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Top Premium Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fee

Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees seem to be a hot area these days with new products popping up in recent months.  Since the demise of the popular Amazon Visa, there have been a number of new cards that have popped up.   In a recent post listing free no-fx credit cards, I wrote about the Rogers/Fido Platinum credit cards that are attractive, but they are already facing changes.

Effective May 2018, Rogers will be devaluing the Platinum version of the card but offering a World Elite card with the previous benefits.  I’m reading that credit card companies charge merchants a higher percentage fee for World Elite cards.  This is also likely the reason that there seems to be a flurry of new World Elite cards with premium benefits issued as of late.

With Chase closing up their credit card business in Canada (Amazon and Mariott credit cards), they left a gap in the premium (ie. annual fee) no foreign transaction fee credit card space.  It didn’t take long for companies to jump in on the action.  Right now, there are two new prominent players in this space, with anticipation of more to come.

  1. Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite (link)

This is a brand new card that has a specialized value proposition for the frequent traveler.   While the card charges a hefty annual fee ($139), there are some pretty good value-added features.

To begin, the key feature of this card is that it offers 0% fee on foreign transactions.  Regular spending earns Scotia Rewards; 1 pt earned for every $1 spent; 5000 pts = $50 in travel.  For base return on spending, it’s 2% on groceries, dining, entertainment and transit purchases and 1% on everything else.  One bonus is that Scotia Rewards can be converted to Scene points (1,000 Scotia Rewards = 770 Scene points), which is added value for movie theater fans (how to maximize Scene points).

In addition to the points, a feature that is attractive to me is the Priority Pass lounge passes.  I’ve had the opportunity to try both the Maple Leaf lounges (Air Canada) and the Priority Pass lounges.  Priority Pass lounges offer real hot food with protein, rather than just snacks like Air Canada.  The priority pass membership is $99/year (USD) plus $27/visit (USD).  The Passport Visa offers 6 free visits equal to $261USD which when converted to CAD is worth more than double the $139 annual fee.

The Rewards

  • Earn 25,000 bonus points ($250 worth) with your first $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months*;
  • Earn 2x Scotia Rewards® points on every $1 you spend on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases and daily transit purchases (including buses, subways, taxis and more);
  • Enjoy no FX Mark-up;
  • Enjoy Complimentary Airport Lounge Access, plus 6 free lounge visits per year; and,
  • When you spend at least $40,000 in purchases annually on your Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite account, you will earn 10,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points!

Insurance

  • Travel Medical Insurance – This policy covers 25 days per trip, which is higher than average.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance – Coverage of up to $2,500 per person up to $10,000 per trip.
  • Flight Delay Insurance – Coverage up to $500 for delays greater than 4 hours.
  • Delayed and Lost Baggage Insurance – Coverage up to $1,000 for lost luggage or delayed greater than 4 hours.
  • Travel Accident Insurance – Coverage for $500,000 (up to $1,000,000 for group).
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance – Coverage up to $1,000 on the amount that exceeds hotel coverage.
  • Rental Car Collision Insurance
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days insurance in case of theft or damage (up to $10,000).
  • Extended Warranty – Doubles warranty up to 1 year.
  • Price Protection – Find a lower price within 60 days of purchase and get up to $100 refunded to the card (up to $500/year).

Annual Fee: $139/year ($0 for a secondary card; $50 for every card after)

Brim Financial World Elite Mastercard (link)

Brim Financial is a newcomer to the credit card space with a pretty strong offering.  The great thing about this credit card is that they offer three tiers with each tier offering lots of value.

The three cards include:

  1. Brim (1% cash back, free Boingo WiFi, 0% fx) – Annual fee: $0
  2. Brim World (1.5% cash back, free Boingo WiFi, 0% fx, lots of insurance) – Annual Fee: $99
  3. Brim World Elite…

This article is going to focus on their Brim World Elite ($120) Mastercard which has a number of perks over and above the other offerings.  Pay particular attention to the insurance package.

The Rewards

  • 2% cash back which can be claimed anytime (but only up to $25,000 in spending, 1% thereafter);
  • 0% foreign transaction fee;
  • Free Boingo Wifi; and,
  • Lounge Key membership (still need to pay for passes).

Insurance

  • Travel Medical Insurance – This policy covers 15 days per trip.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance – Coverage of up to $3,000 per account for cancellation, $5,000 per account for trip interruption.
  • Flight Delay Insurance – Coverage up to $500/day up to $1,000 for delays greater than 4 hours.
  • Delayed and Lost Baggage Insurance – Coverage up to $500/day up to $1,000 for lost luggage or delayed greater than 4 hours.
  • Travel Accident Insurance – Coverage for $500,000.
  • Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance – Coverage up to $1,000 on the amount that exceeds hotel coverage.
  • Rental Car Collision Insurance
  • Rental Car Personal Effects Insurance – Up to  $1,000 (max $2,000 per account).
  • Purchase Protection – 90 days insurance in case of theft or damage (up to $10,000).
  • Extended Warranty – Doubles warranty up to 1 year.
  • Mobile Device Insurance – Up to $1,000 for loss, theft or damage (unique!)
  • Event Ticket Protector Insurance – Up to $1,ooo covered in case you can’t make the event due to medical reasons.

