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You probably know all about credit card hallmarks like rewards and 0% intro APR promotions, but many credit cards have plenty more exciting benefits to offer than you might realize. Though credit card issuers don’t always brag about them, many cards come with a host of perks and benefits that you can take advantage of to save money and make your life just a little easier. A readthrough of the terms and conditions or cardholder agreement is all it takes to figure out what these are and how they work, and it’s something worth taking the time to do before you apply for a new card – that way, you’ll be sure to wind up with a credit card that you can take full advantage of, beyond its more prominent offerings.
What kinds of perks are credit card issuers hiding up their sleeves and which cards offer them? Keep reading to find out.
Extended warranties on your purchases
There’s nothing quite so dismaying as realizing your warranty has run out when you’re facing a problem with an appliance or other item you own. Fortunately, some credit cards will give you an extended warranty on your purchases, which allows you to breathe a little easier when bad luck rears its head. For example, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers an extended warranty perk that either matches your original warranty (for warranties less than 2 years) or gives you up to 2 extra years on top of the original manufacturer’s warranty of your item – so long as the warranty is 5 years or less. As you might have guessed, this type of perk only applies to items you’ve purchased with your credit card, and there might be some specific exclusions which you can learn about by reading the terms and conditions.
In addition to extended warranties, some credit cards also extend protection against theft or damage for certain purchases – for example, Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders get coverage for 120 days on new purchases for up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. Some card issuers even provide protection for specific types of products you own, like the mobile device protection Wells Fargo extends to most of its credit cards. This perk is accessible by paying your cell phone bill with your Wells Fargo credit card, and it allows up to 2 claims per year for up to $600 for covered theft or damage to your device. The $25-per-claim deductible is far less than what you’d normally pay for a new device (and possibly cheaper than your other insurance deductibles), making this a huge potential money saver.
Shopping benefits like price protection and free returns
Although these types of benefits are falling out of favor with some issuers due to the advent of apps which track price changes, they can still be found with some cards. Most of Citi’s credit cards, such as the Citi Double Cash Card, come with Price Rewind. This benefit can be utilized for purchases of all kinds, and all you have to do is upload your receipt for eligible purchases on your card from the past 60 days. Price Rewind will search for a better price during the 60 days past your purchase date, and if a better price is found, you’ll be refunded the difference (up to $200/claim with a $1,000 maximum per year). This means no more hemming and hawing over whether you’re getting the lowest price on that coffeemaker – simply buy it, and rest assured that if the price does drop, you can get that money back.
Other types of shopping perks offered by some credit cards include the ability to return items you’ve purchased, even if it’s outside the merchant’s return window, special shopping discounts and free shipping on items bought with your card. Check your card’s terms and conditions to see if your membership grants you any of these special perks.
VIP access to special events
Who doesn’t want the VIP treatment? Your credit card could make it a reality! Whether it’s the chance to enjoy an intimate dinner cooked by a world class chef or access to VIP tickets for the hottest music and sports events in your area, many credit cards can hook you up if you know to look for them. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card owners can look forward to the chance to purchase reserved tables at world class restaurants, and American Express offers many of its cardholders exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events in cities all over. So, whether Broadway is your thing, or you want to take your entire family to the big game, you might want to check and see if you can get special access or discounts to the event of your dreams through your credit card first.
Trip cancellation protection
Anything can happen when you’re taking a trip, which is why some credit cards offer travel perks to help protect you in case plans change or the unthinkable happens when you’re on the go. These perks include trip cancellation or interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, baggage delay insurance and more. Anyone who has ever had to make an unplanned hotel booking due to a flight cancellation or delay can imagine how much easier it would be to swallow that cost if you knew that your credit card would reimburse you– and if you book your travel with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, that’s exactly the kind of perk you can expect. As you may have guessed, these types of perks are most typically offered by travel rewards credit cards, like Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which offers automatic travel accident insurance for covered loss when you purchase your entire travel fare with your credit card. American Express® Gold Card owners can relax with the knowledge that their bags are covered against loss, damage and theft for up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage when their entire fare is paid with their card.
Roadside assistance and more
Whether it’s your daily commute or a road trip in another part of the world, travel can be a volatile experience, full of unseen twists and turns. Fortunately, many credit cards offer roadside assistance as well as rental car collision and damage insurance to cardholders to help get you through those scary situations that can crop up while you’re driving. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card owners can take advantage of auto rental coverage for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad, as well as a hotline that helps connect them to travel and emergency assistance services. Many credit cards, whether they’re traditionally travel cards or not, offer some kind of emergency hotline, so it’s worth double-checking your cardholder benefits to find out if this is something you could be using.
Priority boarding and free checked bags
Flying is expensive and can be a logistical nightmare, but you can save money and headaches by choosing a card that offers air travel perks like priority boarding and free checked bags. This perk is one that will pretty much be limited to cobranded airline credit cards, like the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, which is meant to be used by frequent American Airlines flyers. If you travel a lot and are particular to a specific airline, you can save a ton of cash by opening a cobranded credit card and taking advantage of the perks it offers. For example, the card we mentioned earlier gives cardholders preferred boarding on American Airlines flights, 1 free checked bag on domestic flights for the cardholder and up to 4 companions traveling with them and also a 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases when they use their card on American Airlines flights. Other travel cards also give cardholders free or reduced-price access to airport lounges, which any seasoned traveler knows can be a huge benefit during long layovers.
Because credit card issuers aim to stay competitive, they’re constantly adding and revamping the perks that they offer to cardholders. You might be surprised what hidden gems your credit card has to offer, and even more shocked at how much cash these hidden credit card perks can save.
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