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  #1  
Old October 13th, 2011, 06:24 PM
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Leejnd4 Leejnd4 is offline
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Default BEWARE of "foreign transaction" fees when booking your PG cruise!

I know there are other threads in this forum about this, but they are a little hard to find now, and the titles aren't very clear...so I'm posting this as a warning to all passengers considering booking a PG cruise.

We just booked a July '12 cruise, along with another couple. Our friends used their BofA Visa to make their deposit, and they got hit with a 4% "foreign transaction" fee! Note that this is not a "currency exchange" fee - the charge was made in US dollars. The issue is that, when you buy your cruise, even if you are buying it through a US-based travel agent, the charge on your card will be from PG Cruises. PG Cruises uses a bank out of Dublin - hence, *some* credit cards consider this a foreign transaction, and will hit you with a fee ranging from 2% to 4%. On a cruise this expensive, that can translate to quite a bit of money!

Note that I said *some* - not all credit cards do this. We used our AmEx card, and they do NOT charge this fee. In speaking to my TA (who is a PG expert), apparently BofA and Citibank are the worst. AmEx, Capitol One, and Chase will not charge it - but don't take my word as gospel. Before you make your deposit, check with your credit card company.

The good news is, once we discovered this we went back to our TA about it...she contacted PG Cruises, and they are giving them the full amount back, as OBC. I think this is WONDERFUL customer service on their part!

Here's a bit more trivia on foreign transaction fees:

1. While AmEx doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee for purchasing the cruise, be careful in using them for purchases once you get there - they DO charge currency exchange fees for purchases made outside of the country (I believe it's 2%).

2. Capitol One doesn't charge ANY foreign fees, regardless of where the purchase is made. I always use that card when traveling outside the country.

I hope this information helps some people save some money when they buy their PG cruise!
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Old October 13th, 2011, 07:04 PM
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maxwebr maxwebr is offline
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wow thanks LeeAnne! that is rediculous. Just goes to show why I don't use BOA for anything anymore. They charge for everything. Guess you really need to read the fine print!

I also use the Capitol One Venture card. Worked great on my August PG cruise. No issues or fees.
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Old October 13th, 2011, 07:43 PM
stephenandrew stephenandrew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leejnd4 View Post
Here's a bit more trivia on foreign transaction fees:

1. While AmEx doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee for purchasing the cruise, be careful in using them for purchases once you get there - they DO charge currency exchange fees for purchases made outside of the country (I believe it's 2%).

2. Capitol One doesn't charge ANY foreign fees, regardless of where the purchase is made. I always use that card when traveling outside the country.

I hope this information helps some people save some money when they buy their PG cruise!
Re Point 1 above, I don't know if your statement is true for all Amex Cards; I know, for example that with Amex Platinum, there are no exchange fees for purchases made outside the country.

On a related note, with B of A, if you have a ATM card and use it outside of the US at their " partner banks" like BNP Paribis in France, there are no ATM fees. Not sure if they have a "partner" in Tahiti
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  #4  
Old October 13th, 2011, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by stephenandrew View Post
Re Point 1 above, I don't know if your statement is true for all Amex Cards; I know, for example that with Amex Platinum, there are no exchange fees for purchases made outside the country.

On a related note, with B of A, if you have a ATM card and use it outside of the US at their " partner banks" like BNP Paribis in France, there are no ATM fees. Not sure if they have a "partner" in Tahiti
Well, like I said...don't take my word as gospel on this! I'm no credit card expert, and certainly don't mean to be offering financial advice that anyone can "take to the bank", so to speak.

I believe you are correct that Amex Platinum doesn't charge currency exchange fees. But Amex Gold and Blue definitely DO - I know that from first hand experience.

As for ATM fees or bank partnerships, these vary so widely...I would urge all travelers to do the research into exactly the specific details of the fee structures for their ATM and/or credit cards before they travel.

