Best cards with no foreign transaction fees in 2021

By
Madison Blancaflor
Updated
Nov 03, 2021
This page is a marketplace where our partners can highlight their current card offers. The reviews and insights represented are editorial, but the order in which cards appear on the page may be influenced by compensation we may receive from our partners.

There isn’t a whole lot in the points and miles world that everyone can agree on, whether it’s the best credit cards, the best airlines or the best airports. One thing we can agree on is that unnecessary fees are the worst. Although there are many cards that offer no foreign transaction fees, we’ve rounded up our 10 favorite cards for frequent travelers. To help with that, here are the best credit cards for no foreign transaction fees from our partners.

Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for booking cheap hotels across multiple brands
TPG Editor's Rating tooltip icon
4/5
more info
  • Collect 1 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card.
Get 2 Reward Nights Worth $250 Total
details
Intro Offer tooltip icon
Get 2 Reward Nights Worth $250 Total
$0

Why we chose it

The Hotels.com Credit Card is the perfect match for those who are deal hunters and tend to stay across multiple hotel properties and brands when traveling. With no annual fee and hotel perks aplenty, you’re only gaining from owning this card. You’ll collect free reward nights easily and Silver membership for the first year of card ownership, which gets you perks such as free breakfast and airport transfers.

Pros

  • No annual fee — affordable for every frequent traveler
  • Silver membership benefits for the first year that get you elite-like perks across many Hotels.com properties, such as free breakfast, airport transfers and more

Cons

  • Unlike the other best hotel rewards cards on this list, the Hotels.com card won’t offer you bonus points for booking hotels with this card
  • After the first year, you lose your Silver membership unless you qualify for the elite status again
  • Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
  • Collect 1 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card. When you collect 10 stamps, you'll get 1 reward night to redeem on future bookings through Hotels.com.
  • Choose from over 500,000 properties in 200+ countries around the world.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • For the first year, you'll enjoy Silver membership exclusives such as free breakfast, airport transfers, free WiFi and more at select properties.
  • Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card and get up to $600 protection against damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • No foreign currency conversion fee.
  • Offers reimbursement for non-refundable passenger fare if your trip is interrupted or cancelled for a covered reason, when you passenger fare is booked with your card.
  • See Rates & Fees

Pros

  • No annual fee — affordable for every frequent traveler
  • Silver membership benefits for the first year that get you elite-like perks across many Hotels.com properties, such as free breakfast, airport transfers and more

Cons

  • Unlike the other best hotel rewards cards on this list, the Hotels.com card won’t offer you bonus points for booking hotels with this card
  • After the first year, you lose your Silver membership unless you qualify for the elite status again
  • Get 2 reward nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. *Excludes taxes and fees. If a night costs less than $125, you won’t get the difference.
  • Collect 1 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card. When you collect 10 stamps, you'll get 1 reward night to redeem on future bookings through Hotels.com.
  • Choose from over 500,000 properties in 200+ countries around the world.
  • $0 Annual Fee.
  • For the first year, you'll enjoy Silver membership exclusives such as free breakfast, airport transfers, free WiFi and more at select properties.
  • Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your card and get up to $600 protection against damage or theft (subject to a $25 deductible).
  • No foreign currency conversion fee.
  • Offers reimbursement for non-refundable passenger fare if your trip is interrupted or cancelled for a covered reason, when you passenger fare is booked with your card.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Editor's Rating tooltip icon
4.5/5
5 - 10X points
more info
  • 10X Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
100,000 points
details
Intro Offer tooltip icon
100,000 points
$695

Why we chose it

The Amex Platinum is unmatched when it comes to travel perks and benefits. If lounge access, hotel elite status and annual statement credits are important to you, this card is well worth the high annual fee.

