Currency and credit card charges on Malaysian Airline booking

I bought a flight for my son on my credit card.  The confirmation came through as GBP £1,621.46 (paid in EUR £2,056.34 - the only other options were Asian currencies, no payment in GBP was available).

Yet my credit card bill dated the following day was £1803.00 (all from Malaysia Airlines).  That is £181.54 extra that was NOT itemised on my confirmation form or when I checked out.  It states ‘the currency conversion service has been provided by Malaysia Airlines’ but doesn’t expressly say there is a charge – I presume this to be the conversion of EUR to GBP to be able to confirm to me how much will be taken from my credit card.

I rang the 0330 365 0080 number and understand (they were very crackly phone lines) this was a charge from my credit card provider of £46 and the rest for currency conversion.  I was informed that Malaysian Airlines only took £1,621.46.   The line was so bad I was unable to query this in more detail.

So who gets the currency conversion cost?  And why was I not told of this before I booked the flights?

Barclaycard tell me this is standard 2.99% of the total transaction (their charge was £46).

I feel there has been no transparency about this. Will I be able to query this and get refunded or am I stuck with it? 


  • eDicky
    eDicky Posts: 6,564 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Was the flight you bought originating somewhere in East Asia..?
    If you were in UK when purchasing and the price was displayed in GBP, I'm trying to understand why you couldn't pay in GBP. It looks rather like you may have suffered currency conversion twice for some reason. Or maybe three times as Barclaycard have also taken their 2.99% for conversion...

    Evolution, not revolution
  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,502 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    It appears you have purchased a flight in a Foreign currency with the seller doing the dynamic currency conversion.

    What are the flight details?
  • We live in UK. Flight is LHR London Heathrow to DPS Denpasar, Bali. Currency to pay only gave Euros or Asian or US options (certainly not GBP).
  • The plot thickens...I have just checked this which says GBP can be used, but I am pretty certain that I was not given the option in the drop down box when I booked.  I am also pretty sure I was on site with an English flag on it.
  • Voyager2002
    Voyager2002 Posts: 15,275 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Very strange.

    I have just visited the Malaysian Airlines site and for a flight originating in London the pricing was all in GBP. Did you buy from them, or from an agent? Or are you perhaps using a proxy server and so telling the website that you are in a different country?

    The discrepancy is approximately what they would have added for "taxes and charges": if you buy from a website serving the UK these must be included in the fare quoted but in some other countries they are added on at the end. Fees for currency conversion should not be as much as the discrepancy.
  • Yes all prices listed in GBP all the way through selecting flights, then when came to pay the currency options did not include GBP but asked you to select from a drop down box (there was no default to GBP despite being in the UK, on a standard UK laptop and buying a flight from LHR).  I have lodged a query with the airline, but my bank didn't seem to bat an eyelid with this extra charge when I queried it with them (Barclaycard)
  • Westin
    Westin Posts: 5,938 Forumite
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    Correct that whilst displayed in GBP£ through the booking flow, your payment currencies exclude GBP from the drop down options (1st screen grab).

    It does further go on to offer reassurance that if you want surety of the payment amount to select one of the currency options shown (2nd screen grab). I picked EUR and it then displayed both GBP and EUR.  If they did not mention this then I also would have put this down to you being charged twice for currency conversion - but I'm not sure that is the case. 

    The fx rate between your GBP/EUR transaction seems about right.  In my test booking just now it was using 1.27145.

    I can understand the Barclaycard 2.99% - £46 charge from the bank but also struggle with an answer as to why you were billed £1803.00 and not £1621.46/e2056.34.    An 11%+ difference is difficult to explain, especially if MAS have said they only charged the lower amount.

    You didn't opt in for Fly Now, Pay Later or any other add ons?

    I noticed when attempting a test booking that if you click on another payment method like Union Pay then it changes to a GBP£ charge.




  • eDicky
    eDicky Posts: 6,564 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    I can only conclude that the drop-down list of currencies was only for those who want to pay in a currency other than that of the price calculation, which was in GBP and that's why the list didn't include GBP. Proceeding straight to payment without regard for that list must have been possible and would inevitably result in GBP payment in the normal way.
    Selecting euros from the list caused a conversion, presumably first by Barclaycard with their 3% margin - but that margin would be on the Visa daily rate which has been 1.18-1.20 during the last few weeks and never anywhere near the 1.27 according to what you were quoted in euros. But then you were informed that Malaysian took payment of the correct amount in GBP, so maybe they converted it back again...
    As Voyager says the conversion fee should not be as much as the discrepancy, but Malaysian are using DCC at whatever rates they choose, as merchants tend to do, so once you stray from a simple payment in the quoted currency with a card based on that currency, the complication and cost can multiply.
    Evolution, not revolution
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