Read the Fine Print: Additional Credit Card Perks for Travelers and Shoppers
Even though rewards and cash back incentives tend to be the main enticement offered by credit card companies/issuers, there are often additional perks offered. Some only embed these added benefits within their lengthy terms and conditions. Meanwhile, many others, such as the Chase Ink Business Preferred and Capital One Venture cards, explicitly list the extras on the advertising page related to a particular credit card.
Though the following lists may not reap you immediate cash or other rewards, in the long run, they can save you both time and money.
Keep in mind that each credit card company/issuer has specific regulations in relation to the perks listed below. As such, it's wise to review the terms and conditions carefully to determine what's covered and when.
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services can include an array of additional services depending on the card. For example, if an airline ever loses your luggage, some credit cards offer a lost luggage locator service. The service will assist you in completing the airline's claim process or arrange for you to receive replacement items should the carrier lose your luggage. Depending on the credit card company/issuer, related sub-services in this category are:
● Emergency translation services
● Emergency transportation assistance
● Prescription assistance
● Emergency ticket replacement
● Trip cancellation insurance
● Travel accident insurance
● No foreign transaction fees
● Auto rental collision damage waiver
Read the fine print closely as many issuers have the caveat that costs incurred through using any of the services (e.g. paying for the translator, cost associated with refilling a prescription, etc.) are the sole responsibility of the card holder.
However, in the event your travel plans are canceled, having the trip cancellation and interruption insurance can help reimburse you for any prepaid and non-refundable travel expenses. Generally, the credit card terms dictate the activating event for the insurance, such as sickness, a death in the family, or inclement weather conditions. Additionally, they may have a maximum amount they'll reimburse. Suffice to say, if you're a frequent traveler, the convenience and assurance of having additional credit card services is something to investigate as you peruse through your credit card options.
The world of digital transactions is increasingly the predominant method used for the exchange goods and services. Just a quick review of the massive e-commerce sites of Amazon and eBay reveals that not all products arrive in pristine condition. Furthermore, the reality of the world is, sometimes our purchases are lost, stolen or otherwise damaged. Or perhaps the shoes you purchased three months ago didn't fit correctly and you weren't able to get around to returning them, so the merchant's return period has passed.
With these scenarios -- and many others -- in mind, credit card issuers constructed several purchase protections:
● Online shopping: When we send any of our data through the internet, it becomes vulnerable to hackers. Certainly, merchants and credit card companies/issuers continue to improve their cyber security. One method of protection growing in use is the creation of temporary credit card numbers for online transactions. While these are still linked to your primary credit card account, the credit card number cannot be reused. It's a "one and done" payment method, thus keeping the digital thieves from stealing your primary credit card information.
● Purchase protection: If you've purchased items with your credit card, those specific purchases may be eligible to be replaced, repaired or you'll be reimbursed for the items should they be stolen or damaged. A majority, if not all, of the credit card companies/issuers who offer this protection also have a time and monetary limit, as well as restrictions on the types of items that qualify.
● Returns and refund protection: Return protection extends the life of the merchant's refund policy. The amount of extension time is further dependent on the credit card company and ranges between 60 and 90 days from the date of purchase. Alternatively, the credit card company/issuer may offer refund protection should the merchant refuse to accept the item's return. Instead of receiving a replacement item, you'll see the purchase amount refunded to you through your credit card statement.
Despite the heavily layered and often restrictive terms and conditions, the additional benefits are well worth considering when shopping around for the most beneficial credit cards. With so many to choose from, researching added protections for your travel and purchases can help you quickly narrow down the credit cards which best suit your lifestyle.