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By: John Tunningly
Hey Travel Junkies,
We all know that using credit cards can help you to be able to travel for free, but there are a lot of other benefits to having a credit card. Most of us know about the major benefits like travel credits and lounge access on some of the premier cards but don’t sleep on the other perks.
From price protection to warranty benefits to extra nights free with hotel stays to roadside assistance, there’s more than just free flights and hotels stays in your future.
Today, we’re going to go over some of those benefits that are sometimes forgotten and some of the cards that offer them.
One benefit that is often not openly advertised is purchase price protection, with the exception to that being Citi who has coined their price protection “price rewind”.
This benefit can be used to make up the difference between a sale price and the price you paid on an item bought with your credit card and is especially useful during the holiday season if you don’t want to deal with the black Friday madness. Unfortunately this seems to be a dying benefit as two of the most generous programs significantly reduced their benefits.
Chase recently removed price protection from all of their cards and Citi recently announced their “price rewind” benefit would have a lower max per claim and a lower total per calendar year.
Many cards offer price protection so we’ve outlined the general guidelines from issuers.
|Max amount per claim||–||$200*||$500*||$250||$250||$250||$250|
|Max benefit/ year||–||$1,000*||$2,500||$1,000||$1,000||4 claims per 12 month period||4 claims per 12 month period|
|Amount of time to claim||–||60 days||60 days||60-120 days||60-120 days||60-120 days||120 days|
*These new terms start July 29th, 2018 so you may be able to use Citi’s old policy ($500 per claim and $2,500 per year) until then. Also as of July 29th Citi will exclude the following items: Consumables, tires, watches, firearms, ammunition, or lower prices offered through a warehouse club where the merchant requires customers to pay a membership fee.
If you plan on using this benefit, check your specific card to make sure it applies. Also, make sure that the item you find advertised for a lower price is the exact same model number as the one you purchased.
A few cards offer roadside assistance which might make you more willing to part with that AAA membership. These cards offer 24-hour towing, lockout assistance, battery boost, flat tire service and fuel delivery throughout the U.S. and Canada and sometimes include the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
|Card||Limited American Express Cards (listed below)||Chase Sapphire Reserve||Chase Ritz- Carlton||Chase United MileagePlus Club & Chase United MileagePlus Explorer||Citi Prestige||Citi AAdvantage Executive|
|Covered in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Amount Covered||All included services and up to a 10 mile tow.||$50||$50||$50||All included services and up to a 10 mile tow.||All included services and up to a 10 mile tow.|
|Benefits Guide||American Express||Chase Sapphire Reserve||Chase Ritz-||Chase United MileagePlus Club &||Citi Benefits||Citi Benefits|
There are a few other rules to keep in mind. With Chase cards other than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you must be greater than 50 miles from your primary residence to be eligible for the benefit.
Chase Sapphire Reserve (learn more )
All of the cards in the table have a limit of 4 times per year except the Citi cards which don’t have a stated limit. Also, the American Express cards are the only ones that don’t cover rental vehicles.
The American Express cards with roadside assistance are as follows:
- The Platinum Card from American Express
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
- The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz (no longer available for new applications)
- The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express Open
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express Open
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
Many avid golfers used to swoon over the Citi Prestige Card as it offered 3 free rounds of golf per year. While this benefit has since been removed, there are still some great golf benefits included with a few cards out there.
Most Visa Infinite cards—including the Chase Sapphire Reserve—get special discounts through Troon Golf Rewards when booking through the Visa Infinite website.
Visa Infinite cardholders are entitled to $99 (+ tax) rounds of golf per player per round and you can book the tee time for you and up to 3 others at this rate and up to 2 rounds per year are covered at each course.
The best thing about this is that a lot of the Troon golf clubs normally charge $200-$300 per person so you can easily make up the annual fee with just a couple of visits per year.
U.S. issued Visa Signature and Visa Infinite cardholders are both eligible for wine discounts and benefits at more than 50 Sonoma County Visa Signature wineries in California. These discounts include buy-one-get-one free tastings, savings on wine purchases in the Tasting Room, and savings on wine and food pairings or reserve tasting.
Cell Phone Insurance
Many cards these days are starting to realize the importance of cell phones to their customers and Wells Fargo in particular offers this benefit with up to $600 coverage and a $25 deductible.
U.S. Bank matches this coverage with their Visa Platinum Credit Card and the Chase Ink Business Preferred matches the $600 coverage but with a $100 deductible. Additionally, the new Uber Visa Card from issued by Barclays offers up to $600 in coverage with a $25 deductible and no annual fee.
Chase Ink Preferred (learn more )
First Citizens offers 2 cards, the Smart Option Visa and Rewards Visa Cards, with $500 coverage and a $50 deductible. Fifth Third Bank also offers a few cards with $200 coverage and a $50 deductible so make sure to check the benefits on your specific card.
Lastly, it’s important to recognize this protection is always supplemental to other types of insurance or cell phone protection you have and you have to pay your monthly cell phone bill with the credit card offering the protection.
Keep in mind that there are limits on the amount of claims you submit in a year but other family members on your cell phone bill are typically covered as well. Check your individual card benefits for details.
Free Museum Visits
If you’re looking for a little more culture in you life Bank of America credit card holders can get one free general admission ticket to over 150 major museums and art institutions across the country on the first full weekend of every month. This will allow you to get into the LACMA in Los Angeles, Adler Planetarium or the Shedd Aquarium on a Sunday in Chicago or The Met in New York City.
There are a couple of cards that come with WiFi benefits that may help you connect while traveling.
The Discover It Miles Card will refund you up to $30 per year for internet access purchased inflight. The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Visa Signature card offers 12 free Gogo inflight WiFi passes while The Business Platinum Card from American Express gives you 10 Gogo inflight passes annually.
American Express also offers monthly Boingo access for The Business Platinum Card from American Express, The Platinum Card from American Express, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express.
Lastly, a little known card that’s pretty rich in benefits, the City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite card offers 12 free Gogo in-flight wifi passes a year.
When Visa Infinite cards were first introduced there were a number of benefits that were originally intended to be applied to every Visa Infinite card. One of these benefits is a $100 discount on any purchase of 2-5 airline tickets purchased for domestic travel.
While this benefit was not picked up by the ever popular Chase Sapphire Reserve card which is a Visa Infinite card it was picked up by two of the first Visa Infinite Cards on the market including the Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card and the City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite Card.
Other Card Benefits You Probably Already Know About
It’s always a good idea to see if your card has some of the following more common benefits as well—we’ve written about some of these so make sure you give those pieces a look:
- Trip Cancellation Coverage
- Trip Delay Reimbursement
- Baggage Delay Reimbursement
- Emergency Travel Assistance
- Airline fee credit or travel credits
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit
- Lounge Access
- Uber Credits (American Express Platinum cards)
- Extended Warranty Protection
- Rental Car Insurance
- Exclusive Access to Events
While steep annual fees are enough to discourage many people from applying for the top tier cards, the list of benefits of these cards is almost endless. From free museums to cheap golf at top tier courses, there are hundreds of ways to make sure that you’re getting more than the annual fee from your cards, even if the annual fee is a few hundred dollars.
We often promote the ways these cards can help you reach your travel dreams, but it’s important not to overlook the myriad of other benefits offered as you may find yourself getting as much use out of benefits like price protection as you do travel.