We all know that credit cards allow us to buy things without shelling out cash for a few extra weeks. We also know that many people are into churning credit cards for the rewards they offer. It seems as though every day I read another story of how someone took a trip to Vegas and only spent $0.40. I swear the credit card companies love the promotion and make more money from these stories than from the advertising the companies do themselves.
In any case, there are other, often overlooked added perks of credit cards. And that is what this post is about. There are 6 overlooked perks of credit cards that I am going to talk to you about below. I’m not suggesting you run out and get a card based on these perks, but instead take them into account the next time you are planning a large purchase, trip, etc.
6 Added Perks of Credit Cards
Many retailers price match. Not only at the time of purchase but also in the following 30 days as well. The catch is that you have to do the leg work. If you find a lower price, you have to then head back to the store with the lower priced ad and your receipt and they will refund you the difference.
This worked great for us a few years ago. We bought some new TVs and DVD players. For the next month, I looked through the ads in the Sunday newspaper and sure enough, found the DVD players on sale. I headed back to the store with all of the info and was refunded $50.
What many consumers don’t realize is that most credit card companies offer this price protection for you. In some cases, they will even to the legwork for you! This means you don’t have to do a thing. They will scour the ads and if they find a lower price, they will credit your next statement for the difference.
Of course, there are limits to the amount they will give back in a given year, so it makes sense to know this information ahead of time.
There was a lot of confusion after the government offered a free credit report to consumers every year a few years ago. Many were expecting their credit score to be included for free but were disappointed it wasn’t.
Some companies jumped at the opportunity and offered “free” credit scores. All you had to do was sign up for a monitoring service that cost $15 a month. If you canceled within the first 30 days, nothing was charged. Most consumers didn’t read the fine print and started getting charged.
Things have since changed. Many credit card companies offer free credit scores on your monthly statement. This is great for anyone looking to make a large purchase. While it still makes sense to buy your score from all 3 credit bureaus, having your score each month from one allows you to have a general idea of where you stand.
Most online retailers offer free shipping on purchases of over $100. If you shop on Amazon, you know you can get free shipping all of the time if you are a Prime Member or on orders over $49.
But there is one company that offers you free use of a service called Shoprunner. It normally costs $79 per year, but Amex cardholders get it for free. The great thing about the service is that it offers free two-day shipping from many online retailers. If you are an American Express cardholder it is worth checking out.
Car Rental Insurance
Most people know that one of the perks of credit cards is offering car rental insurance. What most don’t know though is that the insurance offered is secondary insurance. What the heck does this mean? It means that if you are in an accident with a rental car, your car insurance handles the claim, etc. In the off chance your primary insurance doesn’t cover the costs, the credit card insurance kicks in. Pretty sneaky right?
But some cards offer primary coverage, which means that you won’t go through your insurance company, but instead through the credit card company. The benefit? By not making a claim, your insurance rates won’t skyrocket.
No Fee Bags
I hate when I have to pay $25 for a carry-on when traveling. Luckily I never pay this fee any longer. This is because we have an airline credit card. Many airline cards allow 1 free checked bag when you book the flight with your branded credit card.
The really nice part here is that depending on the airline, you can carry-on up to 9 bags for free! For me, this is probably the best of the added perks of credit cards.
More Relaxed Travel
Some credit cards offer great free services when you book a trip using their card. For example, you can get access to the airport lounge, real-time flight alerts, discounted hotels and even a personal travel planner. In some cases, they will create your itinerary for you as well.
For those travelers that get stressed out when flying, this may just be the ticket you are looking for in order to get a more relaxing vacation.
The Catch Of Added Perks Of Credit Cards
Of course, there are catches to the perks of credit cards listed above. Not all cards offer all of these perks. And in addition, some cards charge an annual fee to use the card in the first place.
So, you have to do some work. Figure out which perks are best for you and then weigh the cost to the benefits. Since we fly on a regular basis, the free bags more than make up for the $89 annual fee. But you may find the fee to be too much.
The key is to not get caught up in the perks of credit cards but rather assess which ones you will use, how frequently you will take advantage of the perks and then decide if it makes sense to follow through and get the card.
Hi, my name is Jon and I run Penny Thots. I’ve been interested in personal finance since high school and love writing and talking about it. You can learn more about me in the Authors section of this site.