At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.
In this article:
Combing through your credit card's terms and conditions statement isn't exactly the most exciting activity, especially because it typically includes information on credit card fees and interest rates.
But in some cases, that fine print can also be a treasure trove of exciting, hidden credit card benefits you didn't know about—perks that can save you both time and money. Most card issuers highlight major benefits, like cash back or travel rewards, but don't bother to advertise other perks because they're not typically major marketing tools.
We've highlighted 10 secret credit card benefits you might not be taking advantage of already. Check with your credit card issuer to find out what you have access to that you aren't taking advantage of already.
1. Price Protection
There's nothing worse than buying an item, only to find a lower price a few weeks after the fact. While some stores will give you a price adjustment if their price drops within a few days of your purchase, that's not usually the case and it especially doesn't apply if you find a lower price at another retailer. Your credit card may offer a provision for this situation and refund you the difference.
2. Extended Warranty Coverage
Electronic items often come with their own limited warranty coverage that can last a few months up to a year. But what if you damage your new gadget after the warranty has expired?
If you purchased it with a credit card that offers extended warranty coverage, the card issuer my replace your item or reimburse you. In most cases, you have to submit some documents, but for big-ticket items, it's going to be worth it. Before you make a big purchase, it's worth checking which of your cards offer this service and using that one to pay for it.
3. Return Guarantees
Sometimes you buy something that ended up being the wrong purchase—only to find out that the store won't accept the return because it's too late. Check with your card issuer to find out of they offer a return guarantee in which they'll give you a refund.
4. Cell Phone Protection
Smartphones can cost hundreds of dollars, and if they get damaged or stolen, your credit card issuer may be able to bail you out. You generally have to pay for your monthly wireless bill with the credit card that offers this perk.
The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card gives you up to $600 of protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft of a cell phone whose monthly bill you pay with the card. In most situations, you will have to prove theft with documentation, like a police report.
5. Trip Cancellation Insurance
You've been planning a vacation for months, but at the last minute your plans fall through, whether it's due to illness, disastrous weather at your destination, or a death in the family.
If you booked your trip with a credit card that offers some kind of travel insurance, you may be able to get all or some of your money back. Card policies vary, however, on the amount and in what situations they'll cover a canceled trip, so be sure to check before you book your travel.
Certain Citi cards will cover up to $5000 per traveler per trip in the case of illness, of the cardholder, as well as a number of other situations. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will round up to $10,000 per trip for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses if your trip is canceled or cut short by illness, severe weather, or certain other situations.
Your credit card may offer other types of trip insurance, as well, like lost or delayed baggage protection or trip interruption insurance. For details, see our piece on the various types of travel insurance offered by credit card issuers.
6. Emergency Travel Assistance
There's nothing scarier than being in a strange place and having to deal with an unexpected emergency. Your credit card issuer may help you with emergency travel assistance.
All Visa Signature and Visa TravelMoney cardholders, for example, can take advantage of Visa's Travel and Emergency Assistance Services to get help finding a referral for medical, legal, and transportation assistance, in addition to other services. You can access this service for free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
7. Free Museum Entrance
Everybody deserves a little culture, and your credit card may make getting your dose a little easier by offering free or discounted museum access.
Bank of America credit or debit cardholders can take advantage of the bank's "Museums on Us" program, which offers free general admission on the first full weekend of every month.
For a list of participating museums, visit the program website. You can get into popular places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Art Institute of Chicago.
8. Access to Special Events and Concerts
Buying concert tickets in this day and age can be stressful, especially when they first go on sale and everyone is vying for good seats. Some card issuers will offer presale or preferred seating tickets for in-demand shows and sporting events.
Citi Private Pass is one such program.
9. Concierge Services
Wouldn't it be nice to have a personal assistant who can help you score difficult restaurant reservations, or figure out the best places to stay on an upcoming trip? You might already have access to such a service.
If you have a Visa Signature® card, take advantage of their concierge service that can help you 24 hours a day. Certain American Express cards offer concierge services that will do everything from helping you book a private jet to arranging a business meeting.
ShopRunner is a shopping service that offers unlimited free 2-day shipping, free return shipping, exclusive deals and more.
Membership costs $79 a year, but it's free for American Express, and Mastercard World and World Elite cardholders. All you have to do is activate your membership with your card at the ShopRunner website.