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American Express Rewards Travel is Horrible

Guest Luke

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Just another sign that this country is going down the drain.


My company spends hundreds of thousands of dollars every year using American Express business credit card. We like to use it, because we get one reward point for every dollar spent. By the end of the year we have accumulated several hundred thousand points that we can apply to a variety of travel, retail, or dining rewards.


I have no problem with using my Amex card or speaking with the American Express Client Management team. For two years the service of this part of the company has been outstanding. But, I do have a real problem with the American Express Rewards program.


Today, I was trying to set up a round trip flight to Puerto Rico for reward vacation for my coworkers. At first I tried to use the online membership rewards program, but the web site was not working.


I called American Express Customer Service at 1-800-492-3344 and asked for the membership rewards department. The representative gave me a Travel Rewards telephone number - 1-800-268-3205.


I dialed the number and was prompted for my American Express travel id. I was never given one. I pressed "0" button to get operator help. First, a polite english speaking Indian woman told me she never heard of Puerto Rico. I told her that Puerto Rico was a territory of the United States. She actually thought it was a city. Then she could not find San Juan Airport (SJU). I asked to speak with a manager. She told me that I would be on hold for 2 - 3 minutes. After 10 minutes I hung up.


I then called American Express Customer Service again at 1-800-492-3344. I spoke with Adam and told him my fustration. Adam stated that he knew how I felt. I then asked Adam for a travel representative from the United States. Adam put me on hold to speak with a representative from the U.S. I waited 5 minutes and then Adam came back on the phone to tell me that I was going to have to wait longer. I was listening to American Expresss telephone wait advertisements tell me how "convenient" it is to use American Express Card.


After another 5 minutes Adam finally transferred me to Daniel, an American Express travel agent in a call center in Texas. I relayed my fustration with Daniel and he told me that American Express made a deal with an Indian calling service last year and that there have been complaints. Daniel stated that American Express is working on the problem. Daniel took my flight information. He confirmed the flights were available and then asked for my telephone number. "why did you need my telephone number?????, I replied. Daniel responded, "Again sir, I apologize for your fustration, I am giving your number to our Travel Department. They will call you back in 30 minutes." I was outraged. "Daniel, I have now spent way to much time to book my flight. This should be easy." Daniel then responded, "Sir, I am sorry, I will make sure that our customer service calls you back in 5 minutes.


Guess what!!! No one called me back in 5 minutes.


American Express needs to clean up their act or I WILL GO HOME WITHOUT IT.

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Guest BlackSun_*


Call their office and tell them your story. It might help.


American Express Company

World Financial Center

200 Vesey St

New York, NY 10285


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Thanks I just contacted Sara Encebi at the American Express Office 1-800-297-6196 ext 56815. Sara was very nice and apologetic. She gave me the number of an American Express Travel Office located in Washington, DC.



1501 K Street NW

Washington, DC 20005






After a few minutes Sara told me that she talked with American Express Travel Office. American Express could book the flight, but could not book the flight using my points. They have a deal with American Airlines, but not with United Airlines. She agreed that was not right. Edward in Travel Department PA Office was able help me. He booked my flights with no problem. Then Edward transferred me to Joanne, the Pennsylvania call center manager. I asked Joanne for her direct line. She told me that because of the call volume that American Express does not give telephone no.s. I then asked Joeanne if she could put a memo next my account with my reservation problem. Joanne then told me because of user volume American Express is not able to keep a database of my information. But Joanne was nice enough to give me a tip on what to ask for when calling the American Express Call Center.




First, ask for an American Representative. This way you will not get someone from a country that is familiar with the Geographic refrences you are interested in traveling to.


Second, Go to Orbitz or any flight booking engine and get your flight information. Then make sure to ask the travel representative to Go to their Sabre Travel tool and shop by schedule instead of broad search. The shop by schedule is a new feature and not all the representatives know about this feature.


Hopefully this information will help someone out with a simular experience like me.

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First, ask for an American Representative. This way you will not get someone from a country that is familiar with the Geographic refrences you are interested in traveling to.


It appears that I was mislead. American Express Travel DID NOT CONNECT ME WITH A U.S. representative.


I just called 800-297-2977 and was transferred to a woman named Cheryl. Cheryl was from India. I asked for an American Representative. Cheryl asked if American Express could call me back. I told her to just transfer me to an American representative. Cheryl put me on hold. After waiting five minutes I hung up. I called Sara at the corporate office 1-800-297-6196 ext 56815. Sara was not there, so I left a message on what just happened.


I then called back the 800-492-3344 number on the back of my card to see if a customer service representative could help me get an American Express Travel representative.


I think American Express Travel should be called "Indian Long Delay" travel service.


Jan in American Express Client Management in customer service certainly understood my fustration. She told me that since I have a Gold Premier Card ($120 per year service fee) I qualified to speak to an indian representative. Jan also stated that American Express Platinum Travel members do not have this problem. For a $395.00 a year service fee.