Pros

  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000, not including any points you may earn from the temporary 10x bonus categories
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, and at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more (enrollment required)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway

Cons

  • The $695 annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning bonus rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories
  • The annual airline fee credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: 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 only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Pros

  • The current welcome bonus on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000, not including any points you may earn from the temporary 10x bonus categories
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, and at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more (enrollment required)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway

Cons

  • The $695 annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning bonus rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories
  • The annual airline fee credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: 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 only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
TPG Editor's Rating tooltip icon
4.5/5
2 - 5X points
more info
  • 5X Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 3X Earn 3X points on dining.
  • 2X Earn 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
60,000 points
details
Intro Offer tooltip icon
60,000 points
$95

Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit card on the market. Offering an excellent return on travel and dining purchases, the card packs a ton of value that easily offsets its $95 annual fee. Cardholders can redeem points at 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Chase or transfer points to one of Chase’s 14 valuable airline and hotel partners.

Pros

  • You’ll earn 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online grocery store purchases, 2x on all other travel and 1x on everything else.
  • Premium travel protection benefits including trip cancellation insurance, primary car rental insurance and lost luggage insurance.

Cons

  • The card comes with a $95 annual fee
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • 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.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.

Pros

  • You’ll earn 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online grocery store purchases, 2x on all other travel and 1x on everything else.
  • Premium travel protection benefits including trip cancellation insurance, primary car rental insurance and lost luggage insurance.

Cons

  • The card comes with a $95 annual fee
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • 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.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Apply now for American Express® Gold Card at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for dining and takeout at restaurants
TPG Editor's Rating tooltip icon
4/5
3 - 4X points
more info
  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
  • 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • 3X Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
60,000 points
details
Intro Offer tooltip icon
60,000 points
$250

Why we chose it

This isn’t just a card that’s nice to look at. It packs a real punch, offering 4x points on global dining and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x). There’s also an up to $120 annual dining credit at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations, plus it added an up to $120 annually ($10 per month) in Uber Cash, which can be used on Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. All this make it a very strong contender for all food purchases, which has become a popular spending category. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as effective for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Rose Gold is here to stay. Card Members can choose between a Gold or Rose Gold Card.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as effective for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Rose Gold is here to stay. Card Members can choose between a Gold or Rose Gold Card.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
TPG Editor's Rating tooltip icon
4.5/5
2 - 5X points
more info
  • 5X Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • 2X Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
60,000 miles
details
Intro Offer tooltip icon
60,000 miles
$95

Why we chose it

When it comes to simplicity and strong rewards, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a solid choice for most travelers. You’ll earn 2x miles on every purchase with no bonus categories to memorize, making it an ideal card for those with busy lives.

Pros

  • This flexible rewards card delivers a solid sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles, valued by TPG at $1,020.
  • You'll earn 2x on every purchase, which means you won't have to worry about memorizing bonus categories.
  • Rewards earned are versatile as they can be redeemed for any hotel or airline purchase for a statement credit or transferred to 15+ travel partners.

Cons

  • Transfer ratios to most partners are mediocre at less than 1:1 ratio
  • Capital One airline partners do not include any large U.S. airlines
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees

Pros

  • This flexible rewards card delivers a solid sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles, valued by TPG at $1,020.
  • You'll earn 2x on every purchase, which means you won't have to worry about memorizing bonus categories.
  • Rewards earned are versatile as they can be redeemed for any hotel or airline purchase for a statement credit or transferred to 15+ travel partners.

Cons

  • Transfer ratios to most partners are mediocre at less than 1:1 ratio
  • Capital One airline partners do not include any large U.S. airlines
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
TPG Editor's Rating tooltip icon
4.5/5
1 - 10X points
more info
  • 10X Earn 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 5X Earn 5X total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 3X Earn 3X points on other travel and dining.
  • 1X Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
50,000 points
details
Intro Offer tooltip icon
50,000 points
$550

Why we chose it

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our top premium travel cards. With a $300 travel credit, generous points on dining and travel purchases and other benefits, you can get excellent value that far exceeds the annual fee on the card.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • 10x on hotels, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 5x on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3x points on all other travel and dining, 1x on everything else
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons

