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- Many credit cards have lesser-known benefits that can be extremely valuable like travel insurance, cell phone protection, airport lounge access, and more.
- These benefits vary significantly by card, so you’ll need to look into the exact details about the card(s) you have or are interested in.
- We’ve listed some of our favorite cards with each benefit in this article.
There are all kinds of credit cards out there — store cards, travel cards, transferable points cards, and more.
When it comes to choosing the best card for you, there are a lot of different card benefits to consider. Most of us have gotten pretty used to comparing cash-back rates and deciding whether we want a card that’s geared toward travel or not.
However, there are a lot of other really valuable benefits that some credit card issuers are starting to add to their cards, and they’re definitely not benefits you want to ignore. Some of these benefits can save you hundreds of dollars per year!
Here are a few great benefits that you might not know about and cards that come with them.
Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.
When you’re working to earn credit card rewards, it’s important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically,treat your credit card like a debit card.
1. Trip delay and cancellation insurance
Many credit cards with an annual fee that are issued by Citi and Chase come with trip delay and cancellation insurance.
Depending on what card you have, the point at which the coverage will kick in varies. For example, theChase Sapphire Preferred Cardrequires a delay of at least 12 hours while theChase Sapphire Reserveonly needs a six-hour delay. TheCiti Prestige Card, which is currently closed to new applicants, also covers delays starting at six hours, but generally does not offer coverage for missed connections. Most cards offer up to $500 per passenger in trip delay coverage.
If you have to cancel a trip for covered reasons, your credit card may also reimburse you for nonrefundable expenses related to your trip. All of the cards mentioned above have some sort of trip cancellation insurance, but the terms vary slightly from card to card.
In order to have the trip delay and cancellation insurance apply, you must have paid for your airfare with your credit card and fill out a claim if you need to use your insurance.
Notably, American Express does not have impressive benefits when it comes to trip delays and cancellations, so if this is a benefit that would be useful to you, you may not want to rely on an American Express card for your travel purchases.
2. Lost and delayed baggage insurance
Similar to the trip delay and cancellation insurance, a number of cards also cover you if your bags are lost or delayed when you travel. Again, terms vary somewhat, but most cards with this benefit provide up to $100 per day for a maximum of five days if your bag is delayed or will reimburse up to $500 for a lost bag. Some of the best cards with these benefits include theChase Sapphire PreferredandChase Sapphire Reserve.
3. Airport lounge access
When it comes to lounge access, things get a little more crazy because it really depends what type of lounge access you are after. Ultra-premium credit cards from all major issuers offer a Priority Pass membership that will get you into over 1,000 lounges and restaurants world wide. TheChase Sapphire Reserve,The Platinum Card® from American Express, and theHilton Honors Aspire Card from American Expressare a few that come with this benefit. Even theHilton Honors American Express Ascend Cardoffers you 10 Priority Pass lounge visits per year.
If you’re more interested in lounge membership with a specific airline, your options look a little different. You can get theUnited MileagePlus Club Cardto get access to United Clubs, theCiti/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercardto get access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs, or theDelta Reserve® Credit Card from American Expressto get access to Delta SkyClubs. Additionally, AmEx Platinum cardholders can get into Delta SkyClubs when traveling on Delta same-day, but with no free guests.
Those who have theAmEx Platinumcan also get into American Express Centurion Lounges.
4. Cell phone insurance
Why bother paying extra for cell phone insurance when you might be able to get it as an included benefit with a credit card? There are a handful of credit cards that offer cell phone insurance, and the benefits and requirements vary slightly depending on the card (just like all of the other benefits). TheChase Ink Business Preferred Credit Cardand theWells