These days, credit cards offer a lot more than just a convenient way to pay for goods and services. The industry has become so competitive that all of the major networks have devised a myriad of incentives and perks.
These rewards attract customers to applying for and spending on their cards. Whether it is something that the issuing bank or company offers, or a perk that comes with the network, consumers have more choices of perks than ever before when it comes to selecting the right credit card.
Your goal is getting good credit card benefits. Therefore, you may immediately think of the lucrative rewards programs that are offered with certain cards. You can earn points, airline miles, or a percentage of your spend refunded. This can be highly influential for choosing one card over another.
There are a variety of other factors you will want to take into consideration. Shopping for a credit card is about more than just a rewards program. You will want to explore other facets that come with owning a particular card. Interest rates and fees are high on the list.
That is because those will dictate how much you will be required to pay out of pocket just to own the card. Sometimes those numbers can be far more convincing than any rewards program or perk. This is because, once you do the math, the so-called benefits of a card may not be all that beneficial. That is the case when you compare how much you will be paying to enjoy them
This brings us to the matter at hand, hidden credit card perks. Many customers who apply and even receive their cards are not always well-informed. They may not fully understand the multitude of advantages at their disposal. That is because rewards programs, interest rates, and fees often take precedence when finding the ideal credit card.
In fact, it is not until they read their user agreement that most cardholders discover all of the cool features that their card provides. We all know very few people actually read their user agreements on anything.
Thus, this article is going to shed some light on nine of the most common credit card perks you probably did not know about. It is possible that the card or cards that you have right now offer at least a few of these unknown perks.
Even some debit cards have them. Therefore, do not walk through life blissfully unaware of all the things your credit card can do. Instead, take a look at our list. Then, check with your issuer to see how many you can take advantage of right now.
Are you one of those people in the market for a card? Be sure to check the rewards, rates, and fees that the various cards offer to new potential customers. Then, read through these perks. Determine which ones come standard with the cards you are currently considering. It might just make your decision that much easier when you are done.
There are various perks that are available. These are centered on consumer protections. That means the card can safeguard you and your purchases in the event of fraud, theft. That is the case, even a change in the price of something you bought.
Most cards also provide insurance for your luggage and a rental car. They may even insure a travel reservation in the event something precludes you from taking the trip you have booked. Those are just some of the perks your credit card might offer. Plus, there are many others as well.
1. Price Protection
One of the coolest perks that many credit card issuers offer their clientele is a price protection safeguard. There is nothing more infuriating than buying an item at any price.
Then, you find it available at a lower price just a few days or weeks after the fact. One of the best rewards is price protection. Let us say that you purchased that item with your credit card. You could end up receiving a refund on the difference between what you paid and the new retail cost.
Some cards will do the legwork for you in terms of monitoring the fluctuations in price on each item you purchase on a card. However, you will have to do the rest when it comes to receiving your refund.
In addition, there may be some specific rules and/or restrictions to qualify for price protection consideration. For example, the item available for the lower price must be identical to that which you purchased.
Plus, you will typically need to have some form of proof of purchase. It may not be enough to just have the transaction listed on your credit card statement. You might also be expected to file a claim for a refund under the price protection guarantee. Your card issuer may not always initiate that return for you.
In the event that it is up to you to file you may have a time limit on how long before the protection expires. For most cards, that time frame can range from 60 to 90 days from the date of purchase. You might also be limited by how much you can claim in benefits both per item and for the year.
In other words, you might be entitled to claim up to $250 on any purchase with a maximum of $2,000 in claims annually. Be sure to read your cardholder agreement. In doing so, you will find out what your limits might be with that particular credit card.
The agreement can also tell you what items, if any, are not covered by the issuer’s price protection guarantee. There are items that are not typically protected. These include jewelry, motorized vehicles, and consumables. This also applies to certain purchases that were on sale or offered as a buy one get one free item.
2. Purchase Protection
Has this ever happened to you? Perhaps you have purchased an item. This could be a laptop, TV, some clothes, for example. Then, before you have had a chance to enjoy your purchase, the item or items are stolen or damaged in some manner.
If this sounds familiar, you know how aggravating it can be to have spent the money and have nothing to show for it. Even worse, you feel violated because your items were taken by someone else.