Jan also stated that she called the same number 800-297-2977 to contact the American Express travel agent. Jan and I were transferred to Vanessa of the Bombay American Express Travel. I requested for Jan to stay on the line and help me out. Jan requested that I speak to an American agent. Venessa stated that she would have to put us on hold for a few minutes. I stated that I did not want to go through waiting again.


I told Vanessa that I was leaving from Washington, DC to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Jan and I chuckled when Vanessa thought Dulles Airport was Dallas Fort Worth Airport. When she finally got my information correct Vanessa politely put Jan and I on hold to look up the flights. While we were waiting a telephone advertisement stated American Express Travel charges an $25.00 service fee on all telephone reservations. When Vanessa came back on the line I told her that the American Express travel fee of $25.00 should be waived since the web site was down and I just spent too many hours trying to make my reservation.


After many hours I FINALLY made my flight reservations. Hopefully I will get the email confirmations. Venessa then told me that I would have to contact American Express Rewards 18002973276 to deal with my hotel reservations. This process never ends.

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Guest BlackSun_*

The call center is located here.




Location: Hiranandani Gardens, Powai

Spectramind was started by Raman Roy, and taken over by Wipro in 2002. One of the best companies to work for, given the brand name Wipro. Freshers have to sign a 1 year contract with the company.


Entry Mechanism:

One has to face 3 personal interviews and a Grammar Test.

For technical positions, there is an additional personal interview with the Operations Manager and a Technical Test.


Pay Scale:

Freshers get about Rs.8.5K. Those with experience or in technical positions can get up to Rs.18K.



Delta Airways, American Express, CapitalOne, AOL and Dell.



The USP of Wipro is its transport facility. It offers a 24-hour home pick-up/ drop.


Other Facilities:

A good café. The 'Chicken Lunch' for Rs.25 is the most popular, along with the Veg. Pattice which costs only Rs.8.

Foodies have the option of a HotCorn and a Monginis stall.

The canteen has 4 TVs.

There's carrom in the canteen itself.

There is also a TT table and a badminton court along with a gym.


Here is a story about Wipro, and Indian firm, bid for the American Express Contract on April 27, 2006;cd=1&gl=us


According to market sources, Wipro and other software vendors in India are aggressively bidding for an American Express IT outsourcing deal estimated at over $1 billion.
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The call center is located here.



Here is a story about Wipro, and Indian firm, bid for the American Express Contract on April 27, 2006;cd=1&gl=us


This is beginning to make sense to me. American Express Travel is really owned and operated by Wipro. That is why they had trouble transferring me to an American Agent. This release I found explains it all. Wipro owns the name American Express Travel.


Sept. 2, 2002


Wipro Limited (NYSE:WIT) announced today that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the entire equity holding that is owned by American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. in Spectramind eServices Private Limited, comprised of equity shares and warrants, for an aggregate consideration of Rs. 170 million ($3.5 million).


As part of the agreement, Wipro will acquire from American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. equity shares representing 2% of the outstanding equity shares of Spectramind eServices Private Limited, and warrants to purchase equity shares of the company. These equity shares and rights to purchase equity shares represent approximately 4.5% of the equity of Spectramind eServices Private Limited on a fully diluted basis. On completion of the transaction, Wipro's aggregate interest in the company will be approximately 92% of all outstanding equity shares, which represents 81% of the company on a fully diluted basis. Wipro's aggregate interest in Spectramind Limited, a limited liability company incorporated under the laws of Bermuda and indirect parent of Spectramind eServices Private Limited, is approximately 89% of the company on a fully diluted basis.


The closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

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Guest Black Sun








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Guest Black Sun


Check out this case study. I bet they are talking about American Express. Wipro is a huge company.




Legacy system maintenance and enhancements for a travel agent in North America


The customer

Client is one of the leading Travel Agents in North America. It handles around 3,50,000 passengers per year. Booking of Tours, originate in approximately 1000 sales offices in Japan and are handled either by their offices in Japan, or by their North American offices present in most of the major cities in US.


The challenge

The client had a legacy ATLAS III application, which was a comprehensive system designed to handle the following business needs:


Managing Contracts and Tariffs for Hotels, Restaurants, Transportation

Planning and Estimation of Tours

Creating Hotel seasons and TPM Seasons

Managing Tours, Tour Related Services, Clients

Invoices related to Tours

Message Routing


The client faced the challenge of successfully implementing complex changes in a short span of time with minimal downtime of the production system.


The solution

Wipro took over the maintenance and enhancement of the system at a very critical stage. Scope of work included enhanced features & usability. Wipro's best practices in Project Management, Quality Control and development skills played a pivotal role in stabilizing the system in a record time of six months.


