Bluebird for International Travel and Purchases

Previously I wrote an intro about the Bluebird Card and membership through American Express and Walmart. I wanted to give a brief background on what the card advertises, as well as how I would use the card in my daily life. As always, I am not giving you financial advice, just sharing a new product on the market and giving my first-hand experience.

Bluebird Walmart American Express

I travel internationally quite frequent and one obstacle I’ve come across many times is my debit card being flagged as stolen when I use said card at international hotels and for shopping when in other countries. Yes, I do notify my financial institution when I am traveling and which countries I will be in, but during my trip to Thailand I found myself in a bind.

I used my debit card in Chiang Mai to do some shopping and for incidental charges at The Four Seasons Chiang Mai. All those charges went through just fine. Then I went to Bangkok. My Thai baht were getting low, so I decided to withdraw more money from an ATM. My card wouldn’t work. I tried another ATM, it STILL wouldn’t work. The next morning when I checked out of my hotel to pay the room charges, my card STILL wouldn’t work. I checked my balance online and had plenty of money available, but being that I was 12 hours ahead my bank was closed. I called the assistance number listed and discovered Mastercard had flagged my card as stolen even though my bank itself knew I would be traveling.

Upon my return I spoke with my financial institution and learned that my debit card could not be used for any purchases in the UK. They’ve had a high rate of fraudulent purchases there and should I use my card while traveling in the UK then my account would be frozen. And here I was in the middle of planning a holiday in the UK.

Enter Bluebird. I can use my Bluebird card to make purchases in the UK and when I needed to provide a card to hold my hotel room, I successfully used my Bluebird account to book the room. I also used my Bluebird card to book car service to the airport for our return flight back to the US. My son, who also has an account with my financial institution has upcoming travels around Europe with his school. I was able to order a Bluebird card by opening a sub-account in his name. I no longer have to worry about him running out of spending money while so far away from home.

An added benefit of Bluebird membership is the access to American Express Global Assist Services. Here’s the official info on Global Assist Services with Bluebird:

While the Global Assist coordination and assistance services are offered at no additional charge from American Express, Cardmembers are responsible for the cost charged by third-party service providers. If you need further information please call the number on the back of your card.

From Global Assist Services: Sometimes the unexpected happens when you travel. A passport is lost. You come down with a sudden illness. A lawyer is needed. Being a Cardmember can make things easier to handle. Global Assist can help you prepare for your trip with customs information and destination guides. And while you’re traveling more than 100 miles from home, lost passport replacement assistance, translation services, lost luggage assistance, and emergency legal and medical referrals are only a phone call away.

As a Traveling Mama, this benefit might prove very useful during international travel. I’m very excited about the international use with this card and I’ll be heading to the UK soon with confidence that I won’t be stuck in a situation again like my recent Thailand debit card incident. I’m not stating that this is the perfect solution for an international traveler, because not all places accept American Express cards, but it did give me a solution for my personal situation.

This was a sponsored experiment and compensation was received. It in no way affected the opinion of the author.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the info! I’m heading to the UK soon for a few months, and wondered if had any experience transferring money from a UK purchased visa or Amex gift card into your bluebird account? Thank you!

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