Besides helping you plan your trip, a credit card concierge service provides emergency assistance if something goes wrong when you travel.
Some Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards in Singapore offer a concierge service. It’s like using a hotel’s concierge service, except you can access it with just a phone call, from anywhere in the world.
If you have a concierge service on your credit card, you should put it to use. For starters, it’s part of your annual fee. Also, it can be a huge help when you’re travelling – in some cases even more versatile and effective than your hotel concierge.
Here are some ways credit card concierge services can help Singaporeans save time overseas:
1. Help Find a New Flight if You Miss Yours
Missed your flight due to some delay? Before calling your booking agent, call your credit card concierge. Sometimes, they’re able to arrange an alternative flight, on another carrier, that’s leaving a lot sooner (sometimes in a few hours, as opposed to the next day).
In most situations, the concierge will call your airline on your behalf anyway. Some customers have even gotten cost-free alternative flights from the same airline (especially if the next flight has empty seats).
2. Get Cheap Hotel Bookings
If you need a hotel at the last minute, your concierge can help with that too. Give them a call, and tell them you need the cheapest options within your general location. The concierge team will scan multiple hotel booking sites, and find you the best priced room (within the requirements you set).
Note that, as many hotels have a special working relationship with the credit card companies (the concierge service brings in a lot of customers for some hotels), you may even get better rates than websites offer.
3. Arrange Your Travel Insurance For You
Some credit cards come with free travel insurance. Otherwise, you can get the concierge service to help you find the right insurance. This can be especially useful if you are unfamiliar with the terms and conditions, and have specific requests (e.g. You are going hiking in the Himalayas, and the insurance must cover that).
If you do have free travel insurance, your concierge can usually help you with the claims process.
4. Get a Last-Minute Event Booking
Travelling to see a show on Broadway, but find the tickets sold out? Or perhaps you arrived to watch a concert, but found that due to administrative issues your passes won’t be issued. Well don’t waste the trip.
Whilst there’s no guarantee, your credit card concierge often has connections – and the ability to pull some strings. Give them a ring, and they’ll have a team of people scouring the web for last minute tickets. You may even end up getting them at a cheaper price.
If you call well in advance, the concierge may be able to get you the premium seats that are supposedly “sold out”, or reserved for special groups. Give it a try.
5. Get Into Exclusive Restaurants
Famous restaurants can have a waiting list several weeks (or months) long, especially if they have one of those prestigious Michelin stars. You may find that it’s almost impossible to get a table, even if you book through reservation sites.
You have two avenues here: the hotel concierge, and your credit card concierge. If one doesn’t work, try the other. Restaurants care about their relationship with the concierge, as it’s their source of recommendations and customers over the long term. The concierge may be able to nag the restaurant into opening up a small spare table, if you aren’t fussy about the timing.
6. Get Tickets to Major Tourist Attractions
Want tickets to theme parks, or to see major attractions like the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, and others? You can save yourself some time by buying the tickets via your concierge. Just call, and ask them to get you the passes you need (they will charge it to your credit card).
This can save you several hours of standing in line, especially during the packed tourist seasons.
7. Get a Last-Minute Rental Car or Taxi
If you find yourself unexpectedly needing a car, you can’t count on every airport. Not all of them have a car rental booth nearby, and even if they do there might be complications (such as no availability on peak holiday seasons).
Your concierge service can also deal with that. Give them a call, and they will find some way to get you transport. At the very least, they should be able to organise some form of hire car or taxi.
Which Credit Card Has Concierge Services?
In general, concierge services can be accessed through the best credit cards in Singapore.
All Visa Infinite cards come with a 24-hour Concierge and Emergency service. In addition to helping you plan your trip and make reservations, their concierge also provides a full suite of emergency services, in case anything unexpected happens. Try the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card, which currently offers 35,000 welcome miles or 25,000 welcome miles and S$100 Uber credits to new applicants.
If you prefer to use MasterCard, World MasterCard and Elite World MasterCard credit cards have a round-the-clock global concierge. From roadside assistance to business information services, having access to a MasterCard concierge is like having a personal assistant you can call 24-hours a day. We suggest the ANZ Optimum World MasterCard so you can earn 5% cashback on travel, groceries, shopping, and leisure.
Finally, all American Express credit cards come with access to the American Express Global Assist hotline. This specialised travel assistance service can help you with issues that come up during your trip, such as a lost passport or missed flight. You can compare American Express cards at SingSaver.com.sg.
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By Ryan Ong
Ryan has been writing about finance for the last 10 years. He also has his fingers in a lot of other pies, having written for publications such as Men’s Health, Her World, Esquire, and Yahoo! Finance.