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I purchased plane tickets at Kuwait Airways website, for a trip originated from US with a transition/overlay at Kuwait, by using a credit card issued in US. My credit card account shows not just the transaction, but also a second one with 1% of the ticket price, labeled as FRGN TRANS FEE and charged by Kuwait Airways if I am not mistaken.

DESCRIPTION: Frgn Trans Fee-Kuwait Ai2292113807162 Ci

TYPE: FRGN TRANS FEE

Merchant details
CATEGORY: KUWAIT AIRWAYS
METHOD: Manually Entered

I don't remember seeing foreign transaction fee, when comparing flights on flight aggregators or search engines such as Expedia, and when placing the order directly at the airline website.

Whenever booking a flight with an airline and credit card which do not belong to the same country, is a foreign transaction fee inevitable? Is it almost always 1% of the ticket price?

Are there flight aggregators or search engines which include foreign transaction fee into price comparison? Or warn customers about it?

Thanks.

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  • Was the trip booked as one ticket (one PNR)?
    – Traveller
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 9:11
  • I search for flights by the origin and destination on Kuwait Airways' website. The two tickets were bundled together. Not sure what PNR means
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 9:31
  • PNR = Passenger Number Record :-) I thought perhaps you’d booked two separate flights with Kuwait and maybe the onbound out of Kuwait attracted the transaction charge, but seems that likely isn’t the reason for the fee.
    – Traveller
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 10:49

2 Answers 2

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Are there flight aggregators or search engines which include foreign transaction fee into price comparison?

I'm virtually sure there's no such flight aggregators or search engines, as foreign transaction fee comes from your bank and the sellers/agents have no clues about it. Also watch out for the suboptimal currency exchange rates (suboptimal = less favorable than the interbank rate).

FYI:

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  • 1
    thanks. my online credit card account shows the fee charged by the airline not my credit card company
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 2:35
  • @Tim interesting, I've never experienced that but I've never flown Kuwait Airways. Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 2:37
  • @Tim contact your bank and ask them, it doesn't sound right if it was charged by the airline and possibly isn't allowed if they didn't notify you of it first and could be reversible
    – Midavalo
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 3:21
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    @Tim The charge is definitely from your bank. If it were the airline, it would not show up as a second charge (which would require a separate authorization).
    – Sneftel
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 6:33
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Whenever booking a flight with an airline and credit card which do not belong to the same country, is a foreign transaction fee inevitable? Is it almost always 1% of the ticket price?

Yes, it's inevitable, with the exception of some cards that explicitly do not charge forex fees. And it is usually more than 1%.

When you buy goods in another country and the goods are in a different currency, there are two possibilities:

  • the merchant charges you in your local currency, and in that case the merchant will either include the currency exchange costs directly in the price, or will charge a fee for it;

  • the merchant charges you in their local currency, and in that case the credit card company charges a foreign exchange fee (it looks like this is what happened in your case).

In many cases the choice is presented at the time of purchase, and often times it is presented without a clear statement of what the fees are, forcing one to guess which one is better. My impression is that it is usually better to take the credit card's fee rather than the merchant's, but that could depend on the card.

Regarding the fee, 1% is on the very low end of the spectrum. In my experience it is more typical to see 2/2.5%.

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    The fee is absolutely not inevitable; at least in the US, there are plenty of cards that do not charge a forex fee. You generally get the network's (Visa's) exchange rate, which does have a small spread, but it's usually the cheapest way for a consumer to "buy" foreign currency. You do still need to be careful to avoid the former case (merchant conversion) by always choosing to be charged in the local currency when asked.
    – josh3736
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 16:14
  • Fair enough. I've edited the clarification in . Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 16:55
  • Thanks. I just received replies from my credit card company. See money.stackexchange.com/questions/155236/…
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 22:31

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