8 Ways Your Credit Card Benefits Will Save You Money

By Christa Avampato. Last updated 22 February 2017. 0 comments

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"Wait! What?" Credit cards can actually save you money? Yes, they can if you know how to use them correctly. (See also: 14 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About)

Here are seven ways your credit card can save you money.

1. Travel Benefits

You know how travel expenses can add up and how much can go wrong in the course of travel. When you book your trip and while you travel, your credit card can do a lot of heavy lifting to help you save money and offer conveniences. Some cards carry airport and destination lounge benefits. For example, while I was visiting Disney World, my credit card gave me access to a lounge at Epcot that had drinks, snacks, air-conditioning, and comfortable seating, which made my 95-degree day at Epcot much more enjoyable.

Other travel benefits cards offer include free checked baggage, priority boarding, and zero foreign transactions fees. (See also: Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards)

2. Shopping Protection

Ever buy an item and accidentally break it shortly thereafter? Many cards provide purchase protection that will reimburse the cost of a broken or stolen item, as well as price matching services that will credit you the difference if an item you bought recently drops in price. They may also have return protection, so if a retailer rejects a return, your card issuer will refund the purchase price directly to your card. Of course, there's also the extended warranty benefit, which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty. There are restrictions and limitations, but I've found these benefits to be extremely generous and they've saved me hundreds of dollars a year.

3. Travel Insurance

It’s hard to justify paying for any of the various types of travel insurance out there, to cover unfortunate events, especially when you’re forking out so much money to travel in the first place. However, the best credit cards will have you covered. These cards will include insurance for your rental car, lost luggage, accidents, and more. Just make sure to use the card with the most benefits to book your travel. (See also: 6 Types of Travel Insurance Your Credit Card Covers)

4. Dispute Resolution

Unfortunately not all the purchases we make live up to their hype. Even the smartest shoppers can occasionally get stuck with a lemon or choose a service provider who doesn’t deliver. For example, when I left Washington, D.C. for Virginia to go to business school, I hired movers. When they had moved all of my stuff out of my apartment, they threatened to leave it all in the middle of the street unless I authorized an additional $300 charge that wasn't in the contract.

I immediately phoned my card issuer's customer service. The service agent advised me to give them my card number and then dispute the charge. I followed the agent's instructions and my credit card fought the moving company on my behalf. The charge was completely refunded to my card.

5. Travel Rewards

Collecting miles and redeeming them for free or discounted travel is pretty straightforward these days. Points usually won’t expire and you can get pretty good value if you use them for premium seating or international flights. Either choose a co-branded credit card with your favorite airline or hotel, or one that offers rewards on the stuff you spend on most. In no time at all you’ll be booking your awards seat or free stay. (See also: Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card with This Guide)

6. Cash Back Benefits

Many cash back cards have a tiered system. For example, some offer double or triple points for spending in categories such as groceries or gas. If a lot of your spending occurs in these categories, these cash back programs are an excellent value for you. There are also cards that offer a flat rate for all spending, which is best suited for those with variable spending. (See also: This Is How Your Choose The Perfect Credit Card For You)

7. Tax Time Organization

No one enjoys sorting receipts during tax time, especially business owners and freelancers. To make it easy on myself, I put as much business spend as possible on a credit card. At the end of the year, I get an itemized annual statement that I turn over to my accountant who does my tax return. My year-end statement also gives me an annual view of my spending by purchase category. I use this information to figure out areas where I can cut spending the following year.

8. Special Offers

Credit card companies occasionally have special offers just for cardmembers. These could include presale tickets for special events like plays and concerts, shopping bonuses or discounts at specific retailers, and members-only sales and coupons. Sometimes these are ongoing benefits on the card and sometimes they're limited time offers. You will typically receive an email or a notification in your monthly statement so stay alert to those so you don't miss these opportunities.

Credit cards get a bad rap by many consumer advocates. If used wisely, they can protect you and your budget. Have your credit card benefits ever saved you money? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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