This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Andrew, whose credit card benefits saved him from a major rental car expense. Here’s what he had to say:

In September of 2017 I traveled to Europe with friends, and we decided to rent a car rather than fly to each of our various stops. I figured if I was going to be driving across Germany (on the Autobahn), I should get a comfortable car that could handle high speeds. Since I didn’t want to drive a manual in cities like Amsterdam, Berlin and Munich, I rented a Jaguar XE sedan. I didn’t want to add any more expense to my Hertz rental, so knowing my Chase Sapphire Reserve card offered primary rental car coverage, I declined the insurance offered by Hertz.

Well, on the second day of our trip I scraped the front-left panel of the car on a pillar while backing out of a tight space in an Amsterdam parking garage. After temporarily being upset and trying to figure out my next course of action, I remembered my Sapphire Reserve card would cover the damage. I took pictures, and we drove without further incident to Berlin, Prague, Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle and Luxembourg, and finally back to Amsterdam where we dropped off the car.

A Hertz agent in Amsterdam laid out a few options for dealing with the damage, but I told him to just charge it to the credit card. When I got back to the States, I immediately opened a claim with the Sapphire Reserve benefit administrator and got my paperwork in order. Getting some of the additional documents from Hertz took a while, but Hertz Netherlands was overall very helpful and responded promptly. The claim was a bit delayed due to the holidays, but in mid-January I received confirmation my claim was fully reviewed and approved. That was much appreciated, since the damage came out to a little over $1,200.

Thanks to you for making me aware of the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits, and thanks to Chase for the reimbursement!

Train
Trains are a great alternative to renting a car in Europe.

Several travel rewards credit cards offer primary rental car coverage, which can help you avoid paying for collision damage waivers directly from the rental car company. Even if you typically lean on your personal insurance rather than purchasing additional coverage, these benefits can save you the cost of your deductible (and potentially higher premiums) in case the vehicle incurs damage while in your care. Just note the relevant exclusions — for example, the Sapphire Reserve coverage doesn’t apply to rentals over 31 days or to vehicles valued over $75,000 — and make sure you take pictures and file claims promptly.

On another note, I’m often asked whether renting a car in Europe is a good idea. The answer depends a lot on your plans, but I think trains are preferable if you’re mostly traveling from city to city. European trains are fast, comfortable and reasonably priced, and the experience is overall much more pleasant than flying (at least in economy). Renting a car will likely be cheaper if you’re traveling in a group like Andrew was, and is certainly more convenient if you’re headed somewhere off of major rail lines. Just make sure you account for additional expenses like fuel, parking, vignettes and tolls to get a fair price comparison.

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Andrew for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured photo by @phiasinclair via Twenty20

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

This is one of the top premium cards out there since you earn 3x on all travel and dining and have access to great perks like a $300 travel credit each cardmember year, 50% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and you get elite travel benefits like Global Entry application fee rebate, Priority Pass Select and special rental car privileges.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Named a ‘Best Travel Credit Card for 2017’ by MONEY® Magazine
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, no foreign transaction fees
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.