Your next vacation could cost you more than you realize if you aren’t careful when paying for it.
Creditcards.com reports that credit card issuers continue to reduce or eliminate cardholder benefits, including those that can save travelers hundreds of dollars, if not more.
For example, a few months ago, Discover dropped five perks, including car rental insurance and flight accident protection. Just this month, Chase slashed the maximum amount of money it gives United MileagePlus Explorer cardholders in the event that a trip is canceled unexpectedly.
At same time, however, Chase also added new perks — including a $100 fee credit when signing up for TSA Precheck or Global Entry — for Explorer cardholders.
This means it’s especially important to review perks currently offered by your credit cards before you next take advantage of those benefits. It also means you should shop around to make sure your credit cards are still the best options for you.
Look out for new cardholder benefits
When you hear news of cardholder benefits changing — whether for the better or the worse — take it as a sign that it’s time to compare your credit cards with others that are available.
This is easy to do using a free online tool like Money Talks News’ credit card search tool. You can use the menu on the left to narrow your search to credit cards with particular features, ranging from travel rewards to no annual fee.
For example, I care about cash back above all, so I start by clicking on “Cash Back” on the left. Then, the tool shows me various information about credit cards that currently offer cash back so I can compare them and decide which works best for me.
This is no different than — and is just as important as — taking the time to compare your current car insurance rate with what other auto insurers would charge so you can be sure to pay as little for car insurance as possible.
If you fail to make sure you’re getting as much in cardholder benefits or credit card rewards as possible while paying as little interest as possible, you are likely losing money.
Beware of shrinking credit card benefits
Say you have a credit card that has offered free rental insurance in the past, so you assume it still offers that perk. Then, you use that card to pay for a rental car for your summer road trip and decline the insurance that the car rental company offers to you.
If it turns out that perk has been discontinued or reduced and you do not learn that until after you need to file a rental insurance claim, you could end up stuck paying for the damage yourself — which could easily cost hundreds of dollars or more.
To find out if any of your credit card benefits have changed, access your account online or ask customer service. There should be a phone number on the back of your card.
What’s your take on recent changes to cardholder benefits? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.