When it comes to credit cards, "hidden" is a term that usually carries negative connotations (think "hidden fees" or "hidden charges"). But your credit card is probably carrying some hidden perks with it as well, and chances are you’re not taking full advantage of them.
There are many well-known credit card perks, like airline miles or gas rewards, that require you to apply and qualify for specific cards. Many average, no-frills cards also have benefits as well, yet often they are not advertised.
Some of the best hidden credit card perks include:
- Rental car coverage. Have you ever fallen prey to purchasing additional insurance at the rental car counter? Rental car coverage can sometimes double the price of your car rental, but if you pay for your rental with an American Express, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover card, the card will foot the bill for any damage you incur while driving it that your regular auto insurance doesn’t pick up. This includes the deductible. This is usually limited to collision insurance, though.
- Extended warranties. When you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on electronics or appliances, it often makes sense to purchase an extended warranty. If you pay with a credit card, however, your extended warranty is usually automatically doubled beyond the manufacturer’s warranty. This can save you hundreds of dollars on add-on extended warranties.
- Guaranteed returns. If you’re an American Express cardholder, you also have access to a benefit they call Return Protection, which refunds you the entire purchase price of an item within 90 days if the retailer won’t take it back. Cardholders can get up to $300 per purchase back, up to $1,000 annually. Visa also offers a similar program.
- Trip cancellation insurance. Approximately 15 percent of credit cards offer this type of insurance (including the Chase Sapphire), so it is rare, but it’s a nice perk if you travel. Trip cancellation insurance reimburses you up to a certain dollar amount if you have to cancel your trip or leave early due to some unforeseen circumstance. The Chase Sapphire also reimburses you for meals and lodging if you’re stranded during a weather-related disaster.
- Price matching. One of the most frustrating things as a shopper is to pay full price for an item only to have it go on sale a week later. Many credit cards, including CitiMaster and American Express, will refund you the difference of an item if you find a lower price within 60 days. Keep in mind this does not include online sales, and you must be able to provide your original receipt as well as an advertisement showing the lower price.
- Cell phone replacement coverage. If you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your credit card bill, your phone may be covered if it’s damaged or stolen. Citi, for example, will cover the cost of a phone up to $200 minus a $50 deductible. If you have a pricey phone, this may be even less than the deductible your cell phone provider charges.
- Lost luggage replacement. If you lose your luggage while traveling and it’s delayed more than 12 hours, your credit card may reimburse you for essential toiletries and a change of clothes. In the event your luggage is never recovered, the card issuer may reimburse you more than the airport.
Keep in mind that many cards have these perks, but not all do. Most of them have certain conditions tied to them as well. To find out what hidden perks your card is carrying, contact the toll-free number on the back of your card.