A Tale of Two Trips: Vacation Nightmares and Credit Cards, Conclusion

Apr 20, 2018

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This is the conclusion of our Vacation Nightmare story. Be sure to read Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four for full details on our unfortunate travelers and what they encountered on during their trip.

There’s no debating that the Allen and Beck families had a rough summer vacation to Orlando. I certainly hope that those of you who have experienced one (or more) of these issues aren’t having flashbacks to the stress that they can cause. In case you’re just joining us, here’s a quick summary of everything that went wrong:

  • Day one: The two families’ flights to Orlando are relatively uneventful aside from an air traffic control delay that made their connection a bit too close for comfort. Unfortunately, this resulting in their two checked bags not arriving on their flight. While one of each family’s bags is delivered the following day, the other winds up getting lost completely. Both families spend $252 on clothes and essentials for the delay, and the actual cash value (replacement cost less depreciation) of the items in the lost suitcase are $1,600.
  • Day two: After a fun-filled day at the Magic Kingdom, both families return to their rental car to find that another driver has side-swiped it, doing $1,160 worth of damage.
  • Day three: Trying to beat the summer Florida heat, both families head to Typhoon Lagoon for a day of frolicking in the water. Unfortunately, Mr. Allen and Mr. Beck both drop their brand-new $399 cell phones into the wave pool while taking pictures of their kids. Both phones are ruined.
  • Day four: While getting ready to walk out the door to Epcot, both families get the news that a parent back home has fallen and is being rushed to the hospital. They cut their trip short to head home, incurring $170 in additional airfare per person and forfeiting the last two nights of their hotel stay (worth $400). Their flight out of Orlando is then delayed, resulting in a missed connection and unexpected overnight, adding $180 in extra hotel expenses and $65 in meals.

On day five, both families finally arrive home. Everyone is exhausted and stressed out. Their vacations were true nightmares, and they’re walking back into a mess at home. However, the Allens are in a significantly better spot than the Becks, for one simple reason: They used the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for their purchases, while the Becks swiped their debit card. This unlocked a valuable suite of protection and coverage not available to debit card purchasers.

The end result? The Allen family wound up getting an extra $3,136 in benefits when compared to the Becks. This is a huge difference, and while it’s highly unlikely that all of these issues would happen on a single trip, even just one would make the Sapphire Preferred a great addition to your wallet. Of course, the card also comes with an array of other perks, including a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and double points on travel and dining purchases, all with an annual fee of $95. However, the more under-the-radar benefits that the Allens utilize can be lifesavers when things go wrong.

Keep in mind too that it isn’t just the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to offer these layers of protection. Here are more details on some of these perks, including examples of cards that offer each:

Be sure to carefully consider these policies before choosing which card to use for the purchase, keeping in mind that even paying for a portion of the trip with a card may still provide you with protection.

Bottom Line

If you’re relatively new to The Points Guy, chances are you’ve come here looking to be smarter about earning and using your points and miles. Travel rewards credit cards play an enormous role in this endeavor. However, some of the less glamorous perks can be the most valuable when things don’t go as planned, as you saw from this series of posts. Sure, it’s easy to laugh off the sheer volume of problems that the Allens and Becks encountered during their vacation nightmares, but at the end of the day, using the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (or another like it) saved the Allen family over $3,000 on a single trip.

My fingers are crossed that your summer travel woes don’t come anywhere near this level, but if even one issue crops up on your vacation, I hope you’ve used a card that offers adequate protections.

Featured photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.

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