Citi Prestige Benefits: Everything You Need to Know

The Citi Prestige comes with some of the most valuable travel benefits out of any premium credit card. Before this credit card lost a host of its benefits like Admirals Club access, I thought the Prestige was the most valuable credit card on the market. Since then, new competitors have announced their presence and some perks have been lost, but I still think the Citi Prestige benefits are very strong. Here’s everything you need to know about these perks.

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!

Citi Prestige Benefits

Citi Prestige bonus?

The Prestige has offered as high as a 100,000 point sign-up bonus in the past but at other times it doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus at all. For that reason, it’s hard to call the sign-up bonus a benefit until Citi Prestige 50K or 75K offers roll back around.

When those offers do roll around though you’ll earn Citi ThankYou Points which can be transferred to some great airlines like Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, Flying Blue, Cathay Pacific and many others. With those airlines you can book some of the most premier first class cabins in the world like the coveted Singapore Suites.

Use points from the Prestige to fly first class on Singapore.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

4th night free

The 4th night free benefit is what really helps the Citi Prestige benefits stand out.

Without it, the Prestige would be a truly underwhelming credit card option. Depending on how expensive your hotel stays are, this perk could end up saving you hundreds of dollars per hotel booking and cancelling out the $450 annual fee.

Here are some things to know about the 4th night free benefit.

Based on average nightly rate

  • The way the 4th night free benefit works is that if you book 4 consecutive nights through Citi, you receive the 4th night free based on average nightly rate (it used to be based on the 4th night’s rate).

Book via phone

  • You can make the booking for the 4th night free online or via the phone. I highly suggest making the booking over the phone to ensure that you’re able to have all of your hotel elite status perks honored.

You can use points

  • You can use Citi ThankYou points to cover the full amount needed for the stay or just a portion of it. The drawback is that these points are redeemed at one cent per point. (Some would argue 1.33 cents per point when you factor in the 25% discount of the 4th night free.)

Keep in mind that ThankYou Points with the Citi Premier (with a much lower annual fee) can be redeemed at 1.25 cents per point for hotel stays.

Hyatt Ziva Citi Prestige Benefits
Getting the 4th night free for a nice resorts is one of the best Citi Prestige benefits.

$250 airline credit

The Citi Prestige always had one of the best airline credits until new competitors like the Sapphire Reserve entered the picture. But the $250 airline credit is still one of the top Citi Prestige benefits.

The Citi ThankYou Terms & Conditions define what counts for the airline credit:

Airline Fees are defined as purchases made with airlines including Air fares, baggage fees, lounge access and some in-flight purchases.

The fact that airfare counts for this credit is huge because it’s not as restrictive as the credit from the Platinum Card. If you do any flying at all each year, there’s a good chance you can put this airline credit to use and knock down your effective Citi Prestige annual fee to only $200.

Citi Prestige Bonus categories

  • 3X on air travel and hotels
  • 2X on dining and entertainment
  • 1X on all other purchases

The Citi Prestige earns pretty good bonus earning rates. They aren’t quite as strong as the Reserve’s 3X on dining and travel, but they are still more well-rounded than the Amex Platinum Card and it’s nice to have the additional bonus earning category of entertainment.

Note: With the Citi Premier you can earn 3X on all travel purchases.

Citi Prestige benefits
A unique perk of the Citi Prestige is 2X on entertainment, which includes sport venues.

Citi Prestige lounge access

Like many other credit cards, the Citi Prestige offers Priority Pass lounge access. This gives you access to over 1,000 airport lounges located around the globe. You can enjoy things like free wifi, free drink and snacks, comfy seating, and even amenities like showers and nap rooms.

The Prestige will provide you with Priority Pass access for up to two guests and/or your immediate family (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age). As a comparison, the Sapphire Reserve allows “unlimited guests” (subject to capacity) and the Platinum Card limits you two guests.

Priority Pass lounge at SIN.

Redemptions for travel and cash back

The Citi Prestige allows you to redeem your points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point for airfare and 1.0 cents per point for cash back. The 1.25 cents per point for airfare is on par with the Sapphire Preferred but is beat out by the 1.5 cents per point of the Sapphire Reserve.

Also, getting 1.0 cents per point for cash back is standard compared to many travel credit cards but can easily be outdone by no annual fee credit cards like the Citi Double Cash which earns 2% back. So overall the redemption rates for the Prestige aren’t very impressive.

Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check Credit

The Prestige like so many other premium cards comes with a Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check $100 credit. If you haven’t signed up for these yet, I recommend going with Global Entry because it comes with TSA Pre-Check.

Global Entry will provide you with expedited entry into the US and it’s food for five years! It has saved me countless hours getting through immigration and customs and even provides benefits when traveling in other countries.

Citi Prestige travel and purchase protections

The Citi Prestige offers some of the strongest travel and purchase protections that you’ll find out of any credit card. Their trip delay insurance kicks in after only a 3 hour wait compared to most cards that require 6 or more hours. The Prestige also has a great extended warranty coverage period of two years and unlimited roadside assistance.

Here are all of the different Citi Prestige travel and purchase protection benefits.

