.

    You'll also get up to a $200 annual airline fee credit, up to $200 of credits for Uber each cardmember year ($15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December), access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world, complimentary elite status at major hotel chains, and more.

    (Note: Starting January 1, 2021, the 5X points will apply up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)

    Read more: Active-duty military members can get the Amex Platinum with no annual fee

    Major airline credit cards

    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, the 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).

    Best cash-back card:

    Annual Fee
    $0
    Regular APR
    14.49% to 24.99% variable
    Credit Score
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.85 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $0
    Regular APR
    14.49% to 24.99% variable
    Credit Score
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.85 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward
    20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
    Intro APR
    0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from account opening
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
    • Earn 3x points o : Eating out and ordering in; Gas stations, rideshares, and transit; Flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals; Popular streaming services.
    • Earn 1x points on other purchases
    • Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from account opening
    • Points that do not expire while your account remains open
    • No foreign currency conversion fees
    Pros
    • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
    • Earns 3x points on a wide variety of purchases
    • Comes with a cell phone protection benefit
    Cons
    • While rewards are called points, they're effectively cash back
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card 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 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).

    The simplest rewards structure:

    Annual Fee
    $95
    Regular APR
    17.24% to 24.49% variable
    Credit Score
    Good to Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.5 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $95
    Regular APR
    17.24% to 24.49% variable
    Credit Score
    Good to Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.5 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward
    Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
    Intro APR
    N/A
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Annual Fee: $95
    • Welcome Bonus: 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
    Pros
    • Annual fee waived the first year
    • No bonus categories to keep track of
    • Includes up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
    Cons
    • Other credit cards offer higher rewards in certain categories of spending
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    This 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 Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar on everything — the simplest rewards structure among travel credit cards.

    Frequently asked questions

    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 of 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.

    Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

    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.

    SEE ALSO: All our credit card reviews — from cash-back to travel rewards to business cards — in one place

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