By Sonia Perugini
Does the thought of flying the friendly skies fill you with anxiety and dread? Do you enter the airport with a glass-half-full attitude expecting that something will surely go wrong between your first security line and the retrieval of your luggage before heading home?
You are not alone.
According to SquareMouth, an online travel insurance comparison website, consumers looking to price trip cancellation, trip interruption and other travel-related insurance products has more than doubled over the past year.
From terrorist attacks to pandemic viruses and weather delays, fear of flying may be the least of your worries.
To this end, that’s why banks are promoting – and their cardholders are consuming with great voracity – the complimentary travel benefits sitting right on the plastic in their wallet.
The presence and breadth of travel benefits that transaction account Issuers offer depends largely on the demographics of each card portfolio and customer usage. Benefits available include coverage for nearly every unexpected step of a trip: Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Baggage Delay, Lost Luggage, Trip Delay and Auto Rental Collision Damage insurance.
There’s even an overarching Travel Emergency Assistance service that provides support for things like language translations and legal services, and the ever-popular airport lounge benefit that offers member only access. (Cocktails anyone?)
Given the rise in travel itself and travel-related card benefits, cardholders are becoming savvier with how they spend. Why buy insurance when, in many cases, a loss may be covered at no cost by your credit card? To be sure, all coverage is not alike and terms and conditions will apply, but consumers in-the-know are taking the time to read and call for details, engage in travel forums on social media and, when necessary, embrace the claims process to recoup any eligible expenses.
As the leading provider of transaction account Benefit Products, card benefit usage is at an all time high – a direct correlation to the travel transactions cardholders are making on the cards that offer the best value. This value may come from no fee travel insurance, 2x/3x points, an annual travel credit or all of the above.
Whatever the draw, the proliferation of no fee travel benefits is happening and shows no signs of retracting as long as consumer confidence remains healthy and Issuers promote benefits to secure spend and create cardholder loyalty.
Nothing left to do but pack your bags and pray for short TSA lines!