That might sound like plenty, but the unexpected benefits you’re unaware of could end up helping you the most.
Not all issuers offer these credit card perks — and if they do, they come with limitations — but they’re worth asking about, not only on your existing cards but any you may apply for in the future.
8 unexpected credit card benefits
1. Extended warranty
Why limit yourself to the manufacturer’s warranty if you can tack on an extra year simply by paying with your credit card? Of the credit card issuers that offer this benefit, most will extend an item’s warranty by an additional 12 months.
As is the case with all credit card perks, limitations apply. You may have between 30 and 60 days to file the claim after the item breaks. Eligible items must already have a manufacturer’s warranty attached to them (a copy of which you should expect to provide with your claim, along with a copy of the receipt).
Exclusions vary depending on the credit card policy, but normal wear and tear and losses due to natural disaster aren’t covered pretty much across the board.
2. Purchase security
Few things are more frustrating — or costly — than having your brand new gadget broken, lost, or stolen.
You don’t have to worry about that for eligible purchases made with a credit card that offers this perk. If you break it, lose it, or it gets stolen, you’re covered for the damage or loss. Purchase security may repair, replace, or reimburse you for it.
Specifics vary among credit card policies, but you typically have 90 days to file the claim after the item is broken, lost, or stolen. You may see reimbursement limitations ranging from $500 to $10,000.
3. Price protection
No matter how much pre-purchase research you do, sometimes you find a better deal after it’s too late. With your credit card’s price protection perk, you can get a second chance.
If you make an eligible purchase with a credit card that offers price protection, the credit card issuer may reimburse you for the difference.
Generally, you can expect to have between 60 and 120 days from the date of purchase to file your claim. You may also see reimbursements limited to between $250 and $500 per item, as well as an annual cap on this benefit.
4. Return protection
As generous as return policies are these days, they aren’t user-friendly at every retailer. Maybe you don’t know you need to return something until six weeks later, or maybe you’re unable to return it within the required timeframe.
If you pay with a credit card that offers return protection, you may have up to 90 days to get a refund. After filing a claim with the credit card issuer, you may be asked to mail them the item that the store won’t take back.
Policies vary, but may require that the item was purchased in the U.S., has never been worn or used, and doesn’t fall into an ineligible return category (such as art, jewelry, or cell phones). You should also expect limited refunds, from $250 to $500.
5. Auto rental collision insurance
If you already pay for comprehensive coverage and your insurance company covers rentals, you probably don’t need to buy additional coverage through a rental car company (as hard as they might try to convince you otherwise).
But if you pay for the rental with a credit card that offers auto rental collision insurance, then you can take advantage of its supplemental coverage for some expenses your regular insurance doesn’t cover. (Just be sure to turn down the rental car company coverage; otherwise, the insurance through your credit card is null and void.)
6. Roadside assistance
Sure, you could pay AAA the annual fee for roadside assistance, but if your credit card offers roadside assistance, you only pay for help if and when you use it.
If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, call the listed number and your credit card issuer can coordinate a tow, tire change, or other minor fix. You’re charged on a per-use basis, and the amount is billed directly to your card.
7. Travel protection
Exact perks vary by card, but check to see if any of the following is covered before your next trip.
- Baggage insurance. If your luggage is lost or damaged, baggage insurance may cover the cost of replacing the items. Even if the luggage is ultimately returned to you safe and sound, you may be reimbursed for basic necessities you had to buy during the delay.
- Trip cancellation insurance. If you paid for tickets with a credit card that offers this perk, you may be reimbursed for the loss if your trip was canceled for an eligible reason.
- Travel accident insurance. Similar to a life insurance policy, travel accident insurance typically pays out in the event of death or dismemberment. Qualifying circumstances are limited.
For instance, incidents aren’t covered simply because it happens while on vacation — it must happen on an eligible mode of transportation, such as a plane, train, or boat.
8. Emergency travel assistance
No matter how resourceful you are, there are some things you may not be able to figure out on your own when you’re in a strange place.
That’s where emergency travel assistance comes in handy. It’s a concierge service of sorts, which offers credit card holders a number to call with questions on topics ranging from trip planning and legal referrals to security advice and medical help.
Read the fine print
These unexpected credit card benefits can also come with unexpected disappointment if you don’t know the rules:
- There are caps on how much you may be reimbursed.
- There are deadlines for when claims must be filed.
- Supporting documentation may be required.
- There are restrictions on what’s covered and what’s not.
Credit card benefits are only as helpful as your knowledge of them. Find out what kind of coverage you have and make sure you know the right way to use it — it could mean big savings in the future.
In the market for a new card? Compare credit cards and their benefits here and find one that fits you best.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|