Yourisn’t just limited to the purchases you make. With so many credit card companies (and money), the perks, benefits and rewards are getting better.
Sure, rental insurance coverage and extended warranties are all but guaranteed when you get a new credit card, but not every card offers the same rewards. Before you sign up for a new credit card, or you just want to see what your current card offers, check out the best hidden credit card perks you might be missing out on.
1. Enhanced cash-back rewards
Maybe you’ve seen cash-back rewards for up to 3% on standard items, like dining or gas. These standard cash-back cards offer cash (or statement credits) for large purchase categories. But some warehouse cards might offer higher rewards when you shop at their store. For example, the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi will give you 4% back on gas, up to $7,000 for the first year. But there are some cards that go above and beyond.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express*, for example, offers 6% cash back at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), plus earn 6% cash back on select US streaming subscriptions (terms apply). Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. The Chase Freedom card has a revolving 5% cash back. It changes every quarter, letting you maximize your 5% rewards when you spend at different places. With a Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card, you could earn 8% cash back when you buy tickets to sporting events, concerts and theater events.
2. TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
The airport TSA line is never the place to be. Luckily, there are a few credit cards who will(which also includes PreCheck), which means you get to join these programs for free. PreCheck gets you through security much faster domestically and lets you forego removing your shoes, jacket and laptop in the security screening area. Global Entry covers all of that and expedites you through customs on international trips.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, for instance, will give you up to a $100 credit towards the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee. So does the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Keep in mind that both of these cards charge an annual fee (nothing is really ever free, is it?).
3. Hotel goodies
A free hotel breakfast sounds delicious but isn’t always part of the package when you book your room. Some cards offer rewards in the form of perks during your next hotel stay.
With The Platinum Card® from American Express*, you get freebies just for being a cardholder. For instance, daily breakfast for two, possible room upgrades (think from a standard room to a suite), checkouts as late as 4 p.m. and free Wi-Fi, if necessary, when booking a Fine Hotels + Resorts stay through American Express Travel (terms apply).
The Platinum Card has a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees), which is fine if you travel often. It might be a hefty price to pay if you only leave town a couple of times a year though.
4. Extended warranties
Rather than splurging for an extended warranty at the store, use your credit card instead for no extra charge. For example, most Citi credit cards offer a two-year extended warranty, and the coverage begins when the manufacturer’s warranty expires.
Not all credit cards offer extended warranties, and each card may have a different definition of what one is and what’s covered. Check to see what the limitations or exclusions are on a card before applying for it.
Some credit cards also offer purchase protection, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which covers up to $10,000 purchases for 120 days in the event the product is lost, stolen or damaged. Like extended warranties, read the fine print closely to ensure it meets your expectations in the event you’ll need to cash in on the benefit.
5. Flight perks
Whether it’s a seat upgrade or a free checked bag, you can take advantage of your credit card when you take to the skies.
With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card*, you can get a domestic flight companion certificate for a friend every year you renew the card (taxes and fees of no more than $75 still apply). You’ll also get your first checked bag free for every person on your reservation (up to nine people). There’s also access to the Delta Sky Club, the airline’s airport lounge, which could then give you access to meals and drinks for free or at a discount. Rewards cards like these often come with “mileage boosts” for your airline status. And, as expected, there is almost always an annual fee.
Keep an eye out for generous intro bonuses to make that annual fee more worthwhile.
If you have family visiting, need to take the kids out, or just want to learn more about what’s in your city, you don’t always have to pay for it.
Bank of America cards, for instance, will give you access to museums for free on the first full weekend of the month. Some cards will give you an introductory offer — everything from a statement credit to extra points — as a sign-up bonus.
Most credit card companies offer free access to your credit score. That means you can keep tabs on how you’re doing without having to pay for it. While checking your credit report is good and you can nab yourself a copy for free at AnnualCreditReport.com, it’s a good idea to see your credit score as often as possible. That means as fast as once a week or for some, monthly.
Freebies can rotate and change depending on the card. What’s available today might not be around tomorrow. Shop around and compare freebies to see which ones can net you the best return.
*All information about the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, The Platinum Card from American Express, and the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card from American Express, click here
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article, including program features, program fees, and credits available through credit cards to apply to such programs, may change from time-to-time and are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please check the credit card provider’s website and review its terms and conditions for the most current offers and information.