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I’ve seen several posts today about how American Express will be eliminating the foreign transaction fees on the co-branded Delta cards. I’ll admit, my initial reaction to those posts is….so. Hasn’t pretty much every other rewards credit card already nixed foreign transaction fees?
The answer honestly is no, and I of all people should know that since I just got nailed with a foreign transaction fee last week by not paying attention. I’ll get to that in a second, but first since we are on the subject:
As of May 1, 2014, the foreign transaction fee is waived for American Express Consumer and Business Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards (Gold, Platinum and Reserve) issued in the U.S. or PRVI. Card Members should start to receive notice of this change in their February statement.
Also happening May 1, EMV chip technology will be available on all American Express Delta Cards. After May 1, interested Card Members can call the number on the back of their Card to request a new Card with chip.
This will apply to cards like the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express or Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express. I’m not a huge Delta person myself, but this is still good news to those of you who are since it isn’t any funny getting nailed with a fee to use your card in another country!
My Own Foreign Transaction Mistake:
I was recently making some reservations via the Club Carlson program for some of their properties that are outside the United States. I used points for some nights, but hate using points on one night stays since I find them so much more valuable on two night stays, so I can get the “last award night” free by having the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card. I paid for my reservation with the Club Carlson credit card since it awards 10 points per dollar on Club Carlson hotel charges.
One of the reservations I made was prepaid in order to get a better rate, and the bill has already come in the mail. I opened the bill and quickly realized my error. Yes, I had earned 10 points per dollar for the prepaid reservation, for a total of 1,674 points, but I had also paid $5.02 in foreign transaction fees since this card still has pesky foreign transaction fees that I had totally forgotten about. I probably still came out ahead based on how I value Club Carlson points for my own use (even if you value them at 1/2 a cent each that is over $8 worth of points), but it would have been smarter to just use a card with no foreign transaction fees like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and earn 2x Ultimate Reward points on that travel charge with no foreign transaction fees.
At least it was a good reminder that this card, and a few others, still have foreign transaction fees. I’d rather get that reminder after one charge than after a whole trip’s worth of charges!
Do you ever forget and use the wrong card outside the US? Which cards are you still waiting to see drop the foreign transaction fees (ahem, SPG Amex)?