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What's the Best No Foreign Transaction Fee CC?

What's the Best No Foreign Transaction Fee CC?

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Old Jul 24, 11, 7:40 am
  #16  
 
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Personally, I like the Chase Priority Club card for overseas spending because I'm not a big spender, the $49 annual fee pays for itself with the annual free night certificate, and although the rewards are underwhelming (though decent at restaurants) it has no foreign exchange fees and is a VISA.

The Chase BA and Sapphire cards are also pretty good no forex cards.

I plan to stay away from Capital One, heard too many horror stories, and hate the spam!
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Old Jul 24, 11, 7:43 am
  #17  
 
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Chase BA Card is the best
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Old Jul 24, 11, 8:09 am
  #18  
 
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[QUOTE=Happy;16785371]Chase has Marriott, Hyatt, IHG cards 0% forex fee, some versions of CO / UA cards and the BA card also 0% forex fee. Sapphire Preferred, the in house card and may be other in house cards are 0% forex fee.

The other thing to note on most non-FX fee cards is that they carry an annual fee. That said, Chase seems to be waiving for the first year in most cases.

Just switched my "regular" Chase MC to the Chase Sapphire Preferred (Preferred gets no FX fees, while regular Sapphire still charges fees). By switching an existing card, you can keep your current rate (if it's good and you want to), avoid having to open a new account--and I got the fee waived for the first year even though it wasn't a new account. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the bonus points for a "new card". Also, Sapphire Preferred lets you convert 1:1 into a miles/points program (like CO, BA, etc.).

If you don't mind opening a new account, the Hyatt GP and Marriott Rewards do offer an abundance of free nights or points, potentially worth $1K+ depending on where you use them. Of course, the Chase BA card that was offering 100,000 bonus miles was kick a**, but that offer is gone as of a month or so ago.

As many have said, it all depends what perks you want besides the no FX fees. If you like being able to put your points directly into airline/hotel programs--then avoid Capital One. Depending if you find it a benefit or a drawback that all your points/miles go directly into one hotel/airline program, then the Hyatt, UA, BA type programs are great or terrible.

Good thing is, there are lots of options. If you spend more than $3K per year overseas, there's no reason not to get a no FX fee card. The $90 saved in FX fees pays for--in most cases--any annual fee which, of course, you may be able to negotiate away in later years.

Very pleased with my flexible Chase Sapphire Preferred.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 8:25 am
  #19  
 
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I have the Chase BA, and I'll use that for a trip to Scotland in August because of the lack of foreign transaction fees. I have to admit, however, that after deciding to pass on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, another card with no forex fees, I'm reconsidering my decision based on the recent earning enhancement for travel and restaurant spending.

This card now earns 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on those two categories and has a 7% annual bonus on UR points for all spending done during the year: effectively, you're earning 2.14 points per dollar spent on travel and restaurants. Given that the Ultimate Rewards program now has airlines that participate in all three major airline alliances (Korean, BA, and CO) and that Hyatt is a hotel partner, I think this card is attractive, even given that it has an annual fee.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 9:50 am
  #20  
 
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I like my Capital One Venture card a lot... no forex fees and double points on every purchase. Rewards can be redeemed retroactively...
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Old Jul 24, 11, 10:24 am
  #21  
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OP'er back. After reading the comments I'm leaning to Chase Sapphire Preferred. Would have leaned to Amex Plat but I just purchased AC membership in May so that benefit would be diluted. Has anyone had success getting an annual fee waiver on Chase Sapphire Preferred after the first year? Or is it too new to know?
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Old Jul 24, 11, 4:32 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by pssteve View Post
OP'er back. After reading the comments I'm leaning to Chase Sapphire Preferred. Would have leaned to Amex Plat but I just purchased AC membership in May so that benefit would be diluted. Has anyone had success getting an annual fee waiver on Chase Sapphire Preferred after the first year? Or is it too new to know?
Too new to know.

