You’re probably aware of the major rewards and perks that credit cards might offer – cash back, airline miles, hotel stays. But there are some lesser-known perks that you might be missing out on, particularly when you travel. In some dire situations, your credit card could end up being a real life saver.
We’ve rounded up nine perks that are potentially included in your card agreement’s fine print that you might want to consider reviewing for the next time you’re on the road.
1. Secondary Car Rental Insurance
It might not be the sexiest of perks, but it can certainly give you a sense of security and even save you some bucks. The bulk of major card issuers offer secondary rental car insurance. In a nutshell, it can cover costs not picked up by your personal auto policy if your rental is wrecked or stolen. That can mean a significant savings over accepting the collision damage waivers most rental car companies offer.
One caveat: You most likely will need to use your card to book the rental car and might also need to decline the car company’s damage waiver.
In general, it’s a good idea to review all of the available coverages with your issuer before you travel, including whether you will have “loss of use” coverage and if your rental coverage is excluded in some of the countries you might be traveling.
2. Purchase Protection
You did it. You splurged and bought the handmade leather boots in Italy only to discover they’re not in your bag when you get home. What do you do? If you have purchase protection through your card issuer, you might not get the boots replaced, but you could be reimbursed for the purchase price. Contact your card issuer for full details on what is and isn’t covered. Damaged purchases are also sometimes covered.
3. Hotel Room Theft
Likewise, hotel room theft can also be covered. Some card issuers will reimburse you for the loss if you booked the hotel using their card.
4. Stolen or Broken Cellphone
Not only do you now have to suffer the inconvenience of not being connected, not having access to local maps and information on your phone, but you have to shell out possibly hundreds of dollars for a new phone. Or do you?
Some issuers will cover the cost of purchasing a new one if you’ve already been using their card to pay your cellphone bills.
Keep in mind that lost phones are typically not covered.
5. Emergency Medical Care
If you’re traveling, particularly overseas, finding emergency medical care can be difficult. Some card issuers can provide referrals for local medical treatment and can even arrange transportation if necessary. If you have an existing medical condition, having a card with this kind of perquisite can provide a real sense of security.
6. Lost or Stolen Luggage
Whether coming or going on a trip, losing your luggage is a pain. The clothes, the toiletries, the electronics — it adds up quickly, and replacing it all can cost a pretty penny, not to mention the need to buy new luggage.
Some issuers will pay for replacing your lost or stolen luggage if you booked the flight using their card.
7. Free Checked Bags
Did you book your trip using your airline-branded card? Good choice. Your checked bag, and sometimes even those of your traveling companions, are likely going to fly for free.
8. A Better Exchange Rate
Sure it’s good to have a little local currency for incidentals, but you’re going to get a much better exchange rate if you use your card instead of cash for purchases. And if your card waives foreign transaction fees, all the better!
9. Free Admission to Cultural Events
If you’re traveling domestically, you might want to check out what local museums and other venues might offer free admission to certain card holders. These admission deals are usually limited to certain dates, but it’s certainly worth checking out.
Be sure after you travel to check your card statement for fraudulent charges and potential overcharges. It’s also wise to check your credit score for any signs of deeper identity theft. You can see two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.
More on Credit Cards:
- Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- The Best Airline Miles Credit Cards
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards