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When we moved into our new house, we decided it was time for a new kitchen table. The one we chose had a glass top. For some reason, we decided to hang a light fixture with a heavy lucite orb suspended by a thin wire right over the new table.
You can guess what happened only a few days later …
Naturally, the store where we purchased the table was only too happy to sell us another one. But they were certainly not going to replace the original, since the damage was not their fault.
Thankfully, we purchased the table with our credit card. All we had to do was submit a photo the shattered glass top and a copy of the original invoice. A week later, a check for the original purchase price arrived in the mail!
This was all thanks to purchase protection. And, without it, we would have been out a rather large sum.
Beyond rewards points, signup bonuses, and interest free financing periods, credit cards provide a ton of hidden benefits. And I came up with a lit of the top ten 11 hidden credit card perks. Just make sure to use your credit card when you pay, if you want to take advantage of these great features.
Benefits of Paying by Credit Card
Perk #1: Purchase (Accident) Protection
I am putting purchase protection first because it is the one that bailed me out most recently. This perk, which card issuers refer to as purchase protection, purchase security, and accident protection, will replaces, repairs, or reimburses you for new purchases that are damages, lost or stolen!
There are, of course, some very reasonable limitations (which vary slightly by issuer and card type):
- You must make your claim within 60 to 90 days after purchase.
- Your benefit is usually limited to anywhere from $500 to $10,000 per item.
- And there is further limit on claims that range from $500 to $50,000 per year.
I really hope that I do not get in the business of breaking $50,000 of new purchases!
Perk #2: Extended Warranties
Worried that the original warranty does not provide enough coverage? Extended warranty protection doubles the time period of the original manufacturer’s repair warranty for up to one additional year.
Once again, issuers provide some limitations:
- The item must be purchased in the United States or be eligible for warranty protection in the US.
- The original warranty period must be 3 years or less.
- The benefit is limited to the the original purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less.
- And you cannot claim more than $50,000 per year, or per cardholder, depending on your card.
Perk #3: Price Protection
What would you do if I told you that you could take advantage of Black Friday (and other) sales weeks in advance, and without the crowds and lines?
Because I am telling you just that.
With price protection, if you see a recent purchase advertised for less within 60 days of purchase, your card issuer will refund you the difference. You just need to provide a copy of an ad from a retail store.
The limitations are that this benefit does not usually apply to internet only sales. And you can only claim $500 per item, up to $2,500 per year. (Once again, exact numbers vary by card.)
Perk #4: Zero Liability
A lot of people know that consumer protection laws limit your credit card liability to $50. So they do not think of zero liability protection as a perk.
But, if you lose your wallet, you cannot replace your cash. Your cards often are replaced within 24 hours. (We didn’t even include that as a hidden perk.)
When you combine this perk with the benefits listed above, why would anyone ever use cash?
Perk #5: Free Credit Scores
But you still need to pay extra, if you want to see your score. Often a lot more, if you wanted to monitor your score.
Thanks to free FICO scores with your monthly statement from issuers like Capital One and Discover, you can now track your credit score for free. Further encouragement to work on improving your score and enjoying the benefits of great credit.
Perk #6: Roadside Assistance
No more need to spend money on AAA every year on a service you rarely need. Instead, your card provides 24/7/365 dispatch service when you need, at a guaranteed low cost. Don’t every worry about a flat tire, dead batter, or accidental lockout again.
Perk #7: Car Rental Insurance
No need to pay for the “auto rental collision damage waiver” (which is just legalese for rental car insurance). Your card has you covered.
If you have an auto insurance policy, that will serve as your primary insurance. And your credit card will be there to cover the amount of your deductible.
For those without car insurance, your card will provide the insurance you need.
Just be aware that most cards do not cover extended rentals (more than 20 days), luxury car rentals, and open bed vehicles.
Perk #8: Travel and Emergency Assistance
If you need to find a doctor, lawyer, translator, emergency transportion, or even a pharmacy to replace a prescription, whether traveling or at home, your card will be there to help.
Perk #9: Lost Luggage Reimbursement
If you are traveling and the airline loses your luggage, they rarely provide enough to replace all the contents. This is where your card steps in.
You can receive reimbursement the difference between the value of the lost items and what the airline is willing to provide. Claims are usually capped at $3,000. But this will cover all “common carriers”, which means pretty much all airlines, bus, and cruise lines (but excluded public transportation).
Perk #10: Travel Accident Insurance
I know this is one nobody wants to contemplate. But, just in case the worst happens …
You, your spouse and unmarried dependent children will be automatically insured up to $250,000 against accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech or hearing while riding as a passenger in, entering or exiting any licensed common carrier, provided the entire cost of the trip was charged to your card.
Perk #11: Concierge Services
Not a powerful executive with a room full of personal assistants? But you still want tickets to a show or a dinner reservation?
Put your card to work!
With concierge service, you have 24/7 access to a helpful assistant. Plus, card issuers often have access to tickets and reservations not made available to the public. So you really do get the enjoy the benefits of a big shot life just by owning a credit card!
What Does Your Credit Card Offer?
Of course, if you want to know all of the consumer protections and travel assistance services that come with your personal and business credit cards, you will need to check out each one individually. Unlike rewards programs, these perks are often buried in the fine print your own card’s terms and conditions.
And these perks are sometimes subject to change. For instance, Discover just recently ended their baggage delay (but not lost luggage) and MyConcierge benefits.
So you must not only check out these perks when you sign up for a new card. You need to keep an eye out for any changes.
But I think you will find that there really is little change once you enroll with a cardholder. And though you will not use these hidden benefits often, I think you will find them both reassuring and helpful.
And, isn't it nice to know there is more to your credit card than convenience, rewards programs, and sign-up offers to help make big purchases more affordable?
If you are wondering where you can look to find great credit cards with these kinds of perks, we recommend starting with CardMatch, a service offered by CreditCards.com. Click here to read our CardMatch review.