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I’m currently a senior in college, and I wanted to make my last spring break a memorable one before entering the real world, so I decided to plan a trip to Europe. Despite having more credit cards than your average college student, I found myself in a predicament: I didn’t have a single card I’d be able to consistently rely on overseas.

My American Express® Gold Card (See rates & fees) and Discover it® Cash Back both have no foreign-transaction fees, but neither are widely accepted in Europe. My two Chase cards, the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited, would have charged me a 3% foreign-transaction fee per purchase. Using either of these cards would have incurred hundreds of dollars in fees over the course of my trip.

With just two weeks before my trip, I thought the next best option might have to be using a combination of my debit card and cash, but I winced in pain at the thought of not receiving any sort of points, miles or cash back by spending the money I had saved for my 11 days in Europe.

Enter the Uber Visa Card

Finally, it occurred to me that I should consider using a different credit card altogether, one that I didn’t even have yet. I was already over the Chase 5/24 rule, and I decided to consider options that would give me a little extra cash for my trip, instead of valuable miles or points that I would end up sitting on for a while.

I knew off the top of my head that the Uber Visa has particularly good cash-back categories: 4% back on dining (including restaurants and bars, which I knew would comprise the majority of my day-to-day spending), 3% back on airfare and hotels, 2% back on online purchases and 1% back on everything else. The card also has no foreign-transaction fees, and no annual fee — so I wouldn’t have to worry about canceling the card to avoid an annual fee (as I didn’t plan on using it much back home in the US).

Get 3% back on dining with the Uber Visa card. (Photo by Rishabh Varshney/Unsplash)
You’ll get 4% back on dining (which includes both restaurants and bars) with the Uber Visa card. (Photo by Rishabh Varshney/Unsplash)

 

Sweetening the deal, the card had a sign-up bonus of $100 after I spent $500 in the first 90 days of account opening. I knew I would be able to hit that target during my trip, and combined with my cash-back earning I earned almost $150 toward the cost of my trip just by spending money I was prepared to spend on a debit card.

The Uber Visa is a little more difficult to get approved for as a college student without significant income, but I was lucky enough to be approved, and those with at least 6 months of credit history generally shouldn’t have too hard of a time. I received the card in the mail within a week, just in time for my trip.

Some might ask why I didn’t go for a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve, both of which have no foreign-transaction fees and are generally regarded as more valuable options than cards like the Uber Visa. While I was already over Chase’s 5/24 rule so I wasn’t eligible anyway, having cash back after a big trip can also be a more attractive option than a applying for a card with an annual fee and a harder-to-meet sign-up bonus. But if you find yourself in a similar situation and are prepared to pay more out of pocket, you could definitely consider the Preferred or the Reserve — they earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points with bonuses on travel and dining, and neither charges foreign-transaction fees.

Bottom Line

The Uber Visa was the perfect card to use for my trip abroad. Even without the $100 sign-up bonus, the card offers strong cash-back earning rates and is accepted at just about every merchant in the world that takes credit cards. The cash back, which you earn immediately and in the form of points, was easy to redeem and provided a much-appreciated statement credit at the end of my trip.

It’s rare to find a card with such good cash back and no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, and I’d recommend the Uber Visa to college students and really anyone else who needs a reliable credit card option when they go abroad.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.

Know before you go.

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2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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