If you read Team Clark’s credit card coverage often, you know that the Fidelity Rewards Visa Card is one of our top suggestions to readers thanks to its unlimited 2% cash back policy.
And while that cash back policy remains intact for cardholders who also are Fidelity Investments account holders, users recently got some bad news about a couple of the card’s top benefits.
Auto rental and extended warranty benefits soon will be gone from this card and will be replaced by a NortonLifeLock benefit.
Fidelity Is Removing Two Major Credit Card Benefits
In late February, Fidelity began circulating emails notifying cardholders that they are losing two key benefits effective April 1, 2021:
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
This benefit allowed card holders to confidently say “No!” to the clerks at the rental car counter who were trying to sell them add-on insurance policies.
According to the card’s website, this covers “physical damage, theft, reasonable, and customary towing and loss-of-use charges. Decline the Collision Damage Waiver coverage offered by the rental agency and make sure your name is listed as the primary renter on the auto rental contract. Any additional drivers must also be listed on the auto rental agreement.”
To take advantage of this expiring benefit, the rental must be completed by March 31, 2021, and if you have a claim, you need to file it within 45 days.
You can read the full details for the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver here.
Extended Warranty Protection
Another popular benefit that’s going away is the ability to extend the warranty on select purchases by using the Fidelity card for payment.
The card website says, “Extended Warranty Protection will double the coverage period of your eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less. Eligible warranties of one to three years will be extended by one year. Eligible warranties of less than one year will be doubled. There is a per claim maximum of $10,000 and a per cardmember maximum of $50,000.”
To take advantage of this expiring benefit, cardholders must make a qualifying purchase by March 31, 2021.
You can read the full details for the Extended Warranty Protection here.
Fidelity Will Be Offering a New Benefit Instead
So Fidelity Rewards taketh away, but Fidelity Rewards also giveth — in the form of a new benefit.
The email sent to cardholders about the changes announced a new benefit: complimentary access to the “ID Navigator” product from NortonLifeLock.
This benefit includes identity theft protection, dark web monitoring, lost wallet services and more.
Existing cardholders can access their new subscriptions by completing an eligibility verification here.
Fidelity says that existing NortonLifeLock customers may be able to get a discount on a current plan instead of signing up for the ID Navigator plan.
Clark Howard Explains Why These Changes Are Happening
At this point, you may be wondering why Fidelity is ditching popular card benefits that were designed to entice people to sign up for and use the card.
Clark addressed those concerns on a recent episode of The Clark Howard Podcast:
“Fidelity is actually a follower here, not a leader,” Clark says. “This has been a change over the last two years, and over the last year in particular, as people haven’t been paying attention to travel during COVID.
“Credit cards have been dumping auto rental coverage. They have found it to be a royal pain and expensive, so they are dumping it everywhere.”
Clark also says he’s noticed that the extended warranty benefits from credit cards are disappearing as well.
“Credit card companies tend to operate with a herd mentality,” Clark says. “They’ve decided that people choose which credit to apply for based on one or two big benefits, and the rest of the things are just cost centers for the credit card issuers.”
So in this case, it appears Fidelity is betting that its great cash back rate will remain a top selling benefit in the marketing world.
Does this news stink? Absolutely.
But we still think this credit card has a place in the wallet of people who are trying to save or invest with their credit card rewards.
That’s because Fidelity investors can earn an unlimited 2% cash back deposited into a qualified retirement, brokerage or college savings account.
It is still a great way to save passively for your long term goals.
However, as Clark says, you’re going to need to seek alternative credit cards as sources for auto rental or extended warranty perks if they’re important to you.
You can read our full review of this card here. Also, make sure you stay up to date on all of Clark’s latest financial advice by listening to his podcast on Clark.com or your favorite podcast streaming service.
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