cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

First time traveling to Europe - CC questions

First time traveling to Europe - CC questions

Hello,

 

I have never traveled outside of the US, but will be going to Europe late this spring. I will be spending time in France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. I would prefer to not have to carry much money with me, and use credit cards wherever I can. However, I do not currently have a good travel card. My everyday card is a Amex BCP. I am concerned about American Express not being accepted. The only card that I have, that has no FTF, is my Chase Amazon Prime Visa. I have considered getting a Sapphire card, but I will be over 5/24 for another year. 

 

Do I need to worry about what card to use? Will any MasterCard or Visa work? And, if it is not a travel card, is it only the (approximately) 3% FTF that it will cost me to use it? 

 

Thank you in advance for any advice you can send me.

Message 1 of 23
22 REPLIES
Valued Contributor

Re: First time traveling to Europe - CC questions

There are lots of stories on the forums about Amex cards being kinda useless in Europe.  I would definitely bring a Visa or MC at least as backup.

 

Yes any Visa or MC will do.  And definitely get a card with no FTF.  There are cards with no FTF and no annual fee that are easy to get like everything from Cap1.  Just make sure you charge in the local currency rather than having them convert to dollars.  It's usually cheaper that way.

Message 2 of 23
Established Contributor

Re: First time traveling to Europe - CC questions

If your traveling to Europe and don’t want to use cash. Your going to want a No-FTF card. That 3% adds up quick. Especially if your going with your family.

It really boils down to what your looking for in a travel card.

If you want a CSP, try going in branch and see if any approvals pop up. Chase.com/Prequalified, or even when logged into your chase account.

But other good travel cards with no FTF

US bank FlexPerks Visa ($49 AF, waived first year, gives you 12 gogoair wifi passes which more then offsets the AF) (3% return on airlines or Groceries or Gas worldwide. 3% on cell phone bill)
BoA Travel Rewards ( No AF, standard 1.5% on everything )
Premium rewards ( $95 AF, $100 airline credit, TSA credit, 2% travel/dining 1.5% Everything else)

If you want a cash back card with no FTF
Capital one has the QS1 and QS
FICO 8 Scores as of 05/2018
TU - 688
EX-755
EQ- 686

Cards:
US Bank Altitude Reserve-5K
Amex Premier Rewards Gold- NPSL
Chase CSP -6.5K AU
US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa - 6K
Amex Delta Gold -2K
Amex Delta -22K AU
BoA Travel Rewards 6k
Discover IT $600
Message 3 of 23
Mega Contributor

Re: First time traveling to Europe - CC questions

As others have said, really the first priority is no FTF, and the Amazon Visa works for that.   It will give you 2% on dining as well (I don't think this is restricted).   A travel card will help earn more on airfare/hotel, but may not be worth the effort.

 

Potentially be prepared for clerks to be surprised when a signature slip appears, most places are much more used to  chip&pin.   Generally only a problem at unattended POS, such as toll booths, ticket machines etc.

Message 4 of 23
Valued Contributor

Re: First time traveling to Europe - CC questions

europe is not the land of amex,  you do not want to take just that card unless you are going to museums, tours and 1*+ restaurants all the time.  you will want a visa or mastercard for sure and also a decent amount on your debit card.  most CU cards don't have a FTF, I use nfcu as my backup to amex and chase when I travel.  the offline chip/pin i use is a visa from https://www.sdfcu.org/ , works well for bike rentals and such.  obviously dont go out with all your cards, leave a spare behind in your room.  I assume you are going to amsterdam, you must go to the rijksmuseum and vondelpark.  a combo boat tour / heineken tour is a fun way to check out the city,  when you are going the roof will be open.  I go to ams a lot as its so close to paris, wonderful place and people.  I would think you are going to paris,  get a tour of the palais garnier and check out les invalides - take a walk on rue cler - get a 3-day pass to the museums so you can go back several times.  in germany if you are near nurburgring get a taxi ride around it with sabine schmitz, its one trip you will not soon forget.  bring good shoes.  

Message 5 of 23
Valued Contributor

Re: First time traveling to Europe - CC questions

Here's a list of cards from major issuers with no FTF:

https://www.uscreditcardguide.com/no-foreign-transaction-fee-credit-cards/

Message 6 of 23
Community Leader
Valued Contributor

Re: First time traveling to Europe - CC questions


wrote:
If your traveling to Europe and don’t want to use cash. Your going to want a No-FTF card. That 3% adds up quick. Especially if your going with your family.…

If you want a cash back card with no FTF
Capital one has the QS1 and QS

The counterpoint is that if you're spending $1,000 and paying a FTF, you could decide that the $20 or $30 is chump change. In this case, the OP already has the Amazon Visa, which makes any FTF cards backups.