Lost or damaged Luggage

  • Covered up to $3,000 per person per trip

Trip Interruption

  • You can be reimbursed up to $5,000 per traveler per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses

Trip Delay Reimbursement

  • If delayed more than 3 hours you are covered for expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per traveler per trip

Baggage Delay Reimbursement

  • If delayed more than 3 hours, you are covered for essential expenses for up to $500 dollars per traveler per trip

Purchase protection

  • Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account

 Extended Warranty Protection

  • Extends warranty by 2 years but not to exceed 7 total years

Price Protection

  • If a card purchase you made in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 60 days, you can be reimbursed the difference up to $500 per item, $2,500 per year

Return Protection

  • Citi may reimburse you for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $2,500 per year

Roadside assistance

  • Unlimited and complimentary costs for select services

Additional Prestige card benefits

  • Mastercard Airport Concierge Service
  • Hotels and Resorts Worldwide with Mastercard
  • The Lost Wallet Service
  • Special Offers and Benefits provided by Citi Prestige Concierge

Final word

The Citi Prestige has the potential to be one of the most valuable premium credit cards on the market. You just need to know how to tap into it the right way by utilizing benefits like the 4th night free and the $250 airline credit. If you use those efficiently, then it’s very easy to justify the $450 Citi Prestige annual fee. If you want to apply for the Prestige, make sure you’re aware of the numerous Citi credit card application rules.

Ritz-Carlton Card Lounge Access: What Do I Get?

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card is one of the top premium credit cards. It offers a $300 travel credit, Club level upgrades, a Global Entry credit, and a $100 discount on roundtrip flights. But until recently when the Hilton Aspire came out, it was also one of the only premium hotel credit cards that offered lounge access. But what exactly do you get with Ritz-Carlton card lounge access? 

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!

Ritz-Carlton card lounge access

Ritz-Carlton Card Lounge Access

The Ritz-Carlton Card offers unlimited Priority Pass access to Priority Pass lounges, which number over 1,000 all around the world. An annual membership for these lounges would cost $399 and wouldn’t even come with guest access (you’d have to pay $27). Thus, there’s a lot of value potential with the Ritz-Carlton credit card.

Guest lounge access with the Ritz-Carlton Card

The official terms and conditions state the following:

Certain terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Priority Pass Select membership includes access to airport lounges participating in the Priority Pass Select network. Participating lounges are owned and operated by independent third parties and their participation and/or facilities may change. To access a lounge, member must show his/her valid Priority Pass Select membership card. Priority Pass Select membership is subject to the Priority Pass Select Terms and Conditions. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® is not responsible for offer fulfillment or the provision of or a failure to provide the stated benefits and services. For complete Priority Pass Select Terms and Conditions and a listing of participating lounges, please visit Overlay.

These terms aren’t very helpful when it comes to understanding guest access, though.

However, if you call the number on the back your Ritz-Carlton credit card and ask them about the lounge access, they’ll tell you that you can bring in all guests flying with you subjection to the discretion of the Priority Pass lounge. This is the same type of lounge access that the Sapphire Reserve offers.

This means that you can bring multiple guests and/or your family with you into the lounge. But note that this is subject to the discretion of the lounge. Some lounges have special restrictions on guests and some lounges limit access to all Priority Pass members at certain times of the day. Thus, you might want to do some research ahead of time to ensure that all of your guests will be allowed in.

Priority Pass lounge in Cape Town, South Africa.

Remember to call in to activate your Priority Pass

You’ll need to call in to get your Priority Pass membership benefit — it does not automatically activate upon credit card approval. 

Lounge Club?

Note that the Ritz-Carlton card used to offer a different type of lounge membership known as “Lounge Club.” This changed when the Ritz-Carlton card was transitioned from a Visa Signature Card into a Visa Infinite Card (this was a positive change). So if you come across information regarding Lounge Club and the Ritz-Carlton card, the information may not be up to date.

Final word

Ritz-Carlton card lounge access allows you unlimited visits to Priority Pass lounges for free and allows you to bring in as many guests as you are traveling with, subject to the discretion of the lounge. If you’re thinking about applying for this card, remember to check out the latest Chase application rule.

What are the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Benefits?

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a well-known credit card but surprisingly a lot of people don’t know a ton about the Capital One Venture Benefits. Thankfully, this is a relatively straight forward credit card so you don’t have to learn about a lot of confusing and complicated benefits. In fact, if you’re looking for a simple credit credit with a solid sign-up bonus then the Capital One Venture might be just for you. 

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!


The #1 Capital One Venture benefit: the sign-up bonus

  • The current sign-up bonus is for 50,000 miles for spending $3,000 within 3 months.

That means that once you hit the minimum spend you’ll have earned 56,000 miles worth $560.

While there are many great cash back cards out there that earn a similar 2% return, most don’t offer such a high sign-up bonus and and that’s one of the main reasons I include the Capital One Venture in my Top 10 Travel Credit Cards.


One of the benefits to the Venture card is that it offers a much simpler alternative for using reward points than other cards. For the Venture, you earn “miles” through spending at a rate of 2 miles/per dollar spent. So if you spend $3,000 you earn 6,000 miles.

These miles are then redeemed at a rate of one cent per mile after you make a qualifying travel purchase. So for example, let’s say you booked a hotel for a total of $400. You would then log in to your online account after the charge posts in order to use the Capital One “Purchase Eraser” feature.

You’d then select to have your miles credited to your account for that $400 hotel stay and if you had at least 40,000 miles, the statement credit would be applied to your account within 2 to 3 business days, cancelling out your hotel expense like it never even happened.

