Discover Cardholder? Prepare to Lose Benefits in 2018
If you currently carry a Discover card for the cash back rewards and perks, you might want to pay attention. Some of those benefits will be disappearing in 2018, and they may impact how you spend in the future.
Let’s take a look at what’s being eliminated, what’s staying, and how it may change the way you use your Discover card.
This benefit provides coverage to cardholders if items that they purchase on the card are damaged or stolen. The exception is if an item is stolen from a vehicle.
Claims can currently be made up to 90 days after the purchase date, for amounts up to $500. You are currently eligible to make a claim on an item as long as the item was purchased in full or in part with your Discover card, earned Cashback Bonus, or earned Miles.
What’s changing: As of July 13, 2018, no additional purchase protection claims can be made. This means that if you lose an item or it is stolen, you’ll either be out of luck or you’ll need to file a claim with an applicable insurance policy, such as your valuable personal property or homeowner’s/renter’s insurance.
Extended Product Warranties
Currently, Discover cardholders can enjoy as many as 12 additional months added to the warranties of items that they buy with their Discover card. Eligible items with warranties of 36 months or less are given a complimentary extension – up to an additional year – for coverage, in case the items breaks or is damaged.
What’s changing: If you purchase an item after February 28, 2018, it will not qualify for the extended product warranty. This means that you are stuck with whatever manufacturer or store warranty the item already comes with, or any extended warranty that you may purchase for the item. Return Guarantee
If you buy an item and it doesn’t meet your expectations, the store may or may not allow you to return it. Perhaps they have a “no returns” policy, they won’t accept items that have been opened or worn, or maybe they just have a short return window in place. Well, until now, Discover has allowed cardholders to get their money back on items that are unsatisfactory, if they store won’t return the item within 90 days of its purchase. This benefit is currently limited to $500 on eligible items, and can only be used when the item was purchased in full using your Discover card. However, it can be a wonderful benefit to have, especially since items tend to always break or malfunction on day 32 (when the store’s return policy is 30 days).
What’s changing: If you plan to buy an item that may have iffy functionality (or from a store with a less-than-stellar return policy), do it at the beginning of the year. Starting on May 29, 2018, Discover will no longer accept return guarantee claims on purchases.
Auto Rental Insurance
This is a feature that I have yet to use, but always appreciate having in my back pocket. Unfortunately, it’s also going away. Currently, Discover offers automatic, secondary rental car coverage insurance when you use your card to book the rental. You’ve got an extra $25,000 in collision and damage protection every time you rent a vehicle, without having to pay anything extra. What’s changing: Starting May 29, 2019, no new claims can be made for rental car coverage. You’ll need to use your personal auto insurance policy (if they cover rental vehicles), use a card that does offer automatic coverage, or purchase coverage from the rental car company.
Flight Accident Coverage
As of now, if you purchase an airline ticket with your Discover card, you, your spouse, domestic partner, or eligible children are eligible for up to $500,000 in flight accident insurance. This covers a number of situations, including accidental death or bodily injury while on your trip. What’s changing: If you purchase an airline ticket after February 28, 2018, you will not receive flight accident coverage for that trip. While many of these benefits are great to have, Discover claims that these five are being cut due to “low usage.” However, all that really matters is whether you use these benefits.
If you don’t, then the elimination of these programs won’t bother you. You can continue using your Discover card and taking advantage of the other benefits, rewards, etc. without any change. However, if you enjoy having any of these benefits without added cost, you might want to rethink how you use your Discover card. And for some instances – like that big electronics purchase or your upcoming flight+rental car trip – you may even want to consider buying with an alternate credit card.