Definitely, though, nobody needs to get hit with a huge "foreign transaction" fee just for buying their cruise. That's easily avoidable. And kudos to PG Cruises for being willing to credit that back to their customers! I should think it would be in their best interest to ensure that all TAs who sell their cruises know about this and advise their clients which cards not to use, because I believe PG Cruises is taking the hit.
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Old October 13th, 2011, 11:33 PM
Giskard Giskard is offline
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We had the same thing happen. PG is giving us onboard credit also, thank goodness. We have a Capital One Visa and a Capital One debit card that we use specifically for foreign travel to avoid all fees. Guess i will be using that card to make the final payment.
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Old October 14th, 2011, 12:14 AM
FlightMedic555 FlightMedic555 is offline
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Default Fees

When I paid for my last cruise the charge was to my TA, not to PG. This meant no fee. IMHO I am purchasing the cruise from my TA nit from PG.
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Old October 14th, 2011, 01:21 AM
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foreign transaction fee
I found this out when I paid my deposit. I switched the cc for the balance to Capital One.
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Old October 14th, 2011, 01:51 AM
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When I paid for my last cruise the charge was to my TA, not to PG. This meant no fee. IMHO I am purchasing the cruise from my TA nit from PG.
I don't know if it's the same for all cruise lines, but fwhen buying most cruises these days, the charge on your card comes directly from the cruise line, not from your TA. If you purchase other parts of your trip from your TA, such as hotels/rental cars or whatever that are not from PG, that could be charged by the TA...but the cruise itself will be charged to your credit card by PG Cruises. This is not optional - it's contractual between the TA and the cruise line. This is how PG Cruises ensures that TAs don't discount cruise fares.

The problem is that, while PG Cruises is headquartered in Bellevue, WA, the charges come from their bank, which is the Bank of Dublin. Some credit card companies have a policy that any transaction that involves a foreign company at any point is a "foreign" transaction, and BOOM - foreign transaction fee. If that's the card company's policy, they're gonna do it, like it or not. The only way to avoid it is to purchase your cruise with a card that doesn't have that policy.

Many consider this unfair and predatory, and I absolutely agree - I think it's a total rip-off! I mean, I can understand a conversion fee when you are out of the country and buy something in a different currency that needs to be converted (although I'm glad there are cards that don't charge this fee). But to just slap on a charge for a purchase that you made HERE in the US, from a US-based company, in US dollars, simply because the bank used by the seller is foreign - that's crap!

Of course BofA doesn't seem to have any problem slapping outrageous fees on its customers - they're the bank that is instituting a monthly charge simply for using your debit card to make purchases. They also were hit with a huge class-action judgement due to unreasonable "overdraft protection" fees. We bailed from BofA a couple years ago for that very reason, after my daughter got hit with hundreds of dollars in those debit overdraft protection fees. She didn't realize she was overdrawn when a check someone wrote her bounced, and she used her debit card over several days for small purchases like coffee at Starbucks...but instead of just declining the purchases, they paid them, and charged her $35 for each one!

Anyway, the good news is that none of us have to use cards that rip us off...we just have to do the research.
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Old October 14th, 2011, 06:52 PM
stephenandrew stephenandrew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leejnd4 View Post
Of course BofA doesn't seem to have any problem slapping outrageous fees on its customers - they're the bank that is instituting a monthly charge simply for using your debit card to make purchases. They also were hit with a huge class-action judgement due to unreasonable "overdraft protection" fees. We bailed from BofA a couple years ago for that very reason, after my daughter got hit with hundreds of dollars in those debit overdraft protection fees. She didn't realize she was overdrawn when a check someone wrote her bounced, and she used her debit card over several days for small purchases like coffee at Starbucks...but instead of just declining the purchases, they paid them, and charged her $35 for each one!