Extended time to redeem your points 

One major Capital One Venture benefit is that Capital One gives you additional time to redeem your miles.

You are technically required to redeem your statement credit within 90 days from the date of purchase. However, you can actually call and request an extension for up to 6 months on this time restriction.

No minimum redemption amount!

One of the best Capital One Venture benefits is that there is no minimum requirement for redemptions. This is a huge benefit because it allows you to use this card to cover any of the random travel expenses you will incur as you travel, such as parking, taxis, busses, etc.

Other similar cards have much higher minimums — sometimes requiring you to cover a $100 minimum purchase.

What constitutes “travel” for the Capital One Venture?

Another major Capital One Venture benefit is that the travel category for the Capital One Venture is very broad. This means that many different purchases will qualify for you to use your points to cover the purchase.

Here are the terms taken straight from Capital One’s website:

Purchases made from airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares are generally considered to be travel purchases and availability for redemption is based on the merchant category code assigned to them by the merchant.

Capital One Venture benefits.
I use the Venture to cover high fuel surcharges like those found on British Airways first class awards.

Additional Capital One Venture Benefits

The Venture comes with a number of other additional travel benefits.

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Fraud coverage
  • Security alerts
  • Travel upgrades and savings
  • 24 hour concierge service

It’s always nice to have a solid Visa credit card (with wide acceptance) that you can take with you internationally and not have to worry about paying fees when making purchases.

Since this is a Visa Signature card, it also comes with all of the Visa Signature benefits, some of which include:

  • Purchase protection
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Auto rental insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Roadside dispatch

You can find the home page for the Capital One Venture benefits here.

Final Word

Overall, the Capital One Venture benefits are solid for a card with a low annual fee that’s waived the first year.

Guide to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Roadside Assistance Benefit

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers some of the top protections and benefits out of any travel rewards credit card. One perk that many people aren’t aware of is the roadside assistance service that you can use any time that you get into a jam while on the road. Here’s everything you need to know about Chase’s roadside assistance the service.

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!

What is roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance provides you with an array of different services when you’re out on the road and you find yourself SOL in a problematic situation. For example, if you are ever stranded with a roadside emergency such as a flat tire, dead battery, or mechanical breakdown, help is available by calling Cross Country Motor Club at 1-866-860-7978, toll-free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

  • Note that this service provides roadside assistance services while traveling in the U.S. and Canada

Who is covered by the protection?

You, the Cardholder is covered by Roadside Assistance when you drive any vehicle you own or lease, and when you drive a vehicle that is furnished to you by the owner, while traveling away from home.

The last part of that protection is key because it means that you can even get coverage for rental cars which is not something that other cards like those from Amex cover. Also, if you are driving a vehicle owned by another person (family member or friend) and they give you permission to drive, you would be able to use the benefit as well.

What kind of vehicles are covered?

All self-propelled, four-wheel vehicles designed, licensed, and used for private on-road transportation, with trucks limited to a carrying capacity of up to 2,000 pounds, are covered as subject to the guidelines section. Commercial vehicles are not eligible for coverage.

What type of services are provided?

Road service events, such as flat tires, dead batteries, running out of gas, and lockouts are covered through Cross Country Motor Club. You are covered up to a maximum of $50 for each service event, up to four events each year. A $50 allowance isn’t bad although some cards offered by American Express and Citi cover the entire charges of their services.

Assistance will be provided for one service event for the same cause during any consecutive 7-day period. Coverage is provided while traveling in the U.S. and Canada and there is no minimum distance required from home (unlike other cards that require you to be 50+ plus miles from home). This means you could call for assistance in your own driveway if you needed.

The types of services/protections include:

  • Battery Boost – If your vehicle won’t start due to a dead or weak battery.
  • Flat Tire Service – If you have a flat tire, we’ll install your inflated spare.
  • Fuel Delivery – If you run out of gas, an emergency supply will be delivered to you. The cost of fuel is covered for up to 2 gallons
  • 24 Hour Towing Assistance – In the event of a vehicle breakdown that requires a tow, a call to the toll-free assistance line will put you in contact with a customer service representative who will contact one of more than 25,000, 24-hour preferred service providers across the U.S. and Canada. The representative will arrange to transport the vehicle to the nearest repair facility or location of the motorist’s choice. Services will be covered up to $50 for each event.
  • 24 Hour Lockout Assistance – Should you accidentally lock yourself out of your vehicle, a qualified locksmith will be dispatched to remedy the situation. Proper identification is required at the time of service. Members are covered for locksmith services up to $50 for each event. (Replacement key costs are the responsibility of the Cardholder.)

What information will be required?

When calling for service, be prepared to provide the customer service representative with the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • VIN (vehicle identification number) OR make, model, and year of vehicle
  • Vehicle location (must be away from your primary residence)
  • Phone number where you can be reached

“Sign and Drive” Service

In most instances, services will require no cash outlay (up to the covered limit). You must sign the provider’s service acknowledgement. Excess charges (if any) can be applied to your Chase card or other payment choice.

Note that these the benefits provided to Chase Sapphire Reserve customers. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with a different set of roadside benefits which require you to pay $60 per service attempt, although by calling the Reserve number you might be able to get around that.

