American Express Let Down (emergency cash)

Old Aug 8, 15, 10:54 am
  #1  
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American Express Let Down (emergency cash)

Sorry for breaking rules.

Last edited by Pavane; Aug 17, 15 at 9:34 am Reason: Improper question
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Old Aug 8, 15, 2:54 pm
  #2  
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Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.1030 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

You should complain to Amex after you get back home. They are pretty good about throwing some points/miles your way when there has been a problem with their customer service.
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Old Aug 8, 15, 2:58 pm
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Who does not have Skype? Even a friend or hotel computer often has Skype. Amex is good at getting you checked into a hotel where you can get cash or have food and beverage. The days of picking up your mail or cash at the local Amex office have gone the way of the pay phones
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Old Aug 9, 15, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by Centurion View Post
Who does not have Skype? Even a friend or hotel computer often has Skype. Amex is good at getting you checked into a hotel where you can get cash or have food and beverage. The days of picking up your mail or cash at the local Amex office have gone the way of the pay phones
Skype requires solid internet. Places exist where this is not available. Chuuk for example.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 2:30 pm
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Just ask them to call you back at your hotel?

On the odd occasion when I've called Amex from outside my home country, and mentioned that I was abroad, they've always immediately offered to call me back at their expense on a local number. Based on those experiences with the nice folk in Brighton, I wouldn't hesitate to ring up and say "hi, I'm in XXX, this is costing me a fortune, please call me back at the YYY hotel and we'll do security then, it's urgent" if I really needed it.
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Old Aug 10, 15, 6:27 am
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Hmm. I had to use this service once ~15 years ago and Amex was stellar. What Amex number did you call initially? It sounds like the CS had no idea how to handle your situation.
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Old Aug 10, 15, 7:16 am
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Just out of curiosity - how does this emergency cash service work?

Does AMEX have the hotel give you cash which is charged back on to the card?
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Old Aug 10, 15, 8:03 am
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This sounds like a telecom, not an Amex problem. The local operator refused to place a collect call (which Amex would have accepted), the local Internet apparently was unstable and OP did not ask Amex to call back on a landline at the hotel (which it would have done).

Doesn't sound as though Amex failed on any point.
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Old Aug 10, 15, 7:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This sounds like a telecom, not an Amex problem. The local operator refused to place a collect call (which Amex would have accepted), the local Internet apparently was unstable and OP did not ask Amex to call back on a landline at the hotel (which it would have done).

Doesn't sound as though Amex failed on any point.
Not really. Could not reach an international operator. AM EX agent refused to return the phone call and initially did not want to try to connect me to Global Assistance. Then I was on hold for Global Assistance for 45 minutes and disconnected. No internet available. We're pretty big users of 6 AM EX cards and never needed assistance.

Result: A mild complaint got 8500 points. Didn't compensate for $200 phone bill, but helped soothe the annoyance.
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Old Aug 10, 15, 7:15 pm
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And all Amex said they could do (theoretically today) was send me cash via Western Union with me paying the fees. Would not have worked in this situation. Lesson learned to have more PINS on all cards for ATMs, although we mainly use Charles Schwab with no fees internationally.
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Old Aug 11, 15, 7:52 am
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I've been to Moorea and it isn't all that remote. There are banks there. Additionally, I'm not sure what you wanted from American Express as this is how it works.

When all other resources have been exhausted, Global Assist can facilitate a cash
wire through Western Union or MoneyGram to assist during an emergency travel
situation. This will be charged to your Card. This service is provided only in
emergency travel situations for a small amount of cash to assist you until other
alternatives can be arranged. Global Assist coordinates this service for you at no
additional cost, but Western Union or MoneyGram charges a discounted fee to
cover the costs of the wire.
So, if their policy "wouldn't work for you" what exactly did you want them to do?
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Old Aug 11, 15, 8:57 am
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Well, it was a weekend and banks were closed.
And until I needed them, I did not know what they would do. Will have other
emergency options in place for next trip.
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Old Aug 11, 15, 9:06 am
  #13  
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Note that the service is different if your card includes Premium Global Assist:

Emergency Cash Wire Service
Premium Global Assist Hotline can facilitate a cash wire through Western Union or
MoneyGram to assist during an emergency travel situation. This will be charged to your
Card. This service is provided in an emergency travel situation for a small amount of cash
to assist you until other alternatives can be arranged. As an additional Premium Global
Assist Hotline benefit, American Express covers the Western Union or MoneyGram wire
fees.
Certain control procedures must be followed to provide this service. Available credit
must be available for any wire to be sent and approved. This service may be limited or
unavailable due to regulations or actions of local authorities and/or U.S. economic or
trade sanctions
Centurion and Platinum include the Premium version. I think it is not included with any less expensive cards because Delta Reserve does not include it, nor does Premier Rewards Gold.
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Old Aug 11, 15, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by Pavane View Post
Could not reach an international operator.
That's a pretty loose term. First of all, you mentioned a "mobile phone call." You're not going to be able to call collect from a mobile phone in most cases, and even if you could, it would not cover the mobile roaming fees and just the international long distance fees (which are typically included in the mobile roaming fee anyway).

For your and any future traveler's reference, in addition to using a landline phone in this situation (such as a payphone or hotel courtesy phone), you should not try to use the local "international operator" but rather something like the AT&T USA Direct phone number. AT&T has a local phone number in almost every country. Look it up on the web before you go, or any hotel front desk just about anywhere should know what it is. You dial it as a local call (or toll free where available, so no coins at a payphone in many cases), and you are connected to an AT&T operator in the US. You tell them you want to call the "for international calls, dial..." number on the back of your Amex card, collect. In many cases, you just do this all from a menu without having to talk to an actual operator, and the Amex numbers are already on file as accepting int'l collect calls. Don't bother dealing with the local "international operator," who may be difficult and may not speak English.

These days, Skype is going to be easier than the above in most cases. But if Skype isn't available, the above would be my fallback.
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Old Aug 12, 15, 8:20 pm
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Thanks for the tip. From your post, I learned to not rely on the emergency cash from AMEX.

There is this urban legend that AMEX has the "best customer service". I haven't experienced it myself, even with a Platinum, etc.
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