Wat the Heck?! My Shoes Were Stolen at a Temple in Thailand – Thank Goodness I Purchased Them With My AMEX Card!

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FYI:  “Wat” is the word for a type of Buddhist temple in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.  I’ll never be able to pass on a good pun!

On a recent trip to Thailand, the most unexpected and strange thing happened – my shoes were stolen while I was inside a temple in Chaing Mai!  And when I exited the wat to find my shoes gone, I freaked.

I’ll explain how it all played out, but the true hero of this story is The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.  I’ve had it for years and after telling my story, a wise coworker of mine reminded me of how one of the card’s often overlooked benefits would have protected me!  I’ll explain.

My AMEX Business Platinum Card Was Defense Enough Against the Wat Shoe Thief

American Express Purchase Protection (Handy Even in the Strangest of Cases)

As a form of respect, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering any temple in Thailand.  At many of the more popular wats, there are large areas dedicated to visitors’ shoes – some even with large shoe racks.

The point is, one should be able to leave their shoes at the entrance and not have to worry about whether they’ll be there after your visit.  But that wasn’t my experience!

My family and I had been going in and out of various wats all morning, and leaving our shoes unattended without even thinking twice about it.  And then it happened!  I came out of one of the temples to find my shoes had been stolen.

What did I do?  Well, I acted like any woman would when they lose a pair of beloved shoes – I started running around the wat like a crazy person.

In Awe of the Beauty, Just Minutes Before the Shoe Thief Made Her Move

Okay okay, it wasn’t THAT bad.  But having my shoes stolen – at a sacred TEMPLE nonetheless – how incredulous!

My real concern was the fact that I’d have to walk however far without shoes on to purchase new ones.  It was hot and I wasn’t exactly feeling excited to walk anywhere on the steamy and likely (very) dirty pavement.

Astonishingly, I actually ended up tracking my shoes down.  The thief had decided to go into another temple before exiting the compound and (after lots of running around) I spotted my shoes on a shoe rack.

Looking back, it IS a crazy story.  Especially given the fact I was actually able to recover my shoes!

But after sharing it with my coworker his first question wasn’t “How in the world did you find them?” or “What did the woman do when you confronted her?”  It was: “Which credit card did you use to buy your shoes?”

Why?  Because many of the best credit cards for travel not only earn valuable travel rewards but come with perks and benefits like purchase protection.

AMEX Purchase Protection

AMEX’s purchase protection window is 90 days (as of Jan. 1, 2020).  So you’re covered for ~3 months in the event an item gets damaged or stolen.

Most cards cover you for up to $1,000 per claim, and up to $50,000 per year, per AMEX card.  Though some AMEX cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express, cover you for up to $10,000 per claim.

Note:   Residents of New York, Indiana, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands are only eligible for 90 days of purchase protection.

The Moral of the Story

I found my shoes – yep – I tracked them down!  So I didn’t end up having to file a claim with AMEX.  But I must admit it was nice to know that the purchase protection that comes with my AMEX Business Platinum would’ve had me covered had my shoes been gone forever.

Wat would you have done in my situation? 😉

Meghan Hunter is an editor for Million Mile Secrets. She covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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