Final word

Overall, the Sapphire Reserve roadside assistance protections are strong and stack up well against the competition. If you’re a Sapphire Reserve cardholder, it’s not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with these benefits and save the number of the roadside assistance service on your phone and have it ready whenever you need it.

Warning About Searching Hotels on the Chase Travel Portal

The Chase Sapphire Reserve allows cardholders to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal at a rate of 1.5 cents per point. This is one of the most valuable perks of the Sapphire Reserve card in my opinion and something I’m always tempted to use. But when it comes to hotels, you need to be aware that the Travel Portal may not show all bookable hotels online.

Booking the Marriott Renaissance St. Pancras in London

I used to go to school in the UK, and I remember always seeing the building that the Marriott Renaissance St. Pancras in London is in at King’s Cross and always wanting to check it out. It’s a beautiful, iconic structure in central London and has been seen in films like Harry Potter.  So when I found out it was a Marriott property, I knew it’d only be a matter of time before I stayed there.

st pancras
Marriott Renaissance St. Pancras in London. Photo by Graeme Maclean.

I looked at award redemptions online at Marriott. A basic room costs 45,000, but I wanted to stay in a suite in the Chamber’s Wing, which offers guests a complimentary VIP transfer to EuroStar with concierge service (normal rooms in the Chamber’s Wing offer this too). Since I have Marriott Platinum Status, I would’ve gotten Club access so I really only wanted this suite for the additional room and expedited EuroStar access.

The Junior Suite required 45,000 Marriott points + 170 GBP to book with Marriott points. Since I was using my Chase Ultimate Rewards for this redemption, I knew I needed to check with the Chase Travel Portal to compare prices and that’s when things got interesting.

Finding the Marriott Renaissance St. Pancras

I found the suite I was looking for for $530 or 35,398 Ultimate Rewards. So it would obviously make way more sense to book this through the Chase Travel Portal (as I find often to be the case with Marriott properties). I didn’t have a problem finding the property when I searched online but wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay at that hotel yet so I didn’t book it.

But when I searched online about a week later, the property was nowhere to be found. I tried over and over and with different browsers and still this property would not show up.

So I decided to call into the Chase Travel Portal just to check to see if they could see the property. They assured me that they could see exactly what showed up online on my end, but when they searched for the property they found it. Again, I tried over and over to see it but it wouldn’t show up.

I was waiting for some points to post so I told them that I would be calling back in a couple of days to book the hotel suite.

So after a few days I called back and we ran into the same issue again.  I couldn’t find the property online and this time the phone agent said it wasn’t showing up either!

She said it was probably because all of the rooms were booked or possibly because their contract changed with the property. I told her I didn’t think that was the issue because I’d experienced issues with this property disappearing in the past but that led nowhere and we ended the call.

One last effort

I decided to try back one more time. So after about 3 hours, I got on the phone with another agent and this time he pulled up the property easily. I didn’t waste any time and ended up booking this for 35,398 Ultimate Rewards. For a $500+/night hotel, I was definitely okay with using that many points, considering the lounge has great reviews and we’ll get the VIP EuroStar treatment. And for a nice junior suite, that’s not too bad.

So the lesson I learned here is to always call in to check if a property is bookable if you don’t see it showing up online. If I hadn’t found the property once before online, I probably would have just assumed this hotel was not bookable through the Chase Travel Portal. I don’t know how rampant this “glitch” is so this could be a pretty rare occurrence but you never really know so it never hurts to check.

Cover Photo by Leo Hidalgo via Flickr

Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve Come with Rental Car Insurance?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a host of incredibly valuable perks like a $300 travel credit, 3X on dining and travel, redemptions at 1.5 cents per point through the Chase Travel Portal, and unlimited Priority Pass guest entry. But one benefit that’s not discussed enough is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with primary rental car insurance.

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!

Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve come with primary rental car insurance?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with rental car insurance which is also referred to as “Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.” For the Chase Sapphire Reserve (and Preferred), this coverage is primary.

This means you do not have to file a claim with any other source of insurance before you can receive coverage under this benefit, which also means you’ll likely be able to avoid fees and a potential spike in your monthly premium.

The savings are also instant because many rental car companies will charge you anywhere from $8 to $30 per day for a damage waiver. I once was told that my cost for a damage waiver would be over $100 for just for a few days, proving just how easy it is to save money by paying for rental cards with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

How do I get coverage with the Sapphire Reserve?

Sometimes you can receive credit card protections if you only pay for a portion of a purchase with your credit card. To get this coverage, however, you need to place the entire rental transaction on your Chase Sapphire Reserve to get coverage.

Be sure to keep a copy of your receipt showing that the entire vehicle rental was charged to and paid for with your eligible card (you should still be able to use your or monthly billing statement if you lose your receipt).

You also need to decline the damage waiver from the rental car company. I always assure them that I have primary coverage through my credit card to get them to shut up if they’re very pushy.

  • Initiate and complete the entire rental transaction using your card that is eligible for the benefit.
  • Decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver or similar provision if it is offered to you. The company may refer to the collision damage waiver as CDW or LDW in their contract or when speaking with you. If you accept the collision damage waiver offered by the rental company, you will not be eligible for Auto Rental CDW.

Who is covered by the Sapphire Reserve rental car insurance?

