Written by: Colin
Make money off your spending! Be deliberate about the credit cards you bring with you on your travels. Make sure you don’t have a card that charges international fees. Balance the card types so that you get 2% to 3% returns from your spending. There are countless blogs and entire companies dedicated to smart use of credit card points and benefits. My simple guidance here is to work the numbers.
Apply your budget and gauge how much you realistically think you’ll be able to put on a credit card in far off places. Don’t be fooled by big perks and sign on bonuses but monster annual fees for a card you aren’t able to use as much. There’s a sweet spot for spending and perks and your spending patterns on a long term trip won’t be like the folks who can bounce through credit cards and earn free first class flights and hotel stays in 5 star resorts. My advice is to build up points in advance and keep it simple while on the road so that you can focus on bigger things.
After a lot of research, we ended up pairing the Chase Sapphire Reserve for all travel and dining expenses with USAA’s 1.5-2.5% cash back rewards card for everything else. This lets us both keep some credit history while getting better returns on all types of spending without too much headache of watching categories. At the time of this post, the Chase Sapphire was offering 100k points with a number of other outstanding travel benefits coupled with a hefty $450 annual fee. On the other hand, the USAA cash card had no fee and simple cash back returns with no foreign transaction fees which are less common for cash back cards.
Sara & Colin
We are figuring out our travel as we go along, and we'd love to help you out with yours! Here are some tips, tricks, and how-to guides.