If you have a rewards-based credit card, or are thinking of applying for one, you likely know about the various standard perks that are offered. The most well-known of these rewards include cashback for buying certain goods, and points you can use to "shop" through catalogs.
But some credit card companies are going a bit further. Read the fine print on your rewards card and you may find an unusual perk that could save you money. Below are some of the lesser-known perks that we've found that, while sometimes uncommon, are extremely useful. Many people don't even realize that their card provides some of these benefits, so it's worth checking to see if you can avail of any of these bonuses so you stop paying for things you don't need to.
1. Get Reimbursed if Your Trip Is Delayed
As we all know, many credit cards come with various travel perks; you can earn miles (as long as you keep track of them), save on rental cars, and get insurance when you're traveling for business or pleasure. But did you know that some cards will reward you if your trip is delayed? With trip delay reimbursement, if you book a flight using your credit card and that flight is delayed overnight (or longer), you'll be reimbursed for hotel stays, extra travel expenses, or even the food you bought while waiting. For more info on the best credit cards for travel, check out our guide here.
2. A Free Extended Warranty
It's a funny truth of life: buy an extended warranty, and you'll never use it. Skip it to save money, and whatever you bought will need repaired as soon as the standard warranty ends. You may feel like you can't win, but you might have won already if you're carrying the right credit card.
Some credit cards offer automatic extended warranties (up to a year or more) on purchases you make with the card. If you have a problem, and can't get assistance through the basic warranty, your credit card company will replace, repair, or reimburse you for the item.
3. Automatic Price Matching
If you've ever bought something in a store and then seen it online for less, you know the importance — and frustration — of comparison shopping and savvy timing. But even with a ton of research, you still might find a lower price after you've made a purchase.
Enter Citi Price Rewind. With this perk, purchases you make on your Citi card are tracked automatically. If the same item is found at least $25 lower within 30 days of purchase, you'll be reimbursed the difference, according to Citi.
4. Make Big Purchases Interest-Free
If you're a member of the Coastal Federal Credit Union, you'll get the option to forgo interest charges on big single purchases for up to six months with the Big Ticket Card. Better yet, the interest doesn't accumulate during that time. After the six months is up, you'll only pay interest on the remaining balance going forward.
5. Give Back to Charity Automatically
Some credit card companies help you support the charities that are important to you. For example, with the World Wildlife Fund Card offered by Bank of America, the charity receives $5 for every newly activated card, .25% of every net retail purchase, and another $5 for every year a card is renewed, according to the bank.
6. Cell Phone Replacement Without the Insurance
Cell phones are expensive and fragile. You can get third party cell phone insurance to repair or replace your damaged device, but the monthly premiums aren't cheap, and you may end up paying more than you would have spent replacing your broken phone. It's a gamble, and one you might not have to take if you're carrying certain credit cards.
Some credit card companies offer cell phone protection. If you bought your device or pay your bill with your credit card, the company will repair or replace your phone if it's damaged, lost, or stolen. You'll have to pay a deductible, but you won't have a monthly premium to deal with.
7. Get Cashback at the Register
Most grocery stores, drugstores, and other retailers will give you cashback at the register if you make a purchase. It saves you a trip to the ATM, but it typically only works with debit cards — unless you're carrying an eligible Discover card. Discover's Cash-Over program lets you get cash back at retailers with your credit card, without any added fees. However, your normal APR applies.
8. Extended Return Times
One of the best things about holiday shopping is the extended return times offered by retailers. Shopping is a lot easier when you know you have 60 days or more to return something if it doesn't work out. For most of us, that perk only comes once a year. But some credit card companies offer to refund your purchase if you didn't get to return the item by the store's deadline. The purchase must have been made with your credit card and it must be in new condition.
9. Wish Fulfillment
While it isn't quite as good as having your own genie in a bottle, you may be able to choose your own reward if you're carrying a Citi card. Citi customers can log on to ThankYou.com to see a host of pre-selected rewards to spend their accrued points on. But if you can't find anything you like, you can also ask a "Points Concierge" to help you create your own reward. You'd likely have to earn several thousand points to be able to cash in on most custom rewards, but it's better than the standard product catalogs.
Readers, what are some of your favorite "lesser-known" credit card perks? Does your card provide any bonuses that have saved you serious time, cash, or both? Let us know in the comments below!