  • Cardholder (name is embossed on the card and listed as the primary renter)
  • Additional drivers permitted by the rental agreement (authorized persons)

It’s always important to add your travel partner as a driver if they’re going to ever get behind the wheel because they won’t be covered unless their name is listed in the rental agreement.

What countries are not covered by the Sapphire Reserve rental car insurance?

The benefit is available in the United States and most foreign countries. Coverage is not available where it is prohibited by law or by individual merchants, or is in violation of the territory terms of the rental agreement.

Please note: Regulations vary outside the United States, so Chase recommends that you check with your auto rental company and Benefit Administrator before you travel to make sure your Auto Rental CDW will apply.

You can call 1-888-675-1461 with inquiries.

That time I got into a car accident in Iceland.

What is the rental car coverage limit?

The insurance will cover claims that do not exceed the following limits:

  • Claims up to $75,000
  • Vehicle rental periods that do not exceed nor intend to exceed 31 consecutive days

What does the Sapphire Reserve rental car insurance cover?

  • Physical damage and/or theft of covered rental vehicle
  • Reasonable and customary towing charges related to a covered loss to take the vehicle to the nearest qualified repair facility
  • Valid loss-of-use charges incurred by the rental car agency

What is not covered by the Sapphire Reserve rental car insurance?

There will always be limitations on rental car insurance so it’s important to be aware of the following exclusions. The most important things to remember are that your insurance won’t cover speciality vehicles like trucks, mopeds, large vans, and that it won’t cover a violation of the rental agreement.

So if you’re forbidden from taking your vehicle down dirt roads or from putting snow chains on your tires and you get into trouble, you might not be able to get coverage from your credit card.

This is not an exhaustive list. Examples include:

  • Antique automobiles (those over 20 years old or any vehicle that has not been manufactured for ten years or more); vans designed to carry more than 8 people; vehicles that have an open cargo bed; trucks; motorcycles, mopeds, and motorbikes; limousines; and recreational vehicles
  • Expenses reimbursed under your personal auto insurance policy, your employer or your employer’s insurance
  • Loss due to intentional acts or due to the driver(s) being under the influence of alcohol, intoxicants, or drugs, or due to transportation of contraband or engagement in illegal activities
  • Loss due to off-road operation of the rental vehicle
  • Loss or damage as a result of the Cardholder’s lack of reasonable care in protecting the rental vehicle before or after damage occurs (for example, leaving the vehicle unattended and running)
  • Any obligation you assume under any other agreement
  • Injury of anyone or anything inside or outside of the vehicle
  • Leases and mini leases
  • Any violation of the auto rental agreement
  • Loss or theft of personal belongings

Important Claim Information and Timeframes

If you do get into an accident, it’s important that you notify the Benefit Administrator as soon as possible. Chase requires you to notify the Benefit Administrator within 60 days of the damage or theft so you don’t want to wait around. You also need to promptly respond to any paperwork inquiries when they send you the claim forms to fill out.

Here are the official guidelines:

  • If you, the Cardholder, have an incident, contact the Benefit Administrator immediately to report theft or damage, regardless of whether your liability has been established
  • You must notify the Benefit Administrator within 60 days of the damage or theft
  • The Benefit Administrator will send you a claim form when you report your loss; you must submit a completed claim form within 100 days of the damage or theft
  • Submit all required supporting documentation within 365 days of the damage or theft

Gather and organize your documents

In addition to the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Claim Form that you’ll receive and your receipt for your rental car transaction, you’ll want to keep all the documents you received from the car rental company. You should ask the rental company for these documents immediately at the time of the theft or damage or when you return the vehicle to the company:

  • A copy of the Accident Report Form and claim document: this should indicate the costs you are responsible for and any amounts that have been paid toward the claim.
  • A copy of the entire auto rental agreement(s)
  • A copy of the repair estimate or itemized repair bill
  • Two photographs of the damaged vehicle, if available
  • A police report, if obtainable
  • Any other documentation deemed necessary, in the Benefit Administrator’s sole discretion, to substantiate the claim

If you experience difficulty in obtaining all the required documents within one hundred (100) days of the date of theft or damage, just submit the claim form and any documentation you have available. Remember, you still have 365 days from the time of the accident or theft to supply everything else.

How long does it take to process a rental car claim?

Generally, the claim will be paid within fifteen days after the Auto Rental CDW Benefit Administrator has received all documentation needed to fully substantiate your claim.

Final word

The collision damage waiver/rental car insurance provided by the Sapphire Reserve is an extremely underrated benefit that can easily save you hundreds of dollars when traveling both domestically and abroad.

What Are the American Express Platinum Card Authorized User Benefits?

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most valuable credit cards available on the market. It’s rich in benefits, such as lounge access, travel credits, hotel elite status, and more. One of the biggest perks of the Platinum Card is that you can add authorized users for a reasonable fee and they receive almost all of the same perks as the primary cardmember. So here’s a breakdown of the Amex Platinum authorized user benefits.

Two different types of authorized users

One thing that is unique about the Platinum Card is that you can add two different types of authorized users. You can add Gold Cards or Platinum Cards.

Gold Cards

You can add up to 99 (yes 99) gold cards at no additional cost.

