Surcharges on Credit Cards by Airlines

Apr 1st, 2002, 01:25 PM
  #1  
Karen
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Surcharges on Credit Cards by Airlines

I just read an article in the Travel Section of my Sunday paper. It says that Visa and Mastercard have added a a surcharge of their own to foreign billings(the paper says a charge for doing nothing).So now it's a one percent conversion fee plus 2 percent for this new surcharge. This is for foreign purchases that you are trying to earn airline mileage on. What happens is this extra 2 percent offsets your miles. You make nothing. American Express is 2 percent all total. They said the only card that hasn't done it yet is Capital One and MBNA. When they say purchases outside the US, do they just mean things you bring home or does that include meals and hotel room charges. I was hoping to get alot of airline miles on this trip, but it's not going to mean anything if I have to pay for them. Can I save this charge if I pre-pay things in the US? What about getting cash from ATMs. The fees must be alot for those transactions also. I need some expert advice and clarification on this. Please. What are you guys doing about it? Sorry for the long question. Karen
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 02:10 PM
  #2  
Jason
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The surcharges are taken when the foreign currency (for example, euros) is converted to USD. They are hidden in the lower "rate of exchange" your CC company used that day before converting to dollars for your monthly CC bill.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:08 PM
  #3  
Karen
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These are extra charges I am talking about. Not just the 1 percent conversion rate.It amounts to 3 percent on most cards. Karen
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:08 PM
  #4  
Suz
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Karen, I was appalled to learn that if I get the local currency from ATMs in Europe, not only will my Wells Fargo bank charge the $2 fee for using the ATM, the foreign bank will charge a fee, and then my bank will charge 2% for conversion charges. Sure makes it worthwhile to risk the pick pockets and take what money you need as you go.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:10 PM
  #5  
Karen
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What do we do? Bob? Rex? Elaine?
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:35 PM
  #6  
Sherry
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Hi Karen. One possibility is to get a Capital One Miles ONe credit card. They still have only the 1% charge from Visa that all of them do, and the last time I checked no extra 2% which actually converts to a lower conversion rate as Jason said.
Also, this credit card gives airline miles. I have a Capital One Platinum card but for some reason have not yet changed to a Miles One account. I also have a MBNA card which gives me a great rate and insures car rentals even in Italy and Ireland.
My ATM card is pretty decent. On a recent trip to Canada I tried an experiment. I used my MBNA card for our room and my MOm used her bank card for her room. We have the same bank, When the converted charges came through on our statements, both were the same. So I know my bank is pretty good about hidden charges.
This is for ALL charges outside the US. My bank charges $1.50 per transaction up to my withdrawal limit each time I use my ATM.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:36 PM
  #7  
Ann
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The 1% currency conversion fee has been charged by both VISA and Mastercard for several years now, and then the issuing bank almost always adds another 2% on top of that, with the few exceptions noted in the newspaper. Your choice is to pay the 2% extra and get your miles, or get a card from MBNA, pay 2% less, but forego the miles.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:39 PM
  #8  
Kevin
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It is simply silly to think that you are getting something for nothing - you are NOT. You may be getting something for LESS, but not for nothing. So ditch the Gold Card and get nothing. I had quite a lot extra added to a ticket in China & it was treated as a cash advance which irritated me.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:40 PM
  #9  
Robyn France
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What airline does CapitalOne give airline points on.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 03:54 PM
  #10  
Sherry
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I believe they have a credit card called "Capital One Miles One" or something very similar.
I do not know if there is a fee for the credit card for the year.
You can probably find out the information on their site.
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 10:31 PM
  #11  
Cameron
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Sherry: I, too, would like to know what airline(s) the Capital One card gives miles for. Thanks. Cam
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 10:32 PM
  #12  
Karen
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Topping
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 10:38 PM
  #13  
Karen
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Is it just on purchases or hotels and restarants also. Can I save it if I pay for hotels ahead of time in the US?
Does anyone know the sight for the Capital One Card? What is the MBNA card? Thanks Karen
 
Apr 1st, 2002, 11:41 PM
  #14  
Millie
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I just went to England last month. I have a Mastercard issued by Citibank. My purchases charged to this card were recorded as purchases, not advances. The exchange rate applied was $1.00 = 1.47 pounds sterling which seems like a decent rate of exchange. When I 'bought' pounds for dollars on arrival in the UK, I was given a rate of 1.51 pounds to the dollar, plus the fee for the transaction. There was no line item surcharge or exchange fee assessed anywhere on my mastercard statement. So where do you find either a currency conversion fee or a surcharge here?
 
Apr 2nd, 2002, 04:11 AM
  #15  
Holly
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Capital One's website is www.capitalone.com - there is a link on the home page for the Miles One card.

 
Apr 2nd, 2002, 05:20 AM
  #16  
Sherry
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Millie. You actually do not "see" the conversion fee on the statement. And it is really difficult to tell when there is fluctuation of rates from day to day.
The best way to know if you are getting the best rate is to call your bank and credit cards and ask them if they have any extra fees for foreign purchases. They will tell you.
Then try to use the card that gives you the best rate. That is with no hidden surcharges.
 
Apr 2nd, 2002, 01:21 PM
  #17  
kay
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Not all banks treat themselves to that 2 percent by hiding it in the exchange rate they give you -- last year I was surprised to see a line item (about $18) for the 2 percent surcharge on my Bank of America Visa foreign purchases.
When I phoned to question the charge, I was told they had changed their policy (formerly no cost added by the Visa-issuing bank). I said my policy would be to get a different card for use overseas.
It occurs to me that if the 2 percent is hidden, at least you earn your FF points on the inflated purchase amount, but since the service charge is not a purchase there are no FF miles earned.
 
Apr 2nd, 2002, 03:16 PM
  #18  
jfx
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For myself, I'm not concerned about exchange rates and 1 or 2 percent charges to my credit card. I've already spent a lot of money to take my foreign trip, I'm not going to let $10 or $20 get in my way of having a good time. If I am going to use a credit card, because of mileage or convenience - whatever, I am doing it because I did not plan well enough or I have found something that "I just must have!!". I don't let it worry me because I just will not let it get in my way of having a good time...the reason I came in the first place. For all you critics out there, I am a middle income person without a lot of money, I work hard for it, I just enjoy it when the time comes!!!
 
Apr 2nd, 2002, 03:43 PM
  #19  
Bob Brown
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I just recently got an card that does not charge the fee for conversion beyond the 1% levied by Visa and Master Charge.
The charge for using an ATM is between you and your bank.

And as for not "letting $20 or 30 stand in the way". Great. Send me the $20 the next time you see it lying on the street somewhere!!
If I took it out of your pocket, you would call the cops!!!!
I see no difference between what the banks are doing to us and a pickpocket.
The banks get away with it because the law allows it; the principle is the same.

I will keep a watch on this conversion stuff when I go to Canada. I should have a few more facts to play with after that.
 
Apr 2nd, 2002, 04:21 PM
  #20  
jfx
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I knew that there would be a wiseaker out there that would not see the mesaage AND take what was said out of context. What I said was that I would not let $10 or $20 get in my way of having a good time that I had already spent a lot of money on. Read the words... get the context.
 

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