Credit card tips for Super Bowl trips

By Features CardRatings.com

If you're going to the Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, to see the New York Giants and the New England Patriots in all their glory, this Feb. 5, chances are, you're packing more than your toothbrush. You're bringing along your credit cards. And so, always wanting to help out, I'm providing tips for using your credit card during your Super Bowl weekend, so your trip can go as smoothly as possible.

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And if you're a huge football fan and desperately want to go but can't, then make my editors happy and read all of this, anyway, and just pretend that that you're going to the Super Bowl. Yeah, pretend. It'll be fun.

The Super Bowl and your credit card: What you need to know

Buying tickets: Chances are, if you're going, you've already bought your tickets, but plenty of desperate fans are likely looking on Craigslist right now and considering buying them, or considering going with a scalper. The Better Business Bureau, on their website, recommends going with the reputable Ticketmaster, which manages ticket exchanges for the NFL, or StubHub, which also guarantees a ticket's authenticity.

Because that's the problem -- while the tickets you buy on Craigslist might be real -- heck, they probably are; as we all know, plenty of ethical people use the service -- there's nonetheless no guarantee that they're real. You could be paying thousands of dollars for a very real looking, but utterly fake, set of tickets.

By the way, the BBB notes that tickets are currently going for between (gasp, choke) $2,450 and $2,864 on StubHub (www.stubhub.com) and Ticketmaster (www.ticketexchangebyticketmaster.com). Of course, that may be a bargain. Tickets to the Super Bowl have averaged $3,474 in secondary market sales, according to The New York Daily News.

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Rewards and perks. The Indianapolis Airport expects 40,000 more passengers -- than normal -- during the week of the Super Bowl, according to the The Times, the paper for the northwest region of Indiana. If you have an airline card that lets you into a VIP lounge, like the United Mileage Plus Explorer Card, for instance, which offers two free passes a year to cardholders, this is probably the time to use it.

Getting a seat at the table: You may want to book your table at a restaurant early -- like now. The Indianapolis Star is reporting that some restaurants are requiring people to give out their credit card when making reservations, and if you cancel, you'll be charged a fee. At one restaurant, called the Oceanaire, the Star notes that if a reservation is cancelled, the cardholder will be charged $50 -- per person.

Buying stuff: The Better Business Bureau is also recommending that consumers only buy Super Bowl clothing, mugs and such directly from the team or official vendors at the stadium. A store in the mall is going to be just fine, too. It's just that around this time of year, a lot of websites crop up that are selling counterfeit, subpar Super Bowl items.

Bring cash for incidentals: It's easy to forget that there are still a few areas where you might need cash, like to tip a baggage handler, or if your kids want to put a quarter in a gumball machine. So, by all means, bring some. But that said:

Credit cards offer the most protection: You are safer -- especially in Super Bowl-sized crowds -- to pay for most of your trip with a credit card. By law, if your credit card is stolen, you can't be liable for more than $50 (and you can't be liable for a dime if you report your stolen credit card before a thief has a chance to use it), and many credit card companies -- not wanting to be outed on Facebook and Twitter as jerks -- will even waive the 50 bucks you are liable for.

And, of course, a credit card statement leaves a better paper trail than cash, if later you're wondering how you spent so much, or if you're trying to get a refund on something. It's also worth noting that most cards have some sort of form of purchase protection, so that if you buy some Super Bowl merchandise and it's stolen on your trip, in many instances, you can get your money back.

Buying a new TV instead?

Staying home to watch the Super Bowl on a new flat screen TV? Consumer Reports has an interesting tip. Most advertisers can't use "Super Bowl" in their advertising. Two years ago, Samsung paid for the right to be called "the official HDTV of the NFL," and so most stores selling TVs for severely discounted prices are shut out from holding, say, a "Super Bowl Sale." So instead, Consumer Reports suggests searching on the phrase "big game."

Above all, set your Super Bowl budget in advance and stick with it. Your credit card will thank you. You don't want to be a Monday morning quarterback wondering how you're going to pay for your big weekend for the rest of the year.

The original article can be found at CardRatings.com:
Credit card tips for Super Bowl trips