Chase is also not known to waive annual fee. Though lately we have seen some miles retention offer on UA card but no one ever reports getting Chase waive annual fee.

I agree about the IHG card's $49 annual fee is more than offset by the annual free cert. Also the 10% rebate on award redemption is nice. but earning rate is dismal. It is a good card for foreign transactions to avoid forex fee but not a good card for your regular usage.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 6:41 pm
  #23  
 
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There's the Continental Presidential Plus too. If you figure the annual fee is really paying for a PC membership, it's free, and you earn EQM and RDM on those foreign purchases.

(there are plenty of other threads to discuss the recent changes to this card, no need to bring all that here)
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Old Jul 24, 11, 7:41 pm
  #24  
 
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Visa/MC vs. AmEx practices

Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
No, it's not a mainly USA thing.

Foreign transaction fees have been universal since the last decade in Asia as well. Ever wonder why "no foreign transaction fee" being advertised as a nice "feature/benefit" of certain CCs?

As I recall, in the mid-1990s, issuing banks used to "absorb" whatever fees International MC/Visa/Amex imposed on international charges, usually from 1% to 3%. And staring in early 2000s, you'd find most banks bill foreign transaction fees as standalone charges in the billing statement. If you like, you can dig up more discussion about this fee in the other master thread on foreign exchange:

Best card for foreign exchange?

There's also another shorter thread about cards that charge no foreign-transaction fee back in 2006. You should just be glad that none of your chosen cards in whichever countries haven't implemented foreign transaction fee. Consider yourself lucky.
I have never closely examined how this thing works (if anybody is interested I'm more than sure it's described in some detail in MC's and Visa's annual shareholder reports), but my understanding always was that neither MC nor Visa ever instituted any foreign transaction fees by itself - any fee you're being charged goes directly to your credit card issuer's bottom line. Both companies certainly have some (very reasonable) spread on exchange rates it uses to convert currencies one into another to cover its currency risks - as of today (07/24) for Visa this spread was 0.4% and exchange rates are transparent and published daily in the internet (for Visa http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_v...x_rates_us.jsp). So your bank has no discretion at what exchange rate the transaction will be converted. So it doesn't seem that banks are really so generous as to "absorb" these fees. It's more like with luggage fees - first everyone universally introduced them and then everyone started to present returning back to basics as a huge marketing deal.

With AmEx the situation is different though - it has always explicitly stated (through inclusion of your CC agreement) that it is "hiding" substantial exchange rate spread (for cards I had either 1.5% or 2.5%) in your exchange rate. That's why you will always never see a foreign exchange fee on AmEx branded credit cards even if not issued by AmEx itself (i.e. FIA cards).

That being said, suggestions made in this forum should not be taken as apples to apples comparison - even though both AmEx Platinum and Chase BA Visa have no transaction fees, it's almost certain that USD amount of charge for the same EUR-nominated purchase will be higher on your AmEx card than it will be on your Visa card.

Unrelated to that fact, even if foreign transaction fees may not be entirely USA banks inventions, it is certainly not a world-wide practice. In Russia where banks charge you for many things we take for granted in the USA (how about $100 annual fee for no-rewards no-cashback debit card?), foreign transaction fees are almost non-existent.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 7:58 pm
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Originally Posted by LongviewTX View Post
With AmEx the situation is different though - it has always explicitly stated (through inclusion of your CC agreement) that it is "hiding" substantial exchange rate spread (for cards I had either 1.5% or 2.5%) in your exchange rate. That's why you will always never see a foreign exchange fee on AmEx branded credit cards even if not issued by AmEx itself (i.e. FIA cards).
My SPG card highlights foreign purchases and separates out the fees. Are you saying there is an additional fee built-in?
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Old Jul 24, 11, 8:49 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by godlovesugly View Post
My SPG card highlights foreign purchases and separates out the fees. Are you saying there is an additional fee built-in?
What I've done is when I was in Europe about a couple of weeks ago I made two different puchases on the same day and paid for one with my FIA AmEx and for the other with CapitalOne Visa (both cards don't have formal foreign exchange fees) and when transaction posted compared X-rates used. The one used by AmEx was about 1% worse. And I know that this 1% comes directly from the following language in my FIA AmEx CC agreement "American Express (1) converts charges made in foreign currencies to U.S. dollars using a rate selected on the business day prior to the day on which the charges are processed by American Express and (2) applies a 1% commission to the converted amount."

