The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, like many credit cards for consumers with excellent credit, doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, saving cardholders 3-5 percent per transaction that many issuers charge when their cards are used while abroad.
For frequent travelers, not having to pay foreign transaction fees can save you hundreds annually, but even the casual traveler will appreciate not having to budget for that extra fee while planning an international trip.
Cards with foreign transaction fees tend to charge 3 percent per transaction (some charge more) made while you travel abroad. That means that everything from your English breakfast in London to your croissant at a Parisian café to your museum admission in Brazil and your hotel in India gets whacked with a 3 percent fee. That can seriously add up over a trip.
Travel experts generally agree that using a credit card while overseas is the cheapest way to fund your trip since you won't have to deal with the fees charged at currency exchange counters. It's also considered to be one of the most secure ways to pay for your travels since you won't be toting around wads of cash. However, any benefits you enjoy while using a credit card internationally are lost if you have to pay a foreign transaction fee. That's why it's so important to do your research and ensure you have a card that will allow you to skip that fee when you travel outside of the U.S.
Chase cards with no foreign transaction fees
Many credit cards these days have done away with foreign transaction fees, including more than a dozen Chase cards, geared toward both consumers and for small business owners. Some are affiliated with airlines and hotels, which will offer the frequent traveler even more comfort and while abroad.
Let's take a look at some Chase cards that offer no foreign transaction fees:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Let's start with the card that kicked off this article. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is a top travel rewards card, has a $95 annual fee that's waived the first year.
But, by not paying foreign transaction fees, you'd only need to spend about $3,200 outside the U.S. to offset the annual fee, compared to what you would pay if your card had a 3 percent foreign transaction fee. And that's without even taking into consideration the rewards you'll earn that can also go toward offsetting that fee.
Cardholders get two-times the points on travel and dining at restaurants and one point per $1 spent on all other purchases worldwide. And there are no caps on the amount of rewards you can earn.
New cardholders are eligible for 50,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards® points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months (that's $625 worth of travel). Plus, your points are worth 25 percent more when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: You can think of this card as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card's more luxurious cousin. This card is for the person who frequently travels, wants luxury perks and features and doesn't mind paying extra for that pampering. The Chase Sapphire Reserve®'s annual fee is $450 and there's a $75 fee for each authorized user.
For that annual fee, you get up to $300 each account anniversary year in statement credit to cover airline and hotel charges (which, if you think about it, lowers the annual fee to a net $150). Cardholders also enjoy free airport lounge access at more than 1,000 lounges worldwide.
The card's rewards program offers three Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per $1 spent on dining and on travel purchases made after you earn your $300 annual reimbursement and one point per $1 for everything else. When it's time to redeem your points, cardholders receive 50 percent more value when you redeem for travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Plus, you get to rack up the points quickly. New cardholders can earn 50,000 introductory points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That is worth $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
All of this may be why MONEY® Magazine named this card the "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card: The British Airways Visa Signature® Card isn't just a foreign transaction fee-free travel rewards card; it's connected to one of the global airline leaders, too.
One of the card's perks is a Travel Together Ticket that allows cardholders who make $30,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year to bring a companion on a flight for free. That perk alone more than makes up for the $95 annual fee.
But it doesn't stop there, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card is also a rewards card that offers triple Avios, which is what British Airways calls its frequent flyer miles, for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and one Avios for every other purchase. Plus, right now new cardholders will earn four Avios per $1 spent on every purchase for the first 12 months, up to $30,000 spent. Max out that bonus opportunity and you'll earn 120,000 Avios in the first year, plus you'll meet the threshold to earn the Travel Together Ticket.
There is a $95 annual fee, so you'll want to run the numbers to see whether you'll more than make that up in Avios.
Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card:(This card is not currently available on CardRatings) This card combines the benefits of no foreign transaction fees with perks for regular Marriott Rewards and SPG property lodgers. You get one free night award every year after your account anniversary at participating properties, valued up to 35,000 points. Card members get automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year and can achieve Gold Status when $35,000 is spent on purchases each account year.
Cardholders earn 6X points for every $1 spent at over 6,700 participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels and 2X points for every $1 on every other purchase. Then, new in 2019, 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
Plus, as a new cardholder, you pick up 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account-opening.
There is an $95 annual fee, but that's easily offset if you regularly stay at participating hotels or if you travel internationally often since you won't be paying an international fee. Get the card that helps you earn more with U.S. News & World Report's No.1 Hotel Rewards Program, Marriott Rewards.
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card: Chase also offers business cards that are geared for for a variety of business types or needs, including those that require international travel. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, for a $95 annual fee, offers cardholders the chance to rack up triple the points on select business categories including travel; shipping; and advertising with social media and search engine sites, among other categories. You get one point for all other purchases.
Plus, you collect 80,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months.
When it's time to redeem your points, Chase Ultimate Rewards® makes your points worth 25 percent more if you redeem them for airfare, hotels, car rentals or cruises.
You can also add employee cards at no additional cost and the card offers trip-related perks like trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay insurance and auto rental collision damage waivers.
One last thing, this card offers cell phone protection for the primary number on the account, as well as all other phones on that account as long as you pay your cellular bill on the card.
Given the breadth of options when it comes to no-foreign-transaction-fee cards with Chase, you can likely find one above that meets your needs. But if you don't see one above that makes sense for you, don't give up. Take a look at our picks for "Best cards with no foreign transaction fees" for some additional options.
No matter your credit card needs, there is one for with no foreign transaction fees that can fit your lifestyle. Just remember to fully understand your financial situation and history before you apply and make sure that you pay off your balance each month so that interest charges don't eat into that vacation fund you're building up. Then, get ready to plan your next international getaway – without foreign transaction fees.