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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Derek, whose credit card protected him from an expensive loss. Here’s what he had to say:
A few months ago I decided to apply for the Ink Business Cash Credit Card to buy a new laptop and take advantage of the sign-up bonus ($300 cash back at the time). I purchased a new MacBook Pro with custom settings, and I excitedly put it in my bag and brought it to work when it arrived about a week later. After work that day I went out for a drink with a friend, and at some point in the evening my bag went missing. I looked everywhere for it and even tried to check security footage at the bar, but had no luck.
The following morning I noticed that one of my Capital One cards had several unauthorized transactions, confirming that my bag had been stolen. After dealing with the fraudulent charges, I went to the police department and filed a police report for my bag and laptop, as well as the unauthorized card activity. I don’t have renter’s insurance and I was worried about having lost such valuable items, but I remembered reading on TPG that some cards offer purchase protection. I called Chase to ask about it, and they referred me to where I could file a claim online.
I submitted the receipt for my laptop along with the police report, and within five days I received a check covering the full amount of my purchase. Even better, I was able to earn more Ultimate Rewards points when I re-purchased the computer, since the insurance claim was paid by check. I also noticed the sign-up bonus had increased to $500, so I sent a secure message via the Chase website and was able to get matched to the higher offer.
Finally, I filed a claim with Amex for my Tumi bag, which I had purchased with my Platinum Delta SkyMiles card. Once again the claim was done online, and they credited my account in less than three days. Thanks for making me aware of these perks, and I hope other readers won’t overlook them!
Purchase protection might not be high on the list of reasons to get a credit card, but Derek is right that you shouldn’t overlook it. Many cards offer similar coverage, as well as other unheralded benefits (like extended warranty coverage, roadside assistance or luggage protection) that you might never need, but you’ll be glad to have if you do. Get familiar with the benefits available on your own cards, and keep them in mind when you’re deciding which one to use for a given purchase. The card that earns the most points won’t always be the best option.
Like all insurance policies, these benefits come with a number of stipulations. For example, Amex purchase protection lists a variety of exclusions, such as motorized vehicles and consumable or perishable items. You also might not be covered depending on the reason for the claim — damage inflicted by a natural disaster is excluded, for one. Keep in mind that benefits are subject to change — both Chase and Citi are scaling back price protections this summer — so check for updates accordingly.
Finally, while the majority of feedback I get about these benefits is positive, many readers have also shared negative experiences they’ve had (see the comments in this recent update on the looming changes). Clearly, Chase and other card issuers aren’t handling claims as efficiently or consistently as they should. That shouldn’t stop you from using your benefits, but know that your experience may not be as effortless as what Derek described above.
I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Derek 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. 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!
Feature image by Tyler Franta via Unsplash.
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