Annual Fee: $120/year ($25 for a secondary card)

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite is the stronger offering of the two.  Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for lounge access – especially lounges that offer decent food.  Also, the sign-up bonus is equivalent to 19 free movie passes when converted to SCENE points, which is a benefit for us since we are movie theatre fans.

While the Brim World Elite Mastercard offering is interesting with a really strong insurance package, I like the free Brim card the best.  It offers the essentials of 0% foreign transactions fee, 1% cash back, but also added bonus of Boingo Wifi access.  I will be writing more about Brim in the near future.

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • cp April 9, 2018, 1:04 pm

    Another article mentioned the Home Trust Preferred Visa. http://go.hometrust.ca/preferred-visa-ca

  • Karl. B April 9, 2018, 1:44 pm

    I have the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard and you get 3% back on eligible travel purchases (hotel, plane tickets, etc) and 1.5% on everything else. I am a Premier client too so I get the annual fee knocked down from $149 to $99. They had a promotion where the annual fee was actually zero for the first year. I travel a lot for work so this is totally worth it for me. It offers most of the other features the Scotiabank card offers (including free Boingo access) and a yearly $100 upgrade allowance (say you upgrade your seat, you can apply your $100 towards it).

    • FT FT April 9, 2018, 2:39 pm

      Thanks Karl, I was going to mention the HSBC card, but it requires clients to be HSBC Premier status ($100k assets or $500k+ mortgage). But yes, certainly a card to consider for eligible HSBC clients.

      • Karl B. April 9, 2018, 2:45 pm

        True. I was fortunate to get Premier status a while ago with a promotion we had at our work (at that time, we moved to HSBC to do our banking as they offered great advantages for international business). In any case, I’ve been using that card since it’s inception and am blown away by what I’ve been getting back.

        Keep up the good work! I always look forward to new articles on your site.

  • Marius April 9, 2018, 7:58 pm

    This clafifies…. Rogers_World_Elite_MC_Rewards_Terms_and_Conditions https://www.rogersbank.com/legaldocs/en/Rogers_World_Elite_MC_Rewards_Terms_and_Conditions.en.pdf

  • smayer97 April 10, 2018, 4:11 am

    One thing missing from the article is to mention whether the Brim care is a Visa or MC. ;-)

  • FT FT April 10, 2018, 9:02 am

    OOps! Brim is a MasterCard. :)

  • Josh April 14, 2018, 4:04 pm

    It should be noted, according to this forum (https://forums.redflagdeals.com/brim-mastercard-no-fee-foreign-exchange-card-2169126/) no one has actually received the Brim Mastercard. :(

    Sounds great though!

    • FT FT April 15, 2018, 2:25 pm

      Thanks for the notification Josh. I didn’t realize that they were having issues, perhaps they are ironing out the wrinkles since they are a new company.

  • Liefje April 26, 2018, 11:18 am

    the amazon VISA [no exchange fee] was FREE !!!! -where’s the true replacement? there are many [no exchange fee] cards in the market, but they all charge an annual fee!!! -these “recommended” cards are NOT true replacements !!!

  • Lefty North July 10, 2018, 8:41 pm

    The Home Trust Preferred Visa is only match for the old Case Canada Amazon.ca Rewards Visa. NO ANNUAL FEE, NO FX TRANSACTION FEE and 1% cash back. The only difference seems to be that Home Trust applies the 1% cash back to the account once each year whereas Chase applied it rounded to even $10 each month…until the end that is. Their final cash back applied to the March 2018 statement was to the penny.
    The Home Trust application process is takes some time and patience but in the end, it works. Issues:
    1. A preset PIN that cannot be changed
    2. No tapping at tapable terminals
    3. Cannot choose statement cutoff date
    4. Cannot arrange for automatic payment of full balance on due date
    5. Cannot download to Quicken
    Lots of issues but like I say. It works as a replacement for the Amazon.ca card.

  • Alex September 14, 2018, 4:32 am

    Brim MasterCard 1% cashback Great for travelling! Brand new MasterCard with no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no additional card member fee and use it with Apple Pay!! Use my code 60357 and get 10$! They also give you 100$ for every 5 people you refer. This card has loads of other perks and features! https://brimfinancial.com/?code=60357

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