- Travel Topics
In preparation for our trip we had to get our finances in order, specifically, what cards and accounts did we want for traveling? For us, we considered the following criteria:
1. A reliable credit card(s) for use abroad that
2. Some additional credit card offers to use directly before travel that
3. A reliable debit card/checking account that
We always pay our bills on time and in full and therefore have no interest in APY, balance transfers, etc.
Lastly, just to distinguish a bit between 1 and 2. Essentially 1 is intended to be a credit card(s) that we can reliably use abroad. 2 is a few credit cards that we can use purely 3-4 months prior to our travel when our expenses would be high. After some research, here is what we came up with:
Summary: This card ranks pretty much at the top of any review site about travel cards. It offers great rewards with a huge signing bonus that more than compensates for the annual fee (which is waived for the first year anyways). It has everything we were looking for and Vicky and I BOTH signed up for it to take advantage of the bonus. Inevitably, one of us will give up the card because it doesn’t make sense for us both to be paying the annual fee when we share our miles.
$95 annual fee waived for the first year
Summary: We got this credit card way back in 2010 and have accumulated the most miles on it. At the time it advertised itself as THE credit card, made known by it’s multi-passport image. While it doesn’t earn as many rewards in bonuses like the chase preferred it does earn 2 miles on EVERY purchase, not just travel and restaurants. It also has a lower annual fee, again, waived for the first year.
$59 Annual fee – waived for the first year
Summary: Vicky opened this card after receiving an exclusive offer in the mail with 50,000 bonus points rewarded after spending $3,000 in 3 months. While this card has a higher annual fee than the others if you receive the exclusive offer it is definitely worth considering. Also the free annual domestic companion ticket sounds pretty enticing.
$125 Annual fee – waived for the first year
These four cards are pretty similar with the main difference being the provider. Our spending spiked in the last few months before our trip with all of the gear we had to buy (lap top, back packs, etc) and therefore it was a perfect time to invest in some quick hit cards.
Requirement: Spend $500 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $0
Requirement: Spending $1,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $75
Requirement: $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Annual Fee: $0
Requirement: $500 in purchases in your first 3 months
Annual Fee: $0
There are LOTS of articles about this, but the general gist is:
If you do these two things, you’ll be fine. In the short term, you may take a few dings from some quick opening and closing to get cash back, but this is a short term effect only. From having checked my credit score (online websites like creditscore.com), I saw I was at a healthy 750 AFTER opening these cards.
|Credit Card||Owner||Duration||Rewards Earned||How rewards were used?|
|Capital One Venture Card||Dave/Vicky||Sept 2010 – Current||100,000||TBD|
|Chase Sapphire Rewards||Dave||April 2012 – Current||50,000||Flight To Osaka, Japan|
|Chase Sapphire Rewards||Vicky||March 2012 – Current||50,000||Flight To Osaka, Japan|
|Citi Thank You Premier||Vicky||May 2012 – Current||50,000||2 Flights from Seoul to Beijing|
|Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card||Dave||May – Aug 2012||$100||TBD|
|Capital One Cash Rewards||Dave||May – Aug 2012||$100||Put towards computer|
|Chase Freedom Visa||Dave||May – Aug 2012||$100||Put towards netbook|