I recently got the following email from Citi, which stated that my Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature credit card could be upgraded, for free, to a credit card with a chip. This is a feature that makes this card more valuable as a backup, but not primary credit card for foreign purchases.
I’ll explain below why this is a good idea, but sill not a great deal, overall, for earning American Airlines AAdvantage miles.
- Most cards with chips, like the American Express Platinum or the Chase British Airways Visa, waive the foreign transaction fee – this card does not. That means you are paying 2-4% extra on purchases out of the United States, which can add up over the course of a regular vacation. For example, a $250 a night hotel room now costs $257 with a forex fee of 3%. $7 isn’t too much, but remember with hotel and tourist taxes, a $250 room could end up costing $300, or $309 with the fee included. A week’s vacation could end up costing you an additional $60. Remember, that’s just on one hotel room – add another room for kids/family, restaurants, shopping, and activities and pretty soon you have spent hundreds of dollars extra on junk fees. Therefore, do not use this card as your primary card when overseas.
- Let’s say you are in Italy and your wallet is stolen or lost, but you have hidden this card elsewhere on your person or in your bag as a security precaution. Let’s add the fact that you are far away from where you are staying the night and need to buy a train ticket home. Last, it’s late at night, so ticket counters are closed. Easy enough to buy a ticket anyway, right? Nope. Lots of European ticket machines do not accept credit or debit cards without chips in them – which means, normally, you would be homeless for the night. That’s where this card can be a savior. What’s 2-4% extra compared to sleeping on the street?
- The chip and signature on this card is actually a better and safer deal for you than a true European credit card, which features chip and pin technology. Basically, for purchases you enter a special code, like a debit card, for a chip and pin credit card when swiped. This makes you liable for all purchases, since theoretically you, and only you, know the secret code. This makes disputing charges harder than with a regular credit card. Chip and signature, conversely, offers the same purchase protections as a regular American credit card, as there is no secret code.
Overall, this is not a main reason to apply for this credit card. The main reasons to get the card are below:
- Free checked bags for you and four passengers on the same ticket,
- American Airlines AAdvantage miles offered as a signup bonus – the offer varies from 30-50k miles depending on where you apply (bank, online link, etc)
- 10% back on miles redeemed for award flights (up to 10,000 miles yearly)
- Group 1 boarding privileges
- Double AAdvantage miles on American Airlines purchases
Still, it’s another card with a chip, so carry it with you overseas if you need to. Just don’t use it unless you must.
P.S When I actually get this card in the mail, which should be in the next 4-5 days, I will add a picture so you can see what a credit card with chip looks like!