Ultimate Credit Card Perks Checklist: Benefits You Don't Know About

By Elizabeth Lang. Last updated 8 November 2012. 6 comments
Photo: sovietmole

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I consider myself pretty well versed in credit card benefits. I have two credit cards that I use for most everyday purchases — one gets me 5% cash back on groceries and one between 1-3% cash back on everything else. I always use a card when renting a car to get car rental insurance protection. And I felt exceptionally card savvy when I compared card warranty benefits to decide which card to use to get a free extended warranty on a new fridge. (See also: 7 Credit Card Reward Tips Many People Don't Follow)

There are all sorts of other credit card perks — perks above and beyond cash back and rewards points.

For instance, did you know that if you accidentally spilled red wine and permanently stained a new pair of khakis American Express would reimburse you? It’s called buyer’s assurance. Or if you bought a pair of boots on closeout and the store won’t take them back? You can return them to Amex for a refund. (Some) MasterCards offer price protection in case you find a lower price on an item within 60 days of purchase. And I’m sure many Wise Bread readers read a recent post on Tim Ferris’ blog about the Visa concierge service.

I put together this Ultimate Card Benefits Checklist. It lists different perks that your credit or charge card may offer that you probably didn’t know about.

Travel Benefits

  • Baggage Loss Protection
  • Car Rental Insurance
  • Car Rental Discounts
  • Passport/Credit Card Loss Protection
  • Roadside Assistance
  • No Transactions Fees Abroad
  • No Baggage Checking Fees
  • Free Airport Lounge Access
  • Lost Luggage Tracking Assistance
  • Emergency Translation/Interpretation for Medical Emergencies
  • Emergency Medical Transportation Assistance

Purchase Protection

  • Extended Warranty
  • Return Protection (return an item even if the store won’t allow returns)
  • Buyer Protection (if you lose/damage an item, get a refund/replacement)
  • Price Protection (if price drops get a refund)

Special Access

  • Early Ticket Access
  • VIP Ticket Access
  • Concierge Service
  • Discounts/Coupons

Personal Finance Management

  • Free Credit Scores
  • Year End Summaries
  • Financial Management Software
  • Identity Theft Protection (including assistance in notifying credit card bureaus)

Know that the majority of the best benefits only come with cards that require an annual fee or cards with no cash back or rewards points. The cards with the highest cash back rewards usually have few of these benefits, while 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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Guest's picture
Steve

What are the two cards you use?

Guest's picture
Gin

I've used the AmEx buyer assurance--it's fabulous, and Amex has become my go-to card for purchases ever since. (Caveat: it's not as widely accepted as Visa/MC)

Guest's picture
blueeyedcat

I bought an iPod a few years ago and it died before the 1 yr warranty was up and all, I got was the run around from Citibank who refused to do anything even though I bought it using their credit card. I barely even used the iPod. Apple just wanted to give me a refurbished unit. I find that the consumer really has to work to get any of the benefits to work for them even though we are using a credit card to buy certain items for the fact that they will reimburse us.

Guest's picture
Vanessa

I just want to say that I had a similar experience as blueeyedcat with the iPod. My credit card is a Mastercard through Bank of America. When my HP laptop died (apparently as a result of a hardware failure that is well known by HP and class-action lawyers everywhere but my model didn't fall under any recall) I contacted BoA to see if it fell under the extended warranty to see what assistance I could get. Their benefits program is serviced through another company. I spoke to at least 5 people (and sent a letter to customer service VP at BoA) at both companies and they all said that my card did not have that benefit even though the paperwork I received in the mail with the card, said that I did. So, I'd say that those "extra benefits" are not something to expect, but just be happy if you can take advantage of them. What they send you in the mail is generic for everyone who receives the card but most likely if you come calling for the benefit they're not likely to follow through. I hate that our society seems so litigious nowadays, but if I had loads of money to waste, I'd hire a lawyer and try to sue them either for breach of contract or for misrepresentation. I'm fairly certain I'd have a case.

Guest's picture
Rowena

Every credit card company provides unique benefits for their subscribers. You just need to be diligent enough to know about this perks and have a courage to avail them. Thanks for the great information on the available benefits credit card users can get if they know about it.

Guest's picture
Paula

When using credit cards for car rental insurance, make sure to be clear on any terms and conditions or limitations of coverage. I know someone who rented a car for 30 days, declined coverage because they were using their credit card's and got into an accident on the last day of their rental when they were returning the car... only to find out that their credit card only covered rentals of 28 days or less!