American Express

Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 05:14 PM
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American Express

Why do travelers depend on American Express when traveling outside the USA. We just came back from a trip and met a lady who was devistated because her American Express card was not accepted. Why have an American Express card at all?
evmi
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 05:18 PM
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Why travel outside the USA without doing the slightest bit of research? She wouldn't have been devastated had she just asked around a little to see which cards are accepted where she was traveling.

Why have an American Express card at all? Why not? They're actually accepted in the USA. Just use a different card when you travel abroad.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 07:34 PM
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I have no idea where this woman went, but my American Express card was accepted at most places I went to in Europe! Sure, not as many as Visa or MasterCard, but certainly at most places.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 07:42 PM
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Devastated?? Seems like over reaction unless that was the only card she took. Amex in Europe is much like Amex in the States -- accepted lots of places but not as many as visa/MC.

There are several very good reasons to carry Amex - but being accepted at the most places isn't one of them. Just a fact of life that most Amex customer are well aware of . . .
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 07:43 PM
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I have traveled the world, I've been to all continents but Antarctica, and my wallet has never seen an AmEx card. Why should I get a card that isn't as widely accepted as my MC/V? I have no use for AmEx. As mentioned above, it is accepted at some places, but anyone who depends entirely on AmEx is bound to be disappointed sooner or later.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 07:45 PM
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We don't travel outside the USA except sometimes to Canada. But since you asked this on the United States boards, I'll answer. I carry American Express because I get a great a free card though Costco and I earn reward dollars not only from American Express but also from Costco.

I know that American Express is not accepted everywhere so we always carry another card when we travel.

Utahtea
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 07:48 PM
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We just spent a couple of weeks in Scandinavia, and Amex was accepted at many places.

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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 02:22 AM
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I had no problems w/AmEx in Japan, at the places that do accept credit cards there, like hotels and some larger restaurants.

I carry Am Ex, Mastercard, and Visa. The AmEx is great, my favorite, as it is a Starwood AmEx and the hotel points have finded numerous interntaional and domestic vacation hotels. Point for $, that benefit is worth more than my other card's benefits. The Visa and Mastercard are for airline points. So there are many perk reasons for carrying certain cards.

I can't imagine someone traveling internationally w/only one card.

And I wonder if she informed her credit card company that she was going to be using her card out of the country before she left? That is essential or most times the charges will be denied at the point of sale, to prevent fraud.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 06:33 AM
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The main reason I carry an AMEX card is for Costco. Otherwise I use my USAir MC. I don't take my AMEX card for foreign travel.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 07:28 AM
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I use my American Express card as much as possible to get membership points which I can transfer to Continental's FF program. I have been very lucky in being able to get upgrades and tickets with Continental FF. When going out of the country I also carry my Visa card as a backup.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 08:49 AM
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American Express is less useful than Visa when traveling outside the USA. On a recent trip to Spain, it was accepted at most hotels, but not at most restaurants (including very good ones).

At home I have used my AmEx as much as possible to accumulate Member Rewards points. However, I found a Visa with no membership fee that gives back 1% on all purchases and 2% on groceries and gas. I did the math, and decided that considering the annual $40 to be in the Member Rewards program, and the de-valuing of the points for air travel, I am better of with the 1% and 2% refunds. I will not re-up for Member Rewards the next time my member fee is due.

On the trip to Spain, I had no problem with my AmEx card except that it wasn't accepted at most places I wanted to charge something.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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happytrailstoyou, how are the airline points de-valued? I get point for point with Continental. Is there something I don't know?
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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I, too, have a card that gives back a percentage. However,I don't know about you, but I don't put that refund away for travel or anything else. For me, the Amex Membership Rewards program is sort of a forced savings account....accumulating miles for travel, sort of a bonus that I wouldn't otherwise have--three trips to Europe and countless US travels.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 09:15 AM
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One reason to use your American Express over seas and not certain Visa/Mastercards is that Amex charges only a 2% currency conversion fee whereas some banks that issue Visa/MC charge 2% + the 1% charged by Visa/MC (e.g. Citibank). Then again, I have a Visa through my credit union that charges no fee, although Visa charges 1%. If I didn't have that Visa, I'd be using my Amex when possible.

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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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There are two levels of Membership Rewards program. The basic level gets 0.5 miles for each MR points when you transfer, while the other gets 1:1.

Also, while MR->CO is usually always 1:1, they do run MR->DL specials once in a while. Like 20K MR -> 25K DL.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 09:49 AM
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There are also additional perks for Amex Platinum members where 2 discounted Business class fares to Asia can be had for the price of one.

We got that early this year and will do it again next year.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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First of all AMEX cards are acceptd at most major and/or upscale hotels, restaurants and shops around the world. It is true that many less expensive places may take only visa or the local equivalent of master card - but you can also get trav checks or cash from AMEX if you need it.

As to why to have one - there are a whole pack of reasons:

No interest charges

Unlimited spending (I have charged over $50,000 in one month with no questions - business, not my own dime)

Flexible rewards program that let's you apply your points almost anywhere - you can do tons of different airline and hotel chains - as well as all sorts of goods and services (I'm getting a digital camera, scanner and photo printer just by turning in miles I don;t need for travel).

Is it not the perfect card - of course not. None are. But everybody should really have several different cards - since you can run into a problem with any of them. But I find AMEX most useful.

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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 02:43 PM
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Susie - Why don't you get a Continental card and skip the middle man? I assume your Visa is not with CO.

Right now you can get 15K points for getting a Continental Mastercard.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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Jed, I have accumlated over two hundred fifty thousand American Express Membership points which I can add to my Continental One Pass as needed to purchase or upgrade tickets. Also, American Express does not charge interest nor does it have a limit which are other good reasons for me. One more reason for American Express is that if you contest a charge, they usually side with the purchaser rather than the vendor. It can also used as a back up when out of the country to get Traveler's checks....I could go on and on as to why I am very happy with American Express and will continue to use them for all my purchases.
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Old Jul 4th, 2006, 04:41 PM
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I was pick pocketed in London, our last night there. I was carrying everything in a little travel pouch-money, all credit cards, license, and even our passports! (Yes, I now know not to carry everything in one place.)
I was traveling with my 12 year old daughter.

We now had no $, no cards, no ID, etc.

The police had me immediately cancel all credit cards. American Express was the third company that I had called. The others just canceled my card. American Express immediately took over:

- They called the American Embassy to arrange for new passports. They had an emergency night time number.

- I am a widow, and I was traveling with a young girl. The Embassy wanted a notarized letter saying that I had my husband's permission to be traveling outside of the country with my daughter. The American Express people got them satisfactory proof of my husband's death.

- They wired me money and arranged a way for me to get it with no ID.

- They called the airlines and changed our flight to later in the day, to give us time to get our passports.

-They called our hotel and arranged for a later checkout and they made sure that there would be no problem due to the fact that our card on file had been canceled.

They did all of this at 11:00 PM! They continued helping me the next day- finding the nearest place to go and get passport photos, etc.

So....that is why I use American Express when I travel!

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