Best American Express credit cards for August 2022

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If you’re in college, a student credit card can be an important step in your financial journey. Even non-traditional and international students can take advantage of these credit-building tools to grow their credit scores and practice good credit habits. Building credit with a student card can make it easier for you to take out low-cost loans, rent an apartment and even land a job. And you may even get to enjoy select credit card perks like cash back rewards or free access to your credit score and credit report.

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U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Reward rate

5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose.


5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center.


1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.


1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

$200 bonus

Annual fee


Regular APR

16.74% - 26.74% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card is packed full of bonus rewards categories. It will take more than a little effort to track them all, but people who don’t mind strategizing to earn high rewards for all their purchases will enjoy having this card in their collection.
  • Multiple rotating and fixed bonus categories, which can make it easier to earn rewards quickly
  • The $200 sign-up bonus (after spending $1,000 within the first 120 days of account opening) increases the card’s first-year value
  • The $2,000 combined spending cap each quarter for your chosen 5% categories limits your ability to rake in rewards
  • Having to track and enroll in rotating categories can be a hassle for some
  • New! $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening.
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter on two categories you choose
  • 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked directly in the Rewards Travel Center
  • 2% cash back on one everyday category, like Gas Stations/EV Charging Stations, Grocery Stores or Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 16.74% – 26.74%
  • No Annual Fee
  • Pay over time by splitting eligible purchases of $100+ into equal monthly payments with U.S. Bank ExtendPay™ Plan.
  • Terms and conditions apply.


Purchase intro APR
0% Intro APR on purchases for the first 15 billing cycles.

Balance transfer intro APR
0% Intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles.


Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa®

Reward rate

Earn 2.2% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment

Intro offer


Annual fee


Regular APR

8.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

If you value having an incentive for making your credit card payments, you will find a lot to love with this card option. You’ll earn a competitive rate of 2.2 percent cash back on your purchases each time you make a payment. The card is also fairly affordable, skipping the annual fee, foreign transaction fees and many other common maintenance fees.
  • You won’t need to use your reward earnings to offset any maintenance fees.
  • You’ll earn a bonus after you open a Rewards Checking account and make three purchases with the card in your first 60 days.
  • The high end APR range is well above average. That could prove costly if you don’t have the credit needed to qualify for the lower range and you end up carrying a balance.
  • You won’t get a break on interest if you carry a balance since there are no intro APR offers on purchases or balance transfers.
  • $200 bonus on your Upgrade Card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions within 60 days.*
  • New Feature: Pay your balance in full early each month and avoid interest with EarlyPay.
  • Earn 2.2% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
  • See if you qualify in seconds with no impact to your credit score
  • No Fees – $0 annual fees, $0 activation fees, $0 maintenance fees
  • Combine the flexibility of a card with the low cost and predictability of a loan
  • Access to a virtual card, so you can start earning while you wait for your card to arrive in the mail.
  • Contactless payments with Apple Pay® and Google Pay™
  • Mobile app to access your account anytime, anywhere
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud liability
  • *To qualify for the $200 welcome bonus, you must open and fund a new Upgrade Rewards Checking Account and make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days of your Upgrade Card account opening. The bonus credit will be posted to your Upgrade Card as a rewards credit within 1-2 billing periods following the third debit transaction on your Rewards Checking account. Your Upgrade Card must be in good standing to receive the bonus.


Purchase intro APR

Balance transfer intro APR


Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Reward rate

6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).


6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.


3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations


3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations


1% Cash Back on other purchases

Intro offer


Annual fee


Regular APR

16.24%-26.24% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

With generous rewards rates in family-friendly categories including purchases at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, on-the-go families will have a hard time finding a more rewarding credit card.
  • The base reward program is uber-lucrative, making this card a good choice for people looking for long-term value.
  • You don’t have to keep track of rotating spending categories or enrollment deadlines.
  • There is no intro APR offer on balance transfers.
  • You won’t earn the extra rewards for grocery shopping at major superstores and wholesale clubs, as those don’t count as U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 16.24% to 26.24%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.


Purchase intro APR
0% on purchases for 12 months

Balance transfer intro APR


Discover it® Cash Back

Reward rate

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.


Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

Intro offer

Cashback Match™

Annual fee


Regular APR

13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

The Discover it Cash Back is a popular choice for cash back rewards because of the rotating bonus categories. It’s an exciting way to earn cash back quarter by quarter and all year-round without committing to a set rewards category.
  • Discover will match the cash back you earn at the end of the first year.
  • There are a few cash back redemption options, including credit to your account and donations.
  • You must enroll to take advantage of the bonus categories each quarter.
  • There is a spending limit on your highest cash back category each quarter ($1,500 in combined purchases per quarter).
  • Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • New! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • New Intro APR: Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 13.49% to 24.49% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.


