Headed to the World Cup? Be Sure to Take One of These Cards Along!
If you're heading south to catch a few World Cup games this summer, you're probably scrambling to brush up on your Portuguese and find a jersey to wear to the event. But it's also important to consider which credit card you'll be carrying to Brazil -- after all, you don't want your fun to get fouled!
The Nerds have a few suggestions about which card is best to use during the World Cup festivities, as well as some other important tips for accessing cash abroad. Ready to learn more? Let's look at the details.
Best overall: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Sapphire Preferred is one of the best travel cards on the market and is a great option for a trip to the World Cup. It charges no foreign transaction fee and offers the added security of chip technology.
In terms of a signup bonus you'll Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. As far as rewards go, Sapphire Preferred has great earning power: Every time you use the card, you'll be getting 2 points per dollar spent on dining in restaurants and travel and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Generally, Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.01 apiece. However, they're worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which drives the value of each point up to 1.25 cents.
But wait! There's more! The card also provides an annual 7% dividend on all points earned, whether you've spent them or not. If you factor in this dividend and assume that you'll redeem your points for travel through Ultimate Rewards, the value of a newly earned Sapphire Preferred point is 1.34 cents. That amounts to a 2.68% rewards rate for restaurant and travel spending!
Also keep in mind that cashing in your points with Chase isn't your only option; you can also transfer them to participating frequent travel programs at a 1:1 ratio.
For these reasons and more, you're sure to score with Sapphire Preferred!
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card -- apply now on Chase's secure website
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months from account opening.
- Earn double points on travel and dining at restaurants, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases,
- There are no foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature are enabled for international travel.
- Use a 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value -- that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- Get 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer-service specialists.
- Introductory annual fee is $0 the first year, and then $95,
- High rewards rate.
- No foreign transaction fee.
- Has annual fee.
Introductory annual fee of $0 the first year; then $95.
Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Best for budget travelers: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
If you want the flexibility of booking your travel however you choose, Arrival Plus is the card for you. With this card, you'll earn 2 times the miles on every dollar you spend. Each mile is worth 2.2 cents, and you can redeem them for a statement credit for travel expenses booked with the card. This means you can scour airlines, hotels, and discount travel sites for the best deal on your trip and still use your Arrival Plus miles to pay for all or part of it.
Like Sapphire Preferred, Arrival Plus waives foreign transaction fees and comes with an embedded chip to help protect your payment data. Also, Arrival Plus carries a killer signup bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. Since Arrival Plus miles don't expire as long as your account is in good standing, you can save this hefty windfall to go to the 2018 World Cup if you want to!
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard -- apply now on Barclays' secure website
- Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days -- that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit.
- Earn double miles on all purchases.
- Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active, and in good standing.
- A chip card lends increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home.
- Book the travel you want -- airfare, hotels, cruises, and more -- and earn miles on your purchase.
- Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits.
- There are no foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country.
- Complimentary online FICO Score access is offered to Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers.
- High rewards rate.
- Has annual fee.
$89, waived first year
Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.
14.99% or 18.99% (Variable)
Best for rewards junkies: Citi ThankYou Premier Card
Chasing a soccer ball is fun, but if you're more interested in chasing rewards, the Citi ThankYou Premier Card is a great card to travel with. With this card you'll earn 3 ThankYou points for every dollar spent on entertainment and dining at restaurants, 2 ThankYou points for every dollar spent with hotels and airlines, and 1 ThankYou point for every dollar spent on other purchases. Since going to the World Cup will mean lots of spending on travel, entertainment, and dining out, using the ThankYou Premier will mean racking up lots of rewards!
Like the Sapphire Preferred and Arrival Plus, ThankYou Premier doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee and comes chip-enabled, two big pluses for traveling overseas.
Citi ThankYou Premier Card -- apply now on Citibank's secure website
- Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points. Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards.
- Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Earn an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of your second year of being a cardmember.
- Earn 3 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases on restaurants and entertainment.
- Earn 2 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases for airfare and hotels.
- Earn 1 ThankYou Point per $1 spent on other purchases.
- Points do not expire, and you can earn unlimited ThankYou Points.
- Travel with ease and enjoy chip-based technology.
- No foreign transaction fee.
- Has annual fee.
$125; fee waived for the first 12 months
Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou®Points, after required spend.
Best for last-minute travelers: Discover it
If you decided to attend the World Cup at the last minute and didn't have time to set aside the funds for the trip, Discover it is a good choice. With this card, you won't be charged interest on purchases or balance transfers for the first 14 months -- that should give you plenty of time to pay off your Brazilian adventure. Plus, you'll earn 1% cash back with every dollar you spend and 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories throughout the year.
Unlike the other cards discussed here, Discover it doesn't carry an annual fee. It also doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee and is accepted in Brazil (international acceptance is sometimes an issue with Discover).
The only drawback to Discover it is that it doesn't come chip-enabled. But that isn't a deal-breaker, because most terminals in Brazil are still magnetic-strip compatible. But just be sure to keep your guard up at all times -- credit card theft happens more easily with cards that aren't chip-enabled.
Discover it -- apply now on Discover's secure website
- No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. Pay up to midnight ET online or by phone on your due date without a fee. Plus, paying late won't raise your APR.
- Get 1% cash back on all purchases.
- Fully U.S.-based customer service is available at any time.
- Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by email, phone, or text. You are never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.
- Get a free FICO Credit Score online and on your monthly statement to help you stay on top of your credit.
- Get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. Then the variable-purchase APR applies, currently 10.99%-22.99%. A fee of 3% applies for each balance transferred.
- Click "Apply" to see rates, rewards, and free FICO Credit Score terms and other information.
- Bonus cash-back categories.
- No annual fee.
- 0% for 14 months on transfers.
- No foreign transaction fee.
5% cash-back offer ended in June, but still can earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months.
Other cards to consider
If you'd prefer to use a co-branded airline credit card, there are several good options to choose from. The following airlines provide direct flights from the U.S. to Brazil, and each also offers a credit card. Check out the links to decide whether the airline's co-branded card is right for you!
Don't forget to pack the right debit card, too
Once you've made your credit card choice, it's time to move to pick a debit card for your travels. Don't skip this step! Many vacationers rely on cash advances from their credit cards when they need actual currency, but this will cost a bundle in interest and fees. Using the right debit card will keep these charges to a minimum.
For international use, our favorite debit card issuers are:
- Capital One 360. You won't pay any foreign transaction fees with a Capital One 360 debit card, but the downside is that the bank uses the Allpoint ATM network. There aren't any Allpoint ATMs in Brazil, so you'll still get hit with a fee for using an out-of-network ATM.
- Charles Schwab. Charles Schwab waives foreign transaction fees and will reimburse you for any ATM fees incurred abroad. However, you have to have a Charles Schwab brokerage account to get a debit card.
So there you have it, sports fans. With the Nerds' suggestions, your finances will stay in good form as you watch your team go for the goal!
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