The Gold Cards only receive a fraction of the Platinum Card perks. You can earn 5X on airfare and hotels purchased through the Amex travel portal. You can also take advantage of the $100 Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check credit. So basically the Gold Cards are useful in helping you earn more Membership Rewards through bonus spend and by allowing you to cash in on the Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check credit. Aside from that, there’s not a lot of value there.

Note: Even though American Express discontinued the Gold Card, it’s still available for Platinum authorized users.

Platinum Cards

  • You can add up to 3 authorized users for $175.
  • Starting with your fourth authorized user, each one will cost $175

As a point of comparison, the Chase Sapphire Reserve requires $75 for each authorized user and the Citi Prestige requires $50.

Paying $175 for up to three authorized users is a phenomenal deal. If you were to split that cost between a trio, that’s only ~$58 per person. Considering the level of benefits offered by the Platinum Card for authorized users, this is a steal.

Platinum Card authorized user benefits
Amex Centurion Lounge at IAH.

Amex Platinum authorized user benefits

The Platinum Card probably offers the best complete package for lounge access. With the the Platinum Card you’re offered the following:

Plus numerous other lounge perks discussed in this article.

Getting all of those perks even for $175 is a steal, assuming you take advantage of them.

Platinum Card authorized user benefits
Amex Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas.

Hotel elite status

The Platinum Card will also offer authorized user hotel elite status.

I’ve received a ton of additional value from my elite status with these hotels. I regularly receive upgrades to better rooms/suites, free breakfasts, gifts, drinks, etc. What I really like is to leverage the SPG/Marriott Gold status to complete a status challenge to earn Marriott Platinum status. That also translates into SPG Platinum Status and even earns you Silver Status with United Airlines, among many other perks.

Platinum Card authorized user benefits
Marriott Gold can get you hotel rooms with better views.

Additional Amex Platinum authorized user benefits

Some of the additional perks include:

  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check
  • Free Boingo Wifi subscription (worth $120 per year)
  • Rental car benefits like express check-in, free upgrades, and discounts with status.
  • Concierge service
  • Fine Hotels and Resorts

Amex Offers

As an authorized user, you’re still able to take advantage of Amex Offers, which are special promotions that can save you money with all kinds of different merchants. Everything from airfare, hotels, to Best Buy and Amazon show up on these offers.

You’ll need to create your own log-in account (separate from the primacy cardholder) so that you can see them when you log-in, however. Otherwise, you’ll have no way to access these offers.

You might consider this one of the least valuable Amex Platinum authorized user benefits, but don’t underestimate the amount of money that this perk save you. If you consistently monitor these offers, you could end up saving yourself a few hundred bucks a year, depending on your spending habits.

Amex Centurion Lounge American Express
Amex Centurion Lounge entrance.

What you don’t get

$200 airline credit

Something to keep in mind about Platinum Card authorized users is that they don’t get their “own” $200 airline credit. What I mean by that is that each Platinum Card account and all of the authorized user accounts tied to it, only receives one pool of airline credits that must be split among all of the authorized users.

So for example, if you have one primary Platinum Card member and three authorized users, then those four people essentially split a pool of $200 worth of airline credit. Each authorized user can use the statement credits but that will prevent the other cards from using them if that authorized user uses them all up. Both Platinum Card and Gold Card authorized users can use this benefit.

Uber credit

The $200 Uber credit is different. It is only effective for the primary cardholder and not available for authorized users. So if an authorized user adds a Platinum Card to their Uber account, they will not be able to use any of the $200 credit because it’s not one of the Platinum Card authorized user benefits.

You can however, add the primary cardholder to an Uber account in someone else’s name and use the credit. You just have to make sure that the primary cardholder deleted the Platinum Card from the first Uber account so that will become effective for the second account.

Final word on Amex Platinum authorized user benefits

Adding three Platinum Card authorized users for $175 is a sweet spot among premium cards because of all of the benefits offered by this card. Even if you only travel a couple of times a year, if you’re only paying around $60 for all of these perks, then Platinum Card authorized user benefits can be well worth your money.

Is the British Airways Travel Together Ticket Worth It?

The British Airways Visa Signature Card offers a special perk known as the British Airways “Travel Together Ticket.” It functions like a once-a-year issued companion pass but comes with a number of restrictions and factors to consider before pursuing. So here’s a look at some things you’d want to consider to determine if the British Airways Travel Together Ticket is a good deal for you.

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!

What is the British Airways Travel Together Ticket?

Travel Together Ticket is a ticket that you can earn once a year from spending $30,000 within a calendar on the British Airways Visa Signature Card. Keep in mind that this is just a single ticket and doesn’t function like the Southwest Companion Pass that can be used on multiple tickets.

This Travel Together Ticket comes with a number of restrictions that you should be aware of. Here are some of the more important ones:

  1. You can earn one Travel Together Ticket each year.
  2. The voucher can only be used on flights operated by British Airways — no partners. 
  3. Flights can be in any cabin class
  4. All travel must originate in and return to the US (some have been able to book one-ways from the US in the past)
  5. Your voucher must be exchanged for an outbound ticket departing before the expiry date on your voucher, which is 24 months from date of issue.
  6. The Member and their Companions must be booked onto the same flight and cabin class.
  7. Companions do not have to be named within a BA Executive Club Household Account. Members can choose to take anyone as a Companion on their redemption voucher booking.
  8. The voucher is non-extendable, non-transferable and have no cash value.
  9. The tickets should be booked online.

Overall, these limitations aren’t that bad. The two most important limitations to me are that you can’t book on partners and that the flights must be roundtrips originating and returning to the US. That means that in virtually all circumstances I can think of you’re going to be hit with British Airways fees and fuel surcharges.

And these fees can be pretty substantial. I’ll show you what I mean.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

British Airways fees

Economy fees from Houston to London roundtrip were around $457 per person plus 32,500 Avios for off-peak awards.

Flights are getting so cheap to Europe now and with Norwegian, WOW, and even IAG/British Airways subsidiary Level coming into the market, I’d struggle to pay that much in fees and points knowing I could potentially find a fare just as cheap or cheaper by paying straight cash. (It should be noted, however, that the British Airways flights in economy price at over $3,000 roundtrip for this route.)

Because the fees are high for economy, many people turn to premium cabins to get the best value for the Travel Together Ticket. The thinking is that although fees will be higher, you’ll be getting much more in value with the premium cabins, so the Travel Together Ticket will be more worth it.

Let’s take a look at business class redemptions.

It’s 150,000 Avios for a peak award (125,000 off-peak) between IAH and LHR but you’re looking at $1,256 in fees. The cash price for a roundtrip business class ticket from Houston to London is $7,694, so you’re actually still getting a fantastic “discount” on the rate. And while these rates can be much lower if you catch the right promo, $1,256 for a roundtrip business class ticket would be nearly impossible to beat.

Let’s see how the value compares for first class.

To get a roundtrip first class ticket you’d need 200,000 for a peak award (170,000 Avios off-peak) between Houston and London. That ticket would also cost you $1,256.79 if fees. However, if you paid cash for this roundtrip, you’d have to shell out $11,444!

British Airways First ClassBritish Airways First Class.

So the fees are the same for business class and first class and while you’ll have to shell out more Avios for a first class flight, you’ll be getting much more value from your $1,256.79 paid in fees. For example, for a first class off-peak award it would require 45,000 more Avios than business class but you’d be getting $3,750 more worth of value equating to around 12 cents per Avios.

This is why some people prefer to utilize the Travel Together Ticket for first class tickets. They figure if they’re going to pay over  $1,200 in fees for an additional ticket, they might as well maximize the value.

Do I think the Travel Together Ticket is worth it? 

I personally don’t think this benefit is worth pursuing considering that it requires $30,000 worth of annual spend that I could put on a number of other cards and earn much more valuable bonuses and forces me to pay high exorbitant fees for awards.

The way I see it is that if you book two premium tickets you’re looking at a total cost of about $2,513 in fees. That’s just too much in fees for two award tickets for me to find attractive and while I really enjoyed first class on British Airways, I just wouldn’t ever want to pay that much in fees.

For that reason, I personally wouldn’t go chasing this perk but if meeting the $30,000 threshold was not an issue for you and didn’t present opportunity costs dilemmas, then it’s not a bad way to capture a lot of value on a premium fare. I’d think of it as getting something like a 90% discount on a first class fare or huge discount on a business class fare and from that perspective it doesn’t sound as bad. Thus, if you’re the type of traveler who already intended on dropping a couple of thousand bucks on premium cabins, this benefit could be perfect for you.

How to Get the Amex Platinum Credit on Uber and Uber Eats

One of the new perks for the Platinum Card from American Express officially begins today: the $15 Uber credit. To the delight of many (including myself), this credit also applies to Uber Eats, a service that I use about 2 to three 3 times a month, making keeping the Platinum Card a no-brainer for me.

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!

But for some reason the Uber credit is not automatically populating if you already had your Platinum Card linked to your account. If that’s the case then you need to delete your card from Uber (either the Uber Eats App or the Uber App) and then add it once again. After you add it, select the “Payments” tab and you should see the following (screen shot taken from the Uber Eats app). The credit will show up under the Payments section for both Uber and Uber Eats.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Here’s what it should look like in the Payments tab of the regular Uber App. Notice that it shows the expiration date of the credit unlike Uber Eats (I’m sure the Uber Eats credit expires in the same time period.) This expiration date also means you have until the end of tomorrow to use your first credit or you lose it! 

Remember, this a monthly credit and if you don’t use it within the month, it does not roll over. Also, the monthly credit will be $35 for the month of December, totaling $200 for the year. If you factor in these monthly credits along with the $200 annual travel credit, the effective annual fee of the Platinum Card is $150, making my decision on whether or not to hold on to this card very easy for me.

Top Benefits of the American Express Platinum Card 2017

The American Express Platinum card is an ideal travel card for those travelers interested in travel benefits and perks. These are people who typically fly at least a handful of times a year and value comfort and convenience when waiting around in airport lounges, going through security/customs, connecting to wifi, booking rental cars, hotels, etc. The Platinum is not really the card you want if you’re solely interested in racking up points with bonus category spending (although now it comes with 5X on airfare and hotels booked through the Amex travel portal). So with that in mind, here are my favorite benefits of the American Express Platinum card and why it might be worth it for you.

Priority Pass


The Priority Pass benefit for the Amex Platinum card is the #1 benefit in my opinion. With the Platinum, you get “Prestige” level lounge access which would otherwise cost you $400 per year. This pass grants you access to over 900 airport lounges where you can often indulge in complimentary drinks, food, wifi, and magazines all while relaxing in a comfortable work or sitting area. See my write up on the Priority Pass here.