Maybe they broke into your car and took those purchases just minutes after you bought them. Consumers who have used cash to pay for said items are pretty much out of luck. Conversely, those who used their credit card to make these purchases might qualify for purchase protection through their issuer or network.
The way it works is pretty simple. The cardholder can file a claim on an item that was stolen or damaged. They may then be reimbursed for the value of the loss so that it can be replaced.
Like with many consumer protection claims, there is some work to do. You may need to supply some information. Additionally, you could be bound by specific deadlines and other restrictions. You may need to have your proof of purchase along with proof that the item was bought with your card.
Stolen items may also require a police report to accompany a filed claim. The four major credit card networks offer purchase protection on a majority of their cards. Thus, there is not a requirement to sign up or register for coverage. It comes automatically with the card. Though, the limits and restrictions may differ from one issuer to the next.
There is a typical length of time that you might have to file a claim. It could be as little as 90 to as many as 120 days from the date of purchase. Filing a claim for benefits may also need to be done in conjunction with filing a claim to your insurance company.
3. Return Guarantee
A credit card can offer price and purchase protections. Additionally, a credit card can offer you a return guarantee. This is helpful when the store you have bought an item from does not have a very permissive return policy.
This perk can be particularly beneficial when you have exceeded the time limit on making a return to a point of purchase. Many retailers have a limited amount of time for a refund. This is usually 7 to 14 days (if at all). During that time only, you can bring an item back to the store. That is if you have any hope of getting a refund on that purchase for whatever reason.
Of course, there are regulations for returns as with the price and purchase protection policies on your card. There may also be certain limits and restrictions that come with filing a claim for a return.
You could have anywhere from 60 to 90 days from the date of purchase in order to return an item for a full refund through your credit card. It just depends on the card. You may be bound to limits on the amount you may be reimbursed for a purchase.
Those limits may be applicable to each item. That is in addition to the combined amount of returns over the course of a year. Therefore, it could be $250 to $300 to $500 per item. There is probably a maximum of up to $1,000 on combined purchases on an annual basis. Some purchases may not be eligible for return guarantee protection.
Keep in mind, there is a difference between trying to return an item and disputing a charge. These are two different things. Your card may not offer a return guarantee.
In that case, you always have the ability to dispute a fraudulent charge or a transaction. This includes those in which you did not receive the merchandise or service that you paid for with the credit card.
Life happens. It may happen before or during a vacation or business trip you are about to take. That can mean having to cancel or postpone your travel plans. Unfortunately, doing either one could lead to you eating the costs of an airline ticket.
Not to mention, the loss of any deposit or other upfront expenses. This includes things such as a hotel room or a rental car. It is true for almost any other reservations that were made weeks or months in advance.
Your credit card may have some form of trip cancellation coverage. Accordingly, you may be able to recoup the expenditures that you incurred to make your travel plans. It does not matter whether you had to cancel the trip entirely or cut it short in the middle.
It could be due to illness, bad weather, or any number of alternative scenarios that are covered by your card’s insurance protections. The amount you may be reimbursed could vary dependent upon your particular credit card. The reasons why your trip was terminated also is a factor.
Some cards offer up to $10,000 in cost recoupment. Others might afford more or less based on the issuer’s particular limits. To determine how much you may be able to get back from canceled travel plans, refer to your cardholder agreement.
5. Lost Luggage Insurance
Canceled trip insurance is not the only way your credit card can protect you when it comes to travel. Most cards that offer such a perk also afford cardholders with lost luggage insurance as well.
However, that is only if you have paid for your travel reservations in full with a card that has this form of protection. Using the miles that you’ve earned as part of a rewards program might make you ineligible to enjoy these safeguards.
Perhaps you are a customer who has lost luggage protection. In that case, all bags, both checked and carry-on are covered. However, a reimbursement amount might come with a predetermined maximum limit.
Your coverage is in addition to a claim you might file with your insurance company. That is also true with any assistance you may receive from the airline. It’s also the case with another carrier that may have been in possession of your luggage at the time the loss was sustained.
Be sure to read through your cardholder agreement. You will find out what limits may be applied to your lost items. You’ll learn which ones may not even be covered in the first place.
Filing a claim may require any number of supporting documents. This can include a boarding pass or itinerary of the trip. It can also be proof of purchase of tickets with your card, checked luggage tags.
Plus, any other forms that need to be filled out or supplied from the carrier may be required. Each card may have varied requirements for submitting a claim on lost bags. Therefore, be sure you have everything you need to make sure yours is handled promptly.