Purchase intro APR
0% for 15 months

Balance transfer intro APR
0% for 15 months


Citi® Double Cash Card

Reward rate

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

Intro offer

$200 Cash Back

Annual fee


Regular APR

16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

If you make your payments on time each month, it’ll be tough to find a better cash back card than the Citi Double Cash Card. With healthy financial habits, this card effectively becomes a 2 percent flat-rate cash back card (1 percent when you make purchases and another 1 percent when you pay your bill), a rare find in the cash back market.
  • You can convert your cash back earnings to Citi ThankYou points when paired with a card like the Citi Premier® Card, which can be redeemed for travel, gift cards and more.
  • There are no spending category restrictions or rotating categories
  • Your rewards can expire with this card if you don’t use it for a year.
  • The sign-up bonus spending requirement is higher than you’ll find on many no-annual-fee cash back cards.
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • For a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% – 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).


Purchase intro APR

Balance transfer intro APR
0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers

A closer look at the top no-foreign-transaction fee credit cards

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for dining and entertainment

  • What we love about the Capital One SavorOne: It’s rare for a no annual fee card to earn such robust rewards rates in these particular categories in dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store categories.
  • Who this card is good for: Socialites and social butterflies who will make the most out of the SavorOne’s very generous dining rewards.
  • Alternatives: The Discover it Chrome card is another card that offers competitive rewards rates on dining. It also tacks on gas rewards which is great for people who are often on the go, something that the SavorOne falls a bit short on.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Best overall cash back for families

  • What we love about the Blue Cash Preferred: The rewards categories on this card are some of the most popular spending categories for most consumers so if you play your cards right (pun intended), you’ll have a nice stack of rewards in your cash back match in your first year.
  • Who this card is good for: On-the-go people who spend a fair amount of money at gas stations and restaurants. You can earn 2 percent in those categories on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, then 1 percent.
  • Alternatives: The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards card outpaces the Discover it Chrome by a lot if your main squeeze is getting the most out of dining rewards.

Citi Rewards+ Card: Best for rewards on small purchases

  • What we love about the Blue Cash Preferred: Thanks to the Citi Rewards+ Round Up feature, every purchase you make will be rounded up to the nearest 10 points. For example, a $4 coffee would be worth 10 points.
  • Who this card is good for: Frequent supermarket and gas station shoppers who want to earn cash back rewards easily without big spending habits.
  • Alternatives: If you want to expand beyond the Citi ThankYou® Points program, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card offers unlimited flat-rate rewards on all purchases, casting a wide net on your earning opportunities outside of a designated points program.

What are foreign transaction fees?

When you use a credit card overseas to buy something in the local currency, your credit card issuer has to convert the money you’ve spent into U.S. dollars to properly bill you. It may seem like any other transaction from your perspective, but the credit card issuer pays various costs associated with currency conversion, including transferring money through a foreign bank and more.

Many issuers offset these costs by charging a foreign transaction fee for overseas purchases.

Creditcard's Insight

It’s a common misconception that paying in U.S. cash is a way to get out of paying a foreign transaction fee. It isn’t, and paying in U.S. dollars will actually cost you more most of the time because the price will include a currency conversion fee.

Why do banks charge a foreign transaction fee?

Overseas transactions are a bit more complex than standard transactions as they require banks to convert the money spent into U.S dollars. Foreign transaction fees are essentially a charge for this service. The total fee that you pay often involves adding the charge from the issuing bank and the processing fee from the payment network (like Visa or Mastercard). However, Capital One and Discover do not charge foreign transaction fees on any of their credit cards.

Foreign transaction fees are becoming less common, particularly among premium or travel credit cards, due to automation improvements in the global banking system. However, many cards still impose the charge.

When can banks apply foreign transaction fees?

It can be hard to avoid foreign transaction fees when making purchases abroad. Unless you pay with a credit card that waive this fee, you’ll likely be charged a foreign transaction fee for:

  • Hotel bookings: While it largely depends on the location of the hotel and the specific travel provider, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee when you book a stay in another country.
  • Online purchases: If you purchase something from a seller based outside the U.S. and your transaction is processed abroad, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee even if you’re shopping from the comfort of home.
  • Debit card, charge card or gift card purchases: Unfortunately, you can’t escape foreign transaction fees just by using a different type of card. Credit cards, debit cards, charge cards and even prepaid gift cards commonly charge foreign transaction fees.

