Sunday, December 26, 2010

Is American Express the best travel credit card?

When you travel you can rely on travelers checks, credit cards or plain old cash.  These days most people are using a combination of credit cards and cash.  (when have you last bought a travelers check)   We recommend you take about 25% of your extra spending in the way of cash and the rest in a rock solid credit card that's got your back.

American Express has been around since 1850 and often has been known as a "rich man's credit card."  They tend to offer a ton of benefits and perks that most other companies don't come close to matching but you also pay for it.  The annual costs for most are anywhere from $250 up to $450 for the super-exclusive Platinum Card.   And merchants don't always dig AMEX because they pay a higher cost to accept it over cheaper MasterCard and/or Visa.  That's why you sometimes see stores NOT accepting American Express.

(AMEX cards feature a Roman mascot adopted in 1958)

In 1915 AMEX came up with a travel division that hooked up it's high paying but rich customers with travel discounts and protection second to none.   In fact, on their web site, they have a trip booking service, Travel Services, where the user can book air, land and car rental packages themselves with built-in deals.  Plus when you book using that page, you get double the membership reward points that you can then use later down the road for other freebies. 

AMEX has partnerships with Delta Airlines and Starwood Hotels and Resorts to where you can use your membership reward points to pay for rooms and airfare.  You can also get discounts for local shows, entertainment, sporting events and more.   These points never expire once you earn them and you can earn as many points as you like - there's no limit.   American Express Point FAQ's.

(American Express spokeswoman, Beyonce and her mother)

American Express is also very good at other benefits like extending warranties on products you buy, replacing stolen items you bought with their card and if a cardholder is more than 100 miles from home, AMEX will offer medical, legal, and financial assistance. They will replace lost passports, misplaced prescriptions, arrange for an air ambulance, and monitor medical treatments.   They have other features that protect you when you travel if your air is delayed a day or more (free air travel and rooms).   The benefits are pretty insane and a lot of AMEX cardholders are not even aware of what they got.

So if you got good credit and good income you might want to try and get one of these bad boys.  Plus you'll look big pimping when you roll to the club with your date and whip out the legendary credit card of players.

Look for the offers and specials to the right of this post, above it or just below it.  

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