Category Archives: Vacation

MasterCard discriminates European cardholders

A couple of days ago, I booked a journey to Kuala Lumpur and Bali for my wife and me. When it came to paying the travel agent advised me that there would be a surcharge of 0.3% imposed by the tour operator when you pay with credit card — independent of which brand your credit card is.

I was pretty outraged because of the surcharge, because until then I was pretty sure that this kind of charges were expressly forbidden by card acquirers (an “acquirer” is the party which acquires the transacations of the merchant).

Therefore I visited MasterCard’s website in order to investigate their acceptance procedures. I found something very interesting in the MasterCard rules dated 2009-11-06.

In article 5.9.2. it says about “Charges to cardholders:”

A Merchant must not directly or indirectly require any Cardholder to pay a surcharge or any part of any Merchant discount or any contemporaneous finance charge in connection with a Transaction.


When I continued to read I found a section “10 Europe Region Rules” where it said the following in “10A.3 Charges to Cardholders:”

Rule 5.9.2 does not apply in the European Economic Area.

So, why is this? Why does MasterCard reserve the right to discriminate their European cardholders compared to their US cardholders? “What have we done to deserve this?”

To Meier’s Weltreisen, the tour operator: Instead of adding surcharges to customers who pay using a credit card (and that will be the absolute majority of all customers), you should recalculate your prices and refrain from playing such dirty tricks.

Florida Vacation…

So we’ve finally arrived in Florida — in fact, we’re already here since a week.

We arrived on Monday, 26-SEP, on Orlando Intl. Airport. After we had passed the Immigration service, we went to Alamo to pick up our rental car. As usual, I had reserved a “full size” car. Last time we received a Jeep Grand Cherokee instead, because they didn’t have any “full size” cars available then. But this time it seemed we were unlucky, because they had lots of full size cars available. But they all seemed very smallish. So I went to some Alamo associates and asked whether they could give me a larger car for the same price. And the friendly lady just said, “Sure, Sir, just pick one of the minivans over there.” And this I did… 🙂

The Pontiac SV6 I picked is just awesome — it even has a DVD player and entertainment system built into it. It has three lines of seats, with the rear line easy to be flipped down so that we had lots of space for our suit cases.

From the airport we drove to my grand-cousin Brigitte and her husband, Lyle. They have a very nice house in Riverview, Hillsborough County. Brigitte and Lyle and their pets welcomed us, and we talked for a while before we went to bed.

Continue reading Florida Vacation…

The mercyless Sheikra…

By chance stumbled across an article in “Der Spiegel Online” about a rollercoaster in Florida that is supposed to be the steepest one in the world.

Well, this is where we will be going in September… A visit to Busch Gardens will be part of our vacation. As you know I’ve already ordered the tickets, and hope to receive them soon.

Mona, my girlfriend, is already very excited about Sheikra and hardly can wait any longer… 🙂

Just ordered my Disney tickets…

Me and my girlfriend, Mona, were to Florida last autumn for four weeks. Among others, we visited Disney World and SeaWorld. We had a lot of fun, especially riding those neat rollercoasters, and therefore decided to go there again at the end of September.

I’ve just ordered the tickets online via UnderCoverTourist. We ordered our tickets there already last time, and we were extremely happy with their prices and the speedy delivery.

The flights and our rental car I already booked some days ago. Again, we will be flying with Martinair, and our rental car company is holiday autos, who in Florida cooperate with Alamo.

Ok, this is it for now. We will be heading for our favorite ice-cream parlor now, the Del Negro. Later!