When I used to work at a ski rental shop in Breckenridge, Colorado, I witnessed numerous situations where international (and even out-of-state) customers had their credit cards declined. It wasn’t because they had low credit limits or were spending too much. The reason was simple: they had failed to inform their card issuers about their travel plans.
Ever since then, whenever I travel abroad, I make it a point to set up a travel notice on my credit card beforehand. It’s a small step that can make a big difference in ensuring a hassle-free travel experience. If you’re like me and have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) card, you can easily set up a Chase travel notice. But remember, this can be done with most major credit or debit cards. Here’s a guide on how to do it.
- Understanding the Importance of a Credit Card Travel Notice
- How to Set Up Travel Notices for Major Credit Card Issuers
- 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Travel Credit Card
Understanding the Importance of a Credit Card Travel Notice
For security purposes, credit card issuers keep a close eye on your spending activity. If they notice any suspicious transactions, such as a large purchase or one from an unfamiliar location, they may decline the transaction. This is especially true in countries where fraud is more prevalent. Therefore, it’s generally advisable to notify your credit card company when you’re traveling, particularly internationally.
By informing your credit card issuer about your travel plans, you can significantly reduce the chances of your transactions being declined at the checkout counter. Trust me, dealing with declined transactions and having to call your card issuer to verify your purchases is not a fun experience. Although it’s still possible for a transaction to be declined even after setting a travel notice, it’s much less likely to happen.
How to Set Up Travel Notices for Major Credit Card Issuers
Setting up a travel notice is a simple process that can usually be done online. While you could call your card issuer, doing it online is generally quicker and more convenient. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up travel notices with eight different credit card issuers.
Chase Travel Notice
Chase cards are a popular choice among globetrotters due to the company’s abundant travel perks and its partnership with the widely accepted Visa network. To set up a Chase travel notice, log in to your account and select the credit card you intend to use. Look for the “Things you can do” dropdown menu on the right side of the screen, and choose the “Travel notification” option. This will take you to your “Profile & Settings” page, where you can create a travel alert.
Alternatively, if you’re already outside the country, you can call Chase collect at 1-302-594-8200 to inform them of your travel plans.
Setting up a travel notice with the Chase mobile app
If you prefer to use the Chase mobile app, log in and tap on the profile icon (usually appearing as the outline of a person). From there, select “My settings” and choose “Travel” within the settings menu. Tap on “Update” for any credit or debit card products you’ll be using during your trip. You’ll have the opportunity to enter your trip details, which can be edited later. Saving this information will successfully set up a travel notice.
Our favorite Chase travel card: While there are many adventure-ready Chase credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is highly recommended for new travelers. Not only does it earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel, but it also offers a fantastic introductory bonus: 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Additionally, you’ll earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides and travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The points you earn can be transferred to various airline and hotel loyalty programs. The Sapphire Preferred card has a $95 annual fee.
American Express Travel Notice
Surprisingly, you actually can’t create an Amex travel notice. According to Amex, their “industry-leading fraud detection capabilities” allow them to recognize when you’re on the road, eliminating the need for a separate travel notification. However, it is recommended that you update your contact information and download the Amex app for easy account management while traveling.
Keep in mind that American Express cards are not as widely accepted globally compared to Visa or Mastercard. If you frequently travel internationally, it’s advisable to consider a card with a Visa or Mastercard logo.
Our favorite American Express travel card: The Platinum Card® from American Express, despite its $695 annual fee, offers an array of travel perks. These include extensive airport lounge access, 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on eligible flights and hotels (starting 1/1/21, up to $500,000 spent per calendar year), and up to $200 in annual Uber credits. The card also provides a generous introductory bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months. Apply and choose your preferred card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
Capital One Travel Notice
Similar to Amex, Capital One credit cards no longer require a travel notice. The issuer’s chip cards provide enhanced security, and their $0 fraud liability policy ensures that you are covered in case of any suspicious activity. So, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t have to set up a travel notice with Capital One.
Our favorite Capital One travel card: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent and easy-to-use travel rewards card, offering 2X Venture miles per dollar spent on everything. Plus, there’s a fantastic introductory bonus of 60,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. The card has a $95 annual fee.
Bank of America Travel Notice
Setting up a travel notice with Bank of America is a breeze. Simply log in to your account and look for the “Help & Support” section at the top right corner. Hover over it, and a drop-down menu will appear. Click on “Set Travel Notice” and proceed to enter your travel dates, destinations, and any additional details such as layovers. Bank of America allows you to set travel notices up to 60 days in advance, and they can last for up to 90 days. If your travels extend beyond 90 days, make sure to adjust your travel notice accordingly.
