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New CC(s) for retiring and traveling parents

1,052 310 January 30, 2018 at 07:48 AM
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So my parents are retiring this year and have already planned out their first real international trip (Italy). They have already paid for their cruise but have not paid for their flights/excursions/hotels so expecting some spending soon (minus whatever things they can't prebook of course).

Right now they do not have a CC with no foreign exchange fees which I have told them they definitely should get. It also looks like they are going to book AA so I would probably recommend they get the CC while booking but 50k miles is a bit lower than I would want for them unless it is the best option.

Overall their scores are 800+, income will be strong considering they are both pensions and their overall available credit currently isn't too high (they aren't big CC users) so I suspect anything they apply for they will be approved.

My question is - with the known upcoming spending and desire to book (at least the flight and hotel) in the coming month where should I direct them for the best bonus while also getting them the no foreign exchange fees? They are open to two cards but I think they would prefer just the 1 for now. I don't see any amazing sign up bonuses going on, just want to make sure I am not missing anything.

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#2
Off the top of my head, I'd recommend Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve. Preferred is the better of the two, but at a higher starting cost of $450 annual fee vs. $95 (may be waived first year). Although Preferred cost $450, you get $300 travel credit per year, and they can sign up for Global Entry/TSA Precheck. Also, free lounge access at participating airports. Tons of perks, and if you take that travel credit into consideration the $450 fee upfront gets, cut down to about $150. Also, of course its a foreign friendly card, and sign up bonus of 50,000 points translates into $750 if you use the points towards travel, because the Sapphire network has better point redemption.

A secondary free card I would recommend is the Barclays Uber Visa card. You get 3% on hotel/airfare and is also foreign travel friendly. There isn't a crazy sign-up bonus, just a standard $100.

This is just a summary of each card, I recommend you research further based on these suggestions. Good luck to you and your parents!
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#3
Quote from IPABeerLover
:
So my parents are retiring this year and have already planned out their first real international trip (Italy). They have already paid for their cruise but have not paid for their flights/excursions/hotels so expecting some spending soon (minus whatever things they can't prebook of course).

Right now they do not have a CC with no foreign exchange fees which I have told them they definitely should get. It also looks like they are going to book AA so I would probably recommend they get the CC while booking but 50k miles is a bit lower than I would want for them unless it is the best option.

Overall their scores are 800+, income will be strong considering they are both pensions and their overall available credit currently isn't too high (they aren't big CC users) so I suspect anything they apply for they will be approved.

My question is - with the known upcoming spending and desire to book (at least the flight and hotel) in the coming month where should I direct them for the best bonus while also getting them the no foreign exchange fees? They are open to two cards but I think they would prefer just the 1 for now. I don't see any amazing sign up bonuses going on, just want to make sure I am not missing anything.
The barclay AAviator red has a 60k signup bonus after first purchase, the Citi AAdvantage platinum has a 60k signup bonus after 3k. Both have no foreign transaction fees.

The CSP is always an excellent card, BoA premium travel rewards gets $500 in travel sign up bonus as well.
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#4
Annual fee? Pass. Unless they are going to be flying a lot, as in A LOT, with a lot of long layovers you won't be able to make good use of lounge access. You can buy daily lounge passes when you need them.

I would suggest Capitol One and Discover card. Both have no annual fees and both have no foreign transaction fees. Contrary to popular public misconception. Discover card works everywhere. Traditional under their other brands or tie ups, Diners Club in Europe and UnionPay in Asia, but more and more under their own Discover brand. My go to card is Discover when overseas. No fees, good exchange rate and the surprised look on cashiers face when it works is priceless. They always tell me they don't take it, I just keep repeating can we just try. It always works. In Japan it also knocked off 5% off the price of everything since that's what UnionPay offered.
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#5
Depending on the details, you could go with a card with a high annual fee (waived for the first year) and good signup bonus and benefits that you plan on using in the first year, then downgrade it to a no-fee version or cancel it before the fee hits the next year.
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#6
british airways has 100K points at time but the secret for them is to use the points on partner airlines.
Right now it is 75K

https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/...gJA5PD_BwE
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Last edited by komondor February 7, 2018 at 05:00 AM.
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#7
United has 50k bonus and first year free for its explore card.
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#8
Quote from ghostofposterspast
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I would suggest Capitol One and Discover card. Both have no annual fees and both have no foreign transaction fees. Contrary to popular public misconception. Discover card works everywhere. Traditional under their other brands or tie ups, Diners Club in Europe and UnionPay in Asia, but more and more under their own Discover brand. My go to card is Discover when overseas. No fees, good exchange rate and the surprised look on cashiers face when it works is priceless. They always tell me they don't take it, I just keep repeating can we just try. It always works. In Japan it also knocked off 5% off the price of everything since that's what UnionPay offered.
Second the suggestion for Capital One, I have both their VISA and MC, always best to have a backup, not limit yourself to 1 card while traveling.

But about that Discover... YMMV. I have tried Discover repeatedly in W Europe (Italy, France, Spain, Portugal) and it never ever worked. Diners Club logo did not matter. I gave up.
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Quote from Hiiimgravy
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Off the top of my head, I'd recommend Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve. Preferred is the better of the two, but at a higher starting cost of $450 annual fee vs. $95 (may be waived first year). Although Preferred cost $450, you get $300 travel credit per year, and they can sign up for Global Entry/TSA Precheck. Also, free lounge access at participating airports. Tons of perks, and if you take that travel credit into consideration the $450 fee upfront gets, cut down to about $150. Also, of course its a foreign friendly card, and sign up bonus of 50,000 points translates into $750 if you use the points towards travel, because the Sapphire network has better point redemption.

A secondary free card I would recommend is the Barclays Uber Visa card. You get 3% on hotel/airfare and is also foreign travel friendly. There isn't a crazy sign-up bonus, just a standard $100.

This is just a summary of each card, I recommend you research further based on these suggestions. Good luck to you and your parents!
Not to trudge over your post, but just wanted to point out that you switched up Preferred and Reserve. Reserve is the one with the $450 annual fee, $300 travel credit, Global Entry/Pre-TSA check. Another good perk of the Reserve is Priority Pass, granting you access to 1000 lounges in 500 cities across 130 countries. I have used it extensively this past year when traveling and having lounge access makes the airport experience so much more relaxing. Most lounges allow guests to enter with you too (some limit the #, others don't YMMV). Global Entry has saved me hours of time to get through Customs by going through the expedited lines. Unfortunately, the best time for the bonus on the Reserve card passed last year when it gave you 100k points when it first came out. Now the bonus is 50k bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months ("worth $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards"). The $450 annual fee sounds heavy, but with the $300 travel credit, Global entry (normally $100), 50k bonus points, and Priority Pass, I'd still go for it. That's just my experience! I used it with no problem at 12 different countries as my primary CC. For a debit card (even though you didn't ask), I would recommend the Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking. You get unlimited fee rebates at any ATM worldwide, so you never have to worry about those pesky ATM fees abroad (don't confuse this with exchange rates, etc).
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