Best International Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Choose a card with $0 foreign transaction fees to save on your next trip abroad.

If you’re planning a trip overseas, be aware: most credit cards charge a 1-3% fee on purchases made outside the U.S. Between hotel stays, dining, and other travel expenses, those foreign transaction fees can add up quickly — but you can avoid them with an international credit card. The top international credit cards charge $0 foreign transaction fees, and many offer traveler-friendly rewards programs, upgrades, and other perks. Browse our top picks to find a card that will help you save on fees when you travel (and earn rewards on every purchase!)

The Simple Dollar’s Top International Credit Cards for 2017

Best All-Around International Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now on Chase.com's secure website

Card Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card isn’t just our top pick for $0 foreign transaction fees. It’s also our top travel credit card of 2017, for many reasons. For one, it boasts a robust rewards program that appeals to both jet-setters and business travelers. With this card, you’ll earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide (and 1X points on all other purchases). That’ll come in handy on your next trip, whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally. And let’s not forget the substantial signup bonus, which is worth $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards℠.

Redeeming points is as easy as earning them. Chase Ultimate Rewards℠ points are good for statement credits, eDeposits, gift cards, and travel. But travel rewards are where the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card really shines: you’ll get 25% more value for your points when you use them to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards℠. Options include airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises — and because there are no blackout dates, your chances of booking your ideal itinerary are good. Use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to earn points quickly, then cash them in for travel.

How To Use It

Best Use

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Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Use this card for booking travel and when dining at restaurants to earn 2X points.
  • Redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards to earn a 25% points bonus.
  • Spend $4,000 in your first three months to earn the signup bonus.
  • Consider combining this card with the Chase Freedom® — points are transferrable between the two cards.
Note that this card has a $95 annual fee after your first year. But the signup bonus (worth $625 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards), combined with the impressive rewards potential, will justify the annual fee for frequent travelers. Don’t travel often enough to focus on travel rewards, or prefer a card without an annual fee? Consider the Discover it® Cashback Match™, a solid cash back card with $0 foreign transaction fees and $0 annual fee.
Points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are transferrable 1:1 to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs, so you’ll have no shortage of options when it’s time redeem them. You can also redeem rewards points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (with a nice 25% points bonus!) This card allows you to earn 2X points per dollar spent on travel and at restaurants worldwide — an important feature for the international traveler. If flexible travel rewards are a top priority for you, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will be tough to beat.

Best Hotel Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Apply Now on AmericanExpress.com's secure website

Card Highlights
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

If you usually stay with SPG® or Marriott Rewards® hotels when you travel, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is a no-brainer. With this card, you’ll earn 2X points per dollar on eligible purchases at participating properties. There are other perks, too, like free premium, in-room Wi-Fi and free upgrades at check-in when available. Have a favorite airline? Check to see if it’s a Starwood airline partner. Cardmembers can transfer Starpoints® to many airline loyalty programs, like Delta SkyMiles® or American Airlines AAdvantage. That’s particularly good news for frequent Delta flyers, who can earn even more Starpoints® and Delta SkyMiles® via the Crossover Rewards program.

With over 1,300 participating properties in 100+ countries — and the ability to transfer points to partner airlines — you’ll have lots of options when you decide to redeem your Starpoints®. The wide variety of redemption options makes the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express one of the best hotel credit cards available today.

How To Use It

Best Use

Consider This

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Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • When you travel, book your stay at a Marriott Rewards® or SPG® property to earn 2X Starpoints® per dollar.
  • Consider flying with a Starwood partner airline. Starpoints® are transferrable to many airline loyalty programs.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at participating hotels and resorts.
  • Spend $3,000 in your first 3 months to earn a significant signup bonus.
There’s a $95 annual fee after your first year. Points can be slower to accumulate with this card since you’ll earn 1X points on purchases that aren’t SPG® or Marriott Rewards®-related. (Compare that with the 2X points you’ll earn on travel and dining worldwide with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.) Additionally, while Starpoints® transfer 1:1 to most partner airlines, that’s not the case with all. Check Starwood’s current exchange ratio for your favorite airline(s) if you plan to transfer the majority of your points to airline programs.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express should be a major contender for anyone who prefers to stay at SPG® or Marriott Rewards® properties. But its rewards program (unusually flexible for a branded hotel card!) makes it a solid option for anyone who travels frequently. In addition to redeeming Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts around the world, you can also transfer them to a wide variety of popular airlines. Perks like free Boingo Wi-Fi at airports and $0 foreign transaction fees make this card even more appealing for travelers.