Note that it says "American Express converts", not "FIA card services converts".

On the same time X-rates used by Chase OnePass MC (that has a 3% FT fee) before that fee was substantially the same as the one used by a no-FT CapitalOne Visa.

So in my case AmEx did "hide" 1% into X-rate, but it did it in full agreement with my CC agreement.

As far as SPG AmEx goes - its T&C language is somewhat vague so I cannot answer your question but I suggest that someone who has this card and a Visa card experiments in the same way - makes separate purchase on two cards at the same day and compare X-rates used before FT fee comes into consideration.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 9:43 pm
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by LongviewTX View Post
What I've done is when I was in Europe about a couple of weeks ago I made two different puchases on the same day and paid for one with my FIA AmEx and for the other with CapitalOne Visa (both cards don't have formal foreign exchange fees) and when transaction posted compared X-rates used. The one used by AmEx was about 1% worse.
the fia amex is not a 0% forex card.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 9:49 pm
  #28  
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My SPG card has both a HIDDEN fee in the exchange rate AND a separate 2.7% fee. Altogether, it was a whopping 5xx% extra when you added the inflated portion and the separate charge together.

The card had only ONE charge, Avis rental we used in France because we enrolled in AMEX premium rental car coverage.

The charge was in Euro, translated to USD at an exchange rate of 1.489 while the XE.com showed historical rate for the transaction date and the posting date were at 1.45 to 1.46 intrabank average midpoint rate.

And we also were billed $8.94 fee.

Needless to say this would be our first and last time to use it aboard.

On the odd side, AMEX did not bill the $19.95 premium that it always billed on the same date the rental car was returned, when rented in North America. I dont know this is a good thing or a bad thing - what if we need to file a claim, are we covered or not?!

Next time we would use our 0% forex Citi Premier or other 2 0% forex cards even for rental car and just rely on the 0 cost rental car coverage because it is primary anyway when rented internationally.

The other card we used for this trip was the ex-Schwab now FIA card that is 0% forex fee. The exchange rates used by FIA are very close to the XE historical rates and it was 1.453 on the date AMEX charged at 1.489.

I will say with the forex fee and the inflated exchange rate, the extra point earned by paying SPG stays aboard using SPG card would not be worth it - as you are essentially paying to "buy" the extra point when you can save 5% cash if use a 0% forex fee card to pay for your SPG stays - it still earns you 1 SPG point per $, but you are not gouged an additional 5xx% in real cash.

FWIW, other AMEX branded but not real AMEX cards, such as Citi's AAdvantage AMEX card, does charge 3% forex fee, but the exchange rate is not inflated - it is very close to the XE historical rate for the corresponding date.

Last edited by Happy; Jul 24, 11 at 9:59 pm
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Old Jul 24, 11, 9:59 pm
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by alemdohorizonte View Post
the fia amex is not a 0% forex card.
what do you mean? From my point of view any card that doesn't charge forex fee as a separate line item on your statement is a 0% forex card by definition.

A 0% forex card can still inflate your exchange rate though.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 10:11 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by LongviewTX View Post
what do you mean? From my point of view any card that doesn't charge forex fee as a separate line item on your statement is a 0% forex card by definition.

A 0% forex card can still inflate your exchange rate though.
Not in the case of Citi Premier, ex-Schwab now FIA, or Chase IHG (Priority Club) cards that we have used for international transactions. All have exchange rates not any higher than 0.2 to 0.3% than historical midpoint interbank rates, and sometimes actually lower.
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