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Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?

Valued Member

Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?

Hi Everyone, 

 

First of all, I just wanted to thank the members of this forum for sharing their wealth of knowledge. I moved to the US a little over 2 years ago, and had zero credit history or knowledge of how the system works. Thanks to all the valuable info I read here, I started out with a secured BoA card for just $500, then opened up a toy $500 Onestopplus card via the shopping cart trick, then got denied for a Chase Amazon (moderately devastating blow at the time!) - ended up getting added as an AU on that one. For a little over a year I gardened and made sure to pay in full and keep my util on the low side (10-20% balance sometimes reported, but always PIF before the APR kicked in), and last week I was instantly approved for both an AmEx Blue Cash Everyday ($2000) and a Chase Freedom ($3000)! 

What an amazing feeling - I remember all too well a time when "decent" CC companies wouldn't touch me with a stick, ha. Smiley Happy

 

Sorry for the long intro, but I had to get that out of the way. 

 

Here's my actual question: I am going to be traveling quite a bit this summer (Canada and Austria/Croatia) and don't know which of my current cards would be best for international travel. I really don't want to open any other cards for another year or so. No foreign transaction fees is incredibly tempting, but between the extra HP and affecting the already low AAoA I'm not sure it's worth it.

The Chase has a 3% FTF, and the AmEx a 2.7%, both offer 1% cash back, so theoretically I'd only be paying an extra 1.7-2%.

Is this really the case? Are there any other hidden fees I should know about? Is the best strategy in my situation trying to use the AmEx wherever it's accepted, and the Chase as a backup? 

 

Any advice/info is greatly appreciated!

BoA Secured $500 (closed) | OneStopPlus $900 | Chase Amazon $4600 (AU) | Amex BCE $6000 |
Chase Freedom $3000 | BoA TravelRewards Signature Visa $5000 | CSP $17 000 | BCP $27 000
Building credit since 04/2011 | CreditKarma 763 | CreditSesame 795 | Gardening since 01/31/2014
Message 1 of 28
27 REPLIES
Valued Member

Re: Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?

There has to be a solution out there. Smiley Happy

BoA Secured $500 (closed) | OneStopPlus $900 | Chase Amazon $4600 (AU) | Amex BCE $6000 |
Chase Freedom $3000 | BoA TravelRewards Signature Visa $5000 | CSP $17 000 | BCP $27 000
Building credit since 04/2011 | CreditKarma 763 | CreditSesame 795 | Gardening since 01/31/2014
Message 2 of 28
Super Contributor

Re: Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?

Looks like AMEX is your best bet

Before you app think...
Have you done your research of the CC?
Does it fit your spending?
Do you have a plan for the bonus w/o going into debt?
Can you afford the AF?
Do you know the cards benefits? Is it worth the HP?
Message 3 of 28
Established Contributor

Re: Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?


recordaras wrote:

Hi Everyone, 

 

First of all, I just wanted to thank the members of this forum for sharing their wealth of knowledge. I moved to the US a little over 2 years ago, and had zero credit history or knowledge of how the system works. Thanks to all the valuable info I read here, I started out with a secured BoA card for just $500, then opened up a toy $500 Onestopplus card via the shopping cart trick, then got denied for a Chase Amazon (moderately devastating blow at the time!) - ended up getting added as an AU on that one. For a little over a year I gardened and made sure to pay in full and keep my util on the low side (10-20% balance sometimes reported, but always PIF before the APR kicked in), and last week I was instantly approved for both an AmEx Blue Cash Everyday ($2000) and a Chase Freedom ($3000)! 

What an amazing feeling - I remember all too well a time when "decent" CC companies wouldn't touch me with a stick, ha. Smiley Happy

 

Sorry for the long intro, but I had to get that out of the way. 

 

Here's my actual question: I am going to be traveling quite a bit this summer (Canada and Austria/Croatia) and don't know which of my current cards would be best for international travel. I really don't want to open any other cards for another year or so. No foreign transaction fees is incredibly tempting, but between the extra HP and affecting the already low AAoA I'm not sure it's worth it.

The Chase has a 3% FTF, and the AmEx a 2.7%, both offer 1% cash back, so theoretically I'd only be paying an extra 1.7-2%.

Is this really the case? Are there any other hidden fees I should know about? Is the best strategy in my situation trying to use the AmEx wherever it's accepted, and the Chase as a backup? 

 

Any advice/info is greatly appreciated!


Sorry to say, but neither your Amex or Chase CC would make a good Travel CC, especially for international travel, B/C you will be charged a FTF , but if no don't mind paying the fee, I would go with your Chase Freedom MC and/or Visa, due towards there higher acceptance




"having a credit card is nice, but having cash in hand will always be king"
Message 4 of 28
Valued Member

Re: Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?


