The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

11 Lesser-Known Credit Card Perks & How to Use Them

11 Lesser-Known Credit Card Perks & How to Use Them

credit card advice

Erica Sandberg
By: Erica Sandberg
Updated: June 28, 2019

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You know that the credit card in your wallet helps you make purchases safely and conveniently, but there are other advantages it could have. In fact, many credit card issuers have created an entire menu filled with various perks for its customers.

While not all will be relevant to your lifestyle, odds are at least a few of these little-known benefits will work to your financial advantage.

1. Extended Warranty Protection

If you buy something with a warranty and then the item breaks soon after, you may not be out of luck and money.

Many credit card issuers, such as Chase, offer extended warranty protection on select cards that enables you to extend the manufacturer’s own warranty. It could give you up to an additional year’s worth of protection so long as you report the claim within 90 days of the product’s failure. You may be offered up to $10,000 per claim with a maximum of $50,000 per account. Check out the terms on the credit card company’s website for details.

Here are a few cards that offer extended warranty protection:

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Of course, you have to meet the terms and conditions of this benefit, but if it works, great. File the claim online or by calling your credit card company.

2. Price Protection

Not all credit cards come with price protection benefits, but if yours does, as with select Capital One cards, you’re in luck.

In short, this benefit refunds you the difference in price after a retailer lowers the cost on an item that you recently charged. So, if you bought a dress for $100 and it went on sale for $70, you could be eligible for $30 back in your account. Even better, it may not have to be at the same store to enjoy his perk. Here are three popular cards that come with price protection on purchases:

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.74% - 25.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.74% - 25.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

This card is currently not available.

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

All you have to do is file a claim with your credit card company over the phone and see what happens. But beware of limitations: Capital One, for instance, only gives you 60 days from the date of purchase to do so and cardholders are limited to four claims annually.

3. Return Protection

If you have attempted to return something at a store but were denied, a couple of issuers, such as American Express, offer return protection. If your credit card company does, you may be able to get reimbursed for the item anyway.

There are restrictions, of course. Small and large electronics, jewelry, and books are often excluded, and American Express limits this benefit to $300 per item, $1,000 per cardmember account per calendar year. Here are a few of the top cards with return protection benefits:

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74 - 25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.74% - 25.74% Variable
$450
Good/Excellent

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases.
  • Receive 0% for 18 months on balance transfers made within 4 months of account opening
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back; transfer fee applies
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month
  • No categories to track and no caps on cash back
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
15.74% - 25.74% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

If your item fits within the list of what is eligible to return you’ll have to send it back (and you may have to cover that cost). Supply the credit card issuer with documentation that you did try to return the item but the store refused, as well as your original receipt, a copy of your statement proving that you charged it, and the retailer’s return policy information. If all goes according to plan, that money will be credited back into your account.

4. Purchase Protection

If your package didn’t show up — or it did but the contents were damaged — your credit card company may come to the rescue.

Embedded purchase protection gives you the opportunity to file a claim and if approved, you won’t be financially responsible for the item you bought with the card. All credit cards come with some level of purchase protection, but policies vary considerably by network.

Contact your credit card company to understand exactly what is covered. As with the extended warranty, you can complete the claim online or over the phone. In the case of theft, a police report is required by most credit card companies to file a claim.

5. Cellphone Insurance

Yet another type of insurance you may have with your credit card, like all consumer cards issued by Wells Fargo, is cellphone insurance coverage. It can really come in handy if your phone is broken, damaged, lost, or stolen. If your outside insurance doesn’t cover it or you have none to start with, it’s a good supplemental policy.

Here are a few of our favorite credit cards with cellphone insurance:

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

  • Receive 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Receive up to $600 in cellphone protection
  • Pay $0 annual fee

(The information related to Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card has been collected by CardRates.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.)

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

  • Receive 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Earn 3x points on eating out and ordering in, gas, and travel
  • Pay $0 annual fee

(The information related to Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has been collected by CardRates.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.)

You do have to pay your monthly cellphone bill with the card to qualify and there are plenty of exceptions. As always, check the policy’s restrictions. But if it works, you’ll save a bundle by not having to buy a new device. In general, you will need to file a claim within a couple of months of the incident, then complete and send the documents within three months.

