Credit cards & Foreign transactions

Though United States has a lot to offer about points and miles redemption, Canada has also some fidelity programs and points & miles strategies from credit cards to help reduce the traveling expenses. Whether its concerning hôtels, Airbnb, flights, trains… would anybody be interested to share their experiences. I do ! :slight_smile:

We have a BMO World Elite Mastercard that we use for almost everything we buy. We accumulate points and use them to buy flights. There are no airline limitations or blackout periods and you can use them to cover as much or as little of the flight costs as you want, including taxes.

Our card also include travel insurance, medical insurance, CDW for international car rentals, and 4 first class lounge passes.

There is a yearly fee, and we bump it up to get 31 days insurance coverage instead of 21 days. (And we pay extra for any days over 31).

It’s been working well for us so far. We got tired of trying to find good deals through sky scanner etc.


It is a bit disheartening to see the credit card bonuses offered in the US, isn’t it? We wanted a card that had no foreign transaction fees and there are very few options in Canada (3 last I looked). The one that we used to have (a Chase Marriot) pulled out of Canada. We now use the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite so there are no further fees on top of the normal currency exchange. It does have a points-back system where the points are convertible to $ credits. What I discovered, though, is that if you use the points against travel costs (AirBnB, flights, trains, buses, rental cars, hotels, etc.), the value of the points is significantly higher than if you just request a credit against your statement. (I just checked and they are having a very good promo right now, including no fee in the first year and loads of points, so might be worth checking out if you are in the market.)

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Yeah mine is 2.5% on foreign transactions. I’m not super aware of what credit card companies offer in other countries, so I haven’t looked to compare.

You are right. I opted for the HSBC card for the wave of that 2.5% conversion. Here is a good article that explains different ways to save while travelling.

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Thanks, I’m gonna check that out. That being said, it needs to balance out with the savings that I do get from my credit card. $750-1000 towards flights each year, travel insurance, medical insurance, car insurance etc. Would love a card that had everything that my card has, plus no transaction fees.

ETA: is this yours? Looks like it’s a good option!

I am also into Marriott program. Their credit card costs 120$/year and gives 1 night free each year upon renewal. Their bonus at subscription after putting 3000$ in six months gives us, I think a minimum of 65 K points. And when you pay by points the 5th night is free. So I often look to use these points in low season, catégories 1-3 for example in Asia, Africa or Spain. My stay in South Africa depended totally on those points for 14 days. You can take a look at the Marriott world map under “Redeem” section.

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Mine is the HSBC WE. I find it has everything . You can judge by yourself

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Thank you!

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Following on from the post about phones and sim cards while traveling, I’d like to open a conversation about how best to handle money. Our main bank account is in Canada but we have another here in the UK (surprisingly easy to open) that we top up from our Canadian account via TransferWise.
We’re planning to be in Europe (and possibly non-schengen countries - thanks @creaturecuddler!) and would like to hear how others manage their money in countries where they don’t have a bank account.
Any takers?

I only have my US accounts and transferwise, which I get my income deposited to before moving it to my US account. But, the US tends to have better fees on their banking than other countries. I use a credit card 90% of the time and only really use cash when I’m in countries where credit cards aren’t the norm. But all my accounts are 0 fees for international purchase and ATM withdrawals. I think opening up multiple accounts in various countries seems unnecessarily complicated so I would focus on finding banks in your home country that have better international options.

Transferwise also offers a card so that might be an option vs opening more accounts.


With you on this@CreatureCuddler. We’ve used Wise (formerly Transferwise) for several years now and really like the ease with which we can transfer money (at very low exchange rates as you say) and we’ve now got a debit card. We’ve looked at other options but still this comes out tops for us. Would highly recommend.


I would dearly love to use their debit card but Canadians can’t and TW won’t allow me to change my location to the UK now that I’ve been verified :frowning_face:

@Myhnabird I didn’t know that. Maybe the debit card is a country by country agreement. That’s a shame :frowning:

I think I may give TW a bell and plead my case. We spend half our year here (UK) after all…


Perhaps just open a new wise acct in the UK?

IIRC (it was several years ago) I had to prove my address with a drivers licence or utility bills or something. Until we commit to settling here, we won’t have any of that.

Apparently TW accepts bank statements! I’ve uploaded the latest to their site and am now waiting for the 3 days to see if it’s accepted. Will probably have more questions once I get the card.
Thanks all!


One of my favorite topics. Money.
I have several cards that have no exchange fees. One in particular with Charles Schwab is strictly dedicated to the transfer and withdrawal of cash in foreign countries and no fees, no minimums etc. Super easy at most any ATM machine.
I also use credit cards that offer miles/points and rewards that benefit the travelers lifestyle.

I will be establishing offshore banking in the near future.


Yes, I’ve heard several times that Charles Schwab is the card to have if one is traveling. Pity there’s not something like it in Canada…