2019 guide to Visa benefits (Visa Traditional, Signature, Infinite)

You could get strong purchase protections and travel insurance.

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If you’ve seen a Visa logo on your credit card and wondered whether it makes a difference, you’re not alone.

While the biggest advantage of a Visa card may be its worldwide acceptance, yours may include helpful benefits such as purchase protection and travel insurance. You’ll find more perks with higher-tier Visa Signature and Infinite products.

How important are Visa benefits?

This depends on what you’re looking for, but many cardholders will say Visa benefits are less important than other card features.

Benefits that attract the most attention often include signup bonuses, rewards, travel credits and airport lounge access. Visa doesn’t administer these perks — these come from your credit card issuer, which could be Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, etc.

Visa offers purchase and travel protections

Look to Visa to offer more behind-the-scenes benefits, such as extended warranties and travel insurance.

These perks become more powerful as you move from the lowest-tier Visa card — Traditional — to the higher-tier Signature and Infinite cards.

Visa Traditional benefits: These come standard with all Visa credit cards

Visa benefits vary based on the credit card issuer. However, you’ll typically find these Visa card benefits standard.

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Visa Signature benefits: Slightly more purchase and travel perks

Visa Signature cards usually offer better purchase protection, and they’re more robust while you’re traveling. Your card might include these benefits:

  • Extended Warranty Protection.

    When you use your Visa card for your purchase, Visa may extend the item’s warranty.

    If the item’s original warranty is less than a year, Visa will double it. If the warranty is one to three years, Visa will extend it by a year.

  • Year-end summary.

    Visa will send you a detailed annual report of your spending. It’ll organize your transactions by category.

  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services.

    Call 800-992-6029 in the US or, outside the US, one of Visa’s toll-free numbers. Get pre-trip assistance and stay informed about health precautions, weather reports, travel visa requirements and more.

    On vacation, access medical referral assistance, emergency transportation, emergency message service, prescription assistance, valuable document delivery, legal referrals, emergency ticket replacement, locating lost luggage and emergency translation.

Visa Infinite benefits: Strong purchase protection, excellent travel coverage

Visa Infinite is the highest tier of Visa credit card. You’ll often find this logo emblazoned on premium travel cards. Besides perks of lower-tier cards, you’ll often find these additional benefits:

  • Return protection.

    Buy any eligible item up to $300 with your Visa Infinite card. If you want to return the purchase within 90 days and the merchant won’t take it back, Visa may accept the return for you.

  • Purchase security.

    Buy an eligible item with your Visa Infinite card. If the item is stolen or damaged within the first 90 days, Visa may replace or repair the item. Or, Visa may reimburse you for the product.

  • Travel accident insurance.

    Buy your airline ticket with your Visa Infinite card. You’ll be covered by $500,000 of accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

    This coverage also applies to other eligible transportation methods, such as train, bus or ferry.

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance.

    When you buy your travel ticket with your card and your trip is canceled or interrupted for a valid reason, Visa may reimburse the nonrefundable cost of your fare.

  • Trip delay reimbursement.

    Buy your flight with your card. If the flight sees a delay of over six hours, or you must stay overnight, you’ll be reimbursed for reasonable expenses, up to $500 per flight ticket.

  • Lost luggage reimbursement.

    Use your card to buy an airline or common carrier ticket. If your luggage is lost or misdirected, you may be reimbursed.

    There’s a maximum reimbursement of $3,000 per trip. If you live in New York, there’s a $2,000-per-bag maximum.

Other Visa benefits

You might find the following Visa benefits depending on the card issuer.

Compare Visa credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
1.5% cash back on all purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable)
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
1.25x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.74%, 19.74% or 23.74% variable)
$0
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
17.99% to 24.99% variable
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
2x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
17.49%, 22.24% or 24.74% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
18.49% to 25.49% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

How can I compare Visa credit cards?

As many credit card issuers offer Visa cards, here are a few other factors you can consider when comparing your options:

  • Fees.

    Visa cards can vary from no-frills offers to premium products, so expect fees to vary.

  • Interest rates.

    If you don’t always pay your balance in full, compare Visa cards with low rates. Some cards also come with 0% promotional interest rates, which can help you save on interest costs. If you plan to use the card for ATM withdrawals or to purchase online gaming chips, compare cards by cash advance rates instead.

  • Rewards.

    Some Visa cards come linked to rewards and frequent flyer programs, allowing you to earn points as you spend. If you’re a regular spender who often pays your balance in full, a rewards credit card can be a useful way to get more value from your Visa.

  • Credit limit.

    While your approved credit limit will depend on factors such as income and credit history, you should apply for a credit limit that can support your financial needs without tempting you to overspend.

  • Eligibility requirements.

    Different Visa cards will come with specific eligibility requirements including minimum annual income, credit history, age and residential status.

Compare Visa travel credit cards

Visa vs. Mastercard, Amex and Discover

Besides Visa, there are three other major credit card networks in the United States: Mastercard, American Express and Discover.

  • Visa vs. Mastercard.

    Mastercard is Visa’s closest competitor, and it’s usually accepted wherever Visa is. You’ll find many of the same features with a Mastercard as you would with a Visa, though the final say on features always depends on the card issuer.

  • Visa vs. American Express.

    Visa enjoys higher acceptance worldwide than American Express, especially internationally.

    However, Amex cards have certain standard benefits that Visa Traditional cards don’t offer, including extended warranties, purchase protection and return protection. You may not even find these perks in Visa Signature cards.

  • Visa vs. Discover.

    Discover has very different benefits compared to those of the other card networks. You’ll find perks such as no overlimit fees, free Social Security number alerts and complimentary FICO scores. Meanwhile, you won’t receive benefits such as purchase protection or travel insurance, which Visa cards might offer.

Bottom line

While the most important benefit of a Visa is arguably its worldwide acceptance, your Visa card may include purchase and travel benefits that can help you in a pinch. It’s worth verifying with your issuer which benefits your card offers.

You’ll typically find the most Visa features in travel cards, which you can compare here.

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