In my last video, I told you what you should consider getting in a good travel credit card. But what should you avoid? Here are my tips.
As she paged through Viking River Cruises’ glossy brochure one recent afternoon, Diane Moskal noticed a new way to save money: If she booked the Waterways of the Tsars itinerary sailing from Moscow to St. Petersburg with something called an e-check, the cruise line promised to knock $100 off the fare.
An e-check is an electronic debit to your checking account, and it’s billed as a quick, convenient way to pay for your vacation that is “as easy as providing your credit card number,” according to Viking.
But like any smart traveler, Moskal wasn’t content with that explanation. “I see that the cruise lines advocate consumer savings if you pay by e-check,” she says. But she also found several complaints online, which made her hesitate. She wondered: Are e-checks safe?
Looking for a credit card that travels well? Here are a few tips about what you should avoid. I’ll have the second part of this segment next week.
American European Travel’s nine-day ancient Turkey tour looked like the perfect birthday gift for David Olson’s wife, Barbara. With stops in Istanbul, Ephesus and Pamukkale, it fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting the old Ottoman Empire.
The Olsons learned about the trip through a brochure in The Washington Post. The AET insert bore the newspaper’s logo, so they assumed that The Post endorsed the tour and would stand behind it if something went wrong.
And then, something went wrong.
A day after Sheilah Reardon checked into the Bellagio Las Vegas, she received an e-mail alert from American Express warning that her credit card had been compromised. Among the fraudulent charges: a $67 bill from an online memorabilia store.
A day later, her friend Jennifer Henderson got a call from a MasterCard representative. Her card number had also been stolen. The thieves had made a $67 charge at the same online store moments after they hit Reardon’s account.
“We had checked into the Bellagio at the same time, side by side,” says Reardon. She and Henderson believe that their credit cards were targeted while they were at the resort — most likely while they were checking in — because it was the only time when their cards were used together. Reardon says that she hadn’t used her card, a “travel-only” Amex, since a trip to Florida last summer.
You’re a smart consumer. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.
You look for bargains, you read the fine print, you know how to navigate your way around the branches of a phone tree.
But aren’t you forgetting something?
Most enlightened consumers fail to do one thing with alarming consistency: they don’t review their credit card purchases in a timely manner – or at all. No one knows exactly how frequently (or infrequently) American consumers review their credit card statements, but based on my own dealings with customers who are disputing a card purchase, I can tell you, it’s not often enough.
Watch your wallet while you’re on vacation.
You’ve heard that advice before, haven’t you? With the summer travel season in full swing, you’re likely to hear it again, from friends, family and the occasional consumer journalist.
But the real danger isn’t from an overt scam like the “fake” front desk call at the hotel in the middle of the night or the spoofed Wi-Fi hotspot. It isn’t even the predatory timeshare salesmen that take money from you in increments of thousands of dollars.