 

That said, I like the idea of the Capital One Quicksilver. Their Savor card might also be a good option. In addition to no FTF, their cards are contactless.

 

What we don't know is what cards the OP has other than the AMEX and the Amazon Visa. If those are the only two cards he has, he should definitely be applying for something new. If there are other cards available, he may be OK with what he has.

 

OP, do you have a debit card that you're comfortable using? If so, that should alleviate the need for carrying a lot of cash, and it should take care of you if you go through more cash than you anticipate. If you're not comfortable using a current debit card, consider opening a Charles Schwab brokerage account. Their debit cards ultimately have no fees; if fees aren't waived to begin with, they're refunded to you by Schwab.

Message 7 of 23
Established Contributor

Re: First time traveling to Europe - CC questions

1.  You can bring your Amex, but many places won't accept it.  Don't bring Discover; almost nobody accepts it.  Visa and MasterCard both work well everywhere in Europe.  Don't believe the people who say that some places only take MasterCard; that's no longer true.

2.  Bring at least two credit cards (issued by different banks) and two debit cards (also from different banks).

3.  All the cards you bring, both credit and debit, should have an EMV chip.  At least one of the credit cards should have a PIN so you can use it at unattended ticket machines, highway tolls, parking garages, etc.

4.  The credit cards should not charge foreign transaction fees.

5.  If you purchase advance tickets to tourist attractions over the internet, you should sign up for Verify by Visa.  Not all banks offer that service (I'm looking at you, Chase and NFCU), so that may influence which cards you take.

In my wallet: Chase Sapphire Reserve • PenFed Power Cash Rewards
Also have: Chase United MileagePlus Explorer • UNFCU Azure • NFCU cashRewards • NFCU Go Rewards • PenFed Promise
Message 8 of 23
Frequent Contributor

Re: First time traveling to Europe - CC questions


@wrote:

1.  You can bring your Amex, but many places won't accept it.  Don't bring Discover; almost nobody accepts it.  Visa and MasterCard both work well everywhere in Europe.  Don't believe the people who say that some places only take MasterCard; that's no longer true.

2.  Bring at least two credit cards (issued by different banks) and two debit cards (also from different banks).

3.  All the cards you bring, both credit and debit, should have an EMV chip.  At least one of the credit cards should have a PIN so you can use it at unattended ticket machines, highway tolls, parking garages, etc.

4.  The credit cards should not charge foreign transaction fees.

5.  If you purchase advance tickets to tourist attractions over the internet, you should sign up for Verify by Visa.  Not all banks offer that service (I'm looking at you, Chase and NFCU), so that may influence which cards you take.


Why this recommendation? I myself am going to Europe in a few weeks and planning on bringing NFCU Cash Rewards VS with Barclay Ring MC for back up (does Verify by Visa work with Mastercards?). Fidelity will be my debit card and strictly for cash withdrawals if I can help it. 

Message 9 of 23
Established Contributor

Re: First time traveling to Europe - CC questions


@Its a safer way to pay for things as it doesnt require you to input your card number.

No Verified by Visa will not work witrh mastercards but Mastercar has their own service which is the exact same thing. As does American Express




wrote:

wrote:

1.  You can bring your Amex, but many places won't accept it.  Don't bring Discover; almost nobody accepts it.  Visa and MasterCard both work well everywhere in Europe.  Don't believe the people who say that some places only take MasterCard; that's no longer true.

2.  Bring at least two credit cards (issued by different banks) and two debit cards (also from different banks).

3.  All the cards you bring, both credit and debit, should have an EMV chip.  At least one of the credit cards should have a PIN so you can use it at unattended ticket machines, highway tolls, parking garages, etc.

4.  The credit cards should not charge foreign transaction fees.

5.  If you purchase advance tickets to tourist attractions over the internet, you should sign up for Verify by Visa.  Not all banks offer that service (I'm looking at you, Chase and NFCU), so that may influence which cards you take.


Why this recommendation? I myself am going to Europe in a few weeks and planning on bringing NFCU Cash Rewards VS with Barclay Ring MC for back up (does Verify by Visa work with Mastercards?). Fidelity will be my debit card and strictly for cash withdrawals if I can help it. 


 

FICO 8 Scores as of 05/2018
TU - 688
EX-755
EQ- 686

Cards:
US Bank Altitude Reserve-5K
Amex Premier Rewards Gold- NPSL
Chase CSP -6.5K AU
US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa - 6K
Amex Delta Gold -2K
Amex Delta -22K AU
BoA Travel Rewards 6k
Discover IT $600
Message 10 of 23