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More readers play the no-transaction-fee card came

Also: Ft. Ord memories. Plane-emptying etiquette.

November 03, 2013

Mark Boster, photographer, deserves much praise for the lead photo on the Travel section cover with the story "Talk About Color" [Oct. 27], in which flamingos are reflected in the water where orange koi are also swimming. The orange, green, and black colors, with the huge flamingos seeming to melt into the water, make a great pre-Halloween image.

Thank you, Mark Boster, thank you L.A. Times.

Cherie Rouse

Loma Linda

Regarding Catharine Hamm's Oct. 27 More for Your Money column, "Playing Your Credit Cards Right":

We were scheduled to depart for a 22-day trip to England and France on Monday, Sept. 23. On Friday, Sept. 20, the U.S. Postal Service delivered an invitation to accept a Chase Sapphire credit card with no foreign transaction fee. We phoned immediately, explained our imminent departure and requested approval and expedited handling. The card was couriered to our door Sept. 21.

While abroad we used this card at Three Chimneys restaurant in Kent, England; three restaurants and the opera house in Paris; a liquor store in Honfleur, France; the Valrhona chocolatier in Arles, France; and the French national railway.

Never a bit of trouble, never a transaction fee, and the exchange rate in France was consistently a fraction below $1.37 to the euro.

Teri and Greg Morrow

Ridgecrest

I enjoyed Hamm's article about which credit cards work best overseas, but she omitted the Capital One Venture card. This is the first, and for a very long time the only card, to not charge foreign transaction fees. In addition, cardholders receive two miles for every $1 spent, but it does have an annual fee of $60 that it forgoes the first year. (Its standard Venture One card without an annual fee offers 1.25 miles per $1 spent.)

We have used our Capital One Venture card in Europe, primarily France, for many years with no problems. But one thing to remind travelers is that they should contact (by telephone) their credit card providers prior to foreign travel — even when traveling to another state — so that transactions aren't blocked because the company thinks the card may be stolen and being used by someone other than the rightful cardholder. We do this every time we travel, providing our travel dates and the country or state where we will be using the card.

Another important reminder is to never travel with only one card. We have two different cards with us at all times. They work fine in ATM machines for quick cash or wherever there is a clerk to take our payment, but we have had difficulties in self-service gas stations because of the absence of a computer chip. When Chase and Capital One offer this, they will certainly have many new customers.

Diane Ohanian

San Diego

Hamm omitted what I consider to be the best credit card for foreign travel — the Capital One Visa. The card has no annual fee and no foreign exchange fees. I have used it for years in Europe, and it has been universally accepted by restaurants and hotels wherever I traveled.

Michael Sulman

Rancho Palos Verdes

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