Updated: 06/14/2017

Best Travel Cards That Doesn't Charge an Annual Fee

Cards to travel with no annual fee

When you’re a frequent traveler, you want a credit card that helps you make the most of your trips and travel expenses. Some of the best features to look for include bonus points and miles, and discounts on travel ranging from savings on airfare, hotel stays, and other travel costs. Plus, it helps if you don’t have to pay anything extra for the card, which means that some of your best options also have no annual fee and other fees. Here are some of the features you should consider when choosing the best travel cards with no annual fee.

Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees

Some cards work well for traveling within the US, but are not the best option when it comes to traveling to another country or making foreign transactions. Many credit cards come with a foreign transaction fee that can cost you as much as 3% of every purchase made abroad. 

If your traveling includes destinations outside of the US, this fee can add up and cost you more than it’s worth to carry the card. This is why it’s best to find a card with no foreign transaction fee so it doesn’t cost you more just to use your credit card. Otherwise, you could get charged as much as 3% more every time you use your card. Considering that usually rewards programs don’t even give you as much as 3% in miles, points, or cash back, you likely won’t break even.

Although some of these travel cards have annual fees, depending on how much you travel abroad, it could be worth more to pay an annual fee than a foreign transaction fee. Some of the best travel credit cards without foreign transaction fees include the following:

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR13.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 13.49-23.49% no BT fee
rewards 2% per dollar +40,000 miles bonus
  • earn 2x miles on all purchases
  • get 40,000 miles bonus after spending $3,000 on a card in the first 3 months
  • redeem easily as a statement credit towards any travel expenses
good credit required

no first-year annual fee, $59 after

40,000 miles welcome bonus

2x miles on everything

Visa Signature status

read review

With no foreign transaction fee and the annual fee of $59 waived the first year, the Capital One Venture Rewards card is a solid choice for frequent travelers. Plus, you can earn a bonus of 40,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on the card within the first three months of opening the account, which can be worth $400 in travel. You also earn two miles for every dollar you spend with the card.

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer 16.49 - 23.49%
rewards 1x-2x points on $1 +50,000 bonus
  • earn 2x points on travel and dining out 
  • get 50,000 bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • get 5,000 bonus miles after adding authorized user in 3 months after account opening
  • 25% more in travel redemption

 

good credit required

$95 annual fee, waived for the first year

or no annual fee for basic Sapphire card

2x points on travel and dining

1 point per dollar on all other purchases as usual

the card is made of metal

read review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card comes with a $95 annual fee that is waived your first year, which makes it a little easier to try out the card and see if it’s worth keep paying for. You don’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees with this card, either. This card also awards 2X points on travel ranging from airfare to hotels, taxis, and trains, 2X points on dining, and 1X point on all other purchases. You can transfer points to frequent travel programs at a ratio of 1:1. New cardholders can also earn a bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. This bonus can be worth $625 in travel.

No Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fee

There are travel credit cards with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee but they are rare.

 

intro purchase APR 0% APR for 9 monthsregular APR13.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 0% APR for 9 months 13.49-23.49%
rewards 1.5% +$100 bonus
  • get $100 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases

 

excellent / good credit required

no annual fee

1.5% cash back

$100 welcome bonus

read review

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the only cards that awards travel purchases without charging an annual fee or a foreign transaction fee. If you spend just $500 in the first 3 months of card membership, you will earn a bonus of $100 in cash. You also earn cash back with every purchase, at a rate of 1.5% cash back for each dollar you spend with the card. The only downside of this card is that there are fewer travel benefits and you earn cash back instead of miles. However, it’s worth considering if your travel purchases vary and you want to avoid paying an annual fee or foreign transaction fee.

 

intro purchase APR 0% for 14 monthsregular APR11.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 10.99% for 14 months 3% BT fee
rewards 1.5 miles/1$ 
  • earn unlimited miles at 1.5% rate on every purchase

 

good credit required

no annual fee

unlimited 1.5 miles per dollar

redeem for any travel or cash

read review

The Discover It Miles card another travel credit card without an annual fee or foreign transaction fee. You earn 1.5 miles for each dollar you spend with the card. And, currently, Discover will match all the miles you earn your first year as an extra bonus. This card’s only disadvantage is that depending on where you travel, you could run into problems with Discover card acceptance.

Travel Cards for Fair Credit

Not everyone has great credit. Fair credit makes it a bit more difficult to get approved for travel cards with high rewards. A fair credit score is usually a score in the range of the low 600s to mid 600s. Because most rewards credit cards require higher scores at least in the low 700s, you could find qualifying for travel credit cards a challenge.

You’ll need to search for fair credit options that still offer any travel benefits or bonuses. If your credit score is at the fair level or below, some of the best travel credit cards to consider include the following:

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR24.99% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer no BT fee
rewards 1.5% on all purchases 

earn 1.5% on all purchases with no cap and limitations

fair credit / no credit required

$39 annual fee

good for average credit/limited credit

1.5% cash back

read review

Like the Quicksilver card, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Rewards awards a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. This card, however, is for those with fair or average credit scores. There is an annual fee of $39 for this card, but there is no foreign transaction fee, making it a great option for those who travel abroad but don’t have high credit scores.

 

intro purchase APR 0% for 15 monthsregular APR15.49 - 24.24% (V)
intro BT APR 0% for 15 months 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1% or 5% on every $1 +$100
  • 5% cashback on quarterly categories ($1,500 quarterly limit, then 1%)
  • get $100 bonus after spending $500 on the card in the first 3 months
  • get $25 on first added authorized card user

 

fair credit required

no annual fee

0% intro APR

5% cash back on quarterly categories

$100 intro bonus

read review

Chase Freedom is another card you might qualify for if you have fair credit. As long as your score falls in the upper 600s, you should have no problem getting this card. The card awards as much as 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases. New cardholders can earn a bonus of $150 cash back if you spend $500 in purchases with the card in the first 3 months of card membership. There is no annual fee for this card.