L-TWT wrote: Sorry to say, but neither your Amex or Chase CC would make a good Travel CC, especially for international travel, B/C you will be charged a FTF , but if no don't mind paying the fee, I would go with your Chase Freedom MC and/or Visa, due towards there higher acceptance

Thank you for the info. If the FTF really is only 2.7-3%, I guess I'll bite the bullet (getting 1% cash back makes those rates a bit lower even). What I'm worried about is any hidden fees on top of the 2.7-3% that I don't know about that would bring the actual fees over 3%. 

BoA Secured $500 (closed) | OneStopPlus $900 | Chase Amazon $4600 (AU) | Amex BCE $6000 |
Chase Freedom $3000 | BoA TravelRewards Signature Visa $5000 | CSP $17 000 | BCP $27 000
Building credit since 04/2011 | CreditKarma 763 | CreditSesame 795 | Gardening since 01/31/2014
Message 5 of 28
Valued Contributor

Re: Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?

Those are both terrible cards to use internationaly. I guess it would depend on how much you're planning on spending while you're away but IMO don't think FTFs are worth paying. I get that you don't want to take another HP or lower your aaoa but if it would help you save money and you're able to apply for a card w/ no FTFs, I would seriously consider doing so. But again, it depends on how much you'll be spending abroad and how long you'll be there. If you're going to be there for an extended period, it's not like you'll be applying for new CCs anyways.  


Gardening since 7/16/14
Current: EQ 711 7/13/14; EX 724 TU 721 6/19/14
Goal: 760+
Message 6 of 28
Valued Contributor

Re: Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?

+1. If you're going to be away only for a short time or if you don't plan to charge much, it won't really matter. However if you're planning a long or expensive trip, I'd really look into a no forex card beforehand.
EX 798, EQ 789, TU 784
American Express Platinum (NPSL) || Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards Visa Signature - $23,200 CL
Barclays American Airlines Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard - $20,000 CL || Chase IHG Rewards World Mastercard - $25,000 CL
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $12,700 CL || Chase United MileagePlus Club World Elite MasterCard - $26,500 CL
Citibank Hilton Reserve Visa Signature - $20,000 CL || J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton Visa Signature - $23,500 CL
Message 7 of 28
Valued Member

Re: Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?

Thanks once again for your help and advice. These specific trips shouldn't be that expensive - oh the joys of having extended family all around the globe. So I'm prone to think that the HP and hit on my AAoA (which is pretty darn low anyway, considering I just opened two new credit cards and my oldest open account to date is only 1 year 7 months old) in the grand scheme of things would be worse for me overall than taking on the 2% FTF... Would you do otherwise in my place? Considering the total amount I plan on spending should be well under 1.5K. 

Now if there are any fees I do not know about that will magically appear on my account and make the total extra spending closer to 4-5%, that is a completely different story. 

BoA Secured $500 (closed) | OneStopPlus $900 | Chase Amazon $4600 (AU) | Amex BCE $6000 |
Chase Freedom $3000 | BoA TravelRewards Signature Visa $5000 | CSP $17 000 | BCP $27 000
Building credit since 04/2011 | CreditKarma 763 | CreditSesame 795 | Gardening since 01/31/2014
Message 8 of 28
Valued Member

Re: Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?

Also, what decent no AF/no FTF cards are there? The BoA TravelRewards and various Cap One options?

BoA Secured $500 (closed) | OneStopPlus $900 | Chase Amazon $4600 (AU) | Amex BCE $6000 |
Chase Freedom $3000 | BoA TravelRewards Signature Visa $5000 | CSP $17 000 | BCP $27 000
Building credit since 04/2011 | CreditKarma 763 | CreditSesame 795 | Gardening since 01/31/2014
Message 9 of 28
Established Contributor

Re: Which Card to Use for Travel: AmEx BCE or Chase Freedom?


recordaras wrote:

Also, what decent no AF/no FTF cards are there? The BoA TravelRewards and various Cap One options?


In Nov. 2012, I opened my Cap1 Cash Rewards CC for the sole purpose of traveling internationally. And to date this card has really surprised me in a good way. 1.5% cash back and no FTF & no AF, man u can't beat that. B4 opening this card I would have not been caught dead carrying a Cap1 CC due to all the negative things I was reading. Hopefully, I will not jinx myself by saying this, but my experience with Cap1 has been Excellent, granted i never delt with customer service yet!Smiley LOL




"having a credit card is nice, but having cash in hand will always be king"
Message 10 of 28