FRIHOST FORUMS SEARCH FAQ TOS BLOGS COMPETITIONS
You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!


Using American Express in Australia, and internationally





ChrisCh
As a collector of Qantas Frequent Flyer points, I use two different American Express cards to maximise the possible number of points earned on my spending, and only use MasterCard as an absolute last resort - where I either can't be bothered to leave and find a similar Amex-accepting store, or where Amex simply isn't an option (such as for car rego in Queensland).

While it can easily be used at major retailers like Coles, Myer, Woolworths, Big W, David Jones, Kmart, Target, etc etc etc, I'm curious what issues other people have experienced when trying to pay with Amex cards - both here in Australia, and also overseas. Smile
deanhills
I can only comment on "overseas", and as far as I can see the generally most accepted cards are Visa and Master Card. I have also learned through experience that one credit card is never enough to use on your travels, especially if you are going to rely on a credit card for all your payments. For example in the UAE I am banking with a bank that always checks up on the purchases you make on your credit card by phoning you. If they can't find you, they freeze your card. I once made all the arrangements to ask them not to phone me while I was travelling, and somehow the application for that never got registered on computer, so when I was phoned in the UAE while I was Overseas, my Visa Card got frozen. Fortunately I had enough cash with me to cover my Hotel Bill, but learned that it is probably a good idea to diversify credit cards. So probably would be good for you to travel with both. I'm sure American Express will be used in some places overseas, but definitely not all.
standready
I don't have an American Express card. I won't pay them for the privilege to have their card.
To answer your question: Many places here in the United States prefer that you use a different card if possible because American Express charges the highest handling fees of all the choices available.
ChrisCh
Thank-you very much deanhills for your very comprehensive answer! I'll be traveling to Italy, Switzerland, and London early next year, and plan on using my AMEX cards as much as possible, with two point-earning MasterCards as backups, followed by a no annual fee (thus no points) Visa card just in case somewhere won't take AMEX or MasterCard. I'm also considering getting a Diners Club card as a backup as well, because it's accepted at most hotels etc - more of a just-in-case (eg. if I lose my wallet etc), and keep it separate (such as in hotel safe or suitcase rather than on my person). Has anyone also had any experience with Diners Club (or has seen Diners Club signs in Italy)? As I'm from Australia, the Diners Club cards issued here are true Diners Club network cards (ie not issued as a MasterCard, as is the case in the USA).

And to standready - I suppose the choice is yours. The two cards I have from AMEX (one gold, one platinum) are fantastic, and in my opinion, are worth paying the slightly higher annual fees for - as I earn points at 3x the rate of my MasterCards, and between them they also have free international travel insurance, purchase protection (if something you buy is lost, stolen or damaged, they replace it or refund you), insurance for domestic flight delays (covers meals, transfers, toiletries etc), guaranteed pricing (ie if you buy something, and within a few weeks you find that item advertised cheaper at the same store or elsewhere, they refund you the difference), 24/7 concierge service (they can book things for you (hotels, flights, cars etc), help you plan events, get tables at full restaurants and onto the guest list for exclusive night clubs etc etc), and the list goes on Smile
goutha
American Express is the least accepted credit card around the world. It's more accepted in the US, but Visa still the number one credit card in the world. Mastercard holds the second position.
standready
ChrisCh wrote:
And to standready - I suppose the choice is yours. The two cards I have from AMEX (one gold, one platinum) are fantastic, and in my opinion, are worth paying the slightly higher annual fees for

Not knocking you in anyway. I get most if not all the benefits with my other cards and I pay zero annual fee verses $125 that American Express wants at least after the first year.
goutha
standready wrote:
ChrisCh wrote:
And to standready - I suppose the choice is yours. The two cards I have from AMEX (one gold, one platinum) are fantastic, and in my opinion, are worth paying the slightly higher annual fees for

Not knocking you in anyway. I get most if not all the benefits with my other cards and I pay zero annual fee verses $125 that American Express wants at least after the first year.


It depends, my American Express is without any fees and I'm earning money when I use it (1% to 3% depending on my purshases). But I have it with a store brand, the store pays for the annual fees.
daredninja
I have been using my amex as my primary card for nearly ten years now and have found that it is now used in more and more places around the world. On recent trips to Europe, South America and the Middle East i don't think I have needed to pull out my backup visa anywhere!

The benefits as Chris mentioned are invaluable to me and I recommend amex to all my friends. It has come up trumps so many times and in so many different countries and situations that I doubt I will be switching to any other card anytime soon despite the annual fee I pay.
goutha
Again, even if you pay annual fees, if your card gives you some kind of reward, in general, it will pay for itself!
ChrisCh
standready wrote:
Not knocking you in anyway. I get most if not all the benefits with my other cards and I pay zero annual fee verses $125 that American Express wants at least after the first year.
Never thought that you were Smile I suppose each person has different needs from their credit cards, and as it appears you've found the same deal for a non-Amex card, then that's great! If the same points earn rate (and associated insurances etc etc) was offered for a Visa or MasterCard in Australia, then I'd seriously consider switching to that from Amex! Unfortunately (for me anyway), the Reserve Bank made some changes to the way that credit card merchant fees are charged (to both the issuer and acquirer), making Visa & MasterCard much cheaper (and at the same time, made it legal for merchants to impose credit card surcharges and minimum transaction amounts if they desire). This meant that the banks now receive less money per transaction on these cards, so almost all non-Amex rewards programs have been watered down considerably. While it's good for my business (I pay less than 1% for Visa/MasterCard transactions), it can sometimes be annoying when I'm the one spending the money (if a shop surcharges or doesn't accept Amex/Diners) Smile
Cheeldash
Answering to ChrisCh, here in Italy Diners and MasterCard cards are usually accepted.
ChrisCh
Cheeldash wrote:
Answering to ChrisCh, here in Italy Diners and MasterCard cards are usually accepted.
Thanks for that Smile Is it common to find businesses in Italy that accept Diners Club but not American Express - or is it that if a store takes Diners, they (generally) take Amex too? Smile Many thanks!
Cheeldash
I don't know but i don't remember the last time i saw an amex sign.
Related topics
Spying on the spyware makers
Email Error
[RESOLVED] Mailing list not working
master or visa?
MacBook Pro
Contact page without outlook
Outlook Express
Is Pop3 email working
MSN Launches 'Search and Win' Contest
Importing mails from Outlook express to Outlook - 2 computer
Gift Cards, not so great of a present after all....
Repair Tech Warranty
How to get cheap international tickets?
Accepting American Express & Diners Club
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> General -> General Chat

FRIHOST HOME | FAQ | TOS | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SITE MAP
© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.