Most people think of credit card benefits like cash back and points. I think people rarely use the extra benefits they provide such as trip delay protection, baggage delay protection, purchase protection and return protection. Often they think these benefits are too good to be true.
I can tell you from my experience using all of them many times over the past few years, it typically takes less than a 10 minute phone call and gets you hundreds of dollars back. Just remember when speaking with a representative, speak calmly and explain your situation – speaking with frustration tends to get you no where.
Here are the two credit cards I carry and how I use them.
American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card – Shopping Benefits
American Express has always been my go to credit card for purchasing anything that I think I might have an issue with. They have always been known in the industry as the best customer service. I use this card for anything from online shopping to buying event tickets to anything where I feel I might have an issue with the vendor.
I use the SPG card in particular because of the exceptionally value of Starwood points, since they can be transferred to almost any airline to redeeem for award flights.
Purchase Protection: 90 day product insurance against damage or theft
Free 90 day insurance to all products you’ve bought with your card, protecting them from accidental damage, theft or lost. This benefit is great for things such as high-end electronics right before a vacation, in case anything gets damaged or stolen.
Return Protection: 90 day return policy for almost anything
Extended 90 day return policy for all products you’ve bought with your card that the merchant won’t take back, up to $300 per item. This benefit is particularly useful for flash sales sites such as gilt.com or touchofmodern.com that have a “final sale policy” or when shopping for souvenirs in a foreign country.
In my experience, anything under $100 American Express will typically just credit to your account immediately. Items over $100 may require additional information such as shipping back the damaged / returned item or providing a police report for any stolen belongings.
Also if you’ve missed the 90 day window, feel free to give American Express a call anyway; they are usually pretty nice about it. To file a claim, just call: 1-800-322-1277 for Purchase Protection and 1-800-297-8019 for Return Protection. As always, check the fine print for any exceptions.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Travel Benefits
Over the past decade, Chase has made great improvements to its benefits and customer service. Besides having the best rewards program with Chase Ultimate Rewards, Chase has made the best travel card with a few extra benefits that no one else seems to offer. That said, since no one else offers these benefits, it’s sometimes hard to remember that you have these benefits at your disposal.
In particular, I prefer to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card because it offers the Chase travel benefits along with Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is one of the best points programs currently out there along with a low annual fee.
In order to take advantage of these benefits, you need to make sure to book your travel with the Chase Sapphire card. If you are traveling with miles or reward points, simply pay for your taxes/fees with the Chase Sapphire card and you will still get all of the benefits from the card.
Baggage Delay Reimbursement: baggage delays over 6 hours
Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 5 days.
Trip Delay Reimbursement: overnight flight delays over 12 hours
If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
Trip Interruption: unexpected changes to your travels
If your trip is cancelled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
If you ever have unexpected issues with your travel plans, remember that you’ll need the following to file a claim.
- Proof of the delays. For baggage delays save the copy of your baggage claim receipt when you file your missing bag as well as the receipt when you receive it. For trip delays, save any records the airline provides of the change of flight itinerary. It is best and easiest to get this while you are talking with the airline representative.
- Itemized receipts. Original receipts that highlight all expenses incurred.
- Proof of travel purchase. The receipt that shows that you purchased your travel with your Chase card
- Travel itinerary. Any confirmation of your original itinerary
In my experience, if you have saved your proof of delays and itemized expense receipts, it is a relatively quick and simple process.
Simply call 1-888-320-9961 to file a claim.