Nowadays it’s not only quite easy to avoid foreign transaction fees, but to combine that with useful bonus categories and great travel protection.
I’d say the Citi Premier℠ Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® are two of the best travel credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, given that they have great travel protection offer bonus points on dining, travel, and more, and the points can be transferred to a variety of valuable partners.
Both of those cards have low annual fees, which I consider to be well worth it. You can see this post for the best travel rewards credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.
However, some people may not travel internationally so often or don’t believe in the value of credit cards with annual fees, and may just want a no annual fee card with no foreign transaction fees.
So in this post I wanted to look at what I consider to be the best no annual fee credit cards that also have no foreign transaction fees.
Credit cards for no-fee travel rewards
You can increase your earnings rate if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, in which case you get 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you’d be earning anywhere from 1.875% to 2.625% on non-bonused spend, which is good for a no-fee card.
You can also earn 25,000 bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, and each point is worth one cent that can be redeemed against travel purchases on your statement.
You can also get a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening.
The points earned on this card can be redeemed for a statement credit at one cent each, or can now be transferred to a variety of airline programs. Given the transfer ratios, you’re effectively earning one airline mile for each dollar spent on this card if you go that route.
That’s not the best return, but if you’re after airline miles and the outsized rewards they can provide, it’s worth considering — there realistically aren’t many cards that let you earn miles for international premium cabin travel with no fees.
This is one of the few no annual fee (Rates & Fees) travel rewards cards to not have foreign transaction fees, and also one of the few Amex cards to have this feature.
The card offers 7x Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at Hilton Portfolio properties, and 3x Hilton Honors points per dollar spent abroad on everything else.
The Hilton Amex cards are also “contactless,” which makes them a go-to option in countries where contactless payment is prevalent. Tapping a card on the reader can be much easier on subways and in restaurants than dealing with receipts and signatures.
The one thing I’d note is that Amex doesn’t have the same global acceptance as other issuers, so I wouldn’t rely on this card solely if traveling internationally.
This card offers 3x points on JetBlue purchases, 2x points on restaurants and grocery stores, and 1x points on all other purchases.
That makes this a pretty well rounded card for foreign purchases, given the lack of foreign transaction fees, provided you fly JetBlue.
This card offers 3x points on dining, travel, gas stations, and streaming services, which covers a lot of the purchases many may make while abroad.
Points can be redeemed for one cent each towards statement credits, gift cards, or travel.
Now that Capital One points can be transferred to airline partners, however, this card is a bit more interesting. Given the conversion rate from Capital One miles to airline miles, you’re basically earning 0.83 airline miles for every dollar of un-bonused spend.
That’s not an amazing return, and so wouldn’t be my first (or fifth) pick, but as these miles can be combined with other Capital One miles, this could be a decent option for someone who is starting out with miles and doesn’t want to commit to an annual-fee card yet.
Credit cards for no-fee cash-back rewards
While that’s not as generous of a return as the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, the SavorOne offers a solid return for a card with no annual or foreign transaction fees.
Right now you can also get $150 Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases within three months from account opening
Earning 3% back on dining and entertainment is a bonus category that would prove useful to many people making purchases abroad, so I think this is one of the all around best no annual fee options out there.
This no annual fee card offers 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotels and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% back for everything else.
For a no annual fee card with no foreign transaction fees, that’s an excellent return.
This card offers a flat 2% cash back with no limits. While there are no bonus categories, earning 2% back internationally with no foreign transaction fees is excellent.
Note that you’ll need a PayPal account to get approved, and this card is also issued by Synchrony Bank, which can be a tricky issuer.
There are no bonus categories, and unlike the Spark® Miles Select, these points can’t be transferred to airlines, but you aren’t restricted to redeeming your points for travel either. Instead you receive the 1.5% back on your statement.
At present you can earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening.
If you know that you’re going to want to use your points for travel, or are willing to keep track of bonus categories, there are better options, but I can see this being a useful card for businesses with an international supplier who want to keep fees down, for example.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi (Apply Now) & Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi (Apply Now)
These aren’t truly no-annual fee cards, as the annual fee is only waived if you have a Costco membership (minimum $60/year), but whenever I don’t mention these cards in posts about no-fee options, people get highly agitated. So I’ve realized that Costco loyalists for the most part consider this card to be a free card 😉 .
Both cards offer 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter; 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% cash back on all other purchases. This includes purchases made abroad, and there aren’t any foreign transaction fees.
Unlike other cards on this list, you don’t receive your rewards on each statement. Instead you get an annual rewards voucher that can be spent at Costco, or redeemed for cash at a warehouse.
So if you’re a die-hard Costco shopper, the 3% back on travel could be interesting, but I think there are more compelling cards for most.
The above aren’t the only no annual fee cards with no foreign transaction fees, though they are the ones that I consider to be the all around most rewarding for those purposes. Of no annual fee cards I can think of:
- The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a good option with 1.5% on everything, but becomes particularly impressive when stacked with BofA’s Preferred Rewards program
- The Capital One® SavorOne(SM) Cash Rewards Credit Card and Uber Visa Card have useful bonus categories (like bonus cash back on dining), which those traveling internationally could benefit from
- The Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express and JetBlue Card are the best travel rewards cards in this category, and the JetBlue Card even offers 2x points on restaurants and grocery stores
- The Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business and Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card will earn fewer points per transaction, but the ability to transfer miles to airlines may make that tradeoff worthwhile
- The PayPal Cashback Mastercard and Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business offer a solid cash back return with no foreign transaction fees
- The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers triple points on dining and travel, which is huge for international purchases, though the one issue is that Amex doesn’t have great acceptance globally
- The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi & Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi are good options if you’re already planning on paying for a Costco membership this year, though otherwise aren’t truly no-fee
Here are some of the other cards that have no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees, though I consider the ones listed above to be the most generous.
Let me know if there are any other cards that you think beat the above for the purposes of foreign purchases!
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees).