Good things come to those who wait. This adage may ring true in some instances but not when it comes to credit card travel perks and benefits. Award travel consists of a lot more than just using your credit card, accumulating your points or miles, and redeeming them for travel rewards.
Saving money is high on everyone’s list of favorite things to do and if you can enjoy an even better travel experience at the same time… well, why not? Sometimes it’s as simple as asking. Here are some perks you may be able to score with a polite request:
1) Waived hotel fees
Hotels aren’t as notorious as airlines for tacking on fees but that doesn’t mean it never happens. “Parking fees” and “resort fees” are two of the most annoying. Fortunately, hotels can be somewhat flexible about these fees so it never hurts to ask about having these additional costs waived. Your case can be strengthened by having a terrible day of traveling, not being aware of the fee, or experiencing poor or mediocre service in other areas of the hotel.
2) Elite rental car status
No one wants to waste time waiting in line at the car rental counter. Rewards credit cards associated with the Master Card World Elite Car Rental Program let you avoid this nuisance by offering elite membership as a benefit of the card. These include popular cards such as:
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
- American Airlines Executive World Elite MasterCard
- Citi Prestige Card
Car rental companies which participate are: Avis, National, and Sixt.
Additionally, the United Mileage Plus Club Card (Chase) offers elite Hertz President’s Circle status. The Platinum Card from American Express offers elite status with Avis, Hertz, and National. In some cases, you must specifically ask for these benefits so check the terms and conditions of your rewards program to make certain you don’t miss out.
3) Waived credit card fees
Rewards credit cards can come with some fairly hefty annual fees and while it’s not guaranteed that you will get your fee waived, you certainly can ask. Whether you are successful or not may depend on how much you use your card (that is, if you’re a big spender).
If you accidentally miss a payment, contact your credit card issuer and explain the situation. Many times they will waive the late fee as a courtesy.
4) Compensation for poor-quality service
The travel industry isn’t well-known for great customer service anyway so if you have a less-than-satisfying experience, report it. Many companies are trying to improve their customer-service image and will compensate people who actually make a complaint. This is especially true for airlines. If your seat doesn’t recline or the wi-fi doesn’t work, write the airline and let them know. It doesn’t take much time and you may be amply rewarded.
5) Increased award availability
A little-known fact about hotel awards is that chains can and do open up hotel award availability when requested. Two factors must be in place for this strategy to be successful: the hotel cannot be sold out and it can’t be offering award nights. As a cardholder, you need to call the hotel’s central reservation line and ask them to contact the specific property where you want to stay.
Occasionally, airlines will open up saver-level award space when requested. This is especially true when there is a significant schedule change. But be aware that many agents will still try to find you a seat from the existing award space without considering how inconvenient the new itinerary is. Be polite but firm in your request and (hopefully) they may open up additional award space on the flights you want.