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR23.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer no BT fee
rewards 1%  
fair credit required

no annual fee

good card for an average credit

1% cash back on all purchases

read review

You might not typically think of a business travel card as an option when you have fair credit, but the Capital One Spark Classic for Business is a good option. Business owners often have a tough time finding a fair score credit card. This is also a great card to use if your business purchases include traveling for work. It awards a flat rate of 1% cash back on all your purchases with no annual fee or foreign transaction fee.

Secured Travel Credit Cards

There are also secured credit cards for people who travel and have low credit scores. The biggest difference with these cards is that you will need to make a security deposit, but you’ll receive a travel rewards credit card with a limit in the amount of the deposit. As you use your card, you can improve your credit rating and may qualify for other travel rewards credit cards in the future.

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR13.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 13.49-23.49% 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1x-2x miles per dollar +5,000 bonus
  • 2x miles on gas and groceries
  • 1x miles on all other purchases
  • get 5,000 bonus on first card use

 

bad credit required

$25 annual fee

$0 first-year fee

reports to credit agencies

24 days grace period

unsecured card offer after 12 months

read review

The AeroMexico Visa Secured Card awards two miles for each dollar you spend on gas and groceries and one mile on all other purchases. You can redeem your miles for AeroMexico flights or flights with SkyTeam airlines. This card also comes with benefits like free checked bag and a companion certificate each year. There is an annual fee of $25 which is waived the first year.

Korea Air SKYPASS Visa Secured Card

The Korea Air SKYPASS Visa Secured Card awards one mile for each dollar you spend on all purchases. You can earn a bonus of 5,000 miles after your first purchase, plus you get 1,000 miles when you renew each year. The annual fee is $50.

Avianca LIfeMiles Visa Secured

The Avianca LIfeMiles Visa Secured Card also awards one mile for each dollar you spend with the card. You also earn a bonus of 5,000 miles after you use your card the first time, as well as travel benefits such as 15% baggage fee redemption discount and travel accident insurance. The annual fee of $25 is waived the first year.

Travel Cards with Flying Miles

One of the best things about travel cards is that you receive flying miles with every purchase. Most allow you to earn at least one mile for each dollar you spend, which you can later redeem for award flights on your next trip. Some people let the miles rack up until they can pay for their entire flight, while others use up their miles as discounts on every flight they take. 

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR no intro offer 16.49 - 23.49%
rewards 1x-2x points on $1 +50,000 bonus
  • earn 2x points on travel and dining out 
  • get 50,000 bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • get 5,000 bonus miles after adding authorized user in 3 months after account opening
  • 25% more in travel redemption

 

good credit required

$95 annual fee, waived for the first year

or no annual fee for basic Sapphire card

2x points on travel and dining

1 point per dollar on all other purchases as usual

the card is made of metal

read review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the best options for earning rewards on travel purchases. Not only do you have your annual fee waived the first year, but you also receive a myriad of rewards based on how you use the card. If you dine at a restaurant, you earn two points for each dollar you spend. Plus, if you book your travel plans through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site, you get a 20% discount. You also earn plenty of miles for all the purchases you make, which are easy to redeem or transfer to other travel programs. 

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%* Variable
intro BT APR 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening) 3%, Minimum $5
rewards 2x miles on all purchases + 50,000 miles on sign up
excellent / good credit required

$89 - waived for first year

Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit

Earn 2X miles on all purchases

Redeem for travel or cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Redemption values vary

Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem

Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing

No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country

0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers

read review

If you spend $3,000 with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard within the first 90 days of opening the account, you can receive a bonus of 50,000 points. These points can be redeemed for hundreds of dollars off your next flight. You also earn two points for every dollar spent, even if it wasn’t spent on travel-related expenses. You can use your points toward flights, hotel rooms, and many other types of travel expenses. 

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.49 - 23.49% (V)
intro BT APR 16.49-23.49% 5% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1-2 miles/$1 +60,000 sign-up bonus
  • 2x points on Southwest purchases and on Southwest Hotel and car rental programs partners purchases
  • get 60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • +6,000 miles every account anniversary

 

good credit required

$99 annual fee

2x on Southwest purchases

60,000 miles bonus

read review

If you spend $1,000 with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card within your first 3 months of opening the account, you can earn a bonus of 40,000 points. This bonus can be worth a round-trip ticket with Southwest Airlines. You also receive an additional 6,000 points every year after your first anniversary with the card. Use them any way you see fit toward your flight plans. This card also includes travel benefits such as first and second checked bags fly free and no change fees. The annual fee is $99 but there is no foreign transaction fee.

 

intro purchase APR no intro offerregular APR16.24 - 25.24% (V)
intro BT APR 16.24-25.24% 3% BT fee $5 min
rewards 1-2 miles/$1 +30,000 bonus miles
  • get 30,000 miles bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • get $50 statement credit if you make Delta purchase in the first 3 months
  • 2x miles on Delta purchases
  • 1 mile for $1 on other purchases
excellent required

Gold: $95 annual fee, waived for the first year

Platinum: $195 fee

Reserve: $450 fee

Delta benefits

read review

The Gold Delta SkyMiles card awards double miles for each dollar spent on Delta purchases and one mile for all other purchases. New cardholders can earn a bonus of 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of opening the account. You can also earn a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase also in the first 4 months. This card includes first checked bag free, priority boarding, and in-flight discounts of 20%. The annual fee is $95 with no foreign transaction fees.

 



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