If you’re like most people, you probably don’t read the booklet that you get when you sign up for a new credit card, but you should. That’s because it explains the benefits that come with the card. Many cardholders don’t know about or understand all their credit card benefits and so they don’t take advantage of them. That could cost you – especially when you travel.
While you might think that many travel protections are only offered by travel cards, they are actually often included as perks on other types of premium credit cards. So, before you assume that your card doesn’t offer these benefits – check the fine print.
Here are 8 protections you might not know about:
The first benefit is one that you can take advantage of even if you don’t leave home. Some cards have extra security while will protect you from fraud whether you’re buying milk at the local corner store or paying for surfing lessons on the coast of Australia. Get an EMV card, also known as a chip card, since it will make it much harder for thieves to steal your card number while you’re away from home and leave you without access to a credit card. The last thing you want to do is spend your vacation on the phone to your credit card company.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Many credit cards offer trip cancellation insurance on any flights or hotel reservations that you book with your credit card. Before you turn down other forms of cancellation insurance, make sure that what your card offers is sufficient. Sometimes your credit card will only cover trip cancellation reimbursements if you have a severe injury or if you or an immediate family member dies. If you break your arm – that might not be enough to cancel your flight.
Lost or Delayed Baggage Coverage
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. You get to your travel destination and your luggage is either lost or delayed. While you can probably fight with the airline to ensure that they reimburse you for your costs, your credit card might also have protections that will make sure that you can get the items you need. Most cards that offer this perk will list how much they are willing to pay per day your luggage is lost of delayed.
Rental Car Insurance
Planning on renting a car at your destination? You might think the cost of the car rental is expensive, but after adding the cost of insurance – the price can balloon. Many credit cards will provide you with a certain amount of theft or damage protection and not having to buy rental car insurance could allow you to save a lot if you plan on renting a car for a significant number of days. Just be sure that you check the terms and conditions. Generally, you have to put the car rental on your credit card to qualify for the insurance and it only covers you up to a certain amount. You might choose to get additional insurance to top it up.
Flight Delay Coverage
On top of trip cancellation insurance, some credit cards are also offering insurance that reimburses you if you happen to encounter an airline delay. Depending on the number of hours your trip is delayed, you could be reimbursed for a fixed dollar amount or a portion of your trip’s cost.
Most cards have some form of purchase protection which reimburses you for the cost of items that you bought with your card that are later damaged or stolen. That purchase protection also applies when you buy things on vacation. So, if you purchase a new camera and thieves steal it from your towel on the beach – you will be reimbursed by your credit card company.
Travel Medical Coverage
If your own medical plan doesn’t offer travel coverage, than you might be in luck if your credit card includes coverage. Many cards will offer travel and emergency medical services. Just be sure to read the fine print as they will often only cover certain types of emergencies and might have a maximum coverage amount. Still, some plans are fairly good and include emergency transportation home in case something very bad happens. You might still want to get additional coverage through an insurer.
Global Assistance or Concierge Services
Some cards allow you to access a concierge or someone who can assist you 24/7 from anywhere in the world. They can help you make hotel reservations, book tickets, or tell you where the closest hospital is if you’re hurt. This can be invaluable – especially if you don’t speak the language of the country you’re visiting.
So, before you set out on your next adventure, be sure to check to see what kinds of protections your credit card offers. You might be surprised and you might just save a significant amount of money!
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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