Credit Cards

Is it worth it to get "nicer" credit card for a bigger trip out of town?

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  • May 9th, 2022 3:06 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Jan 7, 2020
8 posts
5 upvotes

Is it worth it to get "nicer" credit card for a bigger trip out of town?

I don't spend very much with the credit cards that I use. I probably average less than $1.5K a month in bills.

I'm thinking about going on a trip since COVID seems to be getting better in some places, the trip will cost about $3K. Would it be worth it to get one of the nicer credit cards (WE, Amex etc.) for the benefits and miles? I was curious since some of them offer baggage fee waivers and welcome bonuses etc. But the incentives seem so complicated to a beginner like me, almost intentionally so.

I'll probably go travelling once a year, unless COVID or something else messes things up.
10 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
2466 posts
2002 upvotes
GTA West
Not for one trip per year.

A nice card will have fees of say, $129 annually. Card benefits are carefully calibrated by the card issuers and are worth maybe $.015 per dollars spent. So in theory, you can get a value of some $270 on an annual spend of $18,000. Based on that, your net benefit may be about around $140. BUT many people find it hard to realize those benefits, since you may get it in points that you can't easily use, need to accumulate for years, or can only apply to one airline. And as you say, the card terms and conditions can get very complicated.

I would just get a no-fee cashback card like Rogers World Elite that gives you 1.5% if you have the income needed to qualify, and returns $270 on an $18,000 spend that you can spend immediately. That is a bird in the hand, not a benefit in the bush that you may not be able to use. Or the Costco no fee CIBC card that is much easier to qualify for, and will give you 1%, if you are already a Costco member.

But you will get lots of contrary opinions here - cards are very addictive. If you really want to play, use a site like GreedyRates to compare options.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 16, 2008
9335 posts
3705 upvotes
Maple
^^^ true ^^^

We have TD First Class Travel visa, annual is $120 (as staff we pay 50%), spend $20k/year. It takes few years (4) to accumulate $2000. It’s not every year, unless spend $50k per year, travel domestic.

Because of discount, otherwise we get no fee CC with gas discount (we have as 2nd CC).
I hate to speculate. I hate to forecast. I am just proactive.
Deal Addict
Dec 22, 2007
1277 posts
902 upvotes
Mississauga
RWL94705 wrote: I don't spend very much with the credit cards that I use. I probably average less than $1.5K a month in bills.

I'm thinking about going on a trip since COVID seems to be getting better in some places, the trip will cost about $3K. Would it be worth it to get one of the nicer credit cards (WE, Amex etc.) for the benefits and miles? I was curious since some of them offer baggage fee waivers and welcome bonuses etc. But the incentives seem so complicated to a beginner like me, almost intentionally so.

I'll probably go travelling once a year, unless COVID or something else messes things up.
if your traveling outside the country look into cards that have 0% fx ... its like a 2.5% reward there when you spend foreign currency. the two I know of are brim and home trust.

there maybe cards that even with your spend make sense like a lot of mostly bills and grocery Scotia momentum may be a good one.

guess think longer term then the benefit of one trip a year

some may have insurance for 0 fees not sure which but worth checking out

also its ok to have more than one credit card and use them for specific needs
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 7, 2020
8 posts
5 upvotes
Thanks for your reply along with everyone else's. Travel fees and whatnot rack up so quickly so that's why I was curious. But as one person mentioned, it might make sense to get a 0 fx fee card, so I'll look into that
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 4, 2011
5071 posts
6279 upvotes
Montreal
It's definitely worth getting at least one (if not multiple) credit card with a sign-up bonus. For example, the TD FCT Visa Infinite is currently free for the first year, and you get points (that you can cash out for $500) after spending $1,500. Even if you cancel the card after the first year, you just saved $500 of the cost of your trip. Get two cards, and you save $1,000. As for cards to use abroad, the HSBC World Elite MC is a good card to use; there are others as well that also don't charge f/x fees.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 14, 2003
5204 posts
3544 upvotes
LaLaLand
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite might work for you,
Get a total of up to 35,000 Aventura Points (up to $800 in travel value†) during your first year:
  • 20,000 Aventura Points when you make your first purchase†
  • 15,000 Aventura Points when you spend $1,000 each monthly statement or more during the first year†
  • Get a one-time annual fee rebate ($139) for you (the primary cardholder) and up to three authorized users ($50 each): over $189 value†
  • Enjoy a Priority Pass Membership and 4 complimentary visits per year at 1,300+ airport lounges7: over $200 value7
  • Plus, get a NEXUS◊ Application Fee rebate†: a $50 value†
https://www.cibc.com/en/personal-bankin ... -card.html
Deal Expert
Oct 27, 2003
15657 posts
6142 upvotes
Toronto
In terms of no FX fee credit cards, it's not always easy to get approved for Brim. But WealthSimple Cash and Wise VISA are two prepaid VISA cards with low / minimal FX fees.
Member
Jul 17, 2018
289 posts
153 upvotes
Are you ok with cancelling a card after the first year? A lot of cards have first year fee waivers. Depending whether your flight requires you to pay for luggage, if you fly Air Canada or Westjet and get the associated credit cards you can get free checked baggage. Regardless, you will 100% come out ahead.

No FX card is good (but keep in mind that some locations are more cash based and you might not be spending big overseas).

In terms of rewards being complicated, most allow you to do something like statement credits (it's usually not considered the best redemption option but it's there). Westjet and Scotia Scene points, for example, are easy to figure out.
Sr. Member
Apr 16, 2015
747 posts
1008 upvotes
It's complicated if you try to figure out a bunch of programs, so you should probably stick to one. If you fly on Air Canada, it definitely worth getting to know the aeroplan program. They have several cards through TD/CIBC/Amex that offer a free 1st checked bag for you and up to 8 companions on air canada. This is on their mid-level cards which have an annual fee of about $139, but TD and CIBC offer the first year free along with a good sign-up bonus. Even if you are new to this, you can collect the bonus and figure out how to use it for a future trip. You can also get TD for one year free, then cancel it and get CIBC free for the next year, and then probably repeat the process.
Sr. Member
Oct 15, 2009
500 posts
210 upvotes
Winnipeg
Similar to above, we have the Westjet world elite mastercard as a secondary card just for the bonuses. Even just traveling once a year saves us $240 per trip because of the free baggage, plus if we can get some savings for the companion voucher.

It is also popular for churning as they have good welcome bonuses ($450 right now I think). Lots of people sign up in advance of the trip to get the welcome bonus and then cancel after. It's also nice that you don't have to pay for anything with the card to get the perks.

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