Most Often Overlooked Money-Saving Credit Card Benefits
There are many benefits to paying with a credit card. Sign up bonuses and cash back programs offer credit card customers powerful incentives to open new accounts, switch cards, or simply continue to use the cards they like the most.
Unfortunately for many card users, some of the nicest credit card perks go unused. Whether they help save money or just make daily life a little easier, these extras are worth knowing about.
Extended warranties on big-ticket items can be expensive. Check the credit card’s fine print before paying for added warranties. Many issuers automatically offer an extra year on top of the manufacturer’s warranty up to $10,000 per item.
Figuring out when a sought-after item may go on sale can be a frustrating guessing game. Let the credit card do the heavy lifting. Many cards perform a price monitoring service for their customers and refund the difference when a recently purchased item goes on sale. Limits vary, of course. For example, Discover will refund the difference up to $500 within 90 days of purchase.
Stop worrying about the retailer’s return policy. Certain cards will reimburse their customers the full purchase price of an item if it is damaged within 90 days of the date of purchase, regardless of the store’s individual return policy. Chase Sapphire covers stolen goods bought with the card as well. Credit card users who put their cell bill on their card each month may be eligible for automatic cell phone insurance with a small deductible. Most cell phone carriers offer insurance, as well, but it can cost $120 per year. Some Wells Fargo cards offer this perk, as does First Citizens Visa. Sightseeing becomes a lot less expensive for people who carry a Merrill Lynch or Bank of America card. These institutions have deals with over 150 museums, botanical gardens, and science centers in nearly 100 cities. Visit on the first weekend of the month and the cardholder’s admission is free. Among the participating museums are the Portland Children’s Museum, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Traveling abroad often requires a visit to a local exchange bureau. The fees and exchange rates can be steep. For a better deal, use a credit card with zero foreign transaction fees to make purchases when traveling abroad. Be sure to check with the card issuer before the trip to verify that they either don’t charge fees or that they refund them.
Some cards offer certain forms of trip insurance. Luggage replacement and insurance for personal items stolen from a hotel room are available with MasterCard if the card paid for the room. Cardholders who use an American Airlines branded card when they fly with AA will get a free checked bag, as well.
American Express will help with emergency medical care should it become necessary while abroad. They’ll help find local care providers and even arrange transportation.
People who use a major credit card to rent a car while traveling can skip the added costs associated with coverage for theft or accidents. Most auto insurance policies cover some rental scenarios, but it’s a good idea to have the additional coverage in place, anyway. Using a card that offers free rental car insurance can save between $10 and $30 per day.
Understanding what benefits and perks are included with a specific card is important. Card benefits vary from one issuer and card brand to the next. To maximize the potential of every credit card, check the terms and conditions section of the card disclosures online or call the card issuer’s customer service department.