  • Steep initial $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • 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. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 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 1,300+ 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✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • 10x on hotels, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 5x on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3x points on all other travel and dining, 1x on everything else
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons

  • Steep initial $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • 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. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 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 1,300+ 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✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best for entertainment spending
TPG Editor's Rating tooltip icon
3.5/5
1 - 8% cash-back
more info
  • 8% Earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
  • 3% Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
  • 1% Earn 1% on all other purchases.
$200
details
Intro Offer tooltip icon
$200
$0

Why we chose it

The Capital One SavorOne is a great cash back credit card for beginners looking for a solid rewards structure and no annual fee. Dining, entertainment and groceries are high-value bonus categories, and it’s rare for a card to hit all three.

Pros

  • Earning 3% back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and at grocery stores is a great return for a no-annual-fee credit card
  • This card is better for beginners since it’s easier to be approved for than the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • The intro APR offer that comes with this card makes it a solid choice for those looking to finance a large purchase. You’ll get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (14.99% - 24.99% variable APR after).

Cons

  • If you spend a lot on dining and entertainment each year, the Savor is the better value since it earns higher rewards
  • The sign-up bonus isn’t anything to write home about (though it is easy to earn)
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
  • 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 and balance transfers for 15 months; 14.99% - 24.99% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

Pros

  • Earning 3% back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and at grocery stores is a great return for a no-annual-fee credit card
  • This card is better for beginners since it’s easier to be approved for than the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • The intro APR offer that comes with this card makes it a solid choice for those looking to finance a large purchase. You’ll get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (14.99% - 24.99% variable APR after).

Cons

  • If you spend a lot on dining and entertainment each year, the Savor is the better value since it earns higher rewards
  • The sign-up bonus isn’t anything to write home about (though it is easy to earn)
  • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), plus 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
  • 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 and balance transfers for 15 months; 14.99% - 24.99% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Best for Bank of America customers
TPG Editor's Rating tooltip icon
3.5/5
1.5 - 2X points
more info
  • 2X Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases
  • 1.5X Unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
50,000 points
details
Intro Offer tooltip icon
50,000 points
$95

Why we chose it

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card is great for using the points earned for rewards that normal airline miles or credit card points can’t cover. Bank of America Preferred Rewards members get a 25%-75% rewards bonus on every purchase. New cardmembers earn a 50,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.

Pros

  • This card is more valuable for Bank of America Preferred Rewards members, who can get between a 25% and 75% bonus on points earned
  • Comes with up to $100 in airline incidental statement credits annually and up to $100 Global Entry/TSA Pre✓® statement credit and travel protections
  • Can transfer points earned into a 529 college fund

Cons

  • Other cards offer higher points for key bonus categories
  • Must open a Bank of America account to get the best value for points
  • Receive 50,000 online bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 3.5 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases.
  • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • Get up to $100 in Airline Incidental Statement Credits annually and TSA Pre✓®/Global Entry Statement Credits of up to $100, every four years
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Low $95 annual fee
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Pros

  • This card is more valuable for Bank of America Preferred Rewards members, who can get between a 25% and 75% bonus on points earned
  • Comes with up to $100 in airline incidental statement credits annually and up to $100 Global Entry/TSA Pre✓® statement credit and travel protections
  • Can transfer points earned into a 529 college fund

Cons

  • Other cards offer higher points for key bonus categories
  • Must open a Bank of America account to get the best value for points
  • Receive 50,000 online bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 3.5 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases.
  • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • Get up to $100 in Airline Incidental Statement Credits annually and TSA Pre✓®/Global Entry Statement Credits of up to $100, every four years
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Low $95 annual fee
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
TPG Editor's Rating tooltip icon
4/5
1 - 3X points
more info
  • 3X Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.
  • 1X Unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
40,000 miles
details
Intro Offer tooltip icon
40,000 miles
$75

Why we chose it

There’s a lot to love about the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card, in part due to its highly valuable loyalty program: Alaska Airlines MileagePlan. Whether you’re a loyal Alaska flyer or a points maximizer looking to diversify your rewards portfolio, this card has a lot to offer. For starters, you’ll receive Alaska’s Famous Companion Pass each year for $121, free checked bags for you and up to six guests on your itinerary, 50% off Alaska lounge day passes and more. Plus, Alaska has joined the oneworld alliance, opening up endless redemption opportunities.

