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Things are heating up in the Southern Hemisphere as the World Cup gets ready to kick off in Brazil; TPG reader Justin emailed me with a question about his upcoming trip to Rio:
“I’m soon off to Brazil for the World Cup, and I’m thinking of getting a new card specifically for the trip. I currently only have a Starwood Business Amex, which I use for domestic business travel and points, and as you know, the foreign fees are quite high. I’m looking for the best foreign travel card with no fees, easy cash access and great fraud protection at ATMs. Do you have any recommendations?”
For foreign travel, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus is a no-brainer. In addition to no foreign transaction fees, it has Chip and PIN capability, making it easy to use train ticket kiosks and other machines that require this technology. It comes with a bonus of 40,000 Arrival Plus points (after a spend of $3,000 in the first three months) that can be redeemed for travel at 1 cent apiece with a 10% rebate, resulting in a cash value of about $440.
I also never leave home without my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, as in addition to no foreign transaction fees and Chip and Signature capability, it earns double Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all travel and dining – and I can assure you, you’ll want to be dining out a lot in Brazil! The card also earns a 7% bonus at the end of the year, meaning you essentially earn 2.14 valuable Chase points per dollar spent.
But don’t use either to get cash from an ATM! I always use my Chase debit card to get cash from foreign ATMs because the fee is relatively low and the exchange rates are cheaper than what you’d get from an exchange bureau. Here’s a post on minimizing your fees when withdrawing cash abroad.