Depending on whom you talk to, credit cards are either good, bad, or good and bad.
I think credit cards are great when you use them for purchases you would make anyway (i.e. not impulse spending) and are diligent in ensuring your balances are cleared within the “grace” period.
Most credit cards come with some form of reward. The popular ones are rewards points and cash back.
For example, we do most of our grocery shopping at the Real Canadian Superstore, and use the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard to maximize our PC Optimum rewards points (x3) that we then later redeem for groceries and other household items – over $1,800 in points in the last 3 years! Even better, the card comes with no annual fees.
In addition to the rewards and convenience of using credit cards, there may be other juicy benefits offered by your credit cards that you are not utilizing or even aware of.
This is because not many people pay attention to the benefits sheet that comes alongside their credit cards when they first receive them in the mail (I know I didn’t until recently). As such, there may be other perks offered by your plastic which you may not know you had.
I discuss some valuable (but often well hidden) credit card perks below:
The credit card company may offer you an extended warranty of up to 1 year after the manufacturer’s or store warranty expires. This can save you some real money by providing extra protection and remove the need to purchase additional warranties at the store.
There may be some exceptions to the warranty. For example, some items may not be covered, there may be maximum amount per claim, etc.
For example, we had bought a blender that lasted for around 1 year and 3 weeks and because the manufacturer’s warranty was 1 year, we just threw it out. It was only about a year later that I realized the credit card used to purchase the blender offered extended warranty for an additional year on top of the manufacturer’s warranty! 🙁
Imagine buying that big-ticket TV set and then it goes on a 50% sale the following week?!
While some stores may offer some type of price protection, you credit card may also have you covered. If your credit card benefits include price protection, it means they will match prices and refund you the difference in purchase price for some items if sold at a lower price within the validity period (30-90 days).
Related: How Your Credit Score is Calculated
Different stores have their different return policies. Some credit cards extend the period during which you can return an item you purchased when you use your credit card – up to 90 days.
This gives you some additional time to mull over that new purchase and decide if you want to keep it or not. Note that in some cases you may have to pay shipping costs.
Theft and Damage Protection
Many credit cards come with some form of purchase protection that protects against accidental damage or theft up to a specified amount and within a timeframe – usually within 90 days of purchase.
You will need proof of purchase e.g. receipt or credit card statement. In cases of theft, you will also need to get a police report.
Your credit card may offer one or more of several kinds of travel benefits including:
- Trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance
- Lost luggage insurance
- Accident insurance
- Free checked bag
- Priority check-in and boarding
- Airport lounge access
- Lower foreign transaction fees when you use your credit card abroad…
For frequent travellers, these benefits can translate into significant savings.
Free or paid concierge services may be available through your credit card company. They can help you with making hotel reservations, buying tickets, setting up appointments, translation services, locating places or items for you – like your lost luggage, etc.
It is like having your very own personal assistant. 🙂
Rental Car Insurance
Many credit cards offer free rental car insurance coverage.
Before you purchase that supplemental insurance for your rental, check if your credit card already provides adequate protection. There may be coverage exclusions, such as for antiques, motorbikes, luxury cars, etc.
In addition, your personal car insurance may already provide coverage for a rental vehicle. Check how long you are covered for.
Your credit card may offer roadside assistance that is just as good or beats CAA. In order to avoid nasty surprises, check out the terms of the offer and what is covered.
Perks available through your credit cards will depend on the type of credit card you have. Some benefits are pretty much standard, while others may only be available through premium cards that come with significant annual fees.
One obvious thing to note is that you need to have used your credit card to pay for an item or service in order for you to claim some of the benefits listed above.
It is important that you find time to read the small print in your credit card’s benefit sheet and all terms and conditions. This way you can ensure you are utilizing all the benefits available.
What other credit card benefits are you aware of?
Do you want to earn cash-back on your online purchases? Use Ebates when shopping at your favourite retailers (700 + stores) including Amazon, Hudson Bay, Ebay, Nike, Best Buy, FootLocker, Expedia, Home Depot … for discounts and real cash-back.
If you would like to have articles like this delivered to your inbox once a week, you can subscribe to my newsletter using the opt-in form below or on the sidebar. You can also follow me on Facebook.