Add-on Fees. Good or Bad?
Using Other People's Greed to Your Advantage
Peggy and I travel a fair amount. We do not like being nickeled and dimed. For example:
• I have been an American Express Card member for 50 years. After traveling abroad, Peggy has noticed a 2.7 percent "Foreign Transaction Fee" tacked onto every purchase we made. Everything is electronic. No extra work is involved. We are being charged $2.70 per US$100.00 for a wee spritz of electricity. Why would AmEx rip-off a customer of 50 years? Greed. They assume customers are too stupid and lazy to notice or care they are being screwed.
For months I had been receiving direct mail offers from Chase Sapphire Card.
I finally took a look at the thing and discovered in bold type:
NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES
When you travel internationally, enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases you make abroad. Plus with the extra money you'll save, why not take in one more experience or pick up a few souvenirs for your friends back home.
Not only do we now use Chase Sapphire overseas, but I use it in the U.S. as well. My way of saying "Up Yours!" AmEx and "Thank you, Chase."
• A couple of years ago we stumbled onto Viking River Cruises and went on the Rhine. Okay, Viking is a bit pricier than Grand Circle, but they make us feel loved by giving us free what other cruise lines charge for:
—Free WiFi on all European and Baltic ships
—Free wine with lunch and dinner
—Free excursions with guides at every port
• Southwest Air has a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) it plasters everywhere: Bags Fly Free! (See the fourth image in the media player.)
The message: Fly with another carrier and you could be nicked for up to an extra $120 in fees—$240 for a couple.