Category Archives: Things I Like

Using Credit Card Return Protection

It’s no secret that I love credit cards, and not just for miles and points. Credit cards often provide a variety of other benefits and consumer protections that make me prefer to use a credit card over any other form of payment, like trip delay insurance or return protection.

I usually don’t have occasion to take advantage of benefits like return protection or purchase protection because I just don’t buy that many non-consumable goods, but I recently decided to order some clothing online. Buying clothes online is always challenging because you often don’t know how they fit, and one of the items I wanted was final sale, so the store wasn’t willing to accept a return. But I figured that I’d use my Amex SPG for the purchase, which I know offers return protection. Return protection essentially says that your credit card company will cover you if the store doesn’t accept the return, provided that you call within 90 days of the purchase date and limited to $300 per item and up to $1000 total per year (see full benefits details)

Turns out that the final sale item wasn’t a great fit, and when I tried talking to the store’s customer service line, they said that they wouldn’t accept the return because it was final sale (and outside of the store’s 30-day return window). So I called 1-800-297-8019, which is the Amex Return Protection number, and asked to file a return protection claim. I reached a helpful phone agent who asked for basic information like the date of purchase, the items purchased, the total amount charged to the card, etc. And the next morning, I received an email saying that my return protection claim had been closed, and I saw a credit on my statement for the full value of the item I wanted to return. I didn’t even need to send the item to Amex. Pretty awesome, right?

Return protection is one of many reasons why I love credit cards. Obviously, don’t abuse protections like this, but it makes it easier to shop (especially online), when you know that your credit card company has you covered.

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Required Watching/Reading for All Frequent Travelers: “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace

This is probably less relevant for people who have the pleasure to fly business or first class exclusively, but for the rest of us frequent travelers who are sometimes (or often (or always)) in the back of the plane, I highly recommend reading/watching “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace. Actually, scratch that, this should be required reading/watching for everyone, regardless of who you are. The text comes from a commencement speech that he gave to Kenyon College in 2005.

Essentially, you shouldn’t ever be the person who’s like “do you know who I am”. In spite of all evidence to the contrary, the world does not revolve around you, and people do not exist merely to stand in your way. You have the ability to reframe how you think, and you can choose to reinterpret the world around you. As I’ve internalized this change in perspective, flying has become infinitely more enjoyable, which is part of the reason why I travel so much more than I used to.

How to Pack More Efficiently

Bring ExOfficio underwear (this one’s for women).

True story: I only brought two pairs of this underwear to Europe for my 10-day trip, and I’m sure I would’ve been fine with only those two pairs for a much longer trip than that.

The general idea is that you wash one pair in the sink and let it dry while you wear the other pair. And then you switch and repeat. This underwear is super comfortable, odor resistant, and quick drying, so it works out great if you’re trying to conserve space for other things. You just need to remember to wash the other pair every night.