Cards w/ AAA-like and int'l travel emergency help

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CarefulBuilder14
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Cards w/ AAA-like and int'l travel emergency help

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:44 am

I currently have a PRG, which has (what I think) are pretty good, but maybe a bit limited, roadside assistance services. It also has the Global Assistance Hotline.

I definitely don't make good use of the PRG purchasing bonus categories, so at the very least I think it would make sense to downgrade to a regular Gold.

I do want something AAA-like, and also something that could help during international travel.

The Amex Gold fee is about the same as the top-tier AAA membership, but AAA has naturally better roadside benefits since it has a more limited scope. On the other hand, PCing the PRG to a Gold would keep my AAoA growing faster.

My BCE also has the global assistance hotline, but I don't know if I'd get a nearly-useless really low service tier with it on a no-AF card. I'm not really sure how the benefits of the Arrival+ would compare to the Gold in terms of travel assistance.

I'm not looking for someone to make a flight reservation for me because I don't have time. I'm talking about being in a country where I don't speak the language and having my wallet stolen.

My signature reflects my current and future cards, but in case it changes between now and a time this thread becomes active again far in the future, I have a Sallie Mae, It, Freedom, BCE, and PRG. I plan to get a TrueEarnings and Arrival+ before the PRG would change.

I can pay annual fees, I just would appreciate some input on spending wisely and saving where I can when it comes to these benefits. I don't really care about fancy hotels or airport lounges, so the Amex Platinum might not help much. My expected amount of travel to non-English-speaking places in the next few years has picked up, though, so I will definitely need something.

Thoughts?
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when


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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:42 pm

Almost any premium card will have a global replacement policy that will send you a new card quickly. If you're more concerned about stolen passport, etc., policies will vary between cards. Generally speaking, Visa Signature and WEMC have a minimum benefits requirement that banks must meet. The issuing banks can go above and beyond if they choose.

First thought - Remember that you generally have to use the credit card to purchase the travel or the insurance won't kick in.

Here's a general overview of what Visa, MC, and Amex have to offer.

I suggest that if you're truly concerned, separate travel insurance may be the way to go. For our round-the-world trip, I purchased a policy from www.tinleg.com. I recall it being about $75 per person for a three week trip.
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:44 pm

Thanks, djrez4, those links are useful!

I think I'd get enough various rewards and benefits from the Arrival+ to easily justify the AF. I can then buy special travel insurance, if and when necessary, beyond that.

I think you have just corrected a misunderstanding I had, but I would like to be sure:

Say I use an Arrival+ to buy a plane ticket and fly to Brazil. After I've been there three days, I rent a car using an Amex Gold and start driving around Brazil. The car breaks down and I need emergency help.

Will Amex refuse to help, on the grounds that I flew to Brazil with a non-Amex card? Will Barclays / WEMC help, since I got to Brazil on their card (even though I traveled to a different part of Brazil with an Amex card)?

Or is it really best to use one card continuously for all transportation purchases in any particular foreign country / on any particular trip?

Edit: I was previously under the impression that Amex would be willing to help me in any way that did not relate specifically to the flight, like only refusing to pay for a hotel if the flight is delayed or providing baggage insurance, etc. I thought once I was away from the airport, they would be willing to help with anything else in Brazil. I'm now thinking this is incorrect.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:02 pm

In that situation, the Arrival WEMC benefits would cover your flight and Amex would cover any issues with the rental car.
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:10 pm

djrez4 wrote:In that situation, the Arrival WEMC benefits would cover your flight and Amex would cover any issues with the rental car.


And in the event that something happened not directly related to a travel purchase, like getting robbed or injured when just walking down the street in Brazil, is that where a special policy like one from tinleg would prove useful? Or WEMC or Amex would be useful then?

I know the specifics might vary, I'm just trying to get as good a general understanding as I can. Maybe the specifics vary so much that there is no useful 'general understanding' to have other than that they will, at least, try to get me a new replacement card ASAP.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:34 pm

The answer is, "it depends."
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]

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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:05 pm

Something I just discovered on the Amex site:

http://www.americanexpress.com/us/content/card-benefits/roadside-assistance-terms.html

PRG will still have Amex's top-level roadside assistance.

The regular Gold card will be dropped down two levels to the Roadside Assistance Hotline on 12/1/14.

Green, which had the middle tier, is being dropped to the same RAH.

That kind of wrecks my plan of downgrading to Gold for AAA-type benefits (and Global Assist) and making the Gold a permanent card.

Boo, Amex. Just as I find one benefit that is a great reason to keep you (essentially AAA when I travel as a passenger in a car I don't own), I find you're taking it away.

Maybe the PRG is worth keeping, and the signup bonus was nice, but a $125 AF Gold card with modest rewards should have something better than bottom-tier roadside assistance - if you can even call it that!

It would be better to just raise the AF on the Gold by $10 or $20 than to cut an important part of the travel program. The pre-benefit-cut Gold would be worth keeping, but having to keep a PRG instead of downgrading to a Gold to keep that benefit puts the PRG in the 'replace before too long' category.

Edit: I know I'm new to Amex and haven't paid them an AF on a charge card (yet, at least). I know I don't give them a ton of business. I know a signup bonus puts me ahead a bit financially. But I sympathize with their loyal customers/cardmembers here. Shouldn't $125 a year get better treatment?
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:39 pm

Am I really the only person annoyed about this? Are all the Gold and Green members on here either dropping the charge card or moving up to a PRG or Platinum? Or the Green and Gold crowd cares more about flight and hotel travel benefits than vehicle ones?

Or maybe it just got buried under a lot of other new posts today.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when



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