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Old 02-07-2013, 08:24 PM   #1
eyenerd
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Best Credit card for overseas travel and earning miles?

We are hopeful to do a European disney cruise summer of 2014. I know there are some CCs that are better than others for travel points. I know airfare is going to be a killer, so I want to be smart about getting the best deal and I have heard people using points to soften the blow.

I have read good things about chase sapphire. We use are CC for nearly everything and pay off the balance each month. My DH also has a business that he uses CC for.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:50 PM   #2
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That depends on how much you charge and who you fly.

I hear good things about Chase Sapphire, but I don't happen to have it.

Capital One does not charge a foreign currency transaction fee, and they have double miles, so the miles do add up pretty quickly. Some people claim that Capital One has a worse exchange rate, but I have not found that to be true.

If you charge A LOT, and you fly Delta, and you fly several times a year or more, then the Delta Reserve Amex might be right for you. First, it is pricey! $450 a year! It gets you a couple things:
1. Access to the Delta SkyClub for you and your family. Comfy chairs, wine, beer and spirits.
2. Medallion qualification miles, if you spend A LOT. Most FF miles from a card are useful only towards redemption for a free flight. Those miles do not count towards your FF status with the airline. With the Reserve Amex, if you spend $30,000 in a calendar year, you get a 15,000 mile bonus that does count towards your status. If you spend another $30,000 in the same calendar year, you get another 15,000 mile bonus that counts towards your status. So, if you spend $60,000 a year on that Amex, you will have 30,000 medallion qualification miles (miles that count towards your ff status, known as medallion status on Delta.) That makes you a silver medallion member. Doesn't get you much, but if you then fly 20,000 miles, you reach gold status.
3. Free checked bag for you and anyone flying on your reservation provided you made the reservation with the Delta Amex. Of note, if it is your Delta Amex and you book a flight with it for your spouse, s/he does not get a free checked bag. They link that card to you. When they say a free bag for you and anyone flying with you, they mean it.

So the Delta Amex is pricey, but brings good perks if you can charge a lot and fly Delta routinely. I do like Capital One Visa as well.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:12 PM   #3
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If you have a Costco account AMEX has a cash back card that pays out better than any mileage card I have found. You can cash out the gift certificate you get every year and use it to buy tickets and your dollars go way further.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:38 AM   #4
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Amex Platinum. No Foreign transaction fees. When you use your points you get 20% back. BOGO flights. Access to lounges even if you don't fly first class. $200 airline credit (for food on board, overweight luggage charges, etc.). We travel very often (cruise 3 times a year, resorts at least 3 times a year) plus a lot of business travel and it is the only CC we bring. I used to think that no one accepted AMEX (because of the visa commercials lol) but ten years ago I got a personal card when I was issued a corporate one and found that very few places don't accept it and for those places I use cash. THey have a hotel program as well where you get extra perks such as late check out, dining credits,extra nights free.

They also have a lot of additional perks. Travel insurance and if purchase something and change your mind and the store won't return it they will issue you a credit.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:21 AM   #5
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As other PPs noted, my biggest concern for a card to use internationally would be the foreign transaction fee; not what kind of points or mileage you might earn. We have a Capital One card and do not pay any foreign transaction fee. Other posters have cited some other cards. I would start with the cards that don't charge this fee and the select the one that best meets your other requirements from that list.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:38 AM   #6
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Chase Sapphire and United Milage Plus Club Card.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Four Swampers View Post
That depends on how much you charge and who you fly.

I hear good things about Chase Sapphire, but I don't happen to have it.

Capital One does not charge a foreign currency transaction fee, and they have double miles, so the miles do add up pretty quickly. Some people claim that Capital One has a worse exchange rate, but I have not found that to be true.

If you charge A LOT, and you fly Delta, and you fly several times a year or more, then the Delta Reserve Amex might be right for you. First, it is pricey! $450 a year! It gets you a couple things:
1. Access to the Delta SkyClub for you and your family. Comfy chairs, wine, beer and spirits.
2. Medallion qualification miles, if you spend A LOT. Most FF miles from a card are useful only towards redemption for a free flight. Those miles do not count towards your FF status with the airline. With the Reserve Amex, if you spend $30,000 in a calendar year, you get a 15,000 mile bonus that does count towards your status. If you spend another $30,000 in the same calendar year, you get another 15,000 mile bonus that counts towards your status. So, if you spend $60,000 a year on that Amex, you will have 30,000 medallion qualification miles (miles that count towards your ff status, known as medallion status on Delta.) That makes you a silver medallion member. Doesn't get you much, but if you then fly 20,000 miles, you reach gold status.
3. Free checked bag for you and anyone flying on your reservation provided you made the reservation with the Delta Amex. Of note, if it is your Delta Amex and you book a flight with it for your spouse, s/he does not get a free checked bag. They link that card to you. When they say a free bag for you and anyone flying with you, they mean it.

