What’s the Difference Between Visa Signature and Visa Infinite Credit Cards?

The difference is in the perks.

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Every credit card has unique features and benefits depending on the card issuer—that is, the bank or credit union that issues the card. But there may be additional card benefits based on the payment network that the card belongs to as well. For example, if you have a Visa card, if it’s part of the Visa Signature or Visa Infinite collection, as a cardholder, you’ll get to access some premium perks and benefits that go along with that.

Visa Signature cards offer extra features beyond what you’d find with an entry-level card, and Visa Infinite is a tier above that. That said, even if you have a Visa Signature or Visa Infinite card, it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get every benefit available; that’s ultimately up to the bank or credit union that issues the card. Your best bet is to call your issuer to request your card’s Guide to Benefits so you can see all of the fine print.

Visa and Mastercard are examples of payment processing networks that help facilitate payments. Credit card issuers are the banks and credit unions backing the card. The exceptions to this are American Express and Discover, which are both the issuer and the payment processor. 

A Look at Visa Signature Benefits

Visa Signature cards have a long list of benefits that are available to cardholders, depending on the issuer. Here’s a closer look at some of the features available.

Built-in Auto Rental Coverage: This is secondary insurance to cover you for damage or theft, reasonable and customary towing, and loss-of-use charges on eligible rental cars. This benefit reimburses you for the deductible and other expenses not covered by your regular car insurance. 

Roadside Dispatch: If you’re stuck on the road, you can use this pay-per-use roadside assistance program. Rates are pre-negotiated with a current standard price of $69.95 for services like standard towing up to five miles, tire changing, jump starting, fuel delivery, etc.

Baggage Delay: If your checked baggage is delayed or misdirected for more than four hours, you can be reimbursed for necessities you purchase up to $300.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement: You can be reimbursed for the difference between the “value of the amount claimed” and the Common Carrier’s payment up to $3,000 per trip.

Trip Delay Reimbursement: Receive up to $300 to cover costs if you’re stuck for more than 12 hours.

Emergency Medical and Dental Insurance: Get reimbursed for emergency medical or dental expenses you incur when traveling ($2,500 maximum), supplemental to any other insurance coverage.

Emergency Evacuation: If you are seriously injured or sick when travelling, this benefit can cover transportation needed to get you to the nearest medical facility for treatment, up to $10,000.

Global Entry Credit: Apply for Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program and use your Visa Infinite card to pay the application fee (currently $100) to receive a $100 statement credit.

Travel and emergency assistance: You’ll get access to a 24/7 multilingual call center in case you’re travelling and need someone who can help connect you with local assistance, whether you lose your passport, need legal representation, or seek medical help.

Concierge Service: Cardholders can take advantage of a concierge who can help you book hotels, flights, cars, excursions, restaurant reservations, tickets to events, and more. 

Special Status at Visa Signature Luxury Hotels: With 900 properties worldwide, if you book a reservation with your card via the Visa Concierge or the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel website, you can enjoy some perks including: an upgrade to the next highest room class for the duration of your stay; a $25 food/beverage credit; complimentary continental breakfast daily for you and a guest; free Wi-Fi; and late checkout.

Extended Warranty Protection: Using your Visa Signature card may double the manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year on eligible warranties. 

Cell Phone Protection: If you pay your monthly wireless bill with your card, you can get reimbursed if your cell phone is stolen or damaged ($50 deductible).

Purchase Security and Return Protection: If an item you purchase is stolen or damaged within the first 90 days, Purchase Security may be able to replace, repair, or reimburse you for the item (up to $500). Also, if you’re not satisfied with a purchase of an item up to $250 within 90 days, you may be eligible for a refund. 

What Visa Infinite Offers 

Visa Infinite cards offer a higher tier of benefits for higher-tier cardholders. The Infinite status bumps many of the above Visa Signature benefits up a level, and adds a few extras on top.

Airport Lounge Access: Enjoy VIP access to over 1,200+ airport lounges around the globe with Priority Pass. (Visa Signature cardholders only have access to 850 airport lounges.)

Primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Because it’s primary coverage, you won’t have to use your personal car insurance to file a claim for theft, damage, valid loss-of-use charges imposed and substantiated by the auto rental company, administrative fees, and reasonable and customary towing charges. 

Purchase Security and Return Protection: These benefits work the same way as that of the Visa Signature, but the coverage is better. The Purchase Security will award up to $10,000 in the case of theft or damage to a retail purchase within 90 days. And the return protection covers up to $300 instead of $250.

Trip Delay Reimbursement: This benefit is supplemental coverage (meaning it will cover whatever other reimbursements do not) up to $500 per ticket if your trip is delayed for six hours or more (note the higher dollar allowance and less delay time required as compared to the Visa Signature benefit).

Trip Cancellation/Interruption: Trip Cancellation and Interruption benefits pay up to $2,000 per Insured Person for non-refundable Common Carrier tickets, but there are specific restrictions as to what types of reasons are covered. 

Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Added Benefit: In addition to the perks listed for Visa Signature cardholders, an added Visa Infinite benefit is available at more than 200 properties in the collection. It may include: An additional $75 food and beverage credit; or a $100 credit to use toward a spa visit, golf, or your room rate.

How Visa Signature and Infinite Compare

Visa Signature card offers a solid selection of well-rounded travel benefits and consumer protections, which you’d expect to find in rewards credit card categories aimed at customers with good or excellent credit. Visa Infinite privileges are for more elite cards, such as those that have annual fees in the few hundred dollar range. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card, which has a $95 fee, is a Visa Signature card; the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, with a $450 fee, is a Visa Infinite card.

Because those cards are reserved for those with excellent credit who tend to travel and spend more, the suite of benefits is elevated (higher dollar amounts, fewer restrictions) to accommodate the VIP traveler lifestyle. 

  Visa Signature Visa Infinite
Rental car collision insurance Secondary to your own Primary
Roadside dispatch Fee-based assistance Fee-based assistance
Baggage delay After 4 hours; $300 Check benefits guide
Lost luggage Up to $3,000 per trip Check benefits guide
Trip delay reimbursement After 12 hours; $300 After six hours; $500
Emergency medical insurance Secondary; up to $2,000 Check benefits guide
Emergency evacuation Up to $10,000 Check benefits guide
Global entry/TSA Precheck credit $100 $100
Travel and emergency assistance Help and advice, 24/7 Help and advice, 24/7
Concierge service Yes Yes
VIP Status at Luxury Hotels Room upgrades; $25 food and beverage credit; continental breakfast; free Wi-Fi; late checkout Signature benefits, plus more hotels enrolled; $75 food and beverage or $100 resort fee credits
Extended warranties Up to an additional year Up to an additional year
Cell phone protection Yes; $50 deductible N/A
Purchase and Return Protection Up to $500/$250 Up to $10,000/$300
Trip cancellation/interruption Yes (see Benefits Guide for details) Up to $2,000

The best way to decide which credit card is right for you is to look at a number of factors, starting with your own spending style and credit status. From there, you can compare card types to find the one that provides the best value for you, and decide if paying an annual fee makes sense for the amount of spending you do. Finally, you can think of additional payment processor perks offered by Visa or Mastercard, as well as those from the issuers themselves, as tie-breakers. 

If it’s a tossup between applying for a Visa Signature or a Visa Infinite card, there’s little doubt that the latter offers superior features and benefits. But only you can decide if those differences are significant enough to influence your choice (and potentially, pay a higher annual fee). Really think about if you will use the card in such a way that you can actually access or activate those extra perks, and be sure to double-check with your issuer that you do in fact get the benefits that are of most interest to you. 

No matter which card you choose, it’s always a good idea to understand not only all of the benefits available to you so you can maximize them as needed, but also how much value you can derive from the card overall.

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Article Sources

  1. Visa. "Visa Signature: Signature Perks and Benefits," Accessed October 25, 2019.

  2. Visa. "Visa Infinite Card: Concierge Benefits and Privileges," Accessed October 25, 2019.