Pros

  • Free checked bag for you and up to six guests on your reservation
  • Several Alaska discounts, including 50% off Alaska lounge day passes and 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $75 annual fee
  • Not the best everyday rewards rate, as you'll earn 3x miles on Alaska purchases and 1x on everything else
  • 40,000 Bonus Mile + Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ Online Offer
  • Get 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™. Every year on your credit card account anniversary you’ll receive a companion fare which allows you to book a companion flight from just $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com.
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 guests on the same reservation – that's a savings of $60 per person roundtrip!
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts.
  • With oneworld® Alliance we’ve expanded our global reach to over 1,000 destinations worldwide, bringing you more airline partners and more ways to earn and redeem miles
  • Flexibility with no blackout dates on Alaska Airlines flights when booking with miles or a companion fare
  • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $75 annual fee
  • This online only offer may not be available elsewhere if you leave this page. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Pros

  • Free checked bag for you and up to six guests on your reservation
  • Several Alaska discounts, including 50% off Alaska lounge day passes and 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $75 annual fee
  • Not the best everyday rewards rate, as you'll earn 3x miles on Alaska purchases and 1x on everything else
  • 40,000 Bonus Mile + Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ Online Offer
  • Get 40,000 bonus miles plus Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™. Every year on your credit card account anniversary you’ll receive a companion fare which allows you to book a companion flight from just $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com.
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 guests on the same reservation – that's a savings of $60 per person roundtrip!
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts.
  • With oneworld® Alliance we’ve expanded our global reach to over 1,000 destinations worldwide, bringing you more airline partners and more ways to earn and redeem miles
  • Flexibility with no blackout dates on Alaska Airlines flights when booking with miles or a companion fare
  • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $75 annual fee
  • This online only offer may not be available elsewhere if you leave this page. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Best cards with no foreign transaction fees

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Card Best for Welcome Offer/Sign Up Bonus Earning Rate Annual Fee
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card Best for booking cheap hotels across multiple brands Get 2 Reward Nights Worth $250 Total
  • Collect 1 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card.
$0
The Platinum Card® from American Express Best for luxury perks 100,000 points
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
$695
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Best for total value 60,000 points
  • Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 3X points on dining.
  • Earn 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
$95
American Express® Gold Card Best for dining and takeout at restaurants 60,000 points
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
$250
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Best for flat-rate earning 60,000 miles
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
$95
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Best for travel 50,000 points
  • Earn 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 5X total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 3X points on other travel and dining.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
$550
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card Best for no-annual-fee cash-back card $200
  • Earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases.
$0
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Best for Bank of America customers 50,000 points
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases
  • Unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
$95
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card Best for airline miles 40,000 miles
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases.
  • Unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
$75

 

In addition to lacking foreign transaction fees, each card offers a unique combination of perks and benefits for travelers. Let’s look at the details for each of our top picks.

Best no-foreign-transaction-fee credit cards

Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit card: Best for hotel stays

Annual fee: $0  

Sign-up bonus: New cardholders will earn two hotel reward nights worth $250 total (max. $125 per night) after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Bonus rewards: Collect one stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect one stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card.

Why we like it: If you travel frequently but are brand-agnostic when it comes to hotels, you’ll want The Hotels.com Credit Card that rewards you for your travel habits. There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, plus you’ll get hotel perks across multiple hotel properties and brands. You’ll enjoy Silver membership in the first year of card ownership, which gets you perks such as free breakfast and airport transfers. Best of all, you’ll earn rewards through a “buy 10, get 1” stamp system.

