Have you ever eaten at an expensive restaurant in a foreign country and watched as the waiter sneered at your Visa or MasterCard? Believe it or not, this is a common experience for international travelers, especially those who finance the trip with their business credit card. In the United States, currency is currency, but in other countries, how you pay can have a direct effect on the service you receive. Founded in 1850, American Express has grown into the preferred financial center overseas, and provides a variety of options for international travelers.
Hotels, Retailers & Restaurants
When traveling internationally, it is always preferable to have your American Express card handy for purchases at hotels, retailers and restaurants. Business owners and their employees have come to trust the American Express name, and while some accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover, many establishments frown on the use of these credit cards. Since there are thousands of financial centers in nearly every country, business owners feel comfortable accepting American Express, which gives you an advantage when shopping, eating and sleeping in foreign countries.
If you have a card like the Hilton HHonors Platinum Credit Card from American Express, you can also earn reward points for free hotel stays, free airline tickets and discounts on travel vacation packages. The JetBlue and Blue Sky cards have similar advantages.
If you have an American Express Credit Card, your overseas banking will be made much easier. Most American Express financial centers will cash personal checks of up to $1,000 for regular card holders, and up to $5,000 for gold card members. They can also provide simple, fast currency exchanges and money transfers.
While it is always a good idea to have your bank information with you wherever you travel, having an American Express credit card acts like an extension of your personal bank. Running out of cash in a foreign country is terrifying, and something to avoid wherever possible. If you have your American Express credit card, you can receive cash advances and money transfers at financial centers.
Flights & Rental Cars
Business travel is one of the most stressful aspects of a professional’s career, and if travel is a large part of your career, then an American Express credit card can cut anxiety to a minimum. If you use the same card for your flights and rental cars as with other purchases in foreign countries, you have much less paperwork to sort through when it comes time to file expense reports. Using American Express can also make delayed and canceled flights less of a problem. When your flight is canceled, the airline can simply refund your money directly to the card, rather than forcing you to wait weeks or even months for a check to come in the mail.
American Express also offers airline reward cards, such as the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card. International travel earns the maximum number of bonus miles for future flights, and unlike other airline reward cards, your SkyMiles never expire. When you book a flight using the SkyMiles card, you never have to worry about blackout dates, which can be a wonderful bonus for frequent international travelers.
Business Credit Cards
American Express offers a variety of business credit cards, ranging from those fit for small businesses to cards that benefit large corporations. Foreign countries are just as respectful of business cards as with personal cards, and in many cases, the benefits are even better. If your business or the company that employs you requires consistent travel, there may be more rewards available than when each employee uses his or her own credit card. For example, the Platinum Business FreedomPass Credit Card from American Express, each card earns points toward rewards, including free travel and accommodations. So if twelve employees have copies of the FreedomPass Credit Card, the business is rewarded twelve times over.
Having a business credit card from American Express can also make employees much more comfortable with International travel. Rather than charging expenses to their own account and filing an expense report later, the company is billed directly, allowing employees to feel safe. American Express is not the only credit card company to offer travel and cash rewards, but it is the only one that is accepted by almost every overseas vendor. While international travelers will find that some businesses require cash, there is always a place to retrieve money when funds run low, and travelers can feel comfortable knowing that their finances are secure.