Thursday, June 17, 2010

American Express in Kuwait

I have an Amex card from the States and I love it.  It keeps me in check (most of the time) because I have to pay it off every month.  No big interest balances and none of the accumulated debt.  I have a other cards, but I leave them at home (for fear of shoe shopping!)

When I first came to Kuwait, not a lot of places accepted Amex.  Then, more shops opened and services got better et voila!  American Express was received at most outlets.

Fast forward to 2010... wait... backtrack... many places that used to accept Amex aren't anymore.  That INCLUDES many of the big American fast food restaurants like T.G.I.Fridays and Ruby Tuesdays.  How really un-patriotic! 

I know Amex charges business owners a higher percentage, but c'mon!

I am also glad that my Amex hails from the US of Hey and not a local/regional office.  A dear friend had a case of fraud where he was in Kuwait and charges were made on his Amex in another country.  He disputed it (usually, American Express is outstanding when you question charges).  He went on his merry way.  He travelled.  He had a nightmare when he was blacklisted coming back into Kuwait by who?  You guessed it - American Express Kuwait.  He had to clear the bill before he was allowed back in.  They were ready to put him on a plane back to where he had come from - in Asia!

Personally, I have had problems reaching Amex in Kuwait and it usually ends by a call to their regional office in Bahrain.  Lots of times, you can't get anyone on the phone in Kuwait and then they just don't get it.


Daggero said...


Here is a bit of history on AMEX ;

Many people in Kuwait used to have Amex cards years ago when it was the Card to have ,and used to pay their bills through their office in England ,then God bless their soul Amex moved their operation to Bahrain as their regional office ,which was the wrong move because it turned an American/European Operation into a local Operation

The jest of the matter is the local bahraini Amex operation started to relentlessly chase the clients of Amex to make them pay the outstanding balance even when it was slightly overdue especially after One of the collapses of the stock market here in Kuwait fearing Kuwaitis were going broke .I guess AMEX forgot that they were CREDIT card company ,not a bill collector company .

This tactic back fired big time when many Kuwait users opted for other cards mainly Visa (an easier name to remember as in , can you get me visa go to America !!!! :)

Amex never recovered here in Kuwait even though i heard that during the Invasion they stood by their Kuwait clients which was commendable ,but somehow they slipped again .

So i guess it has nothing to do with patriotism but everything to do with Marketing , Marketing , Marketing

But not to feel sorry , JCB card ( Japan Credit Bank I think ) also came and went here in the area same time as Amex

Anonymous said...

Except AMEX here sucks, unless its issued by Gulf Bank. I am a platinum card holder (mine is issued too from the USA) but try and go into the Airport Lounge with it. Guess what - AMEX (platinum or not) not issued by Gulf Bank = nogo. Seems it works everywhere else, but not Kuwait. What's up with that? Can you imagine a well-heeled (i.e. rich) Kuwaiti family being refused entry in the States because their card was issued by a Kuwaiti Bank? There would be outrage - lawsuits, etc, etc et al ad nausem. I fail to see why AMEX discriminates here against their own customers - seems to make absolutely no business sense to me. As far a traveling stateside now, I just use miles and upgrade into Business on United - nonstop to DC. Andd that flight ALWAYS arrives early :)

quicksilver said...

Well Amex has higher charges coz of their supposedly superior customer service & benefits....if you ain't getting that then it's just a waste.

Anonymous said...

Sick Sick Just Plain Sick of Kuwait and Kuwaitis, the heat, the censors, the stupid drivers, the Wastha.

Thank God I got out within 6 months...He is most merciful.

Desert Girl said...

FedEx - also an American company - doesn't take Amex in Kuwait either.

Anonymous said...

DG- I use my platinum Amex at FedEx in Shuwaikh all the time.

Anonymous said...

Amex Bahrain is horrible. Bunch of English guys running the place who otherwise would be unemployed in UK!