If you’re like many people, you have chosen a credit card that offers travel rewards like airline miles and hotel points. Racking up these rewards with your everyday purchases can help reduce the cost of your dream vacation, but there is a good chance that your credit card offers several other travel benefits that can save you time and hassles that you .
1. Discounts on Attraction Tickets
Heading to an amusement park or museum on your vacation? Don’t forget to ask about discounts when you use a particular credit card. Many card issuers partner with major attractions to offer cardholders discounts on admission, gift shop purchases, memberships, and more. Even a modest 5 percent discount on admission to a must-see site can help keep your trip on budget.
2. Special Experiences
Many credit cards, especially travel-related affinity cards, offer cardholders exclusive experiences. In some cases, those experiences are free — the Disney Visa from Chase, for example, offers cardholders a free, exclusive photo op with characters at Disney parks – while other experiences come with a hefty price tag, such as dining with a celebrity chef or attending a major sporting event. Still, these experiences can add a lot to your trip, so don’t forget to explore what your card offers.
3. No Foreign Transaction Fees
When you use a card in a foreign country, there is often a fee tacked on to the purchase to cover the costs of exchanging your American dollars into the local currency. These fees generally range from 1 to 3 percent of the total purchase, and can add up quickly. However, many credit cards now waive foreign transaction fees, so you can buy those souvenirs without worrying about a high fee being added on and driving up your bill. Just remember to always request to pay in the local currency, not dollars (even when given the option) to prevent paying the fees the merchant will add for exchanging the currency.
4. Travel Insurance
You’re visiting a Caribbean island, and suddenly become seriously ill and have to return home to the U.S. immediately. How much of those costs will be covered by your health insurance policy? Or perhaps you have a less dramatic, but still annoying, long delay at your connecting airport? The airlines aren’t offering hotel rooms or food vouchers, so you can either shell out for your own comfortable bed and decent meal or sleep on the airport floor and eat from the ending machine.
If your credit card offers travel insurance, both of these scenarios would be covered. Most credit cards offer coverage for trip interruptions, medical emergencies, and other travel problems when you pay for the trip with the card.
5. Trip Cancellation Insurance
There are any number of reasons that you might need to cancel a planned trip, from unexpected jury duty to losing your job, illness, or a death in the family. Many cards offer trip cancellation insurance to cardholders who pay for all or some of their trip with the card.
Depending on the card, this insurance is “free” and offers a higher degree of coverage than standalone policies. Like any travel coverage, you’ll need to meet certain conditions to make claims, but considering that insurance on the typical $3500 vacation can run anywhere from $150 to $300, the trip cancellation benefit is a .
6. Travel Assistance
Do you need help planning your dream vacation? Are you having trouble overseas, and need medical or legal help? Has your car broken down on your cross-country road trip? Chances are your credit card can help. If you paid for some of your trip or your entire trip on the card (policies vary), you may be able to get help when you need it. In some cases, you may need to pay a fee or deductible for the services, but having someone in your corner when you need it most is worth the cost.
7. Lost Luggage Reimbursement
Is there anything worse than arriving at your destination, only to discover that your luggage is now arriving at a different destination? Many cards offer a lost luggage benefit, which reimburses you when your luggage is lost or delayed for longer than a few hours. Policies differ, and again, may only apply if you purchased your plane tickets with the credit card, but knowing that you’ll be reimbursed for the necessities can alleviate some of the sting of knowing your luggage went to Pago Pago instead of Peoria.
Despite the value of these benefits, there’s a good chance you aren’t using them. Before you plan your next getaway, take a closer look at what your credit card has to offer. You might find that you’re getting even more value than you thought you were.
Featured image credit: ShutterStock