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Best Credit Card for 'Everyday Purchases' outside the US

Best Credit Card for 'Everyday Purchases' outside the US

Old Jan 19, 20, 3:18 am
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2009
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Best Credit Card for 'Everyday Purchases' outside the US

Hey Everyone,

I'll be spending a significant amount of time outside the US in the next year (specifically Copenhagen and Europe). I'm wondering what credit card people recommend for 'everyday' spend? I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and will be using it for all travel and dining purchases. In the US I would use the Chase Freedom Unlimited for 'everyday' purchases that are not in a special category, but this appears to be a poor choice outside the US. Of course I can use the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but I'm wondering if there is something that is more optimal in terms of return?
mikmort is offline  
Old Jan 19, 20, 6:43 am
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Considering that contactless payments are standard in Europe, US Bank Altitude Reserve is the obvious choice.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 10:15 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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If you don't want an annual fee a 2% cash back + no foreign transaction fee card like the PayPal Mastercard or Penfed Power Cash Rewards would work.
der_saeufer and happychic like this.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 4:53 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2007
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Yes, PayPal Synchrony 2% or Capital One Quicksilver 1.5% seem best for non bonus category purchases overseas. I like Capital One because of card tap support and superior account management alerts. Synchrony would require mobile wallet I believe for that purpose. I guess you could get Venture if you wanted to pay Capital One an AF.

There are many other AF cards as mentioned, but I am so tired of the AF cards losing benefits as customers are savvy to max their return these days making the card more costly to the issuer.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 5:22 pm
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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The PayPal Synchrony Card doesn’t support Apple Pay because of some sort of spat between Apple and PayPal.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 7:39 pm
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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If you haven't had the bonus for United Club card yet, and you ever do United redemptions, then that's a good drop-in replacement for the CFU and would work with your current system.
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Old Feb 26, 20, 9:56 am
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Per invisible's comment, contactless payment is universal (mandated by law now) in the EU. Assuming you have a phone that supports mobile wallet payments (requires an NFC chip, which cheaper Android phones lack), the US Bank Altitude Reserve would get you 3x points on all purchases. When redeemed for travel, you get a 50% bonus, so you're essentially getting 4.5% back (and no foreign transaction fees).

The thing is, if you're still carrying the CSR during this, it will cover a lot your day-to-day expenses, namely eating out and getting around (metro). You need to ask whether it's worth paying another annual fee ($400, but you get $325 travel credit, so effectively $75). If your biggest spend outside of travel, transit and restaurants is groceries, there are no AF cards that get 3% cash back with no FTF which might be a better option. Check out Andrews FCU Visa Titanium Signature Rewards: 3x groceries and gas, 1.5x everything else.
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Old Feb 26, 20, 10:25 am
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Originally Posted by kentchristopher View Post
Per invisible's comment, contactless payment is universal (mandated by law now) in the EU. Assuming you have a phone that supports mobile wallet payments (requires an NFC chip, which cheaper Android phones lack), the US Bank Altitude Reserve would get you 3x points on all purchases. When redeemed for travel, you get a 50% bonus, so you're essentially getting 4.5% back (and no foreign transaction fees).

The thing is, if you're still carrying the CSR during this, it will cover a lot your day-to-day expenses, namely eating out and getting around (metro). You need to ask whether it's worth paying another annual fee ($400, but you get $325 travel credit, so effectively $75). If your biggest spend outside of travel, transit and restaurants is groceries, there are no AF cards that get 3% cash back with no FTF which might be a better option. Check out Andrews FCU Visa Titanium Signature Rewards: 3x groceries and gas, 1.5x everything else.
I think the CSR fee is $450 (going to $550) and the travel credit is $300, so you need to make up $150-$250 in value.
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Old Feb 27, 20, 1:29 pm
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I‘ve lived in Munich for the last seven years, and have run through a fair share of cards. „Best“ is a somewhat subjective evaluation, since it all depends what you‘re going to spend you money on.

As you‘ll see when you get here, the credit card rewards programs in Europe are very poor, since most Europeans outside of UK don‘t carry debt on their credit cards, as such the credit cards (at least in Germany) act more like charge cards than credit cards. You won’t get any rewards, and you also won’t have any benefits (loss protection, etc). You‘ll also need a local bank account regardless of where you end up, since you need to pay for rent, electricity and such in the local currency. Most countries in Europe also have a locally issued debit card that runs on a parallel network than Visa/MC/AX.

Overall, you probably won‘t go wrong with the CSR, my favorite everyday card here is the BofA premium rewards card ($100/year, with $100 US airline incidental credit), which with preferred status will get you 1.5% + 175% bonus = 2.625% on all purchases, and 2% + 175% = 3.5% bonus on dining and travel. You‘ll be hard pressed to find any other card that matches this. If you will be doing a lot of travel however, the benefits offered by Chase (delayed baggage, interruption, cancelation) premium cards is better than BofA‘s.
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Old Feb 28, 20, 12:20 am
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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I like the Savor cards, especially if you're living abroad and actually spending on groceries, rather than just dining out. Entertainment is also covered, which includes museums. Contactless + no FTF.
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Old Feb 28, 20, 2:46 am
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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Like others have mentioned, depends on what you want.

It sounds like you're not moving to Europe, so don't worry about all the local-network mess--just have some cash in your wallet for the little restaurant that takes only cash and local debit, which is common in some countries (*cough* NL) but nonexistent in others. MC/Visa are widely accepted; Amex varies from not great to completely useless depending on country and type of establishment.

My solution is CSR plus a 2.5% cashback card that no longer exists, but there are plenty of 2% cards with no FTF out there.

Contactless payment is nice because it saves you the search for a pen to sign the receipt. But if you have a recent iPhone or a decent Android phone, just use Apple/Google Pay. I can't remember the last time I actually took my card out of my wallet.

If you're spending enough time in one place that you want to sign up for something that requires a bank transfer (e.g. some bike share networks), you can get a borderless account from Transferwise.

ETA:
Originally Posted by invisible View Post
Considering that contactless payments are standard in Europe, US Bank Altitude Reserve is the obvious choice.
How did I not realize that card gave 3% on NFC payments? This is definitely the way to go, assuming you have an NFC-capable phone.

Last edited by der_saeufer; Feb 28, 20 at 3:06 am
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Old Feb 28, 20, 6:13 am
  #12  
 
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OP, if you're looking for transferrable points currency and don't have the Chase ecosystem built up and AMEX has its acceptance issues, I would recommend Capital One Venture. For most part, it transfers at 2:1.5 (some at (2;1). It also is 2 miles for every 1 dollar and each mile is worth 1 cent for travel related purchases. This is for "every day" spending and not for dining (Chase CSR/Citi Prestige/AMEX Gold) or travel (non-airline) (Chase CSR/Citi Premiere?AMEX Green) or other "bonus categories".

Safe Travels
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Old Mar 1, 20, 6:05 am
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I use the following combo abroad:
1. Citi Prestige - restaurants, airlines (5x)
2. Citi Premier - gas (3x)
3. CSR or Citi Premier - other travel (3x)
4. USB Altitude Reserve - everything else via mobile (4.5%)
5. Barclays Priceline 2x everywhere (3.33%) - backup
yugi is offline  

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