Canadian Expat Seeks Australian AmEx Advice

Old Sep 16, 19, 2:46 pm
  #1  
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Canadian Expat Seeks Australian AmEx Advice

Hey FTers,

I'll be moving to Australia at the end of the year to begin my PhD program in Sydney and was wondering if I could get some guidance regarding AmEx over there:
  1. I'm guessing Global Transfer works in Australia (I've done this for the UK where I've studied for the past year and it was incredibly smooth)
  2. How widely accepted is AmEx in Australia? In the UK (and to a lesser extent when I was in Canada) I could use it everywhere!
  3. Which AmEx card is best if you're interested purely in Membership Rewards points? Is there a card like the AmEx UK Gold which has a low annual fee, good MR earning potential and travel benefits (i.e. lost bag and travel health insurance)? The Explorer Card seems relevant although would love to hear back. I'm not interested in earning QF points since I primarily fly *A and will likely just transfer them over to Aeroplan.
Safe Travels,

James
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Old Sep 16, 19, 3:05 pm
  #2  
mia
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
....guessing Global Transfer works in Australia
It is one of the destination countries list here:

https://www.americanexpress.com/global-card-transfers/

Read more here:

https://www.americanexpress.com/au/moving-abroad.html
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Old Sep 16, 19, 3:09 pm
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Credit card purchase in Australia can be subject to an added % fee, as per Australian law.
Not all retailers will charge the surcharge. Several threads on this surcharge in FT.

Amex has wide acceptance, but not 100%. I use Amex for most purchases (supermarkets, fuel, & more). My Amex is not linked to QF. Visa for those retailers who do not take Amex. I very rarely use cash.

For Australian Amex card options look the Amex Au site
The web site https://www.executivetraveller.com/ (was Ausbt.com.au) has a page on Australian credit cards, but is a commercial site (advertising).
https://www.executivetraveller.com/tags/credit-cards

Australia has 4 main banks, ANZ, CBA Commonwealth, NAB National Australia Bank & Westpac. And some 2 tier banks

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Sep 16, 19 at 3:18 pm
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Old Sep 16, 19, 3:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Credit card purchase in Australia can be subject to an added fee, as per Australian law.
Not all retailers will charge the surcharge. Several threads on this surcharge in FT.
I was not aware of this. Is there any rhyme of reason on which retailers charge said surcharge? I'm guessing the big name places like Target or Macca's won't but the smaller ones would?

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Sep 16, 19, 3:26 pm
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Theory is that credit card's charge a fee that can be passed on to the customer. People paying cash should not be paying a hidden charges built into the price. So cheaper for cash buyers. A retailer, including airlines, must advertise a price that can be paid without a surcharge.

https://www.accc.gov.au/business/pri...ent-surcharges

Some retailer will charge a higher % fee for Amex compared to Visa/Mastercard. That's when I use my Visa cc.

Major supermarkets, fuel retailers, Target & Macca's do not charge a surcharge. The more up market the retailer is the more likely they will charge the surcharge. Airlines do charge the surcharge.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Sep 16, 19 at 6:37 pm
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Old Sep 16, 19, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Theory is that credit card's charge a fee that can be passed on to the customer. People paying cash should not be paying a hidden charges built into the price. So cheaper for cash buyers. A retailer, including airlines, must advertise a price that can be paid without a surcharge.
Whilst I understand why they pass on the charges to consumers I don't agree with it not think it's fair. Surely there is non-trivial shoe leather costs associated with dealing with cash. This is to say nothing of the potential for fraud (albeit I hear Ozzie notes are pretty secure).

Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Some retailer will charge a higher % fee for Amex compared to Visa/Mastercard. That's when I use my Visa cc.
Will keep that in mind. In the Americas and UK it's either accepted or not. I haven't seen certain cards getting more favourable rates.

Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Major supermarkets, fuel retailers, Target & Macca's do not charge a surcharge. The more high end the retailer the more likely they will charge the surcharge.
Thank goodness! Looks like I won't be shopping at Sak's Fifth Avenue soon

Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Airlines do charge the surcharge.
This one kind of confuses me. How are the airlines expecting passengers to pay for their flights then? Stroll into the airport with cash and book at the ticketing desk? If you did that in Canada you'd be put on a CATSA watch list. That being said, I'll likely do most of my bookings with United with the occasional domestic flight being booked on Avios. Here's to hoping I don't need to look into fuel dump strategies like in Canada

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Sep 16, 19, 4:12 pm
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
I was not aware of this. Is there any rhyme of reason on which retailers charge said surcharge? I'm guessing the big name places like Target or Macca's won't but the smaller ones would?

Safe Travels,

James
All hotels charge the surcharge. I got around it by buying Marriott gift cards in NA and using them to pay my hotel bills in Australia.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 4:39 pm
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Originally Posted by margarita girl View Post
All hotels charge the surcharge. I got around it by buying Marriott gift cards in NA and using them to pay my hotel bills in Australia.
So foreign credit cards don't get hit with the surcharge? Interesting, will keep my Canadian no foreign exchange credit card on hand for this purpose!

-James
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Old Sep 16, 19, 4:50 pm
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
This one kind of confuses me. How are the airlines expecting passengers to pay for their flights then? Stroll into the airport with cash and book at the ticketing desk? If you did that in Canada you'd be put on a CATSA watch list. That being said, I'll likely do most of my bookings with United with the occasional domestic flight being booked on Avios. Here's to hoping I don't need to look into fuel dump strategies like in Canada
Bpay or POLi (direct bank credit) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POLi_Payments
I pay most flights with POLi as the surcharge fee vs points earn from credit card not worth it to me.

Originally Posted by margarita girl View Post
All hotels charge the surcharge. I got around it by buying Marriott gift cards in NA and using them to pay my hotel bills in Australia.
Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
So foreign credit cards don't get hit with the surcharge? Interesting, will keep my Canadian no foreign exchange credit card on hand for this purpose!
No. Payment with non Australian credit cards still pay the surcharge. But paying with a gift card does not.

It may be difficult to get an Au cc without a Au financial history. If you can establish a Au bank/credit card account from your Canadian bank/UK bank/Amex that may be easier.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_point_check
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Old Sep 16, 19, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
So foreign credit cards don't get hit with the surcharge? Interesting, will keep my Canadian no foreign exchange credit card on hand for this purpose!

-James
Your credit card has no foreign transaction fee has no bearing on whether a merchant, in Australia, for example, passes their merchant costs onto you.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 5:12 pm
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
So foreign credit cards don't get hit with the surcharge? Interesting, will keep my Canadian no foreign exchange credit card on hand for this purpose!

-James
Not sure how you concluded that from what I wrote!

I did get them to waive the fee at a couple of legacy Starwood properties who did not know how to process the gift cards.
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Last edited by margarita girl; Sep 16, 19 at 5:17 pm
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Old Sep 16, 19, 6:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
It may be difficult to get an Au cc without a Au financial history. If you can establish a Au bank/credit card account from your Canadian bank/UK bank/Amex that may be easier.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_point_check
I plan on using the AmEx Global Transfer once again for Australia where they use my AmEx/Canada credit history to determine whether to open a card. It worked well for me in the UK with my gold card being sent a week after I arrived in the UK.

I also bank with HSBC which allows me to open foreign bank accounts (I.e. UK and Australia) whilst in Canada. I'm hoping I can get a card with them given my history with them which will cover the EMV side of things!

-James
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Old Sep 16, 19, 6:31 pm
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HSCB are in Australia so that should work. May be easier/less hassle to open an HSCB Australia account from Canada, rather than wait until you get here
https://www.hsbc.com.au/
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