Last week we had a great SWAG Saturday to see if you all understood the ONE card that can send points to Delta, get you into the Skyclub and then also charge NO international transaction fees. Some started talking about some CHASE cards that do not charge a fee too. But you know what, CHASE may not the best deal!
Most know that the DELTA AMEX cards charges a 2.7% fee for international transactions, but is that really so? Here is why I ask. I did a bunch of test charges on both my Chase cards and my Delta AMEX cards while I was in Sweden. The results were very interesting to me! Here is why.
AMEX GAVE ME A BETTER
EXCHANGE RATE THAN CHASE!
Think about AMEX Platinum Membership Rewards cards, both the personal and the business cards, with no international fee. These could be a MUCH better deal than ANY Chase cards due to this! Why did this happen and what are the implications of this? First my experiments.
I charged a few items ALL ON THE SAME DAY on both my Delta Reserve AMEX and on my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (I did this experiment more than once to get some good sample data), and the exchange rate in Swedish krowns (in this case the higher the better) was:
- AMEX = 6.53 SEK for one US Dollar
- CHASE = 6.43 SEK for one US Dollar
As you can clearly see, AMEX gave me a 1.5% better exchange rate for my money over Chase. That is a HUGE difference (I have seen this before but never tested over the same day more than once like this time to be sure). Now, clearly the 2.7% surcharge on the Delta AMEX does still end up costing me 1.2% NET to pay with that card over the Chase card. Lets take this a step further.
First is that I could potentially have come out 1.5% ahead with the AMEX Platinum Membership Rewards card if I had one, but also, depending on how much each of us value or NEED Delta Skymiles, it could, EVEN WITH the international fee, be worth it to use the card to buy things outside the USA.
None of this math takes into account the value of say an Ultimate Rewards point compared to a Membership Rewards point, but the higher exchange rate must now also be seriously looked at as a component of value when making that final judgment of what you want the most.
So just what is going on here? Is AMEX really paying a higher exchange rate than CHASE is? The fact is these results will vary due to, not the transaction date, but the at what time & date AMEX or CHASE decided to process the transaction, and international exchange rates do change all the time day by day (even hour by hour). So, if the rates do swing big enough, the total fee could be wiped out or even move the other way and be 3 or 4% compared to a card with NO international transaction fees!
Anyway, this has been an eye opener for me and I hope for you too that just because a card seems to offer a better deal, in practice, the results can be very different! – René
▲Delta▲ SkyMiles® Credit Card
from American Express®
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