If you're addicted to traveling like I am, you probably make sure you carry a Visa and a Mastercard where ever you go (you'd be surprised how many places overseas don't accept Mastercard). This might be great especially if you head down to the United States often and go cross border shopping at the outlets, buying gas, or just shopping and sight seeing.
Currency conversion fees are 2.5% of your purchase, on top of the possibly mediocre currency conversion rate you have to pay. This can really add up if you're traveling on a budget.
There are a few new credit cards on the block that don't have the currency conversion fees so may save you some money on your next trip abroad. All of these cards are provided from JP Morgan Chase Bank.
- It's from Chase Bank and the card is a pretty shade of green
- You get $15 off your next purchase on Amazon.ca. That means you can get a good discount off of Fifty Shades of Grey! Haha
- No annual fee
- Rewards points 2 points for $1 spent that is spent on Amazon.ca (2% cash back)
- 1 Reward point for every $1 spent elsewhere (1% cash back)
- You automatically get a statement credit once you hit the magic number of points for $20 cash back
- Note that the 2 rewards points are for Amazon.ca not Amazon.com. There's nothing to buy on Amazon.ca except for books! Unless you plan on buying an entire library full of Lonely Planet Amazon.ca acquired books (which is a personal dream of mine, by the way), the ability to get more points is probably not that great.
Marriott Rewards Premier Visa
- You get 30,000 bonus points on your first purchase
- You get one free hotel stay in a category 1-4 after your card is approved
- 5 points for every $1 purchase at Marriotts
- 2 points for every $1 for travel and leisure related purchases (airlines, car rentals, restaurants)
- 1 point for every $1 spent for everything else
- Annual fee is waived the first year
- Annual gift for a category 1-5 Marriott hotel stay on your anniversary date
- Free extra cards for family etc.
- No foreign conversion fees (the conversion rate is set by Visa International so it's standard)
- Auto rental collision waiver is included
- It has an annual fee of $120 after the first year of use
- The design on the card isn't as sexy as my first love, the American Express SPG Card, which isn't very good for a hotel chain credit card 😉
Sears Financial Voyage Mastercard
- 2500 Sears Club Points awarded on your first purchase
- You get 3 points for every $1 spent on Sears Travel
- 2 points for every $1 spent at Sears (appliances, anyone?)
- 1.5 points for every $1 on groceries, gas, and travel other than Sears travel
- 1 point for every $1 on everything else
- Using the points to pay for Sears Travel, the taxes and other fees are all included
- Free additional cards
- Free car rental insurance
- No foreign currency conversion charge of course
- Annual fee of $39
- It's not cash back and you're limited to stuff from Sears (which is great if you want to buy more appliances or furniture of course!)
If the Amazon.ca card allowed points to be accumulated for Amazon.com purchases, I would probably definitely get that card especially since there's no annual fee. If you think about it though, it can be a pretty good deal since if you spend $1000 in the United States (which is pretty easy to do if you buy big ticket items to pick up over the border), or buy plane tickets or bus tickets when you go to Europe, that's a $25 savings. The Sears Financial Voyage Mastercard basically pays for itself in a sense.
I personally don't do enough cross border shopping to make getting yet another credit card justifiable, but I will definitely think about it. I've been a bit burned because I got a debit card through Citizens Bank (a credit union) in the past that had no currency conversion fees and did not charge you the foreign ATM fee ($5) every time I withdrew money. I loved the card but it was short lived because the bank shut the program down lol.
For more information on Canadian credit cards be sure to drop by HowToSaveMoney.ca and compare the current best offers for the Canadian market.
Readers, do you have one of these cards? What do you think about them?