Essential reading: Hotels.com card review

The Platinum Card from American Express: Best for luxury perks

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership (worth $2,000, according to TPG valuations). Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the card at restaurants worldwide and when you “Shop Small” in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first six months of card membership.

Bonus rewards: 5x on flights booked directly with airlines and flights (on up to $500,000 per calendar year) and 5x on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Why we like it: Not only does this card have no foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees), but it also offers an extensive portfolio of luxury travel benefits, including an annual up to $200 airline fee credit, monthly Uber credits (up to $200 annually for use in the U.S.), reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees every four years (up to $100) and access to Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), Amex Centurion, Priority Pass Select, Escape and Airspace lounges. You also get Gold status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Essential reading: Amex Platinum credit card review 

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for total value

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. (worth $1,200, according to TPG valuations).

Earning rate: 5x total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, 3x points on select streaming services, 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2x points on all other travel, 1x point on all other purchases

Why we like it: Chase Sapphire Preferred has always been one of the best rewards credit cards for international travelers. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most valuable points available, and this card offers plenty of ways to earn points. For premium rewards redemptions, you’ll find points are typically most valuable when transferred to one of Chase’s 11 airline three and hotel partners, such as United or Hyatt. Alternatively, points can be worth 1.25 cents each toward travel and activities booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal or for certain purchases with Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature.

Essential reading: Chase Sapphire Preferred card review 

American Express Gold Card: Best for dining and takeout

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening (worth $1,200, according to TPG valuations).

Earning rate: 4x at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x) and dining at restaurants; 3x on airfare booked directly or through amextravel.com; 1x on other eligible purchases.

Why we like it: In addition to no foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees), the Amex Gold is a great card for those who spend a lot on groceries and dining at restaurants — which is most of us right now. You’re earning valuable Membership Rewards that can be transferred to a number of valuable partners, including Delta and Hilton. The Amex Gold also comes with a solid set of benefits for the price. You’ll get up to $120 in dining credits throughout the calendar year (split into $10 monthly statement credits when you buy from eligible dining establishments, including GrubHub and Seamless). Enrollment required for select benefits.

Essential reading: Amex Gold review 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for flat-rate earning

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Bonus rewards: 2x on every purchase

Why we like it: This card’s simple rewards structure has made it a crowd favorite for beginner travelers who want to earn rewards on everyday expenses with their Capital One credit card. The Venture Rewards card offers fixed-value miles that you can redeem for 1 cent apiece to offset travel purchases, plus the ability to transfer miles to its airline transfer partners.  You’ll even get a credit for the TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee every four years (up to $100), which is a rare benefit for a mid-tier card.

Essential reading: Capital One Venture Rewards card review

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best premium travel card

(Photo by Eric Helgas)

Annual fee: $550

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening (worth $1,000, according to TPG valuations).

Bonus rewards: 10x on hotels, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 5x on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3x points on all other travel and dining, 1x on everything else.

Why we like it: This premium travel rewards credit card became hugely popular when it was first released in 2016 and has remained one of the best travel credit cards for many TPG readers. In fact, it currently holds the title for Best Premium Card from the TPG Awards in 2020.As with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll find the most value by redeeming points through Chase’s transfer partners or through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The Reserve boosts the value of these awards to 1.5 cents per point.

Other benefits include an annual $300 statement credit for travel, up to $60 in annual statement credits on DoorDash (through 2022), at least one year of DashPass membership, Lyft Pink membership, up to $100 credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years and a Priority Pass Select membership that includes guest access. Plus, you can use the Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit on purchases at grocery stores and gas stations through the end of 2021.

Essential reading: The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best no-annual-fee cash-back card

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: $200 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.

