We live in a world where the most valuable currency is information. So it’s a bummer to know that when we pay for things with credit cards, we aren’t always getting all the credit card perks and benefits we paid for.
If you have never used a credit card before, or you don’t know how they work, you should check out this guide on how credit cards work.
Don’t worry, though. I’ve got some insider info on what you need to know about using your credit card more effectively, so you can get back every dollar you’re owed.
Credit cards offer many types of rewards that can help you earn free airfare, frequent-flier, and more. Here are 7 awesome credit card perks to keep in mind and take advantage of:
1. Sign-up bonuses
A sign-up bonus is a reward you get when you apply for a new credit card. Typically, it’s in the form of points or miles that can be redeemed for free travel.
There are two types of sign-up bonuses: fixed and tiered.
Fixed offers are straightforward—they offer a certain amount of points or miles for opening an account, usually between 20% and 50% for popular cards like Amex Rewards Gold.
Tiered offers are more complicated because they depend on how much you spend during your first few months with the card (or sometimes beyond). For example, American Express Premier Rewards Gold gives you 25000 points if you spend $30K in 12 months. However, if your annual spending is under $15K then this perk isn’t active until year two!
The first thing to look at when considering whether a credit card signing bonus is worth it is how much value it brings to your life.
Don’t just signup for a credit card just because you want these bonuses.
2. Price protection
Price protection is one of the most useful benefits that credit cards offer, but it’s also one of the most likely to be misunderstood.
Here’s what you need to know about price protection:
What is price protection? Price protection allows customers with certain credit cards to get a refund if they buy an item and find it cheaper at a later date.
How do you take advantage of it? If you know that you’re going to make a large purchase soon, check whether your card offers price protection as part of its rewards program (for example, Chase Sapphire Preferred has this perk). If so, register your purchase before buying.
Once you register your purchases through your credit card account online or by calling customer service, all you have to do is file a claim within 60 days—and for items purchased on Amazon or eBay via Chase Pay or PayPal digital wallets within 90 days—to receive reimbursement for the difference in cost between the original price paid and new lower price from an eligible retailer listed in the terms.*
3. Rental car insurance
Rental car insurance is an important perk that you can get on a credit card. Many people are unaware of this benefit, but it’s one you should take advantage of if your card offers it.
To determine what your credit card covers in the case of a rental car accident, check out your benefits guide online or call up customer service to see what’s available. You’ll have to purchase coverage with your card before making any reservations through a third-party site—so do so as soon as possible.
If you’re traveling domestically and renting from one of the major rental companies (like Avis and Hertz), many cards will cover damage to the car as well as liability for damages caused by others using the vehicle while it’s in your possession.
Some cards also cover theft from vehicles, though there may be limitations placed upon them depending on whether or not it’s an international trip and where exactly you’re leaving from/traveling too (you don’t want to drive all across Europe without knowing exactly how much insurance coverage there is).
Make sure all bases are covered before signing anything!
4. Extended warranties
Extended warranties are insurance policies. For example, if you buy a TV or computer and it breaks down in the first year, you can often get your money back by calling the manufacturer and asking for a refund. But if it’s more than 12 months old, that warranty won’t be honored.
Credit card companies offer extended warranties as part of their rewards programs (although not all credit cards do). If you pay annual fees on those rewards cards, then those fees can sometimes cover the cost of an extended warranty—and sometimes they don’t. In fact, some credit cards charge more than $100 per year just to have an extended warranty on purchases made with them!
So what does this mean for you? Well first off: if there’s any chance that buying something might need repairs down the road (like a dishwasher or washing machine), skip it altogether unless there’s already something wrong with it because repairs will probably cost more than replacing it entirely new would cost in the long run anyway!
And second: when shopping around online keep tabs open at different sites so that when one comes up with good deals they’ll show up quickly at other places too so no time gets wasted before finding better prices elsewhere!
5. Coverage for cell phones
Whether you lost your phone or it was stolen, credit card companies can help with that too. For example, Citi’s Cell Phone Protection Program covers damage to your phone and theft if the value of the device is less than $600.
The benefit is available as long as you pay your monthly bill on time with a Citi credit card in good standing that has a balance of less than $500 and doesn’t have an annual fee. Otherwise, you’ll be charged $10 per month (if you’re under 20 years old) or $15 per month (if 20+).
6. Perks at specific retailers
If you’re a frequent shopper at a particular store, think about getting a credit card that offers perks at that retailer. For example, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card gives members 5% back on all Amazon.com purchases and 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores (1% everywhere else).
The Citi Rewards+SM Card also offers special deals on movie tickets through Fandango with rewards points you can use toward your next trip or purchase. Another perk is 3X points per dollar spent when booking airfare through Orbitz.
Many other cards have similar deals—just check out a list of the best credit cards for travel rewards to see if one fits your needs!
7. Concierge services
If you find yourself frequently asking, “Can I get tickets to Hamilton?” or “Where can I find authentic tacos near my hotel?”, then consider signing up for a concierge service. These services are available through some credit cards, and they can help with things like planning travel arrangements and making restaurant reservations.
Convenience is the name of the game here. Just call the number on your card or log in online to access it whenever you need it—no extra fees required!
We hope this article has given you some helpful information on the kinds of benefits credit cards may offer. Remember, always be careful when using your credit card, and make sure you pay off your balance every month. If you do that and take advantage of these benefits, your credit card can serve as a really valuable tool in your life as a consumer.
Note: You should always use your credit card with extreme caution, so as not to bury yourself in credit card debts. See our 5 tips on how not to bury yourself in credit card debts.