Anyway, the good news is that none of us have to use cards that rip us off...we just have to do the research.
I have always been very pleased with B of A. I make my financial decisions based upon price and level of service provided--with B of A, I have always gooten decent service (call center reps have been pleasent, addressed my issues, provided timely/accurate info), and in terms of price have been great for my needs, e.g. free ATM usage in Europe with their B of A ATM card. I don't use debit cards, so their $5/month fee does not impact me. If, when, they cannot provide me with a decent level of service at a competitive price, I will go elsewhere. So far, I am happy with them.
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  #10  
Old October 14th, 2011, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenandrew View Post
I have always been very pleased with B of A. I make my financial decisions based upon price and level of service provided--with B of A, I have always gooten decent service (call center reps have been pleasent, addressed my issues, provided timely/accurate info), and in terms of price have been great for my needs, e.g. free ATM usage in Europe with their B of A ATM card. I don't use debit cards, so their $5/month fee does not impact me. If, when, they cannot provide me with a decent level of service at a competitive price, I will go elsewhere. So far, I am happy with them.
Just don't buy your PG Cruise with their credit card...or you will pay a "foreign transaction" fee.
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Old October 14th, 2011, 11:14 PM
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Thanks LeeAnn for making this searchable!
I think it's an important issue for people new to PG! We got hit with this on the deposit. If I hadn't read a thread about it here on CC a few weeks after we noticed the charge, I would not have known they will redress this! I contacted my TA and because the fee was low ( just on the deposit) PG actually sent a check. Now I know to use my Capital One ( which has no foreign transx fee) for the final payment. Usually, I use that card for any foreign transx, but this one is tricky- it is billed in US $ from a US company, so you'd never expect it!
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Old October 15th, 2011, 12:28 AM
goletans goletans is offline
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We also received a check from PG for the overage. Our fee was not attached to a credit card, however. It was some sort of fee charged by PG's bank. We had a similar issue last year when a bank used by our hotel in Barcelona added a fee but we were not able to recoup that one.

BTW We received notice from Discovercard that they will no longer charge a foreign transaction fee. I wish we could use this card more internationally. Capital One is a good alternative.

PG now states that there may be international transaction fees and that they do not profit from them.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 02:05 AM
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We also got charged a 3% transaction fee. Our TA called PG several days later and they completely refunded our money. I was pretty happy about that.
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Old January 8th, 2012, 08:04 PM
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This also happened to me. I have a USAA Mastercard and I booked our PG cruise via their affiliated travel agency. The travel agent never warned me about a foreign transaction fee. When it appeared on my credit card statement, I called her and she said she was not aware of the fee. At my urging, she called USAA and we had a 3 way conference call. USAA agreed to credit me for the foreign transaction fee since I wasn't notified.
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Old January 18th, 2012, 12:45 AM
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UGH, we just got nailed with this BIG time. We just made our final payment and sure enough, there's a $200 Foreign Transaction Fee!!! Yikes!!! Sent an email to our TA hoping she can apply it to our cruise or credit us. We were never told about the fee...don't they need to disclose this????
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Old January 18th, 2012, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by MONYMONY68 View Post
This also happened to me. I have a USAA Mastercard and I booked our PG cruise via their affiliated travel agency. The travel agent never warned me about a foreign transaction fee. When it appeared on my credit card statement, I called her and she said she was not aware of the fee. At my urging, she called USAA and we had a 3 way conference call. USAA agreed to credit me for the foreign transaction fee since I wasn't notified.
This has happened to me when I use my USAA card to book SeaDream cruises. Their bank is in Norway. Luckily, USAA only charges 1%, so it's not quite so bad.
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Old January 18th, 2012, 11:03 AM
FlightMedic555 FlightMedic555 is offline
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I spoke with PG and they have an unwritten policy of refunding the fee via an onboard credit if requested. My guess is most do not know about this so it is not an issue. Call PG as they will want a copy of you credit card statement showing the fee and they will give you on board credit.
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Old January 18th, 2012, 01:44 PM
K2DangerGirl K2DangerGirl is offline
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UGH, we just got nailed with this BIG time. We just made our final payment and sure enough, there's a $200 Foreign Transaction Fee!!! Yikes!!! Sent an email to our TA hoping she can apply it to our cruise or credit us. We were never told about the fee...don't they need to disclose this????
Well, technically it's not PG's fee, it's the bank's. I guess a warning would be nice but your bank might not charge it and there is no way for PG to know.
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Old January 18th, 2012, 03:48 PM
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I use AMEX or Aeroplan Visa Gold and have never been charged a penny.

FYI also AMEX Platinum will give you a $300 OBC , a small pearl and a bottle of Sancerre.
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