The fact that we were staying in an all-inclusive resort also meant that I didn’t have to budget meals either, an additional advantage. The only expenses that remain to be considered are round trip transportation to the resort and money to get tips. Once she took care of that, I looked forward to a week of fun, mojitos and beach time with my best friend.
When the bad weather attacks
So we left and we didn’t look back. Unfortunately, we did not realize that a giant storm of snow and ice moved right after we left, burying places like Charlotte, North Carolina, the city we were supposed to return to. But we were not worried. Hell, we were having too much fun to worry about the world’s problems. That was, of course, until it was time to leave and we got on the computer to verify our flight.
What’s even worse is that the same flight was also canceled the next day. And after calling the airline and discovering that all flights were complete or canceled during the next two days, we did what we had to do. We put the money in cash for two more nights at the resort for a sum of $ 520, which was much more than what we paid to start.
Although it was a bit demoralizing to spend more than planned, I secretly hoped that they would reimburse me for those expenses. How do you ask? I was pretty sure that the Chase Ink Bold card I used to pay for our flights offered free travel insurance as a benefit of owning the card. Then, when I got home, I immediately called Chase and asked him. Then they sent me a claim form that I filled out and mailed along with all the requested documentation. The verdict: they sent me a check for $ 582, completely covering our two additional hotel stays and lunch and dinner on the way home.
The advantages of paying with credit
Travel insurance is just one of the often ignored advantages of paying with credit. Some other advantages that are rarely mentioned include things like price guarantees, return protection, free extended warranties, protection against theft, breakage and loss, and roadside assistance. Another big one: protection against fraud. I wrote about being a victim of a scam in motion at the end of last year, and one thing I couldn’t mention at the time (because it hadn’t happened yet) was that the same fraud protection coverage of the Chase card returned the total amount when They charged me more. This left the company and the bank to solve it among them, which was a great relief for me at that time.
Of course, some of the biggest benefits of using credit come in the form of points and miles, something I often talk about as editor of Frugal Travel Guy. It is true that when the credit is used in the right way, it can become a powerful tool to obtain advantages such as national and international travel, gift cards and cash back. But to get there, you have to make the credit work for you and stop making it work against you. This requires a certain level of discipline, but the benefits cannot be underestimated. Just ask anyone who has traveled the world for pennies. They will tell you.
No, credit cards are not bad
The use of credit cards is such a controversial issue, and for good reasons. Ask any indebted person and they will tell you how easy it is to load a card without even realizing it or going through a difficult time and resorting to the use of credit for daily expenses. When almost everyone you know has had some kind of problem with an ungovernable credit card debt, it is easy to assume that credit cards are the culprits that should be avoided at all costs. Personal finance gurus like Dave Ramsey perpetuate this belief by making general claims about the use of credit, like this one:
“The responsible use of a credit card does not exist. There is no positive side to using the credit card. You will spend more if you use credit cards. ”
Although I don’t think that’s true in my personal experience, I think it’s good advice for people who have had problems in the past. But I don’t think the same rules apply to all of us. Obviously, many people use credit responsibly, and do so without damaging the credit or their wallet. How? They make credit work for them.
Become the teacher of your credit card
Fact: Credit cards are not intrinsically good or bad. They are a tool, and it is up to you to decide to master their use for your benefit or to let the credit card debt become your teacher. Your choice, but I personally would choose the first. If you want to get all the benefits of using credit without all the headaches, here are some tips that can help:
- Use your statement as a budget tool: the fact that you are using a credit can help your monthly budget if you play your cards well. Start by registering to get an account online, then use your statement to track your expenses in individual categories.
- Avoid credit card rates: in order to get the most benefit possible, it is important to avoid paying unnecessary and expensive fees related to your card. This means paying on time to avoid late payment charges and making sure to weigh the pros and cons of any annual fees you are asked to pay.
- Never pay interest: no matter what you do, do not pay interest. Be sure to put only your regular expenses on your card and pay them before they are due each month. Remember, paying in cash hurts, and it should hurt. The same rule should apply to the charges you credit.
- Do not chase points and miles: the fact that you are earning cash or miles for your purchases is a good thing, but do not use it as an excuse to spend in excess. Points and miles should be a benefit of card ownership, but it is not beneficial to buy things that you would not otherwise have bought. Remember, you want to be the master of your credit card, not vice versa, right?