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You’re familiar with many of the things the plastic in your wallet can do for you — from simply helping you buy the items you need to giving you cash back for your spending. But did you know that your credit card may have additional perks that come with it? In fact, ignoring some of these benefits is basically like washing money down the drain. Take a look at some of the features your credit card may have that you aren’t utilizing.
1. Travel Perks
If you crave a certain level of comfort, especially when you travel, you may be handing over extra cash for travel accommodations, like priority boarding, in-flight drinks or even Wi-Fi while you’re traveling at 30,000 feet. Once you arrive at your destination, you may opt to pay for auto insurance on your rental car.
But what if you’re paying for things you already have free access to simply because of that piece of plastic you carry in your wallet? It may behoove you to check what perks come with your card. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (which you can read a full review of here) has primary rental car insurance for the cardholder, so you won’t have to pay for anything extra when you pick up the keys. Plus, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card while you’re on your adventure, you’ll earn two times the points on travel expenses, like airfare and hotels, two times the points on dining out and one point for every dollar spent on other purchases. If you’re headed overseas, you’ll enjoy no foreign transaction fees. This card doesn’t have an annual fee the first year, but it does bump up to $95 after that. (Note: There is a 17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR associated with this card, based on your creditworthiness.)
2. Cutting the Line at the Airport
Americans take an estimated 1.3 million business trips per year, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), yielding $488 million in expenses. This figure breaks down to 12 trips per year for experienced employees and 14 trips per year for young professionals. Add to that personal travel and that’s a lot of time spent at the airport. While it can be exhausting just thinking about time zone changes and tiny airplane seats, there may be a silver lining to your airport trips, thanks to your plastic.
Have you checked your credit card terms and conditions to see if it offers you a credit for a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application? Perhaps you might want to. Many cards, like the Citi Prestige credit card, for example, offer this benefit on top of several other credit perks. Sometimes it gets lost amid the other rewards, but that $100 credit is certainly something you should take advantage of, especially if you travel a lot. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.) The Citi Prestige card (which you can read a full review of here) also offers three times the points for air travel and hotel purchases, two times the points when you’re dining or on entertainment purchases and one point for every other dollar. The card has no foreign transaction fees, but carries an annual fee of $450 and a variable 15.49% APR.
3. Roadside Assistance
Car trouble can be stressful, especially if you are stranded on the side of the road in an unfamiliar place. Rental car agreements, AAA and even some auto insurance policies offer roadside assistance for an additional or annual fee, but you might consider reviewing your credit card benefits before paying for a service like this.
If your credit card is geared toward travel convenience, your account might already cover roadside assistance for free. For example, while you may use your American Express Platinum card (which you can read a review of here) for the airline perks, don’t forget that your benefits also include complimentary roadside assistance up to four times per year. As an American Express Platinum cardholder, you can get your car towed for up to ten miles, have someone come change a flat tire or bring you up to two gallons of gas, provide lockout service and help you charge a dead battery, whether you’re at home or away on a trip elsewhere in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. When it comes to rental cars, your card also covers eligible damage, which means you can decline collision coverage at the kiosk without worry. (Note: There are a few restrictions, so be sure to read your card agreement carefully and take a look at the other benefits provided.) Your $450 annual fee for this card may seem steep, but the freebies add up quickly if you take advantage of every category. Just make sure you’re paying off your balances in full — otherwise, all those benefits get lost to interest. [Editor’s Note: The terms and conditions of the Platinum Card from American Express have changed since this article ran and this offer is no longer valid.]
4. Extended Warranties
Purchasing a big-ticket item usually brings on excitement and sometimes a little anxiety, and it’s easy to get sucked into buying an extended warranty to make sure that big purchase is covered in case something happens. After all, what’s another $50 if it means a year of extra coverage for your $1,500 purchase? What some stores fail to mention is that although extended warranties might cover parts and labor, they may not cover wear and tear or accidental damage, and it may even cost less to repair a product rather than buy an extended warranty. With all of these factors to consider, what do you do?
If you value the peace of mind provided with an extended warranty, you may want to see if your credit card will pick up the tab for you. For example, the Discover it Cashback Match credit card will double a warranty (up to one year), as long as you use the card to make the purchase. This means that your eligible item (valued at up to $10,000) would be repaired or replaced for free. Like any other warranty, there are exclusions and restrictions, but this benefit that comes with the Discover it Cash Back (you can read a full review of here) means you won’t need to sacrifice more money for additional coverage. Of course, it’s important to pay off your balance to avoid having to pay the 13.74% - 24.74% Variable on purchases & balance transfers APR the card carries — meaning, even if the card can extend a warranty, it’s a good idea to make sure you really can afford the TV before buying it.
Utilizing Your Plastic
There are a lot of great features that come with credit cards, but most of the ones that reward you for your spending require you have a good or excellent credit score. Because of this, it’s a good idea to know where your credit stands ahead of time to see if you’d be eligible for any new plastic you’re considering for your wallet. You can view two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Citi Prestige, American Express Platinum and Discover it credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.