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Hotel Booking Sites & International Transaction Fees

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Thalius

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Hi guys,

So, I was hoping to book some hotel rooms on my CBA credit cards in order to qualify for the travel insurance, but I had a number of questions – I'm kinda new to this, so please bear with me.

1. I'm aware that even if a transaction is made in AUD, if the merchant is based overseas, or the transaction is processed overseas, you incur the international transaction fees (3% on CBA Mastercard, 2% on CBA Amex). When booking on online sites such as Agoda, are the transactions based in Australia?


2. How do you know whether a merchant is based overseas? I know I do a lot of shopping on ASOS, however, I've never been charged an international transaction fee there. Same with bookdepository.co.uk – both are based in UK? Never been charged an overseas transaction fee there either.


3. Are there any hotel sites which do not incur the international transaction fee? In other words, based in Australia?


4. Even if I did go ahead and use my CBA Amex/Mastercard, is the exchange rate used Amex's/Mastercard's exchange rate? Or is it CBA's exchange rate, which is presumably a whole lot worse than Mastercard/Amex's?

Thanks so much in advanced!
 

JohnK

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I booked a hotel in Thailand recently via Agoda and paid with Amex the AUD amount that was quoted at time of booking without any currency conversion fees.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Hi guys,

So, I was hoping to book some hotel rooms on my CBA credit cards in order to qualify for the travel insurance, but I had a number of questions – I'm kinda new to this, so please bear with me.

1. I'm aware that even if a transaction is made in AUD, if the merchant is based overseas, or the transaction is processed overseas, you incur the international transaction fees (3% on CBA Mastercard, 2% on CBA Amex). When booking on online sites such as Agoda, are the transactions based in Australia?


2. How do you know whether a merchant is based overseas? I know I do a lot of shopping on ASOS, however, I've never been charged an international transaction fee there. Same with bookdepository.co.uk – both are based in UK? Never been charged an overseas transaction fee there either.


3. Are there any hotel sites which do not incur the international transaction fee? In other words, based in Australia?


4. Even if I did go ahead and use my CBA Amex/Mastercard, is the exchange rate used Amex's/Mastercard's exchange rate? Or is it CBA's exchange rate, which is presumably a whole lot worse than Mastercard/Amex's?

Thanks so much in advanced!

It is fairly afe to assume if the site ends in .au that you will be billed in AUD, particularly if it is an advance purchase rate and not billed at check-out.

If it doesn't end in .au you may be billed in a foreign currency.

but it is worth noting the 'Australia tax' is alive and kicking with some .au sites. Expedia.com.au can be vastly more expensive than the main .com site, and even with 3% it is worth your while to shop around.
 
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Mr_Orange

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Actually, just because a site ends in .au doesn't mean that you won't be charged the overseas fee. Although, the site may list in AUD and charge in AUD, if their merchant bank is based overseas then the foreign transaction fee can apply. I had this argument with Woolies about a site I use to buy work shirts. They refused to back down so I closed the account.

It's much safer to get a Bankwest Platinum card which waives these fees then it doesn't matter where you shop.
 
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