10 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About

By Miranda Marquit. Last updated 9 July 2014. 1 comment

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When you sign up for a credit card, chances are you are looking for something specific. You might be signing up for the travel rewards, or for the 0% APR balance transfer (see our picks for best transfer balance credit cards).

But you might be getting more than you bargained for when you sign up for some credit cards — in a good way. When you look through your welcome packet, check to see if you have any of the following little-known credit card perks.

(Wise Bread's top credit card pick is Discover it - get 1-20% cashback on purchases and a monthly credit score update for free.)

1. Rental Car Insurance Coverage

Many credit cards offer free rental car insurance coverage. This is one of the best perks that few people use. I've been using it every time I get a rental car, since it saves me having to purchase the coverage from the rental car provider.

In order to access the free rental car insurance coverage, though, you need to pay for the rental with the appropriate credit card, and you need to sign the waiver provided by the rental car company. Before you travel, find out which credit card offers this perk, and make it a point to use it to pay for the rental.

2. Concierge Services

If you need help tracking down your lost baggage, look for a restaurant open after midnight in your local area, or find the best hotel deal near your current location, call the credit card's concierge line. You can usually get the information for free.

3. Special Discounts and Upgrades

One of the great perks I receive from one of my credit cards is a special discounted price on rental cars from a specific company. When my husband went on a trip a few months ago and picked up the car, the agent at the counter had to double-check the rate, since it was so low, due to our discount. The counter agent said he'd never seen a daily rate so low for that type of car.

Many credit card issuers have partnerships with hotels, rental car companies, and even airlines. You can receive special discounts and upgrades just for using the right credit card, or by taking advantage of a special deal. Pay attention to the communications from your credit card issuers, since you never know when special promotions will pop up, from discounts on concert tickets to reduced-price merchandise.

Bank of America is known for its free museum admission perk on the first weekend of each month for its card holders. This perk applies to 150 museums in 91 cities around the United States — including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

4. Extended Warranty

There's no reason to purchase an extended warranty if you have the right credit card. Many cards offer you extended warranty coverage that goes beyond the manufacturer's warranty. In some cases, you can double your warranty coverage just by making a purchase with a specific credit card. Look through your card benefits guide for information on whether or not you have free extended warranty coverage, and how to take advantage of it.

5. Price Protection

Depending on your credit issuer, you might have price protection built into your credit card. With this perk, you can receive a refund if the price drops on any item you bought with the credit card. Usually there is a time limit of 30, 60, or 90 days to use this feature, and you will probably have to keep a receipt and get an advertised price to take advantage of this perk. But it can save you a significant amount of money if you buy a big-ticket item and it goes on sale the following week.

What type of credit card are you interested in?
How much do you spend per month?
Do you carry a balance?

6. Purchase Protection

If a purchase you made with a credit card is lost, damaged, or stolen, and your other insurance policies don't cover it, your credit card might. Check your agreement to see whether or not you can be reimbursed for a purchase. Normally, there is a limit to the amount covered, but it can still provide you extra protection in the event of the unexpected.

7. Return Protection

Store won't take back an item you want to return? Even if the store's return policy is 30 days, you might be able to return an item up to 90 days after buying it and get a refund from your credit card issuer. You might have to pay shipping and handling, but it's a small price to pay to rectify a buying mistake.

8. Airport Lounge Access

Some credit cards offer free visits to airport lounges. Instead of paying to access the airline's lounge, you can get in for free. Airport lounges offer a variety of amenities, including the ability to access airline personnel quickly and easily. If your flight has been canceled or delayed, an airport lounge is one of the best places to get prompt attention. No waiting in a long line to speak with a gate agent. Plus, if you have a long layover, the lounge can be much more comfortable than the general airport waiting area. Check your perks to see whether or not you have access to an airline lounge.

9. Waive a Fee

Did you know that some credit card issuers will waive between one and three fees per year, just because you ask? It's true. If you pay late, or have a transaction fee, it's possible for you to ask for it to be waived. Depending on the credit card, and the policies involved, avoiding a $45 late fee might be as simple as picking up the phone and asking for it.

You can also get a credit, or be reimbursed, for checked-bag fees in some cases. Many airline-branded credit cards will waive these fees if you buy the ticket using the right card.

Some credit card issuers will also allow you to skip a payment one month if you need to delay for some reason. The interest charges will keep accruing, but you might get a little breathing room  without it affecting your credit rating.

10. Travel and Travel Accident Insurance

There are some difficulties that come with travel. What if something valuable was stolen from your hotel room? Perhaps your luggage was lost and you have to replace the items within. Some credit card issuers offer free travel insurance that you can use to recover your losses. You have to make your travel purchases with the right credit card for it to apply, so look through your card benefits package to determine what to expect.

It's also possible to receive travel accident insurance, which covers costs related to accidents abroad. You might have that included in your cardmember benefits, especially if you have a premium card.

Take a look at your cardmember benefits. You might be surprised at the extra perks you can enjoy, just for using your credit card.

Have you taken advantage of these or any other hidden credit card perks? Let us know in comments!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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Just happened to get a new credit card and actually read the package that can with. These are some great perks that I didn't know about before signing up and they were a great unexpected surprise.