These are my top recommended credit cards for this month. Some have $450-550 annual fees waived exclusively for US military personnel.

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

At the beginning of this month I had the chance to do a live, on the ground test of T-Mobile's Simple Choice Plan just outside of Frankfurt, Germany. I travel to Germany and other European Union nations for about a week every month or so for business, so finding cheap international roaming plans is really important to me.

I used to buy cheap (15 Euros) local sim cards with data/txt/minutes included in whatever country I landed in, but when you're travelling across borders frequently even that can become a hassle.

I've been a T-Mobile customer for almost two years now and it's been the best mobile experience I've had with a US cell phone company. In the past 6 years I've been a Verizon customer (Blackberry), an AT&T customer (iPhone 4), and now a T-Mobile customer (cheap Android, followed by Galaxy S4, which is what I'm currently using).

Both Verizon and AT&T consistently treated me not as a customer, but as a hostage. Since I was in a two contract and paying their outrageous prices, I was a hostage. T-Mobile is the first US carrier that's treated me with respect and fair prices.

T-Mobile customer support has always been extremely friendly and helpful to solve my problems. Three times now they have unlocked my phone within a week of purchasing, rather than waiting the usual 2 months. All I've had to do is explain I'm travelling internationally, make an advanced payment on the phones, and I receive the unlock code within 24 hours.

The New Simple Choice International Plan

Recently, T-Mobile started offering the Simple Choice Plan. For $100/month for two lines, you get:

  • 2.5 GB of 4G LTE data (and then unlimited 3G data afterwards)
  • Unlimited talk
  • Unlimited text
  • International roaming

International roaming you say? I wonder what's included in that. How about:

  • free international texting
  • unlimited free international data
  • and $0.20/minute phone calls in 115 countries*

I was grandfathered into a 1000 min/unlimited txt/2GB data plan but when I saw what the new Simple Choice Plan offered, I jumped on it. With the military discount, it worked out to be about what I was currently paying.

So for a negligible price difference we gained:

  • Unlimited minutes (not that we used more than 500/month)
  • An extra 500 MB of high speed data (2 GB -> 2.5 GB 4G LTE)
  • The best international data package offered in the US

Using the T-Mobile Simple Choice International Roaming in Germany

welcome-to-germany-tmobile-simple-choice-international-dataHere's how it worked for me. I landed in Germany, turned my airplane mode off, and received the following text message:

Welcome to Germany. Unlimited text incl with your global coverage. Talk $0.20/min. Wi-Fi call charges are: Free to US, $0.20/min locally. Unlimited web included as part of your global coverage.

Alright! While everyone else was bumbling around the airport trying to find a free WiFi signal, I was sending texts back home and checking my email. It couldn't have been easier. My buddies used my phone to send texts back to their family when they couldn't find an open wireless network.

Of course the question will come up: “but how is the wireless speed?” It's definitely not 4G. Here's what the SpeedTest app showed:

germany-t-mobile-simple-choice-dataBetween .06 and .14 MB of download speed and between .13 and .16 of upload speed. The average ping was 334 ms.

In practical terms, Google Maps was definitely usable and brought up directions and maps quickly enough so as not to be annoying. Web browsing was just like using 3G speeds back in the states a few years ago. Certainly useable for looking up nearby restaurants or attractions.

You definitely won't be watching streaming HD movies over this speed, but when you have a few days off in Germany and want to drive to Oktoberfest, this is a cheap and easy way to get directions and web access.

If you travel internationally frequently (as many military servicemembers do), I highly recommend T-Mobile's unlimited talk + text + web plan starting at $50/mo. It offers an excellent mobile package at home in the States and abroad for those quick trips when it's not worth purchasing a local sim card.

Countries Included in the Simple Choice International Plan, Alphabetical Order

Aland Islands
Anguilla
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Australia
Austria
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Bermuda
Bolivia
Bonaire
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Cayman Islands
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Colombia
Costa Rica
Curacao (Netherlands/Dutch Antilles)
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Easter Island
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
England
Estonia
Faeroe Islands
Finland
France
French Guiana
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guatemala
Guyana
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iraq
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kenya
Kuwait
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Malta
Martinique
Mexico
Moldova
Montserrat
Netherlands
Netherlands Antilles
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Northern Ireland
Norway
Pakistan
Panama
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Romania
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Scotland
Singapore
Sint Maarten
Slovakia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sri Lanka
St. Barthelemy
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Martin
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Suriname
Svalbard
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Thailand
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
Turkmenistan*
Turks and Caicos Islands
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vatican City
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wales
Zambia

Testing T-Mobile's Global Unlimited Data Plan in Germany

AMEX Platinum With NO Annual Fees for US Military

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum

Military servicemembers and spouses can get the American Express Platinum with NO annual fees.  Pick up your military annual fee waived card here!

Learn more about the AMEX military fee waiver.

The AMEX Platinum offers:

  • $550 Annual Fee WAIVED for US Military (and spouses)!
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards Points welcome offer
  • $200 credit for Uber rides (or Uber Eats!) annually
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • Centurion Lounge and Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access
  • NO foreign transaction fees

These benefits make it my top recommend card.

If you already have an AMEX Platinum card, check out the other AMEX cards, Chase credit cards, and this month's top recommended credit card bonuses, most with no annual fees for US military personnel.

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“Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

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