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Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?

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Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?

So, I travel from time to time and I spend most of my year in Canada (and occasionally Europe). Except for the travel perks, which card do you think is most suitable to actually be your 'use for everything when abroad' card? It is my understanding most perks are US only, even if it is a travel card; such as the Amex Platinum Uber credits or the CSR restaurant bonus. Have you guys used a US card as your primary credit card while living abroad?





Credit Age:2yr+
Message 1 of 24
23 REPLIES 23
Senior Contributor

Re: Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?

Chase and Citi generally recognize international spend for bonus categories. Amex often doesn't.

 

Your CSP isn't a bad option (you might even upgrade to CSR). If your BofA Travel card is Platinum Honors (giving 2.625% with no FTF) that would also be good.

 

If I lived mostly abroad I would probably put most spend on CSR and a BofA Travel or Premium Rewards. I like CFU and BBP but they both charge a FTF.

Most spend: CSR, CFU, BBP
Rewards/AAoA ballast: CF, Discover, Costco, ED, Arrival
Perks: Schwab Platinum, IHG49, Hyatt75, Brilliant, Delta Platinum
Potential closures/downgrades: Savor, BCP, Double Cash
Message 2 of 24
Valued Contributor

Re: Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?

I live overseas around 8 months a year for work. I use US credit cards exclusively.

If you look at my signature you will see all the various cards that I have. USB and Citi get a majority of my spend when overseas. I use Amex at the Wholesale club even though I don’t get bonus points for that.

You ideally want a card that offers bonus categories for your spend while overseas to maximize your point accrual.

My fiancée or family takes advantage of my Uber,Saks, and Dining credits on Amex so I don’t loose much value on those types of things.

It may be harder for you to justify the Amex Platinum as the Uber and Saks are tied to the US. I suppose you could shop online to use that credit though.





Total Revolving Limits $194,600

FICO 8 scores 04/2019
EX-778
TU-714
EQ-716
Message 3 of 24
Established Contributor

Re: Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?

Also, don't forget, Discover has no FTF, and I don't think it has limits on where categorical spending occurs (like AmEx). So, you could get 5% on Uber now and 5% on restaurants in Q3 in foreign countries. 

 

 


Garden Club Member since 01/20/2019
Message 4 of 24
Established Contributor

Re: Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?

My daughter took a trip to Europe with her photography class and I added her to CSP so she wouldn't need to carry and convert as much cash. She didn't have any problems, but a couple of the restaurants didn't trip the 2X sensor for whatever reason.

Amex PRG (NPSL), Amex Blue Cash ($8K), Amex Simply Cash+ ($4K), Discover ($20.7K), Cap 1 Union Plus MC ($2500), Chase FU Visa Sig ($12K), Chase CSP Visa Sig($5K), FCB/Elan Rewards Visa Sig($10K), Buckle ($1.3K), BofA AAA Rewards ($65K), Paypal credit ($6.5K), BBVA Clearpoints ($7.5K), Cap 1 Savor ($10K)
Message 5 of 24
Valued Contributor

Re: Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?


@iheartwings wrote:

Also, don't forget, Discover has no FTF, and I don't think it has limits on where categorical spending occurs (like AmEx). So, you could get 5% on Uber now and 5% on restaurants in Q3 in foreign countries. 

 

 



Discover’s acceptance is even worse then American Express when overseas. I wouldn’t advise making it your primary card for everyday spending. 





Total Revolving Limits $194,600

FICO 8 scores 04/2019
EX-778
TU-714
EQ-716
Message 6 of 24
Established Contributor

Re: Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?


@Shadowfactor wrote:

@iheartwings wrote:

Also, don't forget, Discover has no FTF, and I don't think it has limits on where categorical spending occurs (like AmEx). So, you could get 5% on Uber now and 5% on restaurants in Q3 in foreign countries. 

 

 



Discover’s acceptance is even worse then American Express when overseas. I wouldn’t advise making it your primary card for everyday spending. 


That depends where you are in the world. Discover working with UnionPay and JCB give it some value when in certain Asian countries (There are some complications with outdated UnionPay terminals though). As for Europe, Discover does have a long ways to go for being a worthy traveling companion, but I hear they're working on growing market share via the Diners Club network.

https://www.dinersclub.com/about-us/press/diners-club-international-partners-with-the-logic-group-to...

Amex PRG (NPSL), Amex Blue Cash ($8K), Amex Simply Cash+ ($4K), Discover ($20.7K), Cap 1 Union Plus MC ($2500), Chase FU Visa Sig ($12K), Chase CSP Visa Sig($5K), FCB/Elan Rewards Visa Sig($10K), Buckle ($1.3K), BofA AAA Rewards ($65K), Paypal credit ($6.5K), BBVA Clearpoints ($7.5K), Cap 1 Savor ($10K)
Message 7 of 24
Valued Member

Re: Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?

Thanks for the replies guys. I am hoping to convert CSP to CSR next year, when I hit the one year mark with it. But for whatever reason, my spends are mostly not recognize as bonuses (restaurants and alike). As Discover, I have not seen a single mercant that will accept it abroad.





Credit Age:2yr+
Message 8 of 24
Mega Contributor

Re: Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?


@Seraphine wrote:

Thanks for the replies guys. I am hoping to convert CSP to CSR next year, when I hit the one year mark with it. But for whatever reason, my spends are mostly not recognize as bonuses (restaurants and alike). As Discover, I have not seen a single mercant that will accept it abroad.


That is surprising with the CSP.  What are the restaurants categorized as?  As others have said, there is no US-based language in the CSP categories, whereas Amex often restricts.

Message 9 of 24
Member

Re: Which card to use when you mostly live abroad?

I was in Japan for most of last year, and I used a few different US cards during my time there. I used a newly-opened Discover Chrome for rent payments, the cashback match was nice. Also used PayPal 2% without any issues and AMEX Delta Gold for some Delta flights.

Message 10 of 24
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