Earning rewards is probably one of the most talked about benefits of using a credit card aside from being able to use it to increase your credit score.
While earning points and cash back that you can redeem for travel, gift cards, and other rewards is nice, that’s not the only benefit involved with choosing to use a credit card.
In many cases, a credit card can actually be safer than cash or a debit card or even provide you with additional savings. Here are six credit card perks you should know about if you want to make the most out of using your credit card(s).
1. Purchase Protection
If you need to purchase something valuable, you might want to do it on a credit card if the card offers purchase protection. Most credit cards offer purchase protection for items that are lost, damaged, or stolen as long as you paid for the item with the credit card.
Each credit card has different policies and may reimburse you up to different amounts. For example, American Express credit card holders can file a claim to report any theft, accidental damage, or loss of a product they purchased with their card within the past 90 days, and they can be reimbursed for the amount paid for the item up to $10,000.
2. Price Protection
With credit card price protection benefits, you could receive a refund if the price drops on an item you purchased with your card. This can happen a lot around the holidays, so it’s a good benefit to have.
With most credit cards, there is a time limit to take advantage of price protection, which is usually anywhere from 30 to 90 days after you make the initial purchase. That being said, you won’t get price protection for an item you purchased last year that suddenly went on sale the other day.
With price protection, you can save quite a bit if you purchase a big item like an appliance or a TV on your credit card and the price suddenly drops. That’s why it’s best to hold onto your receipts for at least 30-90 days depending on your credit card’s price protection terms.
3. Extended Warranty
An extended warranty offered by your credit card company can be very similar to a manufacturer’s warranty in that it can add up to a year of additional coverage for certain purchases.
With some purchases, getting an extended warranty is definitely worth it even if it costs a little extra money. However, if your credit card offers an extended warranty, you may not need to purchase one on your own.
All Discover cards have an extended warranty feature for up to one additional year for original warranties that are 36 months or less. Discover’s extended warranty covers most items, but may not protect you from a repair caused by normal wear and tear, a power surge, or if the item is covered by a product recall.
The maximum coverage is $10,000 / $50,000 (per item / per year). You must file your claim within 45 days of the loss or incident, and as long as you send the necessary paperwork, you will receive a reimbursement within 60 days.
4. Credit Monitoring
Monitoring your credit is very important because it can help you know where you stand and help you avoid situations like identity theft. Monitoring your credit is a good habit to adopt so you can track your score and see how your spending and payment activity affects it.
Instead of having to pay a monthly fee to have your credit monitored by a third-party service, you can see if your credit card issuer provides this service as a courtesy to cardholders.
Chase Slate allows cardholders to view their FICO score monthly and use their Credit Dashboard for free to monitor their credit.
Select Citi credit cards also provide you with your FICO score for free.
5. Rental Car Insurance
If you’re traveling and need a rental car, most credit cards offer free rental car insurance coverage as long as you pay for the rental car with your card.
The rental car insurance provided by your credit card can include coverage for collision damage or theft, but there may be some limitations to the coverage so don’t assume certain things are covered, such as the loss of items during a collision or personal injuries.
Some credit cards with rental insurance options may not even cover cars that aren’t standard, like large trucks or luxury car rentals, so it’s important to thoroughly read your credit card’s terms if you’re thinking of taking advantage of this feature.
6. Airport Lounge Access
Why pay to access an airline’s lounge when many credit cards provide you with this option for free?
Airport lounges are a great amenity to check out when you’re traveling or have a long layover. They tend to offer exclusive amenities including Wi-Fi, desks, comfortable seating, personal assistance, arrival recovery, and more.
The Citi Prestige card and the American Express Platinum card are just two credit cards that include free airport lounge access.
It pays to read the fine print when reviewing your credit card terms because you could learn more about additional free benefits you can take advantage of.
Carefully review the card agreement details for any new or existing credit cards you have. You may not need benefits like rental car insurance or purchase protection all the time, but when you do, you’ll know how to access them for free with your credit card.
MagnifyMoney is a price comparison and financial education website, founded by former bankers who use their knowledge of how the system works to help you save money.