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Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page P05

Affording Europe

YOUR ARTICLES about travel to European cities that do not accept the euro were intestesting ["Non-Euro Europe," March 20]. However, you should be aware that individual chain hotel properties in foreign countries may not honor rate guarantees provided in U.S. dollars by the chain's central booking agents in the United States.

For example, my husband and I stayed at a Marriott hotel in Moscow. We were provided a written reservation guarantee via e-mail from the chain's central booking agent, but the hotel refused to honor the rate. Instead, it insisted that the rate was given in "currency units" that track with the euro. The hotel then converted that amount into rubles. Consequently, we paid more per night than the rate quoted in writing.

To make matters worse, Marriott's customer relations department upheld the hotel's right to do this. We're now trying to determine how to address this further.

Barbara Sauers

Falls Church

I JUST returned from Italy, where we used ATMs for cash. On my bank statement there was a $5 charge for every use of an ATM. Tell your readers to take out enough money to last a few days instead of hitting the ATM every day.

Arranging flights within Italy, i.e. to Sicily, was less expensive using a travel agent in Italy that it would have been setting up the flights from here, too.

Vicki Thompson-Jones


Credit Cards Abroad

AFTER READING your article on the exchange fee [Coming and Going, March 13], I called MBNA to get an old credit card reactivated and make sure they knew we would soon be outside of the country using the card. No problem, but as of April 1, they're adopting the 3 percent foreign exhange fee, like Citibank.

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