Credit card perks are one of the most underutilized benefits of having a credit card.
According to a 2011 study from Colloquy and Swift Exchange, the average household does not redeem a third of the rewards it earns each year.
Here are a few tips on how to maximize them:
1. Pick the right credit card for you
When in the market for a credit card, no fees and a low interest rate should be your top priority. You should also factor in the card’s reward program to make sure it suits your needs and lifestyle.
If you like to travel, it might make sense to pick a credit card that has the best airline mile program. If you have a long commute to work each day, cash back on gas might be more valuable to you.
If your card does not offer credit card perks, see if you can negotiate or switch to a different card.
Switching to a different credit card works best if the rewards offered by a different credit card are available from the same credit card company you currently use.
2. Get familiar with your rewards
If you are not familiar with the rewards your card offers, how will you use them? Check with your credit card company for a list of your specific credit card perks and how they work.
Make sure to know the rules. Some of the rules are more complex than others.
3. Ask about lesser known perks
Some cards offer perks that you might not even know to ask about. Make sure to ask for an exhaustive list of what your card offers.
Here are a few perks you might not have known about:
- Concierge services
Some credit card perks can be used for concierge services. Examples of concierge services are advance access to concerts and theater tickets, or help getting reservations at hotels and restaurants. Credit card companies will usually charge for these types of services.
- Travel benefits
Travel benefits include rental car insurance (so there is no need to buy additional coverage from the rental car company), trip-cancellation insurance, waived currency conversion fees and baggage insurance.
In addition, some credit card companies may give travel benefits such as roadside assistance in case of a flat tire or engine issues.
Credit perks may also cover an extended warranty on eligible purchases when you use your card. These warranties are usually available for up to one year, but be sure to check with the lender or read the fine print.
The credit perks may also offer return protection on items purchased with your card that arrive damaged or are not the item that you ordered.
Also, they might offer price protection if an item bought with the credit card drops in price within a specified time period (usually within 30 or 60 days of the purchase date).
If you’re ready to get some excellent rewards, check out our list of credit cards with excellent points and gifts.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.