With the Platinum’s Priority Pass, you can also bring a guest each time for an additional $27.

Update: The Platinum Card now allows you to bring two guests for free.

Centurion Lounge and Delta Lounge Access

The Centurion Lounges are Amex’s new product that have been rolling out all across the country the past few years. They are often considered to be some of the best lounges in the U.S. and with a new lounge coming to IAH in the very near future, this puts this perk high on the list for me. One good thing about the Centurion Lounge is that you can bring up to two guests per visit for free, although this had led to some crowding issues in some of these lounges.

The Platinum Card also offers access to Delta’s SkyClub lounges when you’ve booked your flight with Delta.

IAH Centurion Lounge.

$200 Airline Credit

Many travel cards are now offering $100-$300 in airline credits. The Amex airline credit is a bit more limited compared to some of these cards like the Citi Prestige in terms of what is covered by it, but it still offsets almost 50% of the annual fee for this card (per primary cardholder).

$200 Uber credit

The Platinum Card is now offering $15 a month in Uber credits ($35 offered for the month of December) which comes out to a total of $200 a year. This credit is offered in addition to the annual $200 travel credit, meaning that it effectively knocks down the annual fee to $150 for people like myself who regularly use Uber/Uber Eats.

Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check Credit

IMG_0498 - Version 2

You can choose to use this credit for either Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check. TSA Pre-Check allows you to breeze through the security lines in US airports and Global Entry allows you to breeze though customs upon your arrival to the US (in addition to granting you TSA Pre-Check).

I think you should definitely go with Global Entry, since that program includes TSA Pre-Check. Global Entry is $100 compared to TSA Pre-Check at $85, but since Amex offers up to a $100 statement credit for this benefit then why not take advantage of the better more inclusive program (assuming you can pass the more “demanding” background check?)

Gold Status with HHonors


Gold status with Hilton Honors offers several benefits:

  • With Gold elite status, you automatically receive a 25% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn
  • Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members will receive every 5th night free on Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more.
  • Digital Check-In: choose your room, and customize your stay from your mobile device up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Complimentary in-room and lobby Standard Internet access during stays at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Canopy™ by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels™ and Hilton Grand Vacations™
  • Quick reservations and check-ins based on your room preferences
  • Late check-out (another one of my favorite benefits)
  • Express check-out
  • 2nd Guest stays free
  • Complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs
  • Two complimentary bottles of water per stay

Gold Status with SPG (and Marriott)


The benefits for Gold SPG status with the Amex Platinum aren’t too shabby, either.

  • Earn three Starpoints® for every U.S. dollar spent on eligible stays — a 50% bonus over Preferred.
  • 4 p.m. late checkout, subject to availability at resort and conference center hotels.
  • An upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in — corner room, higher floor, or better view.
  • Your choice of welcome gift upon arrival – choose from bonus Starpoints, complimentary premium in-room internet or a beverage on us.
  • Complimentary in-room, premium Internet access when you book on SPG digital channels. This is in addition to your welcome gift.

What’s fantastic is that now you can link your SPG account to your Marriott account so that your status transfers, too. This means that the Platinum Card also provides you with Marriott Gold and Ritz-Carlton Gold! 

Rental Car Benefits

Once you’ve enrolled, you’re eligible to receive benefits with car rental companies like Avis, Hertz, and National Car Rental. These benefits usually include express lines, eligibility for free upgrades, and special discounts on rentals.

Here are some examples of those benefits.

Avis Preferred®

  • When arriving at Avis, you can skip the line and paperwork and go straight to your car at over 1,400 locations.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards®

  • Provides fast and easy car rentals.
  • Enjoy fee-waived enrollment and a one-car-class upgrade at Gold locations when you rent a Intermediate through Full-Size car, based on availability.

National Car Rental® Emerald Club Executive

  • Platinum Card® Members receive complimentary Emerald Club Executive membership and up to 20% off on rentals. Executive members are able to choose their own car from the Executive SelectionSM area, guaranteed upgrades a fullsize through luxury car is reserved, and an accelerated earning schedule toward a free rental day, or opt to receive airline miles or hotel points from one of National’s partners.

Boingo Wifi

The Platinum offers you a free Boingo Wifi subscription ($120 value per year). There are over 1,000,000 hotspots around the country and you can search here to see if any of these destinations will be located near you anytime soon.

Authorized Users

This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of the Platinum card as well. You can add up to 3 authorized users for only $175 per year. Each of these cardholders will receive all of the above benefits, too! The only exception being that the primary cardholder and all authorized users are cumulatively allocated only one $200 airline statement credit. But still, getting Priority Pass, Global Entry, status at Hilton/SPG and the number of additional benefits are definitely worth $175 per year for three additional people!

That’s $1,200 worth of lounge of access each year for only $175! If you factor in the Global Entry credit x 3 that’s $300 worth of credit, which means that together you and/or your authorized users are getting a steal if they are interested in these benefits!


As mentioned, the American Express Platinum card is not really the card you want if you’re looking to earn points or miles with spending on bonus categories like restaurants, gas, etc. If that’s your goal, then look into the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Amex PRG.

However, if you’re interested in these benefits and perks that make life a lot easier and more comfortable when traveling, then I think the American Express Platinum is definitely a card that you want to consider.

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