Who should get a no-foreign-transaction fee credit card?

One less fee to worry about is always a nice thing, but do you really need to prioritize no foreign transaction fees when looking for a credit card? For some people, this feature can save hundreds of dollars.

It may go without saying, but if you travel outside of the U.S. often, you should get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Being charged a foreign transaction fee on every swipe can amount to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year for a frequent international traveler.

Unfortunately, you can get burned by foreign transaction fees without leaving your couch. If you make an online purchase from a non-U.S. merchant, you’ll be charged a foreign transaction fee because the money is still passing through a foreign bank.

Even if you aren’t currently traveling, it’s smart to plan ahead. If you’re a student planning to study abroad or do some post-graduate traveling, a credit card with no foreign transaction fees should be in your wallet.

How to choose the best card with no foreign transaction fees

As you search for a card to use for your upcoming international trip, it’s important to fully understand foreign transaction fees, how they work and how you can avoid them. Here are a few things to think about when searching for a card with no foreign transaction fee:

If you want to get rewarded for how you spend in addition to skipping out on foreign transaction fees, look for cards that offer bonus rewards in categories that match your spending habits. In addition to travel cards offering points or miles, some of the best no-foreign-transaction-fee cards offer cash back rewards on popular spending categories.

If you are trying to choose a travel credit card, make sure you compare the full suite of benefits each one is offering. In addition to base rewards and no foreign transaction fees, top-tier travel credit cards commonly offer trip cancellation insurance, supplemental auto insurance, free checked bags, free amenities, like Wi-Fi or complimentary breakfast, airport lounge access and other notable travel benefits and coverages.

Annual fees are common among mid-tier and premium travel credit cards, which frequently skip foreign transaction fees. When considering cards with an annual fee, it’s important to weigh whether that fee can be offset or recouped with reward earnings, added benefits and perks, or if you can just generally shoulder the added cost. Luckily, there are many cards on the market that have no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. Keep in mind that you may find some cards charging an annual fee are worth it due to the high-end rewards they offer.

Some cards that skip foreign transaction fees also offer other consumer-friendly terms. Others tout no foreign transaction fees as one of many travel perks. In either case, it’s important to know what fees you might incur (and how much you’ll be charged) while comparing options. Common credit card fees include annual fees, late fees (usually around up to $40 for each missed payment), balance transfer fees (usually 3 percent to 5 percent of the amount you’re transferring), cash advance fees and returned payment fees.

The annual percentage rate (APR) or interest rate on a card is a key facet to consider when picking a card with no foreign transaction fee. Some rewards credit cards have APRs that are usually on the higher end of average, which can mean a lot when it comes to carrying a balance on the card and what purchases you make abroad. Be sure to know what you’ll be charged if you can’t pay your bills off in full each month.

How to use a credit card abroad

Money talks, but your money needs a translator when it goes overseas. Here are the important actions to take before traveling abroad with your credit card:

Contact your credit card issuer before you go

Purchases made on your credit card far from home could get flagged as suspicious. Notifying your card issuer that you’re traveling internationally will help avoid any inconveniences like frozen accounts due to suspected fraud.

Use a widely accepted credit card

Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards worldwide. That means if a retailer accepts credit cards, you can typically rest assured that you’re covered if you carry one of those two cards.

Discover and American Express have similar acceptance rates to Visa and Mastercard in the U.S., but still lag behind in other countries. So if your go-to credit card is a Discover or Amex card, it’s a good idea to have a Visa or Mastercard as backup.

Take your chip and PIN credit card

Chip and PIN cards require users to enter a four-digit code after they insert their card into a card reader. These cards are more effective at cutting down on fraudulent charges than older cards that use a magnetic stripe along the back.

If you have a chip and signature card, you’ll be able to make most purchases when traveling abroad, but may run into problems at vending machines and self-service kiosks and gas stations. When that happens, you may need to use cash. If you’re unsure whether you have a chip and PIN card, check with your credit card issuer.

Bring cash as backup

It’s a good idea to have some cash on hand in case of an emergency. It may even be helpful to get it ahead of time at your bank or credit union since those locations may also be the best place to exchange your currency at the best rates before traveling abroad. Just make sure to only bring enough cash to use as a backup payment option.

While convenient, cash is easy to misplace, and there’s little you can do to replace it if it’s lost or stolen. If your credit card is lost or stolen, the maximum amount of fraudulent purchases you can be liable for is $50, thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act. Have your card issuer’s customer service number ready so you can report your card as lost or stolen quickly if you notice that it’s missing.

