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 favorite cards for frequent travelers. To help with that, here are the best credit cards for no foreign transaction fees from our partners.
- 5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3x 3x on dining.
- 2x 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
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. Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- 8% Earn 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases and tickets at Vivid Seats
- 5% Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
- 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.
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. Read our full review of the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.
- 4X Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
- 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.
This isn’t just a card that’s nice to look at. It packs a real punch, offering 4 points per dollaron global dining and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1 point per dollar). There’s also an up to $120 annual dining credit at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required., 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. Read our full review of the American Express Gold Card.
- 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
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. Read our full review of the Bank of American Premium Rewards card.
- 5X Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
- 2X Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
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 2 miles per dollar on every purchase with no bonus categories to memorize, making it an ideal card for those with busy lives. Read our full review of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
- Collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card and collect 1 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com. Collect 10 stamps, get 1 reward night.
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 reward nights easily and Silver membership as long as your card is open, which gets you perks such as complimentary breakfast and airport transfers. Read our full review of the Hotels.com card here.
- 3X Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
- 1X Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases – with no limit to the amount you can earn
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card’s sign-up bonus is among the highest we’ve seen from Chase. Plus earn points across the four bonus categories (travel, shipping, advertising and telecommunication providers) that are most popular with businesses. The card comes with travel protections, shopping protections and will also have primary coverage when renting a car for business purposes for you and your employees. Read our full review of the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
- 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.
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. Read our full review of the Platinum Card from American Express.
- 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
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. Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
- 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.
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, 20% back on in-flight purchases and more. Plus, Alaska has joined the oneworld alliance, opening up endless redemption opportunities. Read our full review of the Alaska Airline Visa Signature credit card.
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|Card||Best for||Welcome Offer/Sign Up Bonus||Earning Rate||Annual Fee|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Best for total value||60,000 points||
|Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card||Best for entertainment spending||$200||
|American Express® Gold Card||Best for dining at restaurants||60,000 points||
|Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card||Best for Bank of America customers||50,000 points||
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||Best for flat-rate earning||75,000 miles||
|Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card||Best for booking cheap hotels across multiple brands||Limited Time Offer! Get 3 reward nights worth $375 total (max $125 per night)*||
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card||Best for bonus earning||100,000 points||
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Best for luxury perks||Earn 100,000 points||
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Best for travel||60,000 points||
|Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card||Best for airline miles||Limited Time Online Offer - 50,000 Bonus Miles||
Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit card: Best for hotel stays
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: New cardholders will earn three reward nights worth $375 total (max $125 per night)* with qualifying purchases. Earn two rewards nights worth $250 total (max $125 per night)*, when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. Plus, earn another rewards night worth $125 when you spend $4,000 in total purchases within the first six months. *Excludes taxes and fees.
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 currency conversion fees, plus you’ll get hotel perks across multiple hotel properties and brands. You’ll enjoy Silver membership as long as your card is open, which gets you perks such as free breakfast and airport transfers. Best of all, you’ll earn rewards through a “collect 10 stamps, get 1 reward night” system.
Related: Hotels.com card review
Official application link: Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card
The Platinum Card from American Express: Best for luxury perks
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).
Bonus rewards: 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and flights (on up to $500,000 per calendar year) and 5 points per dollar 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 the Amex Platinum 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.
Related: Amex Platinum credit card review
Official application link: Amex Platinum.
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: 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per dollar on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2 points per dollar on all other travel, 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Why we like it: The 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 and three 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.
Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred card review
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred.
American Express Gold Card: Best for dining at restaurants
(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 card membership. (worth $1,200, according to TPG valuations).
Earning rate: 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1 point per dollar) and dining at restaurants; 3 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel; 1 point per dollar 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). Enrollment required for select benefits.
Related: Amex Gold review
Official application link: Amex Gold.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for flat-rate earning
(Photo by The Points Guy)
Annual fee: $95.
Sign-up bonus: 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Bonus rewards: 5 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on every purchase.
Why we like it: The Capital One Venture’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. It 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.
Official application link: Capital One Venture.
Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best premium travel card
(Photo by Eric Helgas)
Annual fee: $550.
Sign-up bonus: 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening (worth $1,200, according to TPG valuations).
Bonus rewards: 10 points per dollar on hotels, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 5 points per dollar on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3 points per dollar on all other travel and dining, 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Why we like it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium travel rewards credit card that became hugely popular when it was first released in 2016 and has remained one of the best travel credit cards for many TPG readers. 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 and a DoorDash DashPass membership (through 2024), 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.
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve.
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 SavorOne. 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.
Related: Capital One SavorOne review
Official application link: Capital One SavorOne.
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 dollar on travel and dining and 1.5 points per dollar on everything else.
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 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase plus 2 points per dollar 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 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining and 2.625 points per dollar on all other purchases.
Official application link: Bank of America Premium Rewards.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card: Best for airline miles
Annual fee: $75.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
Bonus rewards: 3 miles per dollar on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on all other 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.
Official application link: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card.
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for entertainment spending
(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.
The information for the Capital One Savor 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.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Best for luxury hotel benefits
(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: 14 points per dollar when you make eligible purchases at Hilton and 7 points per dollar 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, 3 points per dollar 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. Enrollment is 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.
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:|
|Bank of America||3%|
|U.S. Bank||3% for different currencies; 2% for USD transactions|
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.
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.
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 of 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 Visa, Mastercard 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.
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 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.