These days, credit cards offer more than just a simple way to pay for goods and services. In an effort to lure more cardholders, credit cards have tacked on benefits to increase the value of what you’ll find in your wallet. But, with so many new perks and benefits on almost a monthly basis, it can be hard to keep up.
Most people are familiar with the number of miles or points they earn for every dollar they spend. Many cards offer bonus points when spending on certain categories like when dining out, pumping gas or when traveling. Surely, you’re using the right card to maximize your earnings on the right categories? And, of course, you’re remembering to save your receipt to scan into the Fetch app, right? By saving receipts from many of your everyday purchases, you can be earning cashback in the form of free gift cards in the app. You’re basically double dipping and earning two rewards at the same time for every purchase.
Back to the credit card perks. Depending on the card you have, there are things like airport lounge access when traveling or when home rebates on everything from digital entertainment credits to ridesharing and workout equipment. Cash back, travel rewards, and airline, hotel or car rental status are all common returns on any type of annual fee your card charges.
But, did you know there could be a stash of less-advertised perks you may not see in the terms and conditions? These could save you quite a bundle if you remember to use the right card for the right purchase. Look for these benefits in the fine print to see if you qualify.
Many expensive electronics, home goods, luggage and other product categories include a warranty period of protection. This means that you can return the item for a refund or repair during that time period if it meets the specifications of the warranty. But, if something goes wrong, even one day after that warranty ends, you’re stuck paying for more expensive repairs or even a replacement. That’s where extended warranty protection from a credit card can save the day as it tacks on additional time to the manufacturer’s warranty (typically an extra year). Many retailers won’t even know to suggest it because they are not privy to the perks of every customer’s credit cards.
The next time you have a big purchase to make, look through your wallet to see which cards will protect you the most in that regard. Some cards are especially good. Among the best cards to offer extended warranty are those from Citi, which offers a two-year warranty. These include the Citi Premier, American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card and the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.
You may have seen a similar benefit in a flyer from your nearest department or electronics store, but your credit card has your back no matter where you shop. This type of protection means that if you find the same item for a lower price elsewhere, typically within a period of 100 days after purchase, you can submit a claim and receive a refund of the difference.
This perk is going the way of the dodo bird, but if your card has it, this can be a real money saver when it comes to purchasing expensive goods. In this category, some Capital One cards, like the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards, Capital One SavorOne Rewards and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards cards, win out for offering as much as four months following a purchase for a price match. They will offer a maximum payout of $250 for the difference.
This product return guarantee coverage is designed to protect you in the event that a retailer will not accept an item you return (as long as it is in the same condition as when you bought it). A refund from your credit card would help offset what a store does not honor although keep in mind that there is a long list of exclusions from this protection benefit. They include things like jewelry, art, collectibles, plants, cars, medical equipment and seasonal decorations among other things.
There are many cards that offer this type of protection including most American Express cards, Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard and AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. Each offers a return window of 90 days and a maximum refund protection of $500 (Amex cards cap it at only $300).
The next time your flight is delayed or your bag gets lost, do a quick check to see which credit card you used to pay for the trip. If your card has some form of travel insurance, you’re in luck. This is a broad category, and not all cards come with every type of possible travel insurance. There is delayed and lost bag protection, which would reimburse you for a limited amount of replacement purchases if your bag is delayed for a certain amount of time or lost. On occasion, it will allow you a daily stipend that you can spend for replacement items to eventually be reimbursed.
Other forms of protection include insurance to pay for overnight accommodation, meals and other expenses when the airline or other transportation company does not.
Then there is trip cancelation or interruption insurance that will cover you in particular instances where you have to change the plan of your trip or not go altogether. Instead of paying extra from an independent insurer, double check to see if your card has any of the perks first to keep from paying for the same thing twice.
Popular cards in this category are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve, which have all kinds of protections for canceled or delayed trips, travel accidents or emergency assistance. What sets them above the pack, however, is the fact that they offer primary instead of secondary collision damage waivers for car rentals. This means that they don’t make you rely on any other forms of insurance you have first before providing help.
Cell phone protection
That’s right. We all have one, but using the right card to pay for your cell phone could be the difference between getting help when there’s a problem with your phone or having to fork over big cash instead. If your phone is lost or damaged, cell phone protection will cover the cost as long as you have been using the card to pay for your cell phone bill all along. This means that you may want to make sure you are paying the right bill with the right card each month. While there may be a deductible, this type of protection can be a valuable one in many circumstances.
Among the top cards to offer this coverage is The Platinum Card from American Express, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve American Express Cards and the Chase Freedom Flex.