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One of the things I love most about being The Points Guy is getting to hear stories from readers about how award travel has affected their lives — the exotic vacations they’ve planned, the trips they’ve made to be with family and friends, the premium seats and suites they’ve experienced and so much more, all made possible by points and miles. I love to travel and explore, and it’s an honor to be able to help so many of you get where you want to go.
I want to share these success stories with all of you more often, to help inspire you the way you inspire me! So every other week or so I select a story that catches my eye and post it here for everyone to enjoy. Two weeks ago I posted a story from TPG reader Kenan, who scored a steep discount on a last-minute vacation by using benefits from her Citi Prestige Card.
Today I want to share a somewhat different kind of success story from TPG Reader Casey, who recently took advantage of extended warranty benefits on one of his travel rewards cards to save money on a repair. Here’s what he had to say:
I purchased a side-by-side refrigerator with an ice maker back in December of 2013, and the ice maker stopped working around June of 2015. I tried to troubleshoot it, but ultimately had to call in an appliance repair company. Their initial visit cost me $60, with a determination that the ice maker assembly had to be replaced at an additional cost of $160.50, for a total repair cost of $220.50.
I knew the refrigerator only had a one-year warranty, but I had bought it with my United MileagePlus Explorer Card, which offers extended warranty protection that adds an extra year of coverage to eligible purchases. Since the unit was in a rental property of mine, I went ahead and paid for the repair with my Explorer card, and got a detailed receipt from the technician.
I then called Chase, and a claims administrator emailed me a claim form, which required basic information such as the purchase price and date, model and serial number, and a description of the issue. I also included copies of the original sales receipt, my credit card statement, the manufacturer’s written warranty, and both the repair bill and written estimate. I could have paid for the repair with a different card, or waited for the claims department to approve my claim with just an estimate, but since it was a rental property, I paid up front and hoped to be reimbursed after the fact.
Upon submitting my claim by email, I was told I’d receive a response in five business days; sure enough, I received a call on the fifth business day letting me know that my claim was approved and I’d receive a check for $220.50! It was a great feeling, and the check arrived shortly thereafter.
I’ve been putting a lot of charges on my new American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, as I hear that Amex has a strong suite of purchase protections. However, I wanted to point out the success I had with Chase in getting my claim honored.
Casey’s story might not be as glamorous as a first class award flight overseas or a free weekend stay in a top-tier hotel, but it shows how much value there is to be found in places that are often overlooked. Many rewards cards offer a variety of supplementary perks like price protection, rental car insurance and discounts with travel providers. While you likely have more exciting reasons to apply for one card or another — and in fact, you might not even know these benefits exist — it’s worth reading up on all your card features so you can take advantage of them when opportunity (or need) arises.
To me, award travel isn’t necessarily about traveling for free. It’s more about having experiences that might otherwise be out of reach. I’d like to think that $220 Casey saved is money he can put toward his next trip, and hopefully make it a little more memorable.
I love this story, and I want to hear more like it! To thank Casey for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 Visa gift card to enjoy on his future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you.
If the tips and strategies you’ve learned here have helped you fly in first class, score an amazing suite, reach a far-flung destination or even just save a few dollars, please indulge me (and the whole TPG team) with your own award travel success stories by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and putting “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. If we publish it, you’ll have our utmost appreciation, and a gift card to jump-start your next adventure (purchased from Office Depot with my Chase Ink Plus, of course).
Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you! With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.