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Credit cards are great, if you use them correctly. If you are looking at this blog, or any other points and miles blog for that matter, chances are you do. But, did you know there are many benefits, besides rewards, that your credit card offers? Here are a few…
This is a big one. If you plan a non-refundable trip, whether it be airfare, hotel, or tours, you want to have some protection if the trip needs to be cancelled. Travel protection does have some stipulations. First, it only covers non-refundable trip expenses. If you bought a refundable airline ticket, you won’t need this benefit anyway. Second, there is a limit to how much is covered. Sapphire Preferred, for example, only covers $5,000 per trip. Finally, this perk will only cover certain reasons for cancellation. Sickness, emergencies, and severe weather would all be covered under this perk. If you, simply, decide you don’t want to go anymore, this benefit will not help you.
Most cards offer rental insurance. This is a great way to avoid paying an extra $10-$15 a day for rental insurance from the rental company. This perk will cover most everything that your primary insurance will not, but every card does this differently, so make sure to check with your credit card issuer.
If you purchase an item that you later find for a lower price, your credit card will refund you the difference. This usually lasts 90 days from your purchase date, so you have time to look for better pricing.
I’ve used this perk twice now on my Discover It card. The first time, I went to buy a 3DS at Target for $160 (on sale). Unfortunately, they ran out of stock. So, I went across the street to Meijer and bought one for $200. I only did this, because I knew about the price protection. I immediately called Discover to start the claims process. They sent me some paperwork and I had my $40 check in about three weeks. The second time, my wife bought a purse at Macy’s. The color she bought was exclusively at Macy’s, but Amazon has the same model purse (in a different color) for $10 less than Macy’s. I called Discover to start the claims process, just to see if they would cover it or not. To my surprise, they did!
Citi has a unique version of price protection that’s called Price Rewind. Basically, this service scours the internet for a lower price on an item you purchased. If it finds a price that is at $25 less than your purchase price, they will price match it for you. I haven’t tested this service yet, but I hear good things.
Return protection allows you return an item, if the item cannot be returned to the original store. For example, let’s say you bought a pair of shoes at Target. You decided to return them 31 days after purchasing, but you can’t because the store only has a 30 day return policy. You can then call your credit card company and they will take them back for the full return price. There are some things to remember for this perk, though. Card issuers will not take back perishables, auto accessories (I tried this one), or a few other categories. They also require that you have the original receipt and that the product is in very good condition.
American Express is the most well known for this perk. Basically, if you buy an electronic device (i.e. to the original warranty.
Other Perks Available
These are not the only perks, nor the only cards that offer them. If you want to find out what ones your credit cards offer, check the benefits guide that came with the card. You could, alternatively, check the credit card’s website or call the number on the back of your card, as well.