6. Rental Car Insurance

Pay for a rental car with your rewards credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and chances are the car rental insurance is covered. With this benefit, you may avoid having to pay for the expensive waivers, such as Collision Damage and Loss Damage. Those extras can cost up to $50 a day, which will really add up if you’re going on an extended trip. The cards below provide rental car insurance so you don’t have to incur the extra cost.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.74% - 25.74% Variable
$450
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

CITI® RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • Get 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 18 months. Balance transfers must be made within the first 4 months of account opening
  • Citi® Price Rewind searches for lower prices online for 60 days for your registered purchases
  • $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • Experience great benefits like VIP packages to concerts, sporting events and more with access to Citi® Private Pass®
  • No annual fee
  • Free access to FICO® Scores
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 18 months
0% for 18 months
15.99% - 25.99% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

Make sure you’re properly covered, though. Contact the credit card issuer first and talk it out or visit the website and read over the coverage details. In the event that something goes wrong with the car and the insurance covers the damage, just file a claim with your credit card company.

7. Concierge Service

Want help reserving a table at a popular restaurant, procuring entertainment or sporting event tickets, or booking a flight or hotel room? What about recommendations for unique spots to visit while you’re in a foreign city? Although you can do all these things yourself, it’s nice to have a helpful professional at the ready.

If you have a premium credit card, it probably includes concierge service, which means you can get that assistance — all it takes is a phone call to the company’s concierge line. The following cards, among other premium travel cards like the Citi Prestige and Amex Platinum Card, offer concierge services to its cardholders:

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.74% - 25.74% Variable
$450
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

Concierge service is a free, convenient, time-saving perk that can be utilized for a variety of wants and needs, just be sure to check your issuer’s website for complete offerings and details.

8. Free Checked Bags

You may have applied for that travel card for all the points you can accumulate when you buy things and turn them into free airfare (among other things). But don’t forget what else the card can do for you, including picking up tabs for checked bags.

Checking your luggage in at the airport can cost up to $60 per bag, but if you used the right credit card to purchase your ticket — even if you bought it with points — the cost for at least one bag is waived. It may even include the fee for one or more people who are on the same reservation.

To use this benefit, just book the flight and select the number of bags you’ll be checking. You’ll see that you won’t be charged the checked bag fee. Most cards that offer this perk are co-branded airline credit cards, such as the JetBlue Plus Card issued by Barclays, the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card issued by Bank of America, or the United MileagePlus cards.

9. Travel Protection

Before buying travel protection, contact your credit card issuer to see if it already covers it. If yours does, you will have at least a basic level of protection against the cost of a trip being canceled and lost or stolen luggage. Here are our favorite cards with travel protection:

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.74% - 25.74% Variable
$450
Good/Excellent

To be eligible for this benefit, you have to put the cost of the flight on your card and file a claim with the credit card company. Just be sure you understand what it covers — if it’s not enough, you’ll want to increase it with a separate insurance policy.

10. Free Credit Scores

Reviewing your credit scores on a regular basis is important since it will give you valuable insight into your ever-changing creditworthiness. Getting the scores can be a pain though, and some, like FICO, come at a cost.

Want an easy, fast, and free way to get them? Head over to your credit card company’s website. Many of the major issuers from American Express to Wells Fargo offer complimentary FICO scores to their cardholders, including the three below:

Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74 - 25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Capital One, however, gives out VantageScores.

11. Discounts on Goods and Services

You may be able to get all kinds of cool things for less if you take advantage of card-linked offer programs. Retailers partner with credit card companies to give cardholders special discounts or cash back rewards on purchases.

For example, Bank of America offers BankAmeriDeals, American Express has Amex Offers, and Chase recently launched Chase Offers. What is available at any given time will be advertised on the credit card company’s app, website, or it will be emailed to you.

Taking advantage of this benefit is easy: identify what you’re interested in by activating the offer on the card’s app and then charge the purchase to the card. At check-out, the discount or extra cash back points will be immediately applied.

Make the Most of Your Rewards Card

All of these “hidden” benefits can help you get the most out of your credit card. Use them wisely, and if you ever have any questions about how it works, many of the full policies are provided online or you can reach out to your credit card company and ask for clarification. It’s always best to familiarize yourself with the perk before you attempt to use it.