Updated on Jan 11, 2018

Best International Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee for 2018

Choose a card with $0 foreign transaction fees to save on your next trip abroad.
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Traveling overseas is an opportunity to sample the local cuisine and even purchase an exotic souvenir or two. Unfortunately, doing all this without an international credit card can lead to some pretty nasty foreign transaction fees. That’s why we’ve put together this rundown of 2018’s best international credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. Take a look and apply online in minutes.

The Simple Dollar's top picks for the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

Best all-around international credit card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Rewards summary 2X points on travel and dining; 1 point/dollar on all other purchases Terms apply
Foreign transaction fees $0

Signup bonus 50,000 points
Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Featured perk Get 25% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Highlights Provided by Chase Show 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®
  • 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
  • Issuer: Chase
  • Rewards Details: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
  • Sign Up Bonus: 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®
  • Annual Fee: $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 17.24% - 24.24% Variable
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The globally-accepted Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the safest spending options for anyone traveling abroad. Cardholders won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees, and the rewards potential is truly something to write home about. Whether you’re at home or abroad, you can benefit from 2X points on travel and restaurants the world over as well as 1X on all other purchases.

How to use it
  • Cardmembers earn 1x points per $1 spent on most purchases, so use it as often as you can.
  • Use it while you’re eating out for 2X points on dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • Even use it while you’re travelling for 2X points on travel by air, taxi, or train.
  • Use it ASAP: Cardmembers earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first three months.
  • Travel often. You’ll get 25% more per point when redeeming points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, including transport and hotel costs.
Consider this

Chase waives the annual fee for the first year. After that, membership costs $95 a year. If you’re not a frequent patron of restaurants, then you’re likely to miss out on one of the card’s biggest benefits. And if you’re not the travelling type, then you might want to consider a card with more flexible benefits.

Why you'll love it

What’s not to love about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card? It has, arguably, the most generous rewards structure of any other card on this rundown. Not only can you earn 2X points on travel and restaurants worldwide, but you can get a 25% point bonus when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. And, of course, there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.

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Partner Offer Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Best hotel card with no foreign transaction fee

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
See Rates & Fees
Rewards summary 2X Starpoints® at SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels; 1X Starpoints for other purchases Terms apply
Foreign transaction fees $0

Signup bonus 25,000 Starpoints®
Annual Fee $95 (Waived first year)
Featured perk Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries.
Highlights Provided by American Express Show Highlights
  • Earn 25,000 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 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.
  • Planning a road trip? Rent your car, fill up your tank, book your hotel, and pay for it with your American Express® Card.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Issuer: American Express
  • Sign Up Bonus: Earn 25,000 Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $95 See Details
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 16.49% - 20.49% Variable See Rates & Fees
  • Penalty APR: 29.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

Anyone looking to become a preferred guest of Starwood Hotels & Resorts will find plenty to appreciate about the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. It’s really all in the name with its rewards program that grants 2X Starpoints® at SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels (1X for other purchases). If you travel often and like to sleep in comfort, this is the card to get.

How to use it
  • Use this card often. Members earn 1 Starpoint® for everyday purchases, redeemable at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts, located in 100 countries (a number that’s likely to grow).
  • You’ll earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of purchases made at participating Starwood® and Marriott Rewards® hotels, so use it whenever you travel.
  • Earn points while you fly: Members can redeem points for frequent-flyer miles on over 150 airlines.
  • Don’t just sign up for the card. If you become a Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), you’ll gain access to a ton of additional benefits! Use Uber? As an SPG member, you can earn 1 Starpoint® per every $2 spent with Uber at home, and per every $1 spent while travelling.
Consider this

Benefits aren’t necessarily flexible. Starpoints® are only redeemable at SPG hotels, and only transfer at a 1:1 ratio for certain airlines. If you’re looking for a wider variety of airline redemption options, consider the Discover it® Miles card.

Why you'll love it

Not only is the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express one of our top picks for no foreign transaction fees, but it’s also the top hotel card on this list. And it’s not just a great card for those who want to stay in fabulous hotels, it’s also perfect for travel. As a cardholder, you have the ability to transfer Starpoints® to participating frequent flyer programs.

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Best international card with first year rewards matching

Discover it® - Cashback Match™
Rewards summary 5% cash back at different places each quarter; 1% on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fees $0

Signup bonus First-year Cashback Match™
Annual Fee $0
Featured perk Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
  • No annual fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 0%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you want a card that continues to reward you even when you get back from overseas, then the Discover it® Cashback Match™ card might just be the one for you. With this card, you’ll have no problem saving up for your next big jaunt as you’ll be earning 5% cash back on purchases in rotating quarterly categories that include gas, groceries, restaurants, and more (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate).

How to use it
  • Maximize your rewards during your first year. Discover’s Cashback Match™ program gives members a dollar-for-dollar match of all the rewards they’ve earned after one year of membership.
  • Use this card for everything. From groceries, to movies, to travel, you’ll receive 1% cashback on all purchases.
  • Take your time. Rewards never expire.
Consider this

There’s nothing more flexible than cash, but members only earn 1% back on the majority of their purchases. So if you spend $100, you’ll earn $1 back.