So the Delta Amex is pricey, but brings good perks if you can charge a lot and fly Delta routinely. I do like Capital One Visa as well.
We use the Capital One Venture card. I have found through personal experience, the rates they charge aren't as good as Amex does. Amex almost always charges the current spot FX rate or slightly lower, whereas Capital One charges at least 1% higher than the current FX spot rate. So in the end even with Amex's 2.7% FX fee (if you don't get the Platinum card) it ends up pretty even, IMO. We like Capital One for the double miles and the ability to use them for ANY travel related purchases, so we continue to use it. We might switch to the Platinum card one day, but as of right now, can't find the value in the high annual fee.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa S View Post
Amex Platinum. No Foreign transaction fees. When you use your points you get 20% back. BOGO flights. Access to lounges even if you don't fly first class. $200 airline credit (for food on board, overweight luggage charges, etc.). We travel very often (cruise 3 times a year, resorts at least 3 times a year) plus a lot of business travel and it is the only CC we bring. I used to think that no one accepted AMEX (because of the visa commercials lol) but ten years ago I got a personal card when I was issued a corporate one and found that very few places don't accept it and for those places I use cash. THey have a hotel program as well where you get extra perks such as late check out, dining credits,extra nights free.

They also have a lot of additional perks. Travel insurance and if purchase something and change your mind and the store won't return it they will issue you a credit.
Platinum AMEX also reimburses the $100 Global Entry fee. Another good perk is the upgrade to National Car Executive status and to Starwood Preferred Guest Gold membership. We've saved enough on one car rental to pay the $450 fee.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:40 AM   #9
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this is really a BIG PERSONAL question. your going to find everyone thinks differently and few will agree because their needs are not normally what your needs are.
I worked in a bank for 30 some years. the one thing I will tell you is not all points cards are equal. for example, and i'm talking Canada so my examples will not be your examples, we have several credit cards that offer air miles. sounds good but capital one offers 20 air miles per $20 spent and mastercard only offers 1. i'll go with the capital one right? I kept hearing that from people all the time. they didn't read the small print that says with mastercard 1 airmile = 1 ground mile where as to go that same mile with capital one you needed 22 miles. or, to get from my home to florida it was 1200 mastercard miles or 26,400 capital one miles. big difference.
what i'm trying to say is take the ideas from here and then do your homework. don't go on what people think their program may do, check it out.
also, while you may use a card for airmiles that is the best for that, if you find you have to pay foreign currency fees then find a card that you don't need to pay the fees and get it to. no one card is good for everything but no one said you can only have one card.
sorry this is so length and please, no one take offense and think I said you don't know what your talking about. all i'm saying is double check. it may not look as good when you stare at it for a bit.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:47 AM   #10
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I found this article that lists the foreign transaction fee by credit card

http://creditcardforum.com/blog/amer...ansaction-fee/
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:00 PM   #11
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Just keep in mind that merchants in other countries do not accept AMEX as much as they do Visa and Mastercard. If you want to purchase in the U.S. to earn miles, great. But an AMEX isn't the best card for taking overseas, at least not without having a backup.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:23 PM   #12
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Just keep in mind that merchants in other countries do not accept AMEX as much as they do Visa and Mastercard. If you want to purchase in the U.S. to earn miles, great. But an AMEX isn't the best card for taking overseas, at least not without having a backup.
I use mine almost exclusively in Europe. I've only run into a handful of places, that didn't take AMEX.

They provide many useful benefits.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:42 PM   #13
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Sounds like you are already looking into the Chase Sapphire card, but this is now our card of choice for international travel (Chase Sapphire Preferred). There is no foreign transaction fee and you get double points for travel (which is interpreted liberally to include things like parking garage fees, taxi fare, transit fees, etc. in additon to the typical travel charges like air and hotels) and dining. And there is a pretty generous sign-up bonus: 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after the first $3,000 in spend, $95 annual fee waived the first year. We also have the United Mileage Plus Explorer card which offers a 10,000 miles bonus for $25,000 in annual spend. At the beginning of the year, we use the Mileage Plus Explorer card for everything except restaurants, non-United travel and any purchases in foreign currency, unil we reach the $25,000 spend to get the 10,000 miles annual bonus. Then we switch over to the Sapphire for the balance of the year since the Ultimate Rewards points can be used on United or other airlines so are a little more flexible. We charge almost everything. There is no charge that is too small in my mind to go on the card. I charged my $0.99 oatmeal in my work cafeteria this morning. My philosphy is that no one is rewarding me for using cash, so why would I use it? That being said, we pay off our credit card balances every month and are generally fiscally responsible. I do understand that credit cards don't work for everyone.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:53 PM   #14
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Not a credit card, but I use a Fidelity debit card which charges no foreign transaction fee. I have a limited amount of money in it and have other debit cards/credit cards available if needed but have not had any issues using it as both a Visa and at ATM's all over Europe.

Jill in CO
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:19 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by TLSnell1981 View Post
I use mine almost exclusively in Europe. I've only run into a handful of places, that didn't take AMEX.

They provide many useful benefits.
My Capital One MasterCard provides many of those benefits with no annual fee. And the others? Being able to "sync" to Facebook, whatever that means, is not a "benefit" in my book. Whatever works for you.

And my advice to take a backup payment card is still a good idea--I'd hate to run into one of those "handful of places" without a way to pay for a meal or a diamond necklace. (Yes, yes, there's always cash, but we're talking about cards here.)
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