Some very, very sad news out of the credit card world has been officially confirmed. Both the Chase Marriott and Chase Amazon card will be discontinued as of March 15th, 2018.
I have both of these cards and they have been my go-to cards when traveling because of their 0% foreign exchange fee. On our most recent round-the-world trip, I used the card whenever my US American Express Platinum (also 0% FX) card wasn’t accepted. All told, I put about $2,000 CAD on the card during our trip so it saved me $50 in fees.
What Do We Know?
While the letters that have been sent out to clients does not specifically spell it out, a representative at Chase I spoke to told me that Chase has had plans to exit the Canadian market for some time. This was predicated with Chase no longer accepting applications on either the Amazon or Marriott card back in September of this year. What is of interest is that the CSR mentioned that no other financial institution in Canada was interested in purchasing the portfolio, Scotiabank included. This is of interest because back in 2015, Scotiabank purchased Chase’s Mastercard portfolio.
Here’s the rest of what you need to know:
- Both the Chase Amazon and Chase Marriott card will no longer function after March 15th, 2018
- After March 15, 2018, you will not be able to enroll for a new online account to view your statement balances so if you have the card and haven’t set up your online profile, do it right away.
- In the case of the Amazon card, if you have a rewards balance at the time your account is closed, you will receive a statement credit for the full amount of your rewards balance. You will receive a credit for the balance of your points value calculated on purchases made before March 15, 2018, at a conversion of $1 = 100 points. If you have between 1 and 100 points, then you will receive a credit for $1.
- In the case of the Marriott card, your annual fee will be refunded to you based on when you were charged. For example, my annual fee was charged in October and I will have use of the card until March (5 months) so I will have 7 months returned to me. As a reminder, the Annual Fee for this card was $120 so I will receive $70 back ($120/12 * 7 = $70).
Apparently, the two big benefits outside of the no FX fees on the Marriott Visa, the 15 nights of elite stay credits toward Marriott status and the Free Night Certificate for Category 1-5 hotels remains intact, though the representative did not have any further information and instructed me to call Marriott Rewards for further clarification.
As you receive these benefits at the anniversary date (the date your annual fee is charged), I cannot see Chase or Marriott providing these benefits unless your anniversary date is between now and March 15th, 2018. I would suspect that if you have an anniversary date of April 1st, you may have a hard time collecting these two benefits.
If you want to call Marriott Rewards directly to ask about this, you can contact them at either 1-800-450-4442 or 1-866-705-6777.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Unfortunately, there is no card in Canada that does not charge foreign currency fees of 2.5%. What I hate about this is that they often bury that 2.5% fee within the exchange rate so the transparency of the whole thing is suspect.
You can do what I do and just simply use a US-based credit card as many of them do not charge FX fees. If you want to start your journey to US cards, take a read through my series on How to Get US Credit Cards.
The other alternative is the Rogers Platinum MasterCard that has a 4% cash back feature on foreign transactions. You still pay the 2.5% but because of the 4% cash back, you are actually ahead by 1.5%. I personally have not used the card and the details on how to use the “cash back” on the site leave a lot of questions to be answered but this may be your only Canadian option.
Thanks to PointsNerd reader, Brock, I have been informed of another card that has no FX fees and to make it even better, it has no annual fee! The card is by HomeTrust and it’s called the Preferred Visa and it actually comes with roadside assistance! This may be the perfect replacement for the Amazon card!
This is certainly a big body blow to Canadian card holders and has come on the heels of the Capital One Aspire Card no longer being available for application. I hope that a Canadian card issuer takes up the gauntlet and starts to make an appealing offer to the market.