How to Choose a Credit Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee
If you ever leave the country, you will need a credit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. There are a lot of options, including some of cards that earn you rewards in the process.
When a credit card charges a foreign transaction fee, a percentage of every international purchase made will be added to the bill. For most cards the fee is around three percent. That might not sound like much, but it will add up.
There’s no reason to do that. There are a bunch of great travel rewards cards out there that don’t charge foreign transaction fees.
The best rewards cards are the ones that allow you to transfer your points to a variety of frequent flyer programs. That’s because they offer a the most flexibility and value.
The three big credit card rewards programs that offer flexibility are American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. These programs all offer cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees.
Best All-Around Rewards Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee
There is nothing like the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you’re looking for a good general travel rewards card. This card is actually my all time favorite. Its standard welcome offer is a generous 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points, the annual fee is a reasonable $95 that’s waived for the first year. It has generous earning abilities with double points for travel and dining. It’s important to note that travel is generously defined to include almost everything from airfare and hotels to taxis and gas.
With those partners, you’ll get access to all three of the major airline alliances: Star, oneworld and SkyTeam. With these partners, there is the ability to transfer and redeem your points for travel to anywhere in the word.
Sapphire’s runner-up is the also excellent American Express Premier Rewards Gold card. It may have a smaller welcome offers at 25,000 points and a higher annual fee at $195, but it also has few things going for it that the Sapphire does not.
The card is part of a flexible program, American Express Membership Rewards. As part of that program, you can transfer your points to 17 different frequent flyer programs.In addition to getting access to British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air France KLM and Virgin Atlantic, which also partner with Ultimate Rewards, you’ll be able to transfer points to five North American carriers: Delta, JetBlue, Virgin America, Air Canada and Aeromexico; luxury airlines Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways and Emirates; European airlines Alitalia and Iberia; Japan’s ANA; Israel’s EL AL; and Hawaiian Airlines. You can earn triple points for all airfare and double points for gas, groceries and dining out. The Sapphire doesn’t offer a bonus for groceries, something most of us buy regularly.
Your other two options for personal cards that don’t incur foreign transaction fees and iffer smaller bonuses. The Citi ThankYou Premier offers 30,000 Citi thank you points. The Amex Gold card doesn’t come with a welcome offer.
Best Business Rewards Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee
There are two business cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees and allow you transfer your points directly to frequent flyer programs. You will have to be either a small business owner or an independent contractor to qualify. If you are, you have access to two excellent cards: Chase Ink Plus Business and Amex Business Gold Rewards. Both are great options, but Chase wins this round again.
Ink Plus has a much bigger welcome offer at 80,000 points, compared to the Business Gold Rewards’ 25,000 points. It also has a smaller annual fee of $95, though it’s not waived for the first year like the Amex card.
While an extra 55,000 points for a welcome offer is nothing to scoff at, the Chase card really shines because of its earning potential. It offers a remarkable 5x points for several categories of purchases that include some recurring bills: cell phones, land lines, internet, cable and office supplies. The card also get double points for gas and hotels.
If you qualify for a business card, I’d look long and hard at the Chase Ink Plus with its high welcome offer and fantastic 5x earning potential. Chase Sapphire is also a great option with a welcome offer that is nearly as good and double points for all travel purchases, including commuting expenses and gas.
The Amex Premier Rewards Gold and Business Gold Rewards cards are worthy contenders, too. But their annual fees are nearly twice as much, and their welcome offers are about half as big.