Post Update 2/21/2016 | Best Debit Card Option| Charles Schwab only has a debit card, no credit card, and it’s a a bit more effort to get it. BUT once you do have it? NO international transaction fees, and NO ATM FEES. If you travel a LOT then this can add up, as we all know, and so far as we can tell, there is no downside to the Charles Schwab debit card. You can apply here. They also have seriously the best customer service ever. People always answer the phone when you call, and very quickly. They’re always very helpful and I believe they’re even all in the US.
And click here for a 2016 upate from The Points Guy on which cards he is planning to toss, or keep.
***Now on to the Original Post***
Chase Sapphire. There it is. After years of poking around, reading articles, and talking to many financially savvy world travelers, I’ve finally discovered the holy grail of travel credit cards. Chase Sapphire wins as the all round travel credit card (with Barclays coming in second). This is not a comparison article, because those are out there and they are good (Nomadic Matt wrote an especially thorough one). Here, I just want to provide you with the
quick and condensed information about what is generally perceived everywhere as the best card, so you can save time, save money, and collect miles. This article is not sponsored, and we do not receive compensation in any way. If you want to do further research to see if a different card is better for you (perhaps you have very specific travel needs, or wish to work with a specific bank, or prefer a mastercard to a Vista), I have provided links throughout this article to excellent sources that compare different cards for travelers. Here is an article from Nerd Wallet that further addresses the Chase Sapphire card, point redemption, etc, in case you have futher questions. Alright, let’s get going.
Benefits of the Chase Sapphire card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees. A foreign transaction fee is when you slide your card in Paris, and get a 3-5% fee on your purchase. So a $100 purchase becomes an $103 purchase. These can add up. Your normal card from your bank probably has these fees. You still have ATM fees. The points guy wrote an excellent and really thoroughly vetted article explaining which cards and accounts are best for avoiding or completely eliminating ATM fees.
- 50,000 Miles or Points. You need to spend $4000 in the first 3 months of receiving the card to receive the miles. If you don’t routinely spend $4000 on credit cards in 3 months, you can have a co-card carrier (spouse, family member, etc) help you spend the balance, and just pay them back. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You can earn 5000 bonus miles (for a total of 55,000) by adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first 3 months. Miles are transferrable at a 1:1 ratio. So if you have 50K points, that’s 50K miles on approved flight partners. This is comparatively a lot of points, especially as a base offer vetted against cards that only offer 20-30 K points as a signing bonus.
- Ultimate Rewards Points: They are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for cash back or gift cards or 1.25 cents when redeemed for travel booked through. So they’re generally more beneficial if you redeem for travel.
- Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits: This includes Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and Purchase Protection. If your trip is cancelled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
- Customer Service: 24/7 direct access.
- Fees: Free the first year, $95 a year after that. So use the Chase Sapphire card for at least the first year, then you can calculate if it’s worth it for you to keep it once the $95 fee kicks in, based on how much you spend and consequently how much cash back/points you accrue.
Cons of the Chase Sapphire card
- You will still have ATM fees. Granted almost all credit cards have ATM fees, except Barclays, Capital One, and Discover. But the pro’s of the Chase generally outweigh the others. Nerd Wallet covers ATM fee comparisons, if you plan to be drawing out a lot of cash on your trips. A way to avoid ATM fees is to know that Chase, Wells Fargo, and most other banks don’t charge ATM fees to accounts with high balances. The challenge here is, of course, maintaining a high enough balance.
Overall Credit Card Travel Safety Tips
- And finally, two cards are better than one, in case one gets eaten by a machine.
- Leave copies of your card with someone you trust back home, so you can access your information if something happens.
- Let your bank know you’ll be leaving the country, so they don’t freeze your card thinking it’s fraudulent activity.Further questions? Comment below. Happy travels!
Chase Sapphire Card Reward and Information
As always, feel free to contact us on Facebook, Instagram, or give us a call with any travel questions. We are happy to help you book your next off-the-beaten-track tour, relaxing cruise, or family tour.
This post by Travel Experts agent, Alyne Tamir. She (figuratively) digs old cemeteries, has probably eaten more chocolate than you, and is obsessed with airports.