How To Avoid Extra Credit Card Fees During International Travel

Going on an international trip is very exciting but it can also be very expensive. Using a credit card to pay for purchases when traveling internationally is often the best way to get a good exchange rate and the rate your bank gets will be better than the one you’ll get on your own if you exchange cash. Using a card also means that you don’t have to carry around a bunch of cash with you. However, many cards will add on a “foreign transaction fee” to any transactions made with anything except your home currency. Here’s an easy way to keep from paying that extra 2-3 percent on all of your purchases while away.

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What Credit Cards Are In Our Wallets (September 2019)

Every once in a while, I like to go over which cards Sharon and I are carrying in our wallets. Doing so gives you a look behind the scenes of how to put a plan of earning points and miles in practice. We each have a different approach to earning miles and points. I try to earn the maximum points for each transaction without too much effort, and her desire to exert the least amount of thought into the process (Note from Sharon: Hell yeah! LOLOL!), the cards we carry are different.

There’s a method to my madness, as I manage to balance the two approaches and come to a plan where we maximize earning while minimizing effort (and still keep our marriage together). (Note from Sharon: Again. Hell yeah!)

Writing this post also forces me to evaluate if I’m actually doing what I say I’m going to do or seeing that I’ve gotten a little lazy (which I had). After some shuffling, here are the cards that now reside in our wallets.

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Differences Between The Luxury Hotel Program For Sapphire Reserve Cardholders & The One For Everyone Else

The Chase Sapphire Reserve advertises itself as the card for smart, sophisticated travelers. It has many features that justify the hefty $450 a year price tag, like a $300 annual travel credit, primary car insurance coverage, Priority Pass membership and Global Entry/TSA Precheck reimbursement.

If you go to the page on the Sapphire Reserve website, you’ll find a link to the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.


The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection is a network of more than 1,000 of the world’s finest hotels, resorts and spas. When you use your Chase Sapphire ReserveSM or J.P. Morgan ReserveSM card to purchase your stay, you enjoy complimentary guest privileges including daily breakfast for two, a room upgrade (when available at select properties), early check-in and late check-out (when available at select properties) and a special amenity unique to each property such as lunch or dinner for two, a spa treatment, golf green fee waivers, welcome gift, or airport transfers.

Here’s a direct link to the website. You’ll be asked to log in with your Chase ID associated with your Sapphire Reserve card. When I tried with a different account, the link sent me to the general Ultimate Rewards page. But what if you don’t have a Sapphire Reserve for, you know, reasons? Continue reading “Differences Between The Luxury Hotel Program For Sapphire Reserve Cardholders & The One For Everyone Else”

I’ll Take “Why Did My Hotel Code As Airfare” For 5X Points, Alex

Most of the times I write posts about how to earn the most points possible for purchases, like gas or groceries, or how I saved points when booking an award ticket, like when I booked my dad and his wife on a flight to Southeast Asia using ANA miles. Occasionally I’ll write about how I have to fight to get the benefits I deserve, like when we stayed at the Waldorf=Astoria in Key West. But I’ve never been able to write about a time when I received more miles than I was expecting.

Now, this just could have been a confluence of several factors that led to my good fortune so I’m not sure how repeatable this is but if anyone else wants to give it a shot, here’s what happened.

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Should You Get The Chase Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred?

Chase offers two personal credit cards that are marketed to those who want to earn travel rewards. There’s the Sapphire Preferred, which is great for those getting into the points and miles world, offering transferrable points to both airline and hotel programs and bonus points for travel and dining expenses. The newer Sapphire Reserve is the luxury card for the Ultimate Rewards program. It has a higher annual fee but offers additional benefits than the Preferred.

When I wrote that I was considering getting rid of all my premium cards, the one that people seemed to be the most attached to was the Sapphire Reserve. They pointed out the reasons it’s worth paying the extra money over the Preferred, some of which I was aware of and some that I wasn’t.

So I decided to take a closer look at the two cards and see where they are the same and where they differ. Only then could I really know if the extra money for the Reserve is worth it.

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