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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Delen, who got value from of an underutilized credit card benefit. Here’s what he had to say:
Back in March I bought a pair of Jay-Z / Beyoncé tickets during a Citi presale. Normally I opt for electronic tickets, but for whatever reason the only option was paper tickets mailed to my house. At the time I didn’t think much of it, and when the envelope arrived with my tickets, I set it on my nightstand waiting for the show in July.
I moved houses in May, however, and during the move I managed to lose the tickets. I didn’t realize I lost them until the day of the show, and by then it was too late to get them reissued. Thankfully, I was entitled to missed event protection because I booked with my Citi Prestige card, which covers lost tickets. After a painless claim process, I received a check for the full amount I paid! I originally used my Citi card simply because it was a Citi presale event, but from now on I’m using it for any event.
You probably don’t know every benefit available on your credit cards, but Delen’s story is a good example of why you should. Rewards credit cards offer all kind of perks that fly under the radar, like cell phone insurance, roadside assistance or coverage for pet-related cancellations. Most of these benefits are the kind you won’t need regularly, but you’ll be glad to have them when you do. I recommend looking over your guide to benefits whenever you get a new card; it’s not the most exciting way to spend your free time, but knowing what’s available may pay dividends down the road.
The ongoing question is whether you should use the card that offers superior benefits, or the one that earns the most rewards. Sometimes one card serves both purposes, like the Sapphire Reserve card for car rentals. When that’s not the case, you’ll have to weigh your options based on the dollar amount, how likely you are to need your benefits, and how much value you’ll get from them if you do. On airfare purchases, for example, I generally prefer a card that offers protections like trip delay reimbursement to one that earns bonus points. Similarly, I prefer cards that offer strong purchase protection for larger purchases.
I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Delen 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 email@example.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, or to contribute to our new award redemption series. 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!
Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images
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