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You’ve studied credit cards to recognize which sign-up bonus offers are best. You’ve taken extra care to understand which time of year will deliver additional points in certain spending categories. You’ve researched hotels and airlines to know where you can make the most of the stockpile of points in your account. But have you spent time comparing the small details of credit cards? If you haven’t, you may be missing out on some of the lesser-known benefits of using that piece of plastic in your wallet. Here’s a look at some of the most powerful credit card perks that may have gotten lost during your points research.
1. Travel Cancellation and Interruption Coverage
There are so many reasons your travel plans might be interrupted. Your flight might get canceled. You might get sick. You might get laid off from your job. In the event of travel delays or disruptions, the Citi Prestige Card will be your best friend. The card covers up to $5,000 per person, per trip for a range of reasons that might postpone or cancel your travel plans. With this card in your wallet, you’ll be free from the worry of paying for unused tickets and hotel reservations.
2. Price Protection
You bought a new flat-screen TV for $550. As soon as you turn it on, you see an advertisement for the same TV for $495. If you’re carrying the Chase Freedom card, you’ll be able to qualify for a $55 refund. You’ll have to file a claim within 90 days of the purchase, but the small hassle is well worth the extra work. Chase will refund up to $500 per purchase and up to $2,500 each year with this policy — other cards from the issuer also offer price protection, but make sure to read the terms and conditions for the specifics. Citi also offers a Price Rewind benefit that gets you a refund when you purchase an item with an eligible card and there’s a price drop within 60 days of the transaction.
3. Free Foreign Transactions
Many cards charge an additional 2 or 3 percent of the purchase price for transactions in different currencies, which means that any rewards points you earn will be negated by the additional foreign transaction fees. So, if you’re planning a trip out of the country, consider applying for Chase Sapphire Preferred, Citi ThankYou Premier Card or any of the other top cards that won’t charge any additional fees for spending while you’re traveling.
4. Exclusive Early Access
Your favorite band is about to launch ticket sales for an upcoming global tour, and you want to make sure you can be there without forking over insane amounts of cash on the secondary market after it sells out in five minutes. If you’re an American Express cardholder, you may be able to reserve your seats before the public on-sale date. American Express has a partnership with Ticketmaster that gives members first dibs on a number of concerts. Earlier this year, the issuer even offered cardholders the opportunity to score presale Hamilton tickets at a reduced price.
5. Free Entry
Want to go learn about American history? Looking to become an expert in modern art? If you have a BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card — or any card from Bank of America or Merrill Lynch — you can enjoy a variety of cultural sightseeing excursions for free. It’s part of the Museums on Us program. On the first full weekend of each month, you can flash your credit card and photo ID for free entry at a range of museums. For example, in my hometown of Chicago, the program will save me $20 on general admission to the renowned Art Institute of Chicago.
In addition to perks that last throughout the year, many credit cards also offer one-off benefits on certain days. Check out how American Express is rewarding its cardholders in New York City with free Uber rides.
What are your favorite lesser-known credit card perks?
With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards