What’s in our Wallet?
>PRO TIP< One thing we learned on the road is to definitely have more than one credit card! Our CSR Visa card was compromised (we think in India) and used to buy 500 pairs of Nikes in Philadelphia. Thankfully we still have one more Visa and an Amex card. Another tip is to check the expiration dates of your cards! L’s debit card expired in December, leaving her cashless. Good thing Y banks with Chuck too!
L is a credit card warrior, so we try to maximize our points back when we travel. We also use an ATM card that allows us to get cash worldwide for free, because let’s face it, a lot of places don’t take cards. Here is what we have:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: “CSR” is our number one card because it has 3x points for travel, and travel is a very broad category. It also has generous coverage for rental car collision insurance, lost luggage, and trip delay. Lastly, we’re on a budget, and we’re going to be airport warriors, one of the perks includes airport lounges! A place to chill with free wifi and food? Yes please. If you google it, multiple reviewers will detail all the benefits and reasons to get it, so we won’t bore you with every single benefit. The $450 annual fee is steep, but it is worth it for us because we more than recoup the cost in points and we always pay the bill off. On time. Every single month. That is the only way this card is worth it. However, if you don’t want to pay for a card, the next best thing is this:
- CapitalOne Quicksilver: No annual fee and no foreign transaction fee. Free to add authorized users. Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases keep it straightforward. We use this for everything outside the travel category such as groceries. Another card from CapitalOne that seems good for travel is their Venture card, which has a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year (however, we have not used it).
- American Express Platinum: Although it is used a lot less, we also have this hefty baby (seriously, it weighs a lot). The $550 annual fee is even steeper and a lot of the benefits overlap with CSR. So why do we have this? It has better purchase protection such as an additional two year warranty, but mainly because Amex has awesome Platinum Lounges and their Hotel Collection is bomb. If you’re looking to enjoy a high end hotel, their Hotel Collection has competitive prices with generous perks such as breakfast for two and some sort of hotel, spa, or food credit. To be honest, we recommend it more for the domestic traveler as their lounges are mostly US-based and because we are on a budget we haven’t utilized the hotels as much. However, we have used it for 5% back on booking flights and seen benefits from the upgraded car and hotel memberships.
- Charles Schwab Debit Card: Why Chuck? Because he covers all ATM fees, no matter where you are. We try to keep some cash with us at all times since credit cards are not accepted everywhere. This makes it easy. We have discovered in Asia that some smaller local banks will not take this card.
If you’re interested in getting any of these cards, just email us and we’d love to send you a referral link. Happy traveling!