Why you'll love it

The Discover it® Cashback Match™ card is not strictly a travel rewards card but, if you love to travel, then there’s plenty to love about this card. Beyond the $0 foreign transaction fees, this card makes it easier to save up for your next trip with its signature Cashback Match™ feature. Not to mention the 5% cash back on purchases in rotating categories (up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate).

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Best no annual fee international credit card

Discover it® Miles
Rewards summary 1.5X Miles on every purchase
Foreign transaction fees $0

Signup bonus First-year mile-for-mile match
Annual Fee $0
Featured perk Redeem miles as a travel statement credit for airline tickets, hotel rooms, online travel sites, and more.
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles.
  • 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 Miles as a statement credit towards travel purchases.
  • 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 free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 1.5 Miles per dollar on all purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.24% Variable
  • Introductory APR: 0%
  • Introductory APR Period: 14 months
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 14 months
  • Ongoing APR: 12.24% - 24.24% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you’re looking to bank travel rewards with no annual fee, then the Discover it® Miles card should be your top pick. Members earn 1.5x Miles per dollar on every purchase, with no annual fee to reduce the rewards they earn. You’ll be able to earn miles simply by buying coffee in the morning. Or shopping. Or traveling. And Discover will double all the miles earned at the end of your first year of membership!

How to use it
  • Each purchase earns 1.5X miles per dollar spent, and there’s no limit. So if you’re trying to save money on expensive airfare, use the card for everyday expenses. They’ll add up.
  • Everybody’s got a dream vacation, and with the Discover it® Miles card, you can actually make it happen. Discover will automatically match all miles earned at the end of your first year, seriously reducing transportation costs.
  • Don’t worry about when or where you want to travel. Rewards come without blackout dates. You’ll be able to fly any airline, to any location. That’s because rewards are redeemable for a travel statement credit, so you can book however you’d like.
Consider this

While the Discover it® Miles is one of the most user-friendly miles-based cards on the market today, there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to redemption. Members can redeem miles as statement credits towards travel-related purchases: Lodging, train tickets, etc. But miles can’t be transferred towards frequent flyer programs. If transferring miles to airlines is important to you, we recommend the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Why you'll love it

If you’re an independent, pay-as-you-go type of traveler who likes flexibility, consider packing the Discover it® Miles for your next trip. You can redeem your rewards for a statement credit towards travel purchases after you get home instead of committing to a particular airline or hotel brand months in advance. At the end of your first year, you can also look forward to Discover matching the rewards you’ve earned mile for mile.

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Here are the best no foreign transaction fee credit cards for 2018:

Best for... Credit Card
All-Around International Credit Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Apply Now
Hotel Card With No Foreign Transaction Fee
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express Partner Offer
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Apply Now
International Card With First Year Rewards Matching Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Apply Now
No Annual Fee International Credit Card Discover it® Miles Apply Now

Are credit cards international?

While most credit cards can be used internationally, not all of them are created equal. Your goal should be find the right international credit card for you that does not charge a foreign transaction fee. While a 1% to 3% foreign transaction fee may not seem like a lot, it can start to add up. If two people spent $2,500 on transportation, hotel, and dining while abroad, they’d be looking at $25 to $75 just in fees.

What is a foreign transaction fee?

A foreign transaction fee is a fee charged by your credit card issuer to use your card outside of the United States or with non-U.S. retailers (sometimes even online). As mentioned above, this fee is a percentage (usually 1% to 3%) of the total transaction cost.

Other fees you’ll want to be aware of, especially when traveling:

  • Annual fee – This the amount you pay yearly in order to use your cards and its benefits.
  • ATM withdrawal fee – If you take cash out at an international ATM, you may be charged a fee – either a flat rate or a percentage – per transaction.
  • Cash advance fee – This is when you borrow cash against your credit card. Unlike a cash withdrawal, this is an amount that you agree to pay back at a later date. Fees are typically a percentage of the amount.
  • Over-limit fee – It can be easy to get carried away while on vacation, but if you exceed your card’s limit, you may be charged a fee.

Which credit card has no foreign transaction fee?

All of the cards on our list have no foreign transaction fee, so choosing the best international credit card for you will depend on your travel preferences and goals.

Which credit card is best for international travel?

The best international credit card is the one that fits your travel needs, but ideally it would have no foreign transaction fees, a low annual fee, and the opportunity to earn substantial rewards toward your travel.

How to find your ideal travel credit card

After reviewing the best international credit cards on our list, you may find that one stands out to you based on your travel goals. For instance, if your goal is to earn as many points as possible, you may consider the Discover it® Cashback Match™ for the opportunity to earn matching rewards at the end of the first year. Or, if the hotel accommodations are important when you travel, you may consider the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, which allows you to earn and use points at more than 1,300 participating hotels in 100 countries.

Can I use international credit cards on the IRCTC?

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) recently permitted the use of international credit and debit cards for booking e-tickets. This means that travelers using international and/or debit cards issued outside the country can book train trips via the IRCTC’s ticketing sites.

Best international credit cards for 2018

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card : Best all-around international credit card
  • Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express : Best hotel card with no foreign transaction fee
  • Discover it® – Cashback Match™ : Best international card with first year rewards matching
  • Discover it® Miles : Best no annual fee international credit card

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