I spent 4 hours on the phone last week complaining to american express about their travellers cheque card and then just yesterday received a form letter in reply. Here is my story. I hope people can find it deep in these forum pages but I am an avid reader of trip advisor & feel an obligation to warn travellers about the card.
April 2006, my husband and I took a trip to the Yucatan. We did not just go to Cancun but also to Merida and to several other smaller towns in the area. I had read about this area being primarily a cash economy and the smaller hotels requested payment in pesos. I purchased a couple thousand dollars of American Express travellers cheques cards for this purpose. I called american express traveles cheque card prior to purchasing to inquire about acceptance of the travellers cheque card at ATM's in the Yucatan. I was told "no problem our card is accepted at 10000 ATMs and businesses all over Mexico" I also purchased the cards because they came with a "buy one domestic airfare get one free"
We ended up just about stranded in Mexico with no money because the american express cheque card was not accepted anywhere. I was able to cash in one for $500 at the american express office in Merida but that was a major pain. The card was not accepted at any business or any ATM. When we got back I called American Express to complain. They still claimed it was accepted everywhere in Mexico. Finally the complaint department looked it up. Guess what, they could not find any place in Quantana Roo or Yucatan which accepted the card.
Problem two, which i believe constitues fraud, is the free companion airfare. My husband and I received our companion airfare vouchers in the mail and planned on using them to take our two daughters from Tallahassee to Seattle in August. I met all the criteria on the voucher and beleive me there are many many restrictions. First I found out Tallahassee was not a major airport to fly from. This is not listed on the restrictions & i found this out after being on hold for 1/2 hour. So I said "ok we will fly from Jacksonville" Well American Express's designated travel agency could not find a flight from Jacksonville to Seattle for over $379. This was their designated per ticket price. I was looking at all the airfares from the southeast to seattle on the internet . The fares ranged from 350 to 900 dollars round trip. The american express travel agency could not find any airfare anywhere from a "major airport" in the southeast for over 379. I have been routinely flying to seattle for several years now and I am always absolutely thrilled if I can find a flight for less than $400. I believe the booking agency american express has choosen to handle their companion airfare program purposely puts travellers in a catch 22 situation. You must book through them but yet they quote prices so low they do not meet the criteria.
I really really trusted American Express. I have had an Amex green card for many years. I did not expect such a rip off and out and out lies from them. Please please do not let yourself be stranded in a foreign country like we were without any cash. Do not buy the American Express Traveller Cheque Card and do not allow yourself to be lured into the free companion airfare offer like we were.