American Express Points Links Up With Amazon

AmericanExpressPoints

Now this is a match made in heaven, I have been using my American Express card for all Amazon Purchases and other purchases as well. Now American Express & Amazon have teamed up so that you can use your American Express Points towards Amazon Purcahses and the best part is that it automatically gives you the option to purchase with your points.

Amazon

All you have to do is associate your American Express Card with your account and in my case I have two cards even though they combine for one set of points. Surprisingly this has been around for a few months but only recently have I had a chance to look at the details and associate my account. After going through the process I had about $1700 worth of points that I can redeem so I just piled up on the Amazon Cart and purchased a lot of things that I want and don’t need, and ended up only paying $400. Its just all the things that have piled up from adding items from my Amazon App on the iPad and a few things that I have saved for later.

Traveling With Currencies

Usually when I travel to the states I just transfer an amount to my account and I’m good to go, but when traveling across Europe that is a different story. I don’t like using my card from the paranoia of having my card copied and sometimes you want to have some cash, but in Kuwait usually people like carrying with them a certain amount of money especially when they are traveling on long trips. The part they don’t realize are limits applied by the customs of their respective countries.

When traveling to the states the rule is simple you can’t bring more then 10’000 USD or the currencies equivalent to that amount and if you pass it then you have to declare it. And if the amount is within reason they let it go, such as 14’000 USD or 17’000 USD then they let that pass but its more then that then they take you in for questioning and make sure to follow up with you. If you don’t declare the amount you have then they would confiscate the whole amount if they are to discover it.

In the case of the Euro and British Pound it is sort of an equivalent story, you can’t bring more then 10’000 Euro or 7000 GBP while traveling into Europe. There is no declaration form for funds when traveling into the UK, but when traveling into France, Italy, Germany, or any other European country it is a little different. If you bring in a siginificantly larger amount then that and you don’t declare then they might hold you, or deport you and they are sure to confiscate the all the money. If you declare it still doesn’t make it easy, for example if you declare 20’000 upon entry then upon exit they ask for every reciept of the whole amount that you spent, so they will review the whole thing which is a complete headache.

This is what is faced by people who prefer to carry cash and in Kuwait some people prefer cash over card all the time. There are a few other solutions, one is having a prepaid card for the amount you want to use for your travels, and one other solution is getting travelers cheques in Euros, British Pounds, or US Dollars. But one thing to note is that you have cash the traveler cheques in their respective countries to get back the amount without any fees, which can be done at any foreign exchange such as Travelex, Thomas Cook, Western Union, American Express Exchange, and any 5 star hotel or Bank.

American Express Centurion vs. Visa Black Card

American Express came up with an excellent concept for a credit card for those heavy spenders and Visa wanted to copy it, but I think they failed miserably. American Express USA has the best service of any credit card company I have seen, I have usual credit card and they have been great so I don’t even have a clue about what they would do for the Centurion customers but here is a small and funny comparison.

Spending:
AMEX Centurion: In order to keep the card you have to spend at least $250,000 a year. Basically buying a car a year, and you have to pay it within the agreed period

Visa Black Card: Credit history sets your limit, so if your not a Billionare it will probably be $5000.

Exclusivity:
AMEX Centurion: You must be a current American Express card holder with great credit history. And going over the limit is never an issue in your spending.

Visa Black Card: Barclays bank mentioned only 1% of the population will be able to get this card. I doubt it.

Concierge Service:
AMEX Centurion: You command and they serve, I don’t think I have ever heard AMEX refuse a customer request. If you go shopping they arrange for a personal shopper at high end boutique. I wonder what would happen if you asked for a bunch of penguins to be delivered to your house. “No” is not a word they would utter.

Visa Black Card: It seems they have gotten on board with a 24 concierge service to do everything you want. Vacation bookings, Game Tickets, Shows, Information on the “In” places in different cities, restaurant reservations and more.

Extras:
AMEX Centurion: Your a member of Sony’s Cierge service, meaning you get access to all of Sony’s products before they his the market. You can get car extentions for you kids or family and in any color you want.

Visa Black Card: The card is made out of Carbon so it doesn’t wear. Also members get 1% back on purchases that can by used for travel or airline cost.

Cool Points:
AMEX Centurion: The Centurion by far carries the biggest amount of cool points, every body from Puff Daddy to Donald Trump have this card.

Visa Black Card: Nobody really knows about it yet, but I doubt they can reach the same level as AMEX anytime soon.

Link: Complex