If you are a frequent traveler, credit cards with zero foreign exchange charges can be a useful way to save money while still allowing you to benefit from the extra protection that credit cards offer. Many credit cards now have bonus features designed to appeal directly to travelers. These can include travel insurance, roadside assistance and extra flexibility on redeeming your points. It’s worthwhile comparing cards to assess what features best suit you and your lifestyle before opening one. It’s important to know that the best cards and the best APR rates will only be available for those with a sound credit rating.
It’s also worth knowing that Capital One and Discover have taken foreign transaction fees off all of their credit cards. As a practical measure, remember to tell your card issuer when you are traveling; this helps to prevent your card from getting locked due to suspected fraud, which could leave you with limited options whilst abroad!
This zero foreign transaction fee credit card offers 40,000 bonus miles to new customers when spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. That’s equivalent to $400 to spend on travel. For all other customers, it offers two miles per dollar spent. There’s no annual fee for the first year; then it’s $59 for each year. The APR is between 13.24% – 23.24% variable, and the rewards don’t expire.
Additional advantages for international spenders include Visa Signature benefits, such as free upgrades, discounts and the ever-useful extended warranty on purchases. Likewise, it includes a 24-hour travel assistance phone line to support you where needed. As well as no foreign transaction fees, cardholders can expect $0 Fraud Liability (if the card is stolen or lost) and personalized security alerts by email or text. The credit card can also be used with Apple Pay.
New customers gain 50,000 Points for $2,000 spent in the first 3 months of card ownership. Otherwise, cardholders earn triple points for airline-booked flights, and double points for restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets. Frequent travelers will also like the additional benefits of this zero foreign transaction fee credit card – car rental loss and damage insurance, baggage insurance (upto $1,250 for carry-on luggage and $500 for checked luggage), the Global Assist phone line for emergencies while abroad, and premium roadside assistance if your car breaks down while you are on the move.
Points can be used to pay for flights, hotels and holiday bookings made with American Express Travel. They can also be used for dining and entertainment offers, as well as a selection of merchandise. The annual fee is nothing for the first year; however, it then soars to $195. Make sure you do some serious spending on this card (and can pay it off) so you get the full value of the rewards.
Both of these cards offer to double the benefits earned at the end of your first year of holding the card. So, if you have the Miles card, you’ll get double the miles, and if you have Cashback Match then the cashback value will be doubled. It’s a great feature, as long as you don’t mind waiting a year to reap the benefit.
Both cards have a simple rewards scheme that’s easy to understand and easy to earn. Cashback on the Cashback Match credit card can go up to 5% in certain categories (these change each quarter with a maximum value of $1500), and there’s an unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases. Miles are earned for every dollar spent at a rate of 1.5 miles, and 100 miles is equivalent to $1.
Both cards have no annual fee. A typical APR will be zero in the first year, then 11.24%-23.24% from then on. If you want to make a few big purchases and pay the card off across the first year, this can be a great way to spend without incurring interest. The Miles card also features a free FICO score in the monthly statement.
New cardholders may be tempted by the 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening the card (worth an estimated $625 when redeemed). Furthermore, everyone can earn double points on travel and at restaurants. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. As well as having no foreign transaction fees, the card has chip security – usually required for card readers in Europe and elsewhere.
Redeeming points on this card is particularly flexible. You can choose to redeem via the Chase Ultimate Rewards program – with a 20% discount, and no black out dates on travel – or transfer to another participating travel program while keeping the full value of your points. Note that there is an annual fee of $95 after the first year of holding the card. The APR ranges from 16.24% to 23.24% depending on your creditworthiness. As with all the credit cards on this list, there is no foreign transaction fees.
This card was named ‘Best Travel Rewards Credit Card’ by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance annual ‘Best List’ for 2015. It has no foreign transaction fees and no annual fees to pay either. Cardholders can earn an unlimited 1.5 points, per dollar spent. Points earned don’t expire, so you can use them when you like.
New cardholders receive 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days (that’s equivalent to $200 in statement credit for travel purchases). Customers already with a Bank of America checking or savings account will get 10% bonus customer points, and those on the Preferred Rewards scheme with Bank of America will earn bonus points of up to 25%. Redeeming points is flexible, and statement credit can be used for flights, vacation packages, hotels, cruises, rental cars and baggage fees.
A good or excellent credit score will be needed to open one of these cards. There is zero APR for 12 statements, then the APR changes to 15.24% – 23.24%, depending on your credit rating.
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