6. Rental Car Insurance
Let us say, you go on vacation and rent a vehicle. Often, you are asked if you want to buy the rental company’s supplemental insurance. They offer it in the event something happens during your travels.
They throw a lot of large and overwhelming numbers at you. They detail the value of the car. This is what you’ll be on the hook to pay should the vehicle get damaged or totaled.
You have compared thousands of dollars against just $11 a day for the insurance. It may seem like a no-brainer to give more of your hard-earned money at the agreement signing time.
However, you don’t need to worry about all of that if your credit card offers rental car insurance. Simply say “no thanks”. Then, make sure to use your that credit card to pay for the rental.
Every one of the major credit card networks provides their customers with some form of rental car coverage. Though, it’s only if you charge the full amount of the rental car you are taking on the road.
Before you rent, be sure to check that the type of vehicle you are renting is included in your credit card’s coverage limits. Some are not covered. These can include exotics, antiques, some trucks, off-road vehicles, and certain SUV’s, among others.
Some cards may also impose limits in terms of the length of time they will cover a vehicle. Most rentals that last longer than an entire month are typically excluded.
Additionally, renting a car overseas may also fall outside of your card’s coverage limits. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check with your cardholder agreement first before you sign on the dotted line.
7. Concierge Services and Special Events Access
The credit card networks have been offering concierge service to customers for years. Along with those services come exclusive offers that only cardholders can enjoy.
These typically include early access to the hottest tickets for concerts and sporting events giving you first crack at the best seats. They may also be comprised of discounts on everything from restaurants to retailers. There are likely special deals and promotions that you can’t find anywhere else.
Take advantage of the concierge services that come with your credit card. In turn, you have access to services such as booking reservations directly through the network. You may also be eligible for roadside and travel assistance in the event you get stranded in some strange city.
Plus there are advantages such as upgrades on airlines and hotels. This perk does not need to be mysterious either. That is because you can sign up for alerts via text or email. Then, you are always apprised of the latest offers and deals.
Let’s say you’ve purchased some expensive big ticket item, specifically one electronic variety. You are always offered the extended warranty on that purchase. The common belief is that you should turn it down.
That is because you are paying good money for something you don’t really need. Pay for that item with a major credit card. In doing so, you may already have an extended warranty in place.
Most of the credit card networks provide customers with this form of protection on their transactions. They usually offer at least an additional year on top of the manufacturer’s warranty that is in place on that item.
Maybe find yourself in need of taking advantage of your card’s extended warranty. In that case, you can file a claim with the network. They will determine if you should get a replacement of the item, a repair, or a total reimbursement of the money you spent.
You don’t need to opt in or register for this perk. It is already available to you. However, be aware of the limits that may be in place for your purchases. That’s because some cards may not cover every item or instance of damage.
Typical wear and tear may not be covered. Though, some refurbished items may fall under your card’s coverage limits. Be sure to read your cardholder agreement. It will give you a better idea of what is covered. Always keep your receipt too. You will need it to file a claim under the extended warranty.
9. Credit Monitoring
Maintaining a good credit score is critical to ensuring you pay lower interest rates. Your score also will determine if you are approved for loans and other forms of additional credit. Responsible credit card use is a good way to keep your score where it needs to be.
However, running up a lot of debt can also put you in deep trouble. Sometimes you are not the one accruing that debt and damaging your credit. You could be the victim of fraudulent activity.
That is why many of the major credit card networks give their customers access to their scores. They provide up to the date credit monitoring. This service can help you manage your credit and keep your scores high.
You may have had problems in the past or are working to build credit from scratch. Thus, applying for a credit card with these services can also be of great benefit.
It will get you on the right track to good credit. Not all cards offer this type of access. Conversely, there are a number of secured and unsecured options out there. They can be a valuable ally in cleaning up your credit.
Our Final Thoughts
Everyone enjoys getting perks. Your credit card might offer a whole bunch that you never even knew existed. Well, now you know. Hence, you can track down which ones you may be able to take advantage of this very instant.
Maybe the card you currently own does not have any of these. Then, it may be time to do a little research into those cards that do offer these types of perks. Applying for one of them could also bring about some additional advantages. This can include a 0% introductory APR and lower fees than the card you have in your wallet at the moment.