6 Best Credit Cards for Experienced Travelers

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Traveling overseas is not for the faint of heart. For most people, it requires careful planning to secure a place to stay, convert money into local currency, choose activities to do, and decide on what incredible things to eat. On the other hand, there are the few backpackers that travel where the wind takes them. Whichever group you are in, there is a credit card for your travels.

Experienced travelers know that their credit card must reward them while weighing the foreign currency fee, required minimum monthly spending, cash back caps, and annual fees. Furthermore, the credit card should come with great customer service that supplies immediate assistance if your card is lost or stolen, as well as extraordinary online banking so you don’t miss paying your bill, even while abroad. Here is our recommended list of the 6 best credit cards for seasoned travelers.

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Best Credit Card for Wine and Dining: CIMB Visa Signature Card

Rewards: This card offers 10% cash back on wine and dining and 10% on online transactions, which includes travel bookings. Monthly Rewards Cap: There is a capped maximum of S$50 per category and up to S$100 per statement. The three categories that are included in the monthly cash back cap are wine and dining, online spending, and groceries. Everything else earns 0.2% cash back with no minimum spending or monthly cap.

Foreign Currency Fee: The foreign currency fee is 3%, which is fairly average.

Minimum Spending Requirement: There is a minimum spending requirement of S$600 per month to unlock the generous earn rate.

Annual Fee: There is no annual membership fee!

Customer Service and Online Banking: The CIMB Bank has a 24-hour customer service hotline and online banking.

Best Credit Card for Travel Bookings and Transport: CIMB Platinum MasterCard

The CIMB Platinum MasterCard also offers a very high cash back earn rate, similar to the CIMB Visa Signature. The major difference is the categories that earn cash back.

Rewards: This card offers 10% cash back on travel, health, beauty, and wellness, as well as transport and petrol.

Monthly Rewards Cap: There is a capped maximum of S$50 per category and up to S$100 per statement. Everything else earns 0.2% cash back with no minimum spending or monthly cap.

Foreign Currency Fee: The foreign currency fee is 3%, which is fairly average. Minimum Spending Requirement: There is a minimum spending requirement of S$600 per month to unlock the generous earn rate.

Annual Fee: There is no annual membership fee!

Customer Service and Online Banking: The CIMB Bank has a 24-hour customer service hotline and online banking.

This is a clear situation of the need to analyze which category you spend the most on and how you spend your vacation time. If you are traveling a great distance and want to maximize the cash back on your plane tickets and hotel, both cards would fulfill this. However, if you are looking to earn cash back on taxi rides, petrol if you decide to rent a car, and medical, beauty, or spa treatments, you would definitely opt for the CIMB Platinum MasterCard. On the other hand, if you travel with the goal of exploring all the local eats and nightlife, you would want to choose the CIMB Visa Signature Card.

Best Credit Card for Weekend Trips: UOB YOLO Visa Signature Card

The UOB YOLO Visa Signature Card is best for quick weekend trips because it has different cash back earn rates on the weekends and on weekdays. Go ahead, be spontaneous!

Rewards: On the weekend, you can earn 8% cash back on dining, entertainment and Grab rides. On the weekdays, the earn rate decreases to 3%.

Monthly Rewards Cap: There is a capped maximum of S$60 per month.

Foreign Currency Fee: The foreign currency fee is 2.8%, which is slightly lower than average.

Minimum Spending Requirement: There is a minimum spending requirement of S$600 per month to unlock the generous earn rate.

Annual Fee: The annual fee is S$192.60, with the first year waived.

Customer Service and Online Banking: UOB has a 24-hour customer service hotline and online banking. Moreover, their website is extremely easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing, and allows you several options to activate your card and enable it for overseas usage.

Best Credit Card for Trips to Mainland China: BOC Zaobao UnionPay Card

The BOC Zaobao UnionPay Card is designed for trips to mainland China. Although the highest cash back earn rate is for newspaper subscriptions, this card is ideal for traveling and eating your way through China.

Rewards: This card offers 10% cash back on dining as well as 5% cash back on all purchases made in mainland China. Monthly Rewards Cap: There is a capped maximum of S$80 per month.