Bonus rewards: 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target); 1% on everything else

Why we like it: If you’re looking for a no-annual-fee cash-back card that’s still a great option to take with you internationally, you should apply for the Capital One Savor. It has some of the most bonus categories of any competing card out there, as dining and entertainment are popular categories when traveling abroad. Plus, no foreign transaction fees make this card one of the best options to have if you’re looking to pick just one card to add to your wallet. 

Essential reading: Capital One SavorOne review

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for entertainment spending

(Photo by John Gribben / The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben / The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: $300 after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Bonus rewards: 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services and 3% cash back at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target); 1% on everything else

Why we like it: Capital One defines dining and entertainment broadly, meaning you can earn 4% cash back on a lot of different purchases — including some common expenses abroad like dining and entertainment. The bonus is solid, too. Although international travelers often favor points and miles, cash back is still highly valuable — especially when you’re earning a good return on a category not often covered with other credit cards (entertainment, in Savor’s case). The ability to earn such a high return without forking over a foreign transaction fee is great.

Essential reading: Credit card showdown: Capital One Venture vs. Capital One Savor

The information for Capital One Savor card the has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Best for Bank of America customers

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening (worth $500, according to TPG valuations)

Earning rate: 2 points per $1 on travel and dining; 1.5 points per $1 on everything else. Plus, earn 2 points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases- now through 12/31/21.

Why we like it: The Bank of America Premium Rewards card has a lot to offer for such a low annual fee — especially if you qualify for the Preferred Rewards program. You’ll earn a flat 1.5x on every purchase plus 2x on travel and dining purchases. The card also comes with an impressive suite of benefits, including an up to $100 annual airline incidental statement credit, a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) and an array of travel protections. The rewards structure is also incredibly simple, giving you the flexibility to redeem for travel, cash back or gift cards with a variety of merchants.

For members of the Preferred Rewards program, this card becomes even more valuable. If you stash enough cash away with Bank of America, you could earn up to 3.5x on travel and dining and 2.625x on all other purchases.

Essential reading: 5 reasons to get the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card: Best for airline miles

Annual fee: $75

Sign-up bonus: 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. (worth $720, according to TPG valuations).

Bonus rewards: 3x on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases

Why we like it: Alaska Airlines miles are valued the highest of any airline miles in our monthly valuations and the Alaska Signature Visa credit card is one of the only ways to currently earn them. While Alaska is a Seattle-based airline that only operates in North America, it does have strategic partnerships with other airlines that expand its reach. There are some amazing sweet spots in the Mileage Plan program and the next few years should be exciting for loyal Alaska Airlines customers.

A revitalized partnership between Alaska Airline and American Airlines has Alaska joining the Oneworld airline alliance mid-2021.

Essential reading: Credit card showdown: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature vs. Alaska Airlines Business Visa

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Best for luxury hotel benefits

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Welcome offer: 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. (worth $900, according to TPG valuations).

Bonus rewards: 14x when you make eligible purchases at Hilton and 7x at eligible U.S. restaurants, car rentals booked directly from select rental companies and flights booked directly through the airline or on Amex Travel. Plus, 3x on all other eligible purchases.

Why we like it: Although the Hilton Aspire card has a high annual fee, some travelers will be able to recoup this fee and more through the card’s benefits. These benefits include no foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees), a free-weekend-night award each year, top-tier Hilton Diamond status, up to $250 in annual airline fee credits, up to $250 in annual Hilton resort statement credits and a Priority Pass Select membership. Amex also added pandemic-related perks to this card, including expanded use opportunities for the resort credit and more. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Hilton is one of the largest hotel programs in the world, with nearly 6,000 hotels in 117 countries and properties that appeal to both budget and luxury travelers. If you frequently stay at Hilton properties throughout the year, you can get a lot of value by adding this card to your wallet.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Essential Reading: Hilton Aspire card review

What is a foreign transaction fee?

