If you’re like most Americans, you have a credit card (and if you don’t, you should use them to get a free plane ticket). And if you’re like anyone, you almost certainly didn’t read the terms and conditions that came with it. The funny thing is, in the hands of a smart consumer, credit cards are one of the most versatile and powerful items you can have.
For example, did you know that if you lose or break any item within 90 days of buying it, your credit card will most likely cover the cost? I left my Kindle on an airplane last month, and my Amex card is refunding the cost of the Kindle.
Today, I want to share a recent story: How I Stupidly Left My Nike Fuelband On A Plane, And How Visa Got It Back.
Ask yourself a quick question. How do you eat your corn on the cob?
If you’re focused, productive, organized, and dedicated, you probably eat your corn on the cob row by row. If you’re messy, crazy, and lose everything you own, you probably eat your corn on the cob sporadically, jumping from section to section, without any sense of order.
I am definitely in the second category.
I lose EVERYTHING. I rarely manage to keep track of my wallet, much less my sunglasses and bracelets. So it came as no surprise, when I landed at JFK Airport (coming from Honolulu) that my favorite bracelet was missing.
It was a Nike Fuelband, a gift from Tim Ferriss, and I had managed to leave it at the security checkpoint at the Honolulu Airport.
I was going to chock it up to another regular loss when I eyed my Chase Sapphire card in my wallet. “Hmm,” I thought. “I know that my card comes with a ‘Visa Concierge‘ service. I wonder if they could do anything in this situation.” I decided to pick up the phone and call them.
“Hello, this is Phan, and I’ll be your Visa Concierge today. How can I assist you?”
“Hi! I managed to leave an item at the Honolulu Airport, while going through security. Do you think you could help me try to locate and return the item?” I responded.
“Sure, I just need a few details.”
Phan was very helpful and easy to work with. I gave him the details–the time of the flight, a description of the item I lost–and he told me to expect a call and email from him in a few hours.
A few hours later, I received an email.
Dear Mr. Sethi,
Thank you for having Visa Signature Concierge assist you with your request. Please take a moment to review the information below at your earliest convenience. We were able to retrieve your Nike FuelBand. We spoke with TSA agent Harry, and he is keeping your item with your name attached.
In order to recuperate your item, you will need to send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject line: TSA Lost and Found
Provide them with your name, phone number and mailing address.
Case # XXX-XXXX
Write the following: “I authorize the release of property to the flight business center to mail the item back to me”.
You will then need to contact the flight business center to provide them with your credit card number in order for them to charge the cost of the mailing and handling. At this point we are not authorized by TSA to proceed with this process as we are not the owner of this item.
Feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience should additional information be required. Your opinion counts. Please assist us in providing you with the best service possible. Click here to take our survey.
Visa Signature Concierge
In other words, Visa had done all the legwork for me. All I needed to do was copy and paste an email that was already written for me.
Today, I arrived back to my home in New York, where a package was waiting for me.
Amazing. With just a single phone call, I had a virtual assistant handle the whole messy system, and I didn’t have to pay a dime.
How can you tell if you have 24/7 access to a friendly, virtual personal assistant? The list below contains most of the major concierge credit cards, their phone numbers, and their websites.
- Visa Signature Concierge: call 800-953-7392 within the U.S. or 630-350-4551 collect outside the U.S.
- American Express Platinum Concierge Service: call 1-800-345-AMEX within the U.S. or 617-622-6756 outside the U.S.
- Mastercard Concierge Service for Black, Platinum, and Gold cards: call 1-800-307-7309 within the U.S.
- Saks Fifth Avenue World Elite Mastercard Concierge Service: call 877-871-SAKS (7257)
Now that you’ve got concierge service, what to do with it? Pretty much anything within legal and ethical bounds. Here’s a short list:
- Finding the nearest Audi car dealership to get an oil change
- Making a last-minute dinner reservation at a popular restaurant
- Printing a last-minute business presentation in color
- Your favorite band is playing a sold-out reunion show and you want two tickets
- You’re lost in Bangkok and need to find your hotel
- You need to book a Eurail pass for this summer
You can read more about this in an article on Tim Ferriss’s site.