Wipro's work was well appreciated by the client and the manner in which we delivered the first code release speaks volume of the contribution made by Wipro towards stabilizing the project.



Business benefits to the client

The system was stabilized in a record time of six months.Wipro's delivery exceeded the client's norms for number of fixes and defect rate.

The Wipro quality matrix exceeded the client's expectation in the following aspects: Bug free delivery of products.

Quantum of Bugs covered under each code release

Better Client Support.


Technical environment (apart from client's application server)

The system was developed in Progress 8.3b with Progress Data Server 8.0C65 on OS/400 V4R3. Back end DB2 on AS/400 V4R3. The reports are generated in Actuate Reporting Software Ver. 4.

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This is beginning to make sense to me. American Express Travel is really owned and operated by Wipro. That is why they had trouble transferring me to an American Agent. This release I found explains it all. Wipro owns the name American Express Travel.


I think Wipro purchased American Express equity in Spectramind in 2002.


SPECTRAMIND ESERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED, a company incorporated under the

Companies Act ,1956,, having its registered office at 239, Okhla

Industrial Estate Phase III, New Delhi 110020, India (hereinafter referred

to as "COMPANY" which expression shall unless it be repugnant to the

context be deemed to include its representatives, successors and assigns).


The Spectramind eServices Private Limited ("COMPANY") is engaged in the

business of remote processing activities and has set up a remote

processing centre at Okhla, New Delhi.


In 2002, Wipro took a quantum jump in the BPO services by acquiring the then Spectramind. Wipro BPO Solutions, complements the services offered by Wipro Technologies, making it one of the largest BPO service players.


Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the corporate relocation of its entire business functions to a either self-owned or third-party service.

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Guest Aadarshini

Where have you gentleman been. India is the originator of the BPO concept.


The philosophy behind BPO is specific, do what you do best and leave everything else to business process outsourcers.


Typically, a customer calls the call center [usually a toll-free number]. After pressing numerous numbers [1 for English, 2 for Spanish, 3 for bank balance!] the operator will answer your query by accesing the database. Call centres address sales support, airline/hotel reservations, technical queries, bank accounts, client services, receivables, tele marketing, market research.


Raman Raman Roy is widely regarded as the pioneer and “Guru” of the Indian BPO industry. He is a pioneer three times over, having successfully led the captive BPO initiatives of :


- American Express - business leader for American Express’s BPO business in India

- GE Capital - CEO of GE Capital International Services (GECIS)

- Spectramind (now Wipro BPO) - The venture-funded Spectramind, with an enviable leadership team and a proven track record, was acquired by Wipro in July 2002.



Read this




Aron: You began your career as a consultant but were tapped to join American Express in the mid 1980s. What did you learn at that time about Indian operational and executional capabilities?


Roy: When American Express launched its Indian rupee card, some of the things we had to do at the company's Indian division were similar to what was being done in the more advanced markets. Our operations began to resemble the operations shops of the other company units in terms of servicing, number of transactions, complexity of transactions, and so on. As we did that, an interesting fact emerged: the cost per transaction from India was significantly lower than those of the more advanced markets. And the quality of the output, which was a function of the quality of our staff, was significantly superior.


People in the company began to talk, saying, 'These guys in India obviously don't know how to make their reports; how could these numbers be true?' But when senior managers started working with us and reviewing the process, they realized that we did know how to make the reports -- and the actual cost was low.


Aron: How much lower were the costs in India?


Roy: They were lower almost by 40% to 50%. But lower costs don't tell the full story because the gains were more than just in cost savings. The real gains were greater because of our execution efficiency, the number of first-call resolutions of customer problems, and the ease with which we resolved the issues (which was purely a function of our more qualified and better educated staff).


All this caught the eye of John McDonald, who the comptroller at American Express. It planted a seed in his mind: He found our Indian operation interesting -- especially our cost base and the quality of our manpower. Later John decided to consolidate the company's multiple operational centers into three locations. He chose Phoenix, Arizona, for the Americas; Brighton, U.K., for all of Europe; and he was on the lookout for a center to serve Japan, Asia/Pacific and Australia. The seed that had been planted many months earlier in his mind came to fruition, and he nominated some of us to work with the group that was evaluating locations in Japan, Asia/Pacific and Australia.


Aron: What did you find?


Roy: We did a lot of research -- reviewing government plans, telecommunications infrastructure, what was good and bad about the business environment, and so forth -- in each location. Ultimately our recommendation to senior management was that India would be the obvious choice. That's how the center came into being, and I had the honor of playing a role in leading that effort for American Express.


Roy: We hired Andersen Consulting to help us locate a potential partner who could do business process outsourcing. We discovered at that time that there was no one in the marketplace that was doing BPO processing. American Express ran a captive center [or a proprietary outsourcing operation owned by the company], as did British Airways and Swissair.

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