These pesky fees are charged by your card issuer every time you swipe your card outside of the U.S. This is because when you buy something abroad or on a non-U.S website, the cost of the purchase will likely need to be converted into U.S. dollars. This comes at a cost, which the foreign bank then passes onto the issuer, who then passes that fee onto you, the consumer.

How we chose the best cards with no foreign transaction fees

These days, most travel credit cards offer no foreign transaction fees. This means the competition for the best cards with no foreign transaction fees is tough and far-reaching.

We spend a fair bit of time at TPG researching the best card offers and the details of each to help make the researching process a breeze for readers. This means taking all of the cards that offer no foreign transaction fees and then narrowing down that list further by looking at a number of different factors, including but not limited to:

  • Sign-up bonus/welcome offer: What are cardholders getting out of the card during the first year? Is the spending requirement to hit the bonus reasonable? How much value is the bonus based on our calculations?
  • Annual fee: While annual fees are almost always worth it for those who utilize a card’s benefits, we still want to make sure we’re providing options on this for every budget — whether you’re a luxury traveler willing to pay $500+ for a card or a beginner who needs something with a more manageable annual fee.
  • Rewards rate: Everyone’s spending habits are different, and it’s important to choose cards that offer rewards across a wide range of bonus categories.
  • Perks and benefits: Especially with cards that charge higher annual fees, perks and benefits are often a deciding factor in whether a card is worth keeping long term.
  • Rewards program: What type of rewards you’re earning is equally as important as how much you earn. We chose cards from a number of different rewards programs to help you find one that fits your goals.

Are foreign transaction fees affected by exchange rates?

Yes and no.

Foreign transaction fees are charged by your issuer when you make a purchase abroad (or sometimes when you make an online purchase through a foreign retailer). The exchange rate refers to the value of one currency compared to the other and that rate is determined by payment networks.

What the exchange rate is on a certain day in a certain country will not change the percentage your card charges for a foreign transaction fee. In that sense, exchange rates do not affect foreign transaction fees.

However, an exchange rate can have an effect on the actual dollar amount you are charged for a foreign transaction fee. For example, at the time of writing, the Morningstar exchange rate for the U.S. dollar to the Euro was 1:0.92. That means you’d pay a $0.65 (3%) transaction fee for a 20-Euro dinner.

However, if the exchange rate changed to, say, 1:1.33, you’d only end up paying $0.45 for a 20-euro dinner. So, the exchange rate can make a difference in the actual dollar amount of the foreign transaction fee.

What credit card issuers charge foreign transaction fees?

These are the standard foreign transaction fees across some of the major U.S. credit card issuers, but keep in mind that these may vary between cards within an issuer’s lineup.

Some issuers such as Capital One and USAA do not charge foreign transaction fees on any of their cards.

Even though each of the issuers listed above does charge a foreign transaction fee on at least one of its cards, many will have card options without foreign transaction fees (some of which are included in this guide).

Foreign transaction fees by issuer

Card issuer: Foreign transaction fee:
American Express 2.7%
Barclays 3%
Bank of America 3%
Chase 3%
Citi 3%
U.S. Bank 3% for different currencies; 2% for USD transactions
Wells Fargo 3%

Which issuers are most widely accepted internationally?

Something else to seriously consider when traveling abroad is that not every payment network is accepted worldwide. Mastercard and Visa are by and large the two most popular networks — if a merchant abroad accepts credit cards, it is likely going to accept one of these cards.

Discover and American Express, which are commonly accepted in the U.S., may not be accepted around the world. This is why it’s a smart idea to have multiple types of cards in your wallet.

Related: 9 types of cards you should pack for your next trip abroad

Issuers often will have card options that operate on different networks. All Chase credit cards — except for the Chase Freedom Flex — operate on the Visa payment network. Barclays, Citi and Capital One offer cards on both the Visa and Mastercard networks. Wells Fargo uses the Visa network for some cards and the American Express network for others. Discover and American Express, of course, always use their own payment networks.

