Right before we embarked on our big trip to Europe this year, I did some research on my long time credit cards. I had a few different cards, but none of them offered the No Foreign Transaction Fee feature. That is a big deal if you plan to use the card in another country. If I used any one of my current cards, I would be charged a 3% Fee. Wasted Money! I hate wasting money!
Huntington Bank had been sending me offers for a card they had called the Voice Card. They have branches at my grocery store and in the building where I work – handy! At the time they had a sign up promotion that if I spent $500 in the first 60 days after opening I would get a 20,000 points bonus.
What this card has:
When I continued to research this card, I found that it had No Foreign Transaction Fees, No Annual Fee and a 3X Rewards Bonus Category option. The wheels began to spin. I signed up at the 45 days til go date to make sure I received the cards and got them all set up. Although I did convert some dollars to Euros, now I could use the card instead in the countries we visited that were not on the Euro.
I spent the $500 to get the 20,000 bonus points which I cashed out as a $200 Statement Credit. I saved $55 by not having Foreign Transaction Fees. And I earned a ton of additional points by paying for my Optional Excursions which hit the 3X Bonus Category of Travel. That was over a $300 savings for just this trip.
Although this isn’t one of the Big Fancy Cards, it is still a good card. I like having it and my savings fund in the same bank since it makes it easy for me to transfer money and see the balance in my checking vs the balance on my card. This is a good visual for staying on budget! Since it is a local Bank, I also get personal service at a branch any time I need it as well as the online access.
I also really like the 3X Bonus Category that I can change quarterly. I set it to Travel to book my husbands airfare and his airport shuttle for a trip in September. I also booked flights for my daughter and I for October. I took advantage of the 3X points and earned enough to apply a $50 statement credit to my account. Then I paid off the balance (ALWAYS pay off the balance). Before our trips, I get the chance to change categories and I will move the 3X Rewards to Dining. Now when we go, we can put all of our meals on the card and earn 3X the points.
What this card doesn’t Have:
- TSA Precheck/Global Entry reimbursement
- Travel Delay protection
- Rental Car Protection.
At the time, I didn’t even know those were things that I wanted. After reading a lot of articles from other travel blogs, I became more interested in those features. I researched my current cards again and none had these features. One of those cards, however, has an option to be converted to a different account type that does offer those items (without opening an entirely new account).
Since I am flying to Texas in October and will be in need of a Rental Car, I have decided to contact them to convert the account. It will mean that I go from No Annual Fee to a $95 annual Fee, but I will save a ton with the additional features. When I book my Rental Car, I will save about $11 per day on the insurance. I will get reimbursed for my $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck Application and any Travel Insurance costs for upcoming trips. For example, the Outside Travel Insurance for our European adventure was $300 total for the both of us. So lets say our annual savings would be $444 and our Annual Fee would be $95 we are still saving $349. I think this is worth switching over.
Which Type of Card is right for YOU?
Which type of card is right for you depends on what your travel needs are. A Voice card or one like it may fit your needs if your travel is closer to home and doesn’t require many car rentals. For that type of usage you wouldn’t be able to justify the $95 + Annual Fee that a big benefits card would have. But if you do much international travel, you may want to pursue one with those bigger benefits like the TSA Precheck, No Foreign Transaction Fees, Rental car Protection and Trip Delay insurance rolled into it. Then the higher Annual Fee would make more sense with the larger savings you would gain.
Times are changing and so are the benefits offered by credit card companies to us, the consumers. A card you opened 10 years ago may have been right for you at the time, but is it still? Your current cards features usually don’t evolve with the times. Take a look at your current cards and list off the benefits and expenses associated with each one. It might be the right time to get rid of a dinosaur and replace it with a card loaded with modern conveniences or see if your current card type can be transferred to one with better perks. Your card should be working for you and either saving you money or earning you great rewards. As Capital One would say, “What’s in your Wallet?”