Ronnie Sue’s recent trip to Germany was a financial nightmare. Though she warned her bank she would be traveling to Germany, when she arrived, she couldn’t withdraw needed cash. The bank gently suggested that Ronnie Sue draw cash from her credit card, and even offered to refund any cash advance fees. It wasn’t until Ronnie Sue whipped out her AmEx that she learned it had been silently canceled two days before she left…
It’s not like Ronnie Sue was a disloyal or obviously risky customer:
Of all my credit cards, my American Express card was my favorite. As I child, I fell for those television commercials with Karl Malden who warned us, “don’t leave home without it.” And who wouldn’t want to have the same card that Ellen DeGeneres and M. Knight Shamalayan carry? I was overjoyed a couple of years ago when first received I got the amex that allowed me to earn frequent flyer miles. Although this particular card had a revolving line of credit, I judiciously paid off the card monthly because THAT was the card I chose to have around if I ever ran into trouble. I don’t mess with advice from Karl Malden.
Even worse, Ronnie Sue spent her own money calling AmEx and her bank at $0.99 per minute. If you ever get lonely or need to call customer service while abroad, call collect. It makes the company literally pay for their mistake (or your loneliness,) and since companies hate paying for things like customer service, your call will be immediately expedited to get you off the line.
Moral of the story? Add “call your credit card company” to any complete pre-departure checklist.