Foreign Currency Fee: There is a general foreign currency fee of 3%. However, for purchases made in RMB, the local currency of China, there is no foreign transaction fee! That’s 0% for using your credit card in another country!

Minimum Spending Requirement: There is a minimum spending requirement of S$600 per month before any cash rebate will be awarded.

Annual Fee: The annual fee is S$190 per annum, with the first two years waived.

Customer Service and Online Banking: BOC has a 24-hour customer service hotline. However, their website was a bit difficult to navigate and slightly confusing.

If you make frequent trips to mainland China, this is the ideal card for you. The cash back earn rate is solid, given you meet the monthly minimum spending requirement. However, what is most attractive is the 0% foreign transaction fee, which is rare for most Singaporean credit cards. Despite the less-than-modern website, the benefit of traveling to a country where your credit card’s issuing bank is located, you can always walk into a local branch if you have questions or need assistance.

Best No-Frills Cash Back Credit Card: ICBC Global Travel Platinum MasterCard

The ICBC Global Travel Platinum MasterCard is a great card to have in your wallet. It is a straightforward cash back credit card with a solid cash back earn rate and no frills.

Rewards: This card offers a flat 3% cash back on overseas spending.

Monthly Rewards Cap: It is rare to find a card with no earning cap. This is one card with no earning maximum!

Foreign Currency Fee: The foreign currency fee is 2.5%, which is slightly lower than average.

Minimum Spending Requirement: In addition to no monthly rewards cap, there is no monthly spending requirement. This card is breaking all the rules!

Annual Fee: There is an annual fee of S$150, with a 3-year fee waiver. This is also one of the longest waivers I have seen yet. Customer Service and Online Banking: You can email, visit, or call ICBC. Their website is also equipped for private and personal banking.

If you want a solid credit card with a flat earn rate and no frills, this is the card for you. I enjoy that I will not feel pressured to use my card, as there is no minimum monthly spending requirement. Although, at the same time, the more I spend, the more I can earn with 3% cash back on everything.

Best Air Miles Credit Card: BOC Elite Miles World MasterCard

Compared to a lot of travel credit cards, the BOC Elite Miles World MasterCard offers the most miles per S$1 spent, which truly sets itself apart.

Rewards: This card earns 3 miles per S$1 spent. This is extraordinary, especially when compared to Citi PremierMiles Card’s 2 miles per S$1 spent, as well as UOB PRVI Miles Card’s 2.4 miles per S$1 spent.

Monthly Rewards Cap: There is none!

Foreign Currency Fee: The foreign currency fee is 3%, which is fairly average.

Minimum Spending Requirement: There is none!

Annual Fee: The annual fee is S$190, which is waived for the first year.

Customer Service and Online Banking: Just like the BOC Zaobao UnionPay Card, BOC has a 24-hour customer service hotline. However, their website leaves something to be desired.

This credit card has fewer restrictions than most. There is no earning cap, no minimum spending requirement, and no specific payment method rules, such as the need to contactless payment in order to earn rewards. One thing to note is that the Bank of China’s website was difficult to navigate. There is not much information readily available for this card. In fact, there is no landing page about this credit card itself, even though you can still apply for it on their website.

Final Thoughts

Experienced travelers know how to make their dollar go a long way. This requires weighing any restrictions and added fees a credit card may have against the rewards. Personally, I do not prefer an annual fee, especially when you have great credit cards like the CIMB Visa Signature Card that offers 10% cash back with no annual fee!

Unfortunately, you need to spend S$600 a month to unlock that earn rate. On the other hand, the minimalist in me likes the flat cash back earn rate in the ICBC Global Travel Platinum MasterCard, where there is no monthly minimum spending requirement nor monthly cap! With those details, I think I can swallow the S$150 annual fee, especially when I have 3 years of carefree usage. Choosing which credit card is best for you will boil down to what you spend the most on, what fees you are willing to pay, and your personal preferences on restrictions. May your credit card continue to reward you at home and on your travels abroad!

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