Our favorite Bank of America travel credit card: If you prefer a card without an annual fee, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card might be a good fit. It offers 3X points per dollar at the Bank of America travel center and 1.5X points on all other purchases. After spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, you’ll earn 25,000 points, which can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit towards travel purchases.
Citi Travel Notice
To set up a travel notice with your Citi credit card, start by logging in to your account. Locate the “Services” button in the menu and select “Travel Services.” From there, choose “Manage Travel Notices” and select the card for which you want to set a notice. Unlike some other issuers, Citi requires you to set a separate notice for each card you plan to use while traveling.
Citi also recommends verifying your contact information before traveling and downloading the Citi Mobile App for easier account monitoring. Once you’ve filled out your destination, dates, and verified your information, you’re good to go!
Our favorite Citi travel credit card: The Citi Premier® Card offers an attractive 3X ThankYou points per dollar on air travel, gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels. There’s currently no introductory bonus, and the card comes with a $95 annual fee.
Discover Travel Notice
While Discover credit cards may not be as widely accepted internationally as Visa or Mastercard, it’s still important to set up a travel notice if you plan to use your Discover card overseas. You can easily do this through your online account. Simply select “Manage” at the top of your screen and click on “Manage Cards” followed by “Register Travel.” Fill in the required details and save your changes. This will set up a travel notice for your Discover card.
Our favorite Discover travel card: If you prefer a card with no annual fee, the Discover it® Miles is a solid choice. You’ll earn 1.5X miles per dollar spent on all purchases, and at the end of your first cardholder year, your miles will be doubled.
PNC Travel Notice
PNC highly recommends setting up a travel notice for your PNC credit or debit card. Sudden activity such as using your card in foreign locations can trigger fraud alerts. To notify PNC about your travel plans, you can either call the customer service line at 1-888-PNC-BANK or set up a travel notice online. Start by logging into your account and selecting “Customer Service” followed by “Account Services” and “Debit/ATM Card Services.” From there, choose “Edit/View Preferences” and look for the option to “Notify PNC of Foreign Travel.” Fill in your travel dates, destinations, and phone number, and you’ll be good to go.
Recommended PNC travel credit card: The PNC Premier Traveler® Visa Signature® card is a suitable option for PNC loyalists. It offers a 30,000-mile introductory bonus when you spend $3,000 within your first three billing cycles, with 2X miles per dollar spent on all purchases. The card has an $85 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.
Wells Fargo Travel Notice
To inform Wells Fargo about your travel plans, you have several options. You can call the number on the back of your card, use the Wells Fargo mobile app, or log in to your online account. If you choose the online method, hover over the “Accounts” dropdown menu and click on “Manage Cards,” then select “Manage Travel Plans.” Enter your travel details, including dates and destinations, and submit your request.
Recommended Wells Fargo travel credit card: Unfortunately, Wells Fargo does not currently offer any travel-specific credit cards.
4 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Travel Credit Card
If you’re considering adding a new travel rewards credit card to your wallet, here are four essential factors to keep in mind:
Foreign transaction fees: Some credit cards charge a 3% fee for making purchases in a foreign currency. If you plan to travel abroad, ensure that your chosen card has no foreign transaction fees.
Annual fees: Many top-tier travel rewards credit cards come with significant annual fees. However, don’t be deterred by the fee alone. Look for cards that offer credits or benefits that offset the annual fee. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a $550 annual fee, but it provides a $300 annual travel credit that can be applied to flights, car rentals, and even Lyft rides.
Rewards and perks: One of the most enticing features of a travel credit card is the opportunity to earn points and miles that can be redeemed for free travel. Consider the introductory bonus and earning potential of the card. Additionally, take note of the travel perks offered, such as airport lounge access and travel insurance coverage.
Loyalty programs: If you have a preferred hotel chain or airline, consider co-branded credit cards that offer additional rewards when you spend money with those brands. For hotels, examples include the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card, and The World of Hyatt Credit Card. For airlines, options include the United℠ Explorer Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.
Remember to set a travel notice on your credit card before embarking on your next adventure. With that taken care of, you can truly enjoy your vacation without any worries!
Insider tip: You don’t have to limit yourself to “travel credit cards” if you want to use your credit card while traveling. As long as you set up a travel notice, you can use any card you prefer. Just in case, here are links to the best cash back, balance transfer, and 0% intro APR credit cards.