This post comes from the NerdWallet.com team of financial bloggers and experts in helping users compare rewards credit cards.
Life doesn’t always follow the simple plans you create, so in case life’s unforeseen circumstances emerge it’s always a good idea to have the right tools to help you deal with them. The following are some chaos scenarios, and corresponding fail-safes you can use to face each one.
Delays in Your Flights
No one likes having flights delayed, and let alone spending umpteen hours in a crap executive lounge, sleeping on a floor. But life throws situations like this at us, so we just have to be prepared. Since getting sleep and eating will be your main worry during these scenarios, you should try to deal with airlines that offer to pay for lodging and meals when their flights have been delayed or cancelled. Not many do, but some travel credit cards can help. Users of the Discover Escape card can get up to $150 reimbursed daily (for up to three days), for lodging, meals and any other expenses you’ll incur with delays and cancellations that strand you for a long time. There are certain restrictions, of course, which include a minimum six-hour delay. You can take a look at Discover’s coverage to get the most recent info for your next trip.
Another option is to purchase trip insurance in advance, which you can do with American Express Travel Delay protection. The costs for this insurance can be around $9.95 per person and trip. If you are enrolled, it is billed to your card automatically when you travel. In their policy, you will be given $250 daily for up to 2 days, but if there isn’t any alternative transportation before 9 pm that day, you will receive $200 daily plus $50 if your flight is delayed for at least 3 hours.
Another unbearable scenario is having your precious luggage lost or delayed. With the Visa Signature cards, you will be covered for up $3,000 per trip if your bags are stolen or lost. Then with the high-end World MasterCards, like the HSBC Premier and Citi Gold Advantage card, you can get similar coverage. Both types of cards generally offer free concierge services, which is otherwise a pretty penny.
Another card offering similar coverage is Amex, costing only $9.95. This protection gives you premium baggage protection that will cover your lost or stolen luggage for up to $2,000 (even if it was stolen from your hotel room). You will also get up to $500 in replacement items if your baggage is delayed for more than three hours.
Affordable Mobile Internet
Up until recently, there was no such thing as pay-as-you-go mobile broadband internet. Now, you can find them at Virgin Mobile (which uses the 3G Sprint network) and ClearWire (a 4G network). With these two options, you can receive unlimited Web without being tied to a contract, and they both cost less than $50 monthly. The ClearWire plan doesn’t technically give you unlimited Web if you have to use the 3G backup network, but a clerk at the ClearWire store said that the access isn’t often limited in practice.
Have you been in an accident that you wished could be claimed on-site, instead of waiting to get home and fight with all the paperwork? If so, you’ll be happy to know that there is an app for this. It is State Farm’s free pocket agent app, which gives you the ability to submit and provide details about your accident right from your smart phone. The app will also help you to find repair shops on the road, and local tow trucks to get you there.
Even with all of this advice and tips, you’re still going to find these scenarios to be quite a hassle. But armed with the right credit card and a little technology, you can get through your ordeals faster and more efficiently.