If you have at least one Visa and one Mastercard, you’ll likely have a card that is accepted almost anywhere. Just keep in mind that in many places around the world, cash is still king. In parts of Asia, Africa and even Europe, many smaller merchants will either not accept credit cards or they will charge a high (sometimes 10%) surcharge on any credit card payment.

While you should always use a credit card when possible (and beneficial), it’s good to have local currency in hand whenever you are traveling.

Will you be charged a foreign transaction fee when booking international trips online?

You don’t have to be in another country to rack up a foreign transaction fee. If you make a payment online that gets routed through a non-U.S. bank, you might see that pesky fee tacked onto your bill. This can happen when you are buying from a company that is not based in the U.S., but it also happens when booking hotels abroad.

Related: I paid a foreign transaction fee at home — reader mistake story 

Most properties within major hotel brand portfolios like Hilton or Marriott are individually owned and managed, but reservations are facilitated through a brand-wide website. This means that while your reservation may be made on a U.S. website and you may pay in USD, the room charges may be processed by the hotel itself through a non-U.S. bank.

It’s generally hard to tell in these cases whether you’ll be charged a foreign transaction fee until after the payment is already processed. So it’s a best practice to use a card with no foreign transaction fees for booking purposes. Luckily, most top credit cards for booking hotel stays come with no such fees.

When do I pay a foreign transaction fee?

You might not know you have been charged a foreign transaction fee until you receive your credit card statement. This is because the fee is charged by your credit card issuer and not the company you made the purchase with.

Keep in mind that while the receipt from the purchase your car rental in Europe might say €500, the amount you will see on your credit statement will be the amount converted into dollars plus the additional foreign transaction fee.

Tips for using your credit card abroad

Aside from the general best practices to using your card in general, here are a few things to consider while abroad:

  • Let your issuer know you’ll be traveling — Some issuers ask that you register your travel ahead of time so that the bank knows you’re abroad and doesn’t label purchases as fraudulent. While not every issuer requires it, it’s always a good idea to let them know you’ll be using your card outside of your usual area.
  • Have a mix of credit cards — When traveling outside of the U.S. not all payment networks are accepted universally (Amex and Discover are popular in the U.S. but not always commonly accepted abroad, for example). It’s a good idea to have a mix of VisaMastercard and other types of cards in your wallet that you can use on purchases when you travel.
  • Understand local currency and exchange rates — If you’re asked if you want to make a purchase in U.S. dollars or in the local currency, always choose the local currency. Generally speaking, you’ll get a better exchange rate when you allow your credit card to make that conversion than asking a merchant to use its exchange rate to convert a purchase into USD.
  • Have a chip-and-PIN credit card — Chip-and-PIN cards use a PIN number for payment authentication rather than a signature. In some places, you may find that you need a chip-and-PIN credit card to make certain purchases, especially at unmanned kiosks at places like ticket machines and gas pumps. U.S. cards almost always default to chip-and-signature, but there are some that will automatically switch to PIN when a system won’t accept a signature.

Bottom line

If you’re a frequent international traveler, a card with no foreign transaction fees is a must. The last thing you want is for rewards you earn on your trip to be wiped out by a 2% – 3% fee.

What do you get in return for the foreign transaction fee? Nothing. Banks have no additional costs associated with processing a transaction from Toronto versus one from Tennessee. There are no special data centers being maintained on Christmas Island or any other remote place where you might travel.

TPG staffers have been studying this issue for years and the only conclusion that we’ve been able to reach is that banks simply charge these fees because they can get away with it.

Most top travel cards don’t charge a foreign transaction fee and many cash back credit cards have started eliminating foreign transaction fees as well.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon and Daniel Ross. 

Featured photo by The Points Guy staff. 

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

For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, please click here.

Updated on 11/3/21.

email-capture

The trip of a lifetime is just a few points away.

Make it a reality with our tips and advice

Keep reading