I use every opportunity to earn miles and points for every purchase. Regardless of where I am, I ask if the merchant accepts credit cards. Generally, I will avoid the ones who tack on surcharges and make a mental note of whether I want to use this merchant again.
Surcharges are ok in certain circumstances. Remember as you read this, that I live in Asia. We are hit with surcharges only occasionally in Thailand, but more often in Philippines.
If I am using the Chase-United Airlines card, I do not mind paying a few reasonable surcharges (of less than 3%) from time to time. I based that on the fact that I am building up United mileage, and since I fly business or first class internationally, I am able to get the most of my earned miles.
However, with my Capital One card, I won’t pay surcharges, because the surcharges cut into my reward value. With Reward Points, I can’t leverage the reward the same as I can with airline rewards. CapitalOne rewards have a fixed value.
But there are so many opportunities to use credit cards that most people don’t consider. Doctors and Hospitals want to get payments immediately if they can, and most will gladly accept your credit card payment with no surcharges. Here in Asia, you need cash or a credit card if you plan on medical services!
The same principle applies when you need your teeth cleaned; or your wife’s annual checkup; or for us guys over 40, the annual gloved prostate check that we all dread. You are earning points each and every time you use your card.
On the 3rd of August, my wife and I both had visits scheduled at the Doctor’s office. Here in Asia, the doctor’s “office” is located in and is part of the local hospital.
As you can see by the above example, Capital One converted our charges at the rate of 34.96 Baht/USD.
The best street rate on this day was 34.93 Baht/USD as you can see in the above picture of the local TT Exchange Booth. In other words, we were able to get more for our money by using the credit card (34.96 instead of 34.93) … AND we earned reward points valued at $3.64USD.
And the only thing we did was use our credit card!
The credit card company is GIVING ME MONEY to use my credit card. I will take that deal every day!