American Express Eliminating Foreign Currency Conversion Fees for Platinum and Centurion Cards

Ron Lieber has the scoop and surveys other rewards cards which have eliminated these fees recently, or are about to:

Chase has gotten rid of the fees on its co-branded cards with British Airways, Hyatt and Intercontinental Hotels.

In its wake, Citigroup’s card unit announced a similar move in my Your Money column this weekend, which is about the overhaul of much of its credit card lineup. Two new Citi cards will not have the fee.

And when I asked American Express why it was taking so long, company officials sped up an announcement they had planned for 2011 and made it in my column as well. AmEx will soon get rid of the fees for Platinum and Centurion (aka Black) card cardholders, both on consumer cards and the ones for small business owners.

Not surprising that this hasn’t remained a Chase competitive advantage, since it’s an easy dimension on which other banks can match. Capital One has long eschewed these fees, but who wants to earn Capital One points….?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Capital One has long eschewed these fees, but who wants to earn Capital One points….?

    That’s why I keep my Cap One account solely for intl travel.

  2. The question is if they will just build the fees into the exchange rate.

    The next, and more honest comparison will be how much exchange rates vary across these card issuers and banks.

  3. Exchange rates are published a number of places. I have checked a couple of CapOne transactions, three or four times a year, and never have they given me an exchange rate outside 0.1% of published interbank exchange rates for the day of the transaction.

  4. Many people report that Cap One can be overzealous about freezing cards with international purchases. I actually notify AMEX if I’m going anywhere other than Canada and AMEX has never frozen me. I don’t have a Cap One card to have any experience with them, but people stated they did inform them and still got cut off and had fun trying to get their cards unfrozen.

    …plus I hear Cap One gives pathetic credit limits so anyone with a Platinum or Centurion card would probably run through the limit just in a hotel bill.

  5. Does the Amex offer apply to Platinum cards co-branded with Amex (e.g., Hilton, Delta Amex Platinum cards)?

  6. usually the foreign exchange fee will be covered via the fx exchange rate.
    every programmmanager is allowed to add anyamount he want to the exchange rate ratio.

    so most cards will switch to no foreign fees in the future

  7. @dp, yes, the card program manager typically bundled the foreign transaction fee into the FX rate, but now many companies (at least in the US) are separating the fees from the rates for better transparency.

    Not sure if this is a requirement of the new credit card legislation, but Chase and other companies started to line item the Fx fee.

    I always that it was rather egregious for the largest banks in the world to charge these FX fees. A bigger slap in the face was for Chase to charge a 3% foreign transaction fee on its British Airways Visa, since every transaction on, even in dollars was foreign. This pretty much eliminated any value you received from the Executive Club miles. Finally this atrocity is slowly being eliminated.

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