Are you in the know? Do you realize that spending money can make money – so long as you have the right credit card?  Many business cards and credit cards offer generous travel rewards and significant travel protection services, but at a catch: fees. Annual fees, balance transfer fees, minimum balance fees, foreign transaction fees, ad infinitum.

Foreign exchange fees are typically 1-3 percent of an international purchase. For the savvy spender, they can make the difference between making money with a credit card and losing money. Thankfully, the following pieces of “magic plastic” offer all the perks of a travel rewards program with none of the foreign transaction fees.

Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Who’s It For

Just who it says: the world elite. Frequent travelers and big spenders. People who ride in limousines more often than taxis.

How It Works

This impressive travel rewards card has an ace in the hole: chip n’ pin technology. Unlike many American credit cards, which only offer swipe n’ signature technology, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard also has a built-in security and identity chip, which is much more common overseas, particularly in Europe. You can use the card at parking kiosks, toll roads, and other self-serve terminals.

Why We Like It

In addition to its chip n’ pin technology, the Barclaycard offers a whopper of a sign-on bonus. If you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days, you receive a 40,000-mile bonus! The bonus can also be redeemed for a $400 travel statement credit.

What to Watch Out For

The card has an annual fee of $85, waived for the first year. You have to spend $4,200 each year just to offset the annual fee. It is only available to those with good to excellent credit and the wallets to back it up.

Discover it® Miles

Who’s It For

The occasional international or domestic traveler. Small business owners, vacationers, tourists.

How It Works

Use it like any other credit card. You get 1.5x rewards on every dollar you spend. There’s no limit and no rewards expiration. You can use your points for free travel miles or redeem for cash, anytime. Unlike most other premium cards, which require a minimum redemption amount, you can redeem your Discover it Miles rewards for anything, even 23 cents, if it suits you. It’s a competitor to the BankAmerica Travel Rewards Credit Card.

Why We Like It

No annual fee! Unlike most other foreign transaction fee-free credit cards that charge annual fees to “encourage” users to spend freely, the Discover it Miles card has no annual fee and not much fine print. Here’s another perk: Discover will match all of the rewards you’ve earned at the beginning of your first year for new card members.

What to Watch Out For

Nothing, really. Just follow the rules of thumb for all credit cards: Keep your utilization ratio under 30 percent. Don’t carry a balance long-term. Make your payments on time.

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®

Who’s It For

The young. The recently divorced. The bankrupted.

How It Works

A secured credit card, unlike a traditional credit card, requires a collateral security deposit. This deposit, along with proven income and a demonstrated ability to pay your bills, gives the lender confidence in your, um, “spotty” credit history. If you default on your payments, the lender keeps your security deposit.

Why We Like It

Many secured cards come with high APR’s, annual fees and foreign transaction fees of around 3 percent. Not so with the Capital One Secured MasterCard! Like all Capital One cards, it charges no foreign transaction fees. It also has no balance transfer fees and no annual fees. The card also provides traveler’s assistance programs such as 24/7 roadside assistance and automobile rental insurance.

What to Watch Out For

The APR is typically 24.99 percent, so don’t carry a balance long-term. Also, even though the opening security deposit is low – down to $49 – the initial credit limit is only $200. Maximum credit line is $3,000. And sadly, unlike the beloved Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One Secured MasterCard offers no travel rewards programs. All you get is a better credit score and a slap on the back.

Citi Prestige® Card

Who’s It For

Airline nomads. Hotel rats. CEOs.

How It Works

The Citi Prestige Card is the premium option to the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. The travel rewards are incredible: 3x points on air travel and hotel expenditures, 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1x points on all other purchases. There is no limit or expiration of the ThankYou points.

Why We Like It

Besides the 3x rewards rate, you mean? For one thing, the Citi Prestige Card offers significant travel protection. They’re among the best in the market. Citi offers:

  • $500 in trip delay protection if your flight is delayed by three hours or more.
  • $500 in baggage delay protection on similar terms.
  • $100,000 in primary car rental coverage outside the United States.
  • $5,000 per person in trip cancellation and interruption protection, such as if you’re called to jury duty, become sick, unemployment, etc.
  • … and literally dozens of other perks.

What to Watch Out For

Ahem. There’s a $450 annual fee. So unless you’re a frequent flier, you won’t come out ahead with this card, even with its generous rewards. However, thanks to the litany of travel protection services, you may want to consider this car or the Citi ThankYou card if you often travel overseas and want some peace of mind.

Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card

Who’s It For

Anyone who loves Christmas, or birthdays, or Valentine’s Day. It’s all about the gifts.

How It Works

Voted Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance in July 2016, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has one of the best sign-on bonuses anywhere. If you spend $4,000 within the first three months of the account opening, you earn 50,000 bonus points. That’s the cash equivalent of $625, a tidy sum. Among business cards for frequent travelers, it’s one of the most popular and most versatile.

Why We Like It

Chase has an extremely flexible rewards program. Points can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, merchandise, Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, airline loyalty programs, etc. It has no black-out dates, no travel restrictions, and 2x points on all international travel and dining purchases.

What to Watch Out For

It’s a Visa card. And Visas typically don’t have the same currency exchange rates as MasterCards. They may be up to one percent higher, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you spend $40,000 in a year and realize that $400 disappeared into the thin air of cyberspace. Do note that currency exchange rates vary depending on the day and the currency, and that no matter what card you use, you should always pay in local currency whenever possible.