Does Your Credit Card Include Hidden Travel Perks?

Flickr user 410(K) 2013

Millions of travelers are holding discounts to thousands of museums, concerts and airline rewards in their pocket without realizing it.

Credit-card companies offer hundreds of perks that most holders never use. How good are some of these perks? It depends on the card.

The great
The American Express Platinum cardholders can receive unlimited access to several airport lounges, including those run by the Delta, US Airways and American. According to MSN Money, those memberships would cost well over $1,000 if purchased individually.

Airline credit cards carry perks beyond earned miles. Some airlines, including American and Delta, allow cardholders to check their bags for free.

The pretty good
Bank of America credit cards entitle users to one free general admission to select museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, on the first full weekend of every month. A great way to save an easy $10 or more, but not worth getting a card solely for that reason.

Many cards include a small amount of travel insurance when you purchase your trip, although it’s likely only to accentuate the travel insurance you purchase. A much better perk is the free crash insurance for rental cars that comes standard with many cards.

The so-so
Citi’s Easy Deals allows you to cash in earned points for travel perks, including slightly discounted gift cards for cruises, rental cards and hotels. The hotel and rental car deals featured on the site aren’t much better than offers you can find on Travelocity or Expedia. You can also book tickets to popular attractions, but again, the discounts are virtually nil. Tickets to the Kennedy Space Center are $50 on its website, while Citi offers the same ticket for $48 and five of your earned points.

My wife had her iPhone stolen in the Paris Metro earlier this year. Had we used a Wells Fargo credit card, we may have been eligible for $600 replacement coverage. But, of course, there are caveats. First, we would have had to pay our monthly cellular bill with the card. Also, after the phone was stolen, we would have first had to file a claim against our homeowners insurance before Wells Fargo would have paid the difference.

Before making any travel plans, check your monthly credit card bill for any potential offers, visit your bank’s website or call the toll-free number on the back of the card to find out what perks are available to you.

*This post was updated from its original version to remove reference to a credit card offered by Continental.

Speedos Are Now Globally Approved?

Expedia.com

That’s right. The majority of the world — including Americans — believes it’s completely acceptable to wear Speedos to the beach. The skimpy swimsuit stat comes from Expedia.com, who surveyed more than 8,000 people across the globe. Here’s what the online travel agency has to say:

Much to our surprise (and some peoples’ disgust), it revealed that wearing a Speedo gets two thumbs up from most of the world. That’s right, Speedos are now globally-approved. 65% of beachgoers worldwide reported finding that Speedo-style bathing suits are “acceptable.” This percentage was highest in France, where 9 out of 10 respondents (91%) were A-Ok with Speedos. U.S. beachgoers, however, were split at 52%.

Other — ahem — revealing findings in the survey include the statistic that one quarter of beach-going respondents are comfortable with topless beaches (in France, that number skyrocketed to 73 percent of respondents) and 54 percent of Americans cited “having wallet/possessions stolen” as their biggest concern at the beach (even over shark attacks). For more findings, check out Expedia’s Flip Flop Report.

Expedia Adds Itinerary Feature To Mobile App

expedia appExpedia has today announced the redesign of their mobile application to allow for user-friendly visual itinerary capabilities.

Using location awareness and time zone updates, the app displays the most relevant part of the itinerary and related information like airport maps, flight status, confirmation codes and addresses at the appropriate times.

“Unlike other itinerary applications, we’ve built what travelers really want. We are giving them live access to the most up to-date travel data and wrapped it in a beautiful experience. This is our biggest mobile launch ever,” said John Kim, Senior Vice President, Global Products, Expedia in a release.

This new itinerary feature, in addition to simple technology like flight and hotel booking and mobile only deals make this app one of the most useful we’ve seen for on-the-go travelers. The app also shows airport terminal maps for more than 200 airports – an extremely useful feature we’ve often seen only “for pay” on other applications.

Itineraries are also available for cruises and destination services.

The itineraries encompass 30 countries and 16 languages for both Android and iOS.

[Image Credit: Expedia via HL Group]

Facebook Timeline For Travel Industry

Facebook timeline of the travel industryThe World Travel and Tourism Council has introduced a fun element to their Facebook page: rather than a timeline of their own milestones, they’ve designed a timeline highlighting all of the events in the travel industry. Starting in 1400 with the first passport, and ending with the 1,000,000,000 international tourist arrival in December 2012, it puts the whole development of tourism in context. The first airport dates to 1909 in College Park, Maryland, and there are now over 44,000 airfields and airports all over the world. Hilton pioneered the hotel chain concept in 1943, and now has properties in 78 countries on six continents. Expedia has been around for 17 years, and TripAdvisor just celebrated their 13th anniversary.

Check out all the travel industry milestones on WTTC’s Timeline, and be sure to click through all the years.

[Photo credit: WTTC Facebook]

Budget Locations For Spring Break Travel

spring breakSpring break is just around the corner, and if you haven’t already planned a trip, our friends at Expedia have mined their price stats to come up with some of the most budget-friendly locations around. From family-friendly to party-hearty, these trips won’t break the bank.

Tampa, Florida
Home of the New York Yankees’ spring training camp, this sunny destination has much to offer both families and singles. A four-day, round-trip flight from New York into Tampa starts at $180.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you’re looking to brush up on your Spanish, check out Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan. A five-day, round-trip flight starts at $279 and with average lows hovering around 73° in April, San Juan is sure to please. This popular destination has made one of the most coveted travel spots this year, and new hotels make this an exciting spot for luxury and budget seekers alike.

San Diego, California
This sunny city is an increasingly popular Spring Break destination. For stays between March 8-16, there are a number of package deals available (flight + hotel) for less than $800/person on Expedia. For $772/person, you can stay at the beautiful Dana on Mission Bay between March 9-16 with travel from New York.

Orlando, Florida
Whether you’re headed to Disney World or just seeking fun in the sun, it’s possible to find flights AND hotels for under $300 total when traveling from New York City.

[Image Credit: Flickr via yazmapaz & ace heart]