September 2016 VS/I & WEMC Perks

Discuss the Visa & MasterCard payment networks as well as cards that operate through them.
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rockyrock
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September 2016 VS/I & WEMC Perks

Postby rockyrock » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:51 am

The perks associated with VS/I & WEMC tiered cards are marketed heavily as selling points.

Does anyone actually use them? Please share your experiences with various perks i.e. concierge, travel assistance, etc.

I'll start, I have had five or six cards at these tiers and have never used a perk associated with them... :beat:
American Express (2005): Premier Rewards Gold & Blue Cash Preferred
Chase: Freedom & UA Club USAA: Signature Visa & American Express
Discover it Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines WEMC Synchrony Sam's MC
Navy FCU Platinum Visa Citi Double Cash & AT&T Access MC


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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: September 2016 VS/I & WEMC Perks

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:12 pm

Concierge services can be useful, so long as the concierge can actually offer something of real value like:

1. Getting what you want at a better price (like 4th night free or some unusual rate for hotels)
2. Access (like getting a difficult reservation either through an official program like Platinum Dining or the concierge persuading the restaurant that you're a big shot)
3. Saving a lot of time (by finding some obscure item or piece of information)

Personally, I need to get a lot of value in one of those respects to bother with it. Most of the things they can do, I can do on my own with a smartphone. It takes time to explain to another person exactly what I want to do and make sure that they understand. Still, there is value in this. I've heard a lot more praise for the premium concierge services than the V/MC ones...though I suppose the sample size of V/MC cases I've read about is small, and YMMV as always.

On the shopping side of things, there are a lot of limitations and exclusions...not to mention complaints about paperwork and denied claims...to filing a price protection or extended warranty claim directly with V/MC.

It's the travel/tourism side of things that I think is really overrated. I did once "save" $2.50 for paying a NYBG admission fee with a MC through MC Priceless Cities. I later found out my AAA membership could save me a few dollars more, regardless of the card I used.

The "false savings" seem to be the case for a lot of VS/WEMC perks. Visa Signature advertised a "discount" at Madame Tussaud's, but I saved more money (not to mention time by avoiding the line) by just buying my ticket online. The "free upgrades" that come with many hotels often mean you're paying too high a base rate.

Cardholders have to pay for the roadside assistance perks from VS/WEMC when they use them, unlike roadside assistance on PRG/Platinum or AAA. VS/WEMC don't have the network of AAA, either (nor does Amex).

WEMC gives seating upgrades on full-fare (Y class) air tickets for some airlines on a space-available basis. But why do that when you can just buy a guaranteed first-class seat for much less? And how likely is it that someone buys a lot of full-fare airline tickets but doesn't already have (or will soon earn) elite status?

Maybe the airport concierge could be useful in an unfamiliar area...for a fee, of course...but they're not exactly the only ones who do that...

There was the MC Priceless Surprises promotion that gave IHG points…which was awesome…but that didn’t require an elite tier of MC.
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Tubpbs
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Re: September 2016 VS/I & WEMC Perks

Postby Tubpbs » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:29 am

My summary would in a shorter version would be that time is the issue. There may or may not be useful perks in there. If you could upload them into your brain and fully understand them without figuring them all out, there might be value. But in reality the time required to figure them all out and test them makes them pretty much useless for a regular person with regular behavior and spending habits.
Amex - BCP, Platinum, Business Gold
BoA - BankAmericard Cash Rewards
Chase - Freedom, CSP, RC, Ink Plus
Citi - DC, Prestige
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kdm31091
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Re: September 2016 VS/I & WEMC Perks

Postby kdm31091 » Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:22 pm

I think most of the perks are more hype than substance. Like carefulbuilder said, a concierge is nice but these days a smartphone and doing it yourself is probably quicker and easier unless there's a really exclusive situation.

I have a AAA membership which to me beats the roadside assistance with a credit card. With the credit card you still have to pay, it's just a dispatch. Granted AAA has a yearly fee but it's not like they only offer roadside assistance, there are other benefits that you may or may not use.

As far as "savings", like builder said again, do your homework, you can probably get the same or better savings with less effort.

People worry a lot about WEMC/Signature/Infinite, etc, but you don't hear many stories of using the benefits. I kind of stopped worrying about it or caring because network and tier have very little impact on anything for the average person. Visa/MC are both taken 99% of places, and the tiers are more fluff than anything anyone actually uses.

Unfortunately, as long as people push advice like "get a card from every network" people will continue to go for things they don't need be it network or tier. In general most people could stand to focus far less on network or tier and more on the actual, everyday benefits of the card, not some niche perk they might use once every few years.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: September 2016 VS/I & WEMC Perks

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:50 pm

Tubpbs wrote:My summary would in a shorter version would be that time is the issue. There may or may not be useful perks in there. If you could upload them into your brain and fully understand them without figuring them all out, there might be value. But in reality the time required to figure them all out and test them makes them pretty much useless for a regular person with regular behavior and spending habits.

I don't think the problem is a lack of understanding. The benefits have a lot of fine print, but card geeks, collectively, have come to understand them pretty well.

The problem is that almost everything (at least for the travel/tourism benefits) has a catch to it. They aren't intended to be highly useful. If they were, people would use them a lot!
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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