Best International Card With First Year Rewards Matching

Discover it® Cashback Match™

Apply Now Learn more about this card

Card Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™. Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, Amazon.com, restaurants, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.

Looking for a solid international card, but prefer to focus on earning cash back, rather than travel rewards? Then the Discover it® Cashback Match™ may be just what you’re looking for. In addition to $0 foreign transaction fees, it offers high-rate rewards on certain types of purchases. With this card, you’ll earn 5% cash back on categories that rotate every three months. (Past categories have included gas stations, wholesale clubs, and online shopping.)

While this card doesn’t have a traditional signup bonus, it does offer a significant bonus at the end of your first year. That’s where the Cashback Match™ comes in: Discover will match all cash back you’ve earned in your first year, automatically. When you take the Cashback Match™ into account, you’ll essentially earn 10% cash back in the rotating categories for your first year — though you’ll have to wait to cash in on the bonus. Redemption options include statement credits, eDeposits, and gift cards, and instant redemption at Amazon.com checkout. Cardmembers also have access to the Discover Deals portal, with redemption bonuses and bonus cash back offers for partner retailers.

Please note: Acceptance varies from country to country.

How To Use It

Best Use

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Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Pay attention to Discover’s rotating categories to earn 5% cash back on certain types of purchases. (Signup required quarterly.)
  • Use this card as often as possible your first year to maximize your Cashback Match™.
  • Monitor your FICO® Credit Score for free on your monthly statement and online.
Because Discover isn’t as widely accepted as cards backed by Visa or Mastercard, acceptance may vary by country. Discover’s rotating categories offer impressive rewards potential — but there’s some work involved to maximize your rewards. Bonus categories change quarterly, and you’ll have to enroll each quarter to earn 5% cash back. (If you forget to enroll, you’ll earn the standard 1% cash back instead.) Prefer flat-rate rewards to rotating categories? Check out the Discover it® Miles.
The Discover it® Cashback Match™ opens the door to significant rewards, with 5% cash back in rotating categories and no annual fee. Feel free to pack this card on your next international trip — you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees, and the dollar-for-dollar Cashback Match™ at the end of your first year will double the rewards you earn both at home and abroad.

Best No Annual Fee International Credit Card

Discover it® Miles

Apply Now Learn more about this card

Card Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • Bonus Miles - For example, if you earn 20,000 Miles, you get 40,000 Miles. We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
  • Redeem your rewards in any amount for cash or a travel credit.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.

The Discover it® Miles is one of few travel cards that don’t charge an annual fee. It offers a convenient, flat rewards structure, with 1.5X miles on every purchase, every day — no rewards categories to track or enrollment required.

Like the Discover it® Cashback Match™, this card offers rewards matching at the end of your first year. But in this case, the rewards you’ll earn will be miles that are redeemable for cash or a travel statement credit. Once you book your trip, you can redeem miles to reimburse yourself for travel-related purchases like flights, cruises, hotel stays, vacation packages, and more. This rewards structure offers a lot of flexibility. There are no blackout dates to contend with, so you’ll likely be able to book the itinerary you want, with the company or travel booking service of your choice. Plus, since you book rewards first, then reimburse yourself, you can compound savings by booking travel with a discount travel service. (That’s not an option with most travel, airline, and hotel cards!)

Please note: Acceptance varies from country to country.

