Frequent travelers tend to do well using travel reward-based credit cards. These credit cards typically work on a points system, offering the user points for the amount he or she spends. The points can then be redeemed for some serious discounts and perks on airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, and other travel expenses that can really add up.
This all sounds great. But there’s actually more you can do with a travel credit card than you might think. It might be worth another look over your card agreement, because many well-known travel cards offer some hidden perks that most consumers don’t even know about. Four of the most common ones are listed below.
1. Free rental car insurance.
The majority of travel credit cards including Chase Sapphire (and in fact, many regular credit cards that aren’t even travel-related) offer free insurance for cars rented using the card. There may be eligibility requirements for you to meet, but a phone call to your card provider should be able to tell you what you need to know.
2. Get discounted (or free) hotel upgrades.
It won’t always work – there are often restrictions on when you can do this – but many credit cards will entitle you to a discount on hotel stays at some of the most popular chains. The discount might apply to any reservation, or it might apply only to reservations over a certain amount of days, but it’s certainly worth looking into. There may also be the perk of an upgraded room for free. Just ask.
3. Extra protection when things go wrong.
Have you ever lost money over a canceled trip? If so, it might be helpful to know that a select number of travel credit cards offer what is known as travel cancellation insurance. If you have this one, you’re in the minority, since it’s a small percentage of cards that actually carry this perk – but when they do, it can get you out of a seriously expensive loss.
The insurance kicks in and reimburses you the cost of a non-refundable flight, should your plans be canceled by emergency or illness. Some higher-end cards also cover the cost of food, hotels, etc. if you get stranded at an airport due to weather or other complications.
4. Emergency travel assistance.
Plenty of people know about emergency roadside assistance that comes as a perk with many credit cards (sometimes for a small fee), but not everyone knows that many travel cards offer travel assistance for other situations, too. If you’re overseas and find yourself in a tight spot – robbed? Sick? Lost? – your credit card company can help, with 24/7 service in person or over the phone. Keep in mind that even if this service comes with your card, it probably isn’t free. But in the right (or wrong) situations, it could be well worth the cost.
This post was written by Kevin Fleming who runs CreditShout, a blog that reviews the best credit cards helps people to manage their finances.