How to save on credit card fees when traveling abroad

When using your credit card internationally, follow these tips to ensure you’re spending your money wisely and not racking up unnecessary fees.

  • Use a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card. Make sure you have at least one credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. This feature is one of the easiest ways to avoid adding up to 3 percent of the purchase price to your total cost each time you use your card.
  • Avoid cash advance fees. Withdrawing cash from an ATM with your credit card could cost you up to 5 percent of the amount withdrawn with each transaction. On top of that, you’ll also be on the hook for interest charges that are typically higher than the normal interest charges you pay for carrying a balance. Try to avoid having to take out a cash advance by keeping some cash or a debit card on hand for emergencies.
  • Avoid dynamic currency conversion. Overseas merchants may offer to convert your credit card transaction to your local currency using dynamic currency conversion. Dynamic currency conversion almost always costs the consumer more than what the credit card issuer charges. On top of that, you’ll likely still be charged a foreign exchange fee because a foreign bank will process the transaction. Paying in the local currency will usually be the less expensive option.
  • Exchange currency before you travel. It’s a good idea to have some local currency on hand in case you’re shopping somewhere that doesn’t accept credit cards. Before you travel, stop by your local bank and ask to exchange your dollars for your destination’s currency. Your bank will likely charge lower exchange fees than you’ll find at the airport (or none at all).
  • Check if you’re eligible for VAT refunds. VAT or value-added tax is a flat tax levied on purchases. The consumer owes the full amount of the tax to the government at the time of purchase. Some destinations offer visitors a refund on value-added tax for goods or merchandise. Details will vary by country, but typically you’ll need to ask the merchant to help you fill out a tax form and then show that form to customs upon your departure.
Creditcard's Insight

Due to impacts of the pandemic, many cardholders requested a fee waiver for items such as annual fees or late payment fees. Of those who asked for a waiver, 82% got some form of relief, according to Bankrate’s study.

How we chose our top American Express credit cards

Creditcard’s personal finance experts have evaluated the top American Express cards according to our 5-point rating system. The list of criteria for rating credit cards includes:
Annual fee

Most cards on our list are free of both annual fees and foreign transaction fees. However, some annual-fee cards offer incentives, like a large welcome or introductory offer, that offset the yearly cost of membership. For this category, we evaluated whether the total value justifies the cost of using the card.

Rewards value

We place priority on cards that put money back in your wallet — regardless of whether you're using it in Tucson or Tuscany. For each card, we've evaluated the earnings rate and corresponding redemption value to identify the cards that accomplish more than just offering a line of credit.

Additional perks

Travel perks may not be your main motivation for getting a no foreign transaction fee card, but they often provide additional benefits that increase the card’s total value. Several credit card issuers offer additional features, like travel accident insurance or trip delay insurance, to make their cards more useful to consumers.

Frequently asked questions about credit cards for excellent credit scores

Capital One and Discover are two of the only financial institutions that charge no foreign transaction fees on any of their credit cards. This will come in handy when shopping directly with foreign merchants.

To avoid foreign transaction fees when using an ATM, consider opening a bank account with an institution that doesn’t charge international withdrawal ATM fees. Some of the best options include:

  • Capital One 360
  • Chime
  • Charles Schwab Bank
  • Sofi Money

You’ll still have to watch out for other fees your bank may charge like out-of-network ATM fees and currency conversion fees.

The best overall card for international transactions will vary depending on your specific overseas travel needs, but Bankrate has rated cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the American Express Gold card, and the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card as some of the best cards with no foreign transaction fee.

Foreign transaction fees typically show up on your credit card statement at the end of your billing cycle and get paid when you pay your credit card balance.

If you’re curious to know how much you’ll pay for a foreign transaction fee, multiply the price of the purchase by the fee percentage. Then add the result to the purchase price.

For example, let’s say your nephew’s favorite soccer team is Manchester United F.C., so you buy him a jersey from an online retailer based in England using a credit card that charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee. If this purchase costs $100, the fee would be $3 and bring your total cost to $103 ($100 x 3 percent = $3, $100 + $3 = $103).

A dynamic currency conversion (DCC) converts an overseas credit card transaction into your home currency. Merchants market DCCs as a convenient way to help travelers understand the cost of a foreign purchase in real time.

However, DCCs are optional, and you should typically decline them. They won’t help you avoid foreign transaction fees and may even come with a conversion fee that can be as high as 7 percent to 8 percent of the purchase price.

Advertiser Disclosure is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and the likelihood of applicants’ credit approval also impact how and where products appear on this site. does not include the entire universe of available financial or credit offers.

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