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Discover Nixes Foreign Transaction Fee: See Their Best Travel Cards

by on November 10, 2011

As of November 6th, all Discover cards have no foreign transaction fees! This is excellent news if you already have a Discover credit card, of course, but should you consider getting one because of the change? The answer depends on your travel habits. As you might expect, Discover’s new pricing structure has the biggest effect on their two airline miles credit cards: the Miles and the Escape. While we do have a few words of caution, we’re super excited to see these cards become a more competitive choice for international travelers. The rewards are decent and easy to redeem. And if you’re looking for the most bang for your buck in terms of reward redemption, Discover provides plenty of good options.

Discover It

Discover it®
Discover It Credit Card
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on Discover's
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  • Fair. No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. Pay up to midnight ET online or by phone on your due date without a fee. Plus, paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Generous. 5% cash back at Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores and Bed Bath & Beyond® on up to $1,500 in purchases from April through June 2014.*
  • Human. 100% U.S.-based customer service available any time.
  • Safe. Because you're never responsible for unauthorized charges with our $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee.
  • Plus, free FICO® Credit Score on your monthly statement to help you stay on top of your credit.*
  • 0% Intro APR* on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%. A fee of 3% applies for each balance transferred.
  • *Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards, and free FICO® Credit Score terms and other information.
thumbsupPros
  • Bonus cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% for 14 mos on transfers
  • No foreign transaction fee
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$0 Earn 5% cash back at Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores and Bed Bath & Beyond® on up to $1,500 in purchases from April through June 2014.* 10.99% - 22.99% Variable* 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months.

What about international purchases?

Discover cards have always gotten a bad rap for low their acceptance rate at home and abroad. Although you still can’t use them as many places as a Visa or MasterCard, Discover has made a tremendous effort to expand their network in recent years. In fact, you’ll find it very easy to use a Discover card in a few parts of the world. Thanks to Discover’s joint venture with China UnionPay in 2005, Discover is more widely accepted in China than Visa or MasterCard. Similar agreements with JCB, Redecard and BC Card have also made Discover cards widely accepted in Japan, Brazil and South Korea, respectively. A Discover card is definitely worth considering if you visit any of these countries frequently, especially now that there’s no foreign transaction fee.

Love those flexible miles

One of the best things about Discover miles has to be their flexibility. Most credit card miles can only be used for airline tickets or hotel stays. Additionally, airline miles are typically good for airfare, but not additional charges or taxes. With a Discover card, you’re allowed to combine airline miles from multiple cards and use your miles for any kind of travel purchase (or expense) you want, booked any way you want. This definitely gives it an edge for travelers who need more spending flexibility.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a Discover card for travel, we definitely recommend the Escape. Be sure to check Discover’s list of countries to see if you can use it in the countries you visit most. The Discover Miles credit card is intended for people who don’t travel as frequently, but still want to earn airline miles with no annual fee. We’re glad this option exists. However, depending on your spending habits, you might be better off with a regular rewards card instead of an airline card. Take the time to consider your options before signing up.

Want to save money on travel?
Check out our list of no foreign transaction fee credit cards, and stop paying unnecessary fees!
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