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I wasn’t planning on adding a post for at least another week as very little has happened but when I opened my American Express (AMEX) bill I got a nice surprise. More on that later.
During the week the electrician has done some (but not very much) work.

Tiles – All the rest of the tiles will be delivered tomorrow.

Garden Shopping – We have ordered and paid for a Keter Composter which we should be getting within the next couple of days.

2 things that I have previously forgotten to mention. The first is that when the builders were using concrete in the basement they also used it to straighten and clean up the walls in the garage. The second is that there is some damage on the lintel above the garage. I assume that this was done by the skip company and that it will be fixed at some point by the kablan as that is his responsibility.

AMEX. This was originally my bane (I have not written about it here before as it was a pure financial decision – but it appears to have become relevant). I decided that I wanted a credit card that gave me some kind of benefit in kind as I would be spending a lot of money on it. I looked around and came up with AMEX as a good option. The negative to start with was the fee – but when I phoned them up I found that they have a fee-free deal with the company that I work for (ask either AMEX or your own company if relevant). I opened the card and tried to use it. It refused me. I found out that I only had a limit of 4000NIS – not even enough money to pay a single bill that I took the card for. I tried to contact AMEX on the phone – but I could never get through. The system (Hebrew only) said they would contact me within 24 hours – and they rarely did. I tried by the contact form on the website – and they generally contacted me back (eventually) and generally could not help me as they hadn’t received a form from my bank. Eventually I’d had enough, so after my bank had finally sent the form I sent a message (through the website) stating that if a manager did not contact me within 24 hours I would cancel the card. I received a call by an English speaker within the 24 hours and explained why I wanted the card and my expected expenditure during the following month. I explained that I have a strong history with AMEX in the UK and that I was requesting a limit of a quarter of that which I used to have. They explained that the history is irrelevant as AMEX in Israel is actually a franchise owned by Mastercard and that they cannot see historical records of customers from outside the country. They understood where I was coming from and said that as I had no history with them I would need to provide them with 3 months of bank statements to prove that I could afford the limit I requested and then they would then look into honouring my request. They got back to me within a few hours and gave me a limit that would easily cover my normal needs – but did not cover the one big payment that I needed to pay off the tiles. For this they had pre-approved the payment as a one-off payment outside my limit. They knew both the shop name and the amount I was going to pay. This covered my requirements.
During Chol Hamoed I got my statement for the “big month” and got my nice surprise. AMEX in Israel tends to give you small discounts on certain shops or from some unknown other criteria. I knew this from my first (very small bill). When I looked at the bill I saw the “big” payment and then realised there was a comment next to it… They had given me a discount which was effectively a 3.5% discount on that specific purchase. This was a surprisingly large amount of money. I did not put the payment on interest free “Tashlumim/payments” so I do not know if I would have got the discount if I had. This is a large discount – enough to easily buy an iRobot (one of my “not required” wants) if I wish to. We also got given AMEX points which I can spend as well. Just to add a cherry on the cake – a few days later my wife took the kids to the cinema and got an AMEX BOGOF deal which saved 38NIS. OK that one wouldn’t break the bank – but was still nice anyway.

That’s it for now – will write more in a week’s time once I have some idea (hopefully) about the planning permission.


Adam & Joelle.