No matter where we roam, we all have many of the same financial issues to manage: Using the right credit card; insuring our health and adventures; moving money around efficiently; and making banking as simple as possible when we’re on the go.
This is a curated list of the best ways I’ve found to accomplish all of those tasks in the most-cost-effective manner…
How To Choose the Best Travel Credit Cards
How To Avoid Getting Screwed With Currency Exchange
How To Buy Travel Medical Insurance
Virtual Banks: A Bank Branch In Your Back Pocket
Money Transfer Apps: How to Move Money Globally
The Best Roamad Credit Cards
Though seemingly a gazillion travel-related credit cards exist, Digital Roamads have specific needs the vast majority of credit cards don’t meet. For a better understanding of those needs, take a look at this report. Otherwise, these are the cards I’ve found to be the best because of the collection of benefits they offer. All, by the way, offer a business-card version – and if you’re a Digital Roamad, a business card is essential.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Best all-around, low-cost credit card for Roamads. Offers trip cancellation/interruption and trip delay reimbursement; lost luggage insurance and baggage delay reimbursement; auto rental collision damage waiver; $0 foreign transaction fee; and more. All for $95 a year.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
One of the best Roamadic credit cards available today – albeit at a cost. Same benefits as Sapphire Preferred, but adds: $100 Global Entry / TSA PreCheck statement credit every four years; $300 annual travel credit; emergency medical, dental, and evacuation coverage; complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge access; roadside assistance; and more. You pay $550 annually, so this card is not cheap. But if you’re truly Roamadic, the benefits pay for themselves.
United MileagePlus Explorer
The best airline-specific credit card. Same benefits as Chase Sapphire Preferred, but adds: $100 Global Entry / TSA PreCheck statement credit; a wide-variety of United Airlines benefits (priority boarding, free checked baggage, 2 United Club annual passes, etc.); and benefits from Luxury Hotel Resorts Collection. Annual fee: $95.
No other airline-specific credit card is this complete.
United CLub Infinite
Same benefits as Chase Sapphire Reserve, along with the same United Airlines benefits as the MileagePlus card, but adds: United Club access (which also typically provides access to Star Alliance partner lounges); Premier Access travel services to ease your path through check-in and security screening; two checked bags for free; Membership in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle. The annual fee is $525, but club membership alone is $650 a year, so for United fans who travel a great deal, particularly internationally, this is a top-notch card.
American Express Platinum
A near-equal to Chase Sapphire Reserve. The list of benefits is long and particularly useful for anyone who travels often: $200 annual airline fee credit; $100/$85 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application; trip cancellation/interruption insurance; lost-baggage insurance; global lounge access, including AmEx’s own high-end Centurion Lounges; elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton; auto rental loss/damage insurance. The annual price is steep at $550, but for frequent Roamads, this card pays for itself. Its one, slight weakness is the absence of baggage-delay reimbursement.
American Express Delta Skymiles Platinum
Similar to the AmEx Platinum card, but with caveats: $100/$85 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck; trip delay reimbursement (no interruption/cancellation coverage); auto rental loss/damage insurance; lost-baggage insurance; $0 foreign transaction fee; first checked bag free; one annual companion certificate for domestic travel; various Delta Air Lines perks. The annual price is $250. A good card if you’re a Delta/SkyTeam Alliance fan.
American Express Delta Skymiles Reserve
All the benefits of the American Express Platinum card, and all the same benefits of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card, plus: Delta Sky Club and AmEx Centurion Lounge access; upgrade priority as Delta Medallion member, or access to complimentary upgrades if not a Medallion member; a variety of other Delta-specific benefits. The annual price is steep at $550, but you get all the benefits of the AmEx Platinum card, plus all the Delta benefits, making this a great card for the Roamad Delta/SkyTeam Alliance fan.
The Best Roamad Travel Insurance
As a Digital Roamad, travel medical insurance is critical. A bad wave, a TukTuk accident, sprains and breaks while jogging or stepping off a curb, the common cold and the flu and other mad microbes that invade the body. Travel medical coverage is quite inexpensive, if traveling outside the U.S. While many travel-medical insurers exist, I rely on three that I think are quite good in terms of coverage and customer service.
Allianz Global Assistance
The Best Roamad Money Transfer
Moving money around efficiently and cost-effectively is paramount when you’re a Roamad. Lots of options exist, but through trial and error and lots of personal experiments with the various methods, I will tell you that these are the only two I use because of cost and quickness. And take a look at this report so that you don’t get ripped off when exchanging currencies.
The fastest, cheapest, and efficient way to transfer money from here to there. The primary money-transfer app I use.
Every Roamad needs a backup money transfer app, just in case your primary app is down for whatever reason. OFX is mine.
The Best Roamad Virtual BankS
When you’re a Digital Roamad moving around frequently outside your home country, a bank branch in your back pocket offers a convenient way to manage financial obligations on the road and back home. Revolut and N26 are the best at that. Read more about it here.