How a travel rewards credit card can save you time and money when the unexpected happens – Forbes Advisor


I originally booked a flight from Lima to Madrid with Iberia using 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. However, I ended up canceling the reservation and received a full refund of my points, taxes, and fees, and only paid the $40 cancellation fee. This wouldn't have been possible if I'd paid cash for the flight, so I'm glad I used award redemptions for this part of the trip.

I booked a flight from Lima to Wilmington, NC with a stop in Georgia using the Delta SkyMiles American Express Gold Card (terms apply, see rates and fees) Atlanta. Even though I had enough Delta SkyMiles to book the flight, I chose to pay cash because the points valuation wasn’t very good. Since I am a Delta Silver Medallion member, I received priority check-in at the airport and an upgrade on my flight from Atlanta to Wilmington.

Since Iberia is part of the Oneworld alliance, I was able to use my refunded Iberia points to book a nonstop flight from Raleigh, NC to London, UK (LHR) operated by American Airlines and only pay taxes and fees. This flight was 4,000 points less than my original flight from Lima to Madrid, so I still had those remaining points in my account. I don't have an American Airlines credit card and don't usually fly American, so being able to book a US flight via Iberia proved very helpful.

While in London, I booked a last-minute Airbnb, but the property had no running water and appeared to be illegal based on the “No Airbnb” sign in the lobby. As a workaround, I booked a room at the Marriott across the street from the Airbnb using my Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card (terms apply, see rates and fees) to get a livable place to stay.

I am still negotiating with Airbnb and American Express to determine what will be reimbursed. I am confident that American Express will support me and help me recover the money I have lost due to this challenging situation. It would definitely be more confusing and stressful to handle everything on your own without an American Express card.



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