How To Use It

Best Use

Consider This

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Our Verdict

Our Verdict

  • Use this card as often as possible during your first year. You’ll earn 1.5X miles on every purchase — and at the end of your first year, Discover will match any rewards you’ve earned mile for mile.
  • Monitor your FICO® Credit Score for free on your monthly statement and online.
  • Redeem rewards for travel statement credits.
Discover cards aren’t accepted as widely as Visa or Mastercard options, so you may want to travel with a second payment method just in case. Flat-rate rewards are convenient and low-maintenance — but if your spending often falls in popular categories, you could earn more with a card that offers higher-rate rewards on certain types of purchases. Compare with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for 2X points on travel and dining or the Discover it® Cashback Match™ for 5% cash back in rotating categories.
Because the rewards you’ll earn with the Discover it® Miles are redeemable for travel statement credits, they offer plenty of flexibility. There are no blackout dates or other restrictions to watch for, and you can travel with any airline and stay with any hotel chain you like. Plus, the flat-rate rewards structure makes rewards as straightforward to earn as they are to redeem — no rotating categories or enrollment required. Just use the card and watch the rewards stack up.

Best International Credit Cards: Summed Up

International Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee Best…
1 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card All-Around International Card
2 Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Hotel Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee
3 Discover it® Cashback Match™ International Card With First Year Rewards Matching
4 Discover it® Miles International Card With No Annual Fee

Directory of All Card Issuers and their Foreign Transaction Fees

If you’re interested in learning more about cards that don’t charge any type of foreign transaction fee, this directory can help. Listed below are all of the top credit card issuers, the respective foreign transaction fees they charge, and the cards they offer that don’t charge this fee. As you’ll probably notice, Discover and Capital One don’t charge foreign transaction fees on any of their cards.

Card Issuer Standard Foreign Transaction Fee Exceptions
American Express 2.7% Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card, Platinum, Centurion, and Delta cards
Bank of America 3% BankAmericard Travel Rewards card; several American Express cards offered through Bank of America (Accolades American Express, Accelerated Rewards and Cash Rewards American Express cards, Virgin Atlantic American Express, and Asiana Airlines American Express) also charge only a 1% fee
Capital One None None (all Capital One cards have no foreign transaction fee)
Chase 3% Chase Priority Club Select Visa, Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred, J.P. Morgan Select, J.P. Morgan Palladium, Marriott Rewards Premier, British Airways Visa Signature, Fairmont Visa Signature, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier, United Mileage Plus Club, United Mileage Plus Explorer, and Hyatt credit cards
Citi 3% Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve, Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, and Citi Executive AAdvantage card
Discover None None (all Discover cards have no foreign transaction fee)
Wells Fargo 3% Wells Fargo Propel 365 and Propel World American Express cards

Tips for Using International Credit Cards

Once you decide which international credit card might work best for your situation, it’s time to put that card to good use. Here are some tips that can help you make the most out of your travel rewards card when you use it abroad- or at home:

Always call your card issuer before you travel overseas. When you plan to use your international credit card outside of your home country, state, or province, it’s important to call the number on the back of your card and let your card issuer know. This is especially crucial if you plan to travel internationally. The last thing in the world you want is to be stranded in your destination without a reliable credit card.

Bring several payment options with you. Even when you inform your card issuer of your travel plans, there are times when you won’t be able to use your card. Perhaps your international purchase set off a fraud alert – or maybe your card quit working. Whatever the reason, it is crucial to have other payment options with you. In addition to having other credit cards from different card issuers, you’ll want to bring some cash and an ATM card.

Buy everything in the local currency. When you’re making purchases abroad, foreign merchants will sometimes offer to push the transaction through in U.S. dollars, whether for your convenience — or to take advantage of your naivete. This is often a bad deal, as the rate may be rounded up to something easy to calculate at the register. Fortunately, credit card transactions are typically processed at a very competitive exchange rate. So as long as your international credit card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, you can make your purchase in the local currency at the marked price without worry.

Consider cards with chip-and-pin technology. While you still just swipe your credit card at most checkouts in the U.S., most new credit cards now offer the more secure chip-and-pin technology that is more common overseas. These cards offer increased protections and security measures that can decrease the chance of fraud for users.

No matter where you’re going, any of these cards with no foreign transaction fees can make travel easier and less expensive. That’s why it’s important to sign up for a new card now before you go. Once you do, you can relax and know that at least that part of your trip is taken care of.