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American Express Travel Notifications Guide: Are They Needed? [2021]

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Before you depart the country you always want to make sure that everything is in order when it comes to your credit cards and debit cards. Nothing is worse that having your transactions denied or your card frozen when you’re trying to make a purchase abroad. And to avoid this, you usually need to place a travel notification on your card.

In this article, I’ll show you whether or not you’ll need to place a travel notification on your American Express credit cards before traveling.

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Do I need to set American Express travel notifications?

No, you do not need to set up American Express travel notifications before departing the country.

This might sound odd to you but it’s because Amex has their own technology they utilize so that they can tell if your purchases are legitimate or not.

They state:

One way that the notifications work is when Amex tracks your purchases for travel. So they might see that you’ve made airline ticket or hotel purchases or perhaps they see that you’ve made a purchase at an airport — it’s not clear exactly what types of purchase trigger their anti-fraud detection capabilities.

In those cases, you might receive an email like this one I received for my Platinum Card.

So it would be a good idea for you to download the Amex Mobile App and to monitor your notifications when traveling. That way, you might be able to quickly resolve any notifications about potential fraud. And then you’ll want to make sure that your current mobile phone number is on file and updated so that Amex can reach out to you and quickly resolve any problems.

Does the technology always work?

You might be wondering how Amex will detect that you’re traveling if you don’t use your Amex card to make travel purchases. I’m not sure how they would be able to do that either and so I’d just be on the lookout for notifications from the app about fraud if that’s the case.

I would also have the Amex customer service number saved to my phone. (It’s a good idea to have your credit card information stored somewhere as well.)

Also, I always travel with a Visa and a Mastercard because many vendors and merchants might not accept American Express cards. So it might not even be a potential fraud issue that keeps you from using your Amex card.

Also, one unique consideration to think about with American Express cards is that some of them limit their bonus earning to US establishments.

For example, the Amex Gold Card earns 4X on dining at US restaurants and 4X at US supermarkets. Meanwhile other cards like the Citi Prestige earn 5X on dining on international purchases as well. So with Amex cards, don’t forget that your bonus earnings (and sometimes other perks like Uber credits) don’t work abroad.

Related: Is the Amex International Airline Program Worth It?


Final word

Unlike issuers like Chase where you can log-in and set up travel notifications online for your credit cards or even bank accounts, Amex does not require you to do this and in fact doesn’t even have the option for you to do this online. Instead, they rely on technology to predict if you’re charges abroad are fraudulent or not and then notify if there are any suspicions.

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