Best Credit Card for Travel

Usually when you use your credit card overseas, you are going to get hit with a fee for using it in foreign currency, on top of the currency conversion. When paying for shows, meals, hotels and transport etc these fees will start to add up.

I’ve been researching which is the best credit card and I concluded that the 28 Degrees platinum card is the best for me. I looked at lots of aggregation sites and my main criteria was that it had a zero dollar fee for conversion, and I didn’t have to pay an annual fee. As a bonus, it also works with Apple Pay, something that frustratingly my main bank does not offer.

Some cards may have lower rates, earn points, have free cash withdrawal or include insurance. Since I always pay the card off monthly, don’t take cash advances and purchase a seperate policy (I don’t trust those credit card insurance policies anyway), none of that mattered.

From one of the many comparison sites :-

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So I applied for and received the card. Until you use it, you really won’t know if it was worthwhile. I was concerned that since they were offering it “fee free” maybe they would use a less favourable exchange rate. The only way to confirm was to test it and compare it to my other cards.

For my next trip, I need to purchase three Heathrow Express tickets (more on the Heathrow Express later – its Awesome), and if you purchase them well enough in advance you can get them for £5.50 (weekend trip). This was the perfect chance to purchase them all on different cards at the same time to check. Since exchange rates are always moving during global business hours, I waited until a Saturday night when rates will likely be at their worst possible and not moving.

I purchased one with the 28 Degree card, one with my Westpac Mastercard, and one with my American Express card. With the tickets purchased, it was a matter of waiting a few days till the transactions appeared on all my accounts.

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The results came in and the 28Degree card is a real winner. As I mentioned above I expected to get a really bad exchange rate consider they didn’t charge any fees. They actually gave me the best rate.

The actual Australian dollar costs for the £5.50 charge :-

  • Amex = $10.13        (less the 30 cent fee, Rate of 0.5595)
  • Westpac = $10.10   (less the 29 cent fee, Rate of 0.5606)
  • 28Degree = $9.71   (no fee, Rate of 0.5664)

This was only a small charge, but the savings could be significant, since that fee is 3% of the transaction value. If you spent $10,000, you would save $300 just on the fees alone.