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Old 07.06.2018, 13:29
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Re: Swiss credit cards - air miles, reward points?

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3) There is one argument that if true would be persuasive: that these reward benefits do not apply in Switzerland.
I thought I'd provide an update after using my rewards credit cards for the past six months in Switzerland.

The merchant-category rewards (e.g., 4% cash back at restaurants) have applied to over 95% of the businesses I've shopped at regardless of the country. In the rare case it did not work, it appears the business was improperly categorized and it had nothing to do with its location.

I've personally received merchant-category rewards in Switzerland, UK, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, Cyprus, France, USA, Taiwan, Austria, and Myanmar. There have been no countries that did not work.

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1) The hidden foreign exchange fee is best estimated (~0.05% to 0.25%) to be less than the reward benefit (2 to 4%).
2) It's possible to convert currency at a rate of 0% to 0.5%, that is less than the reward benefit.
I have been using CurenctyFair.com to get the lowest fees in currency exchanges. In practice, I've found it's quite hard to get anything below a 0.5% loss/fee during the currency exchange. So the total loss/fee including the "hidden exchange fee" tacked on by the credit card company is between 0.55% to 0.75%.

It's not worth the hassle for 1% reward, but well worth it for >2%.

This post is probably only helpful for those who have sufficient US credit history to get a card. I also acquired all of these cards while still residing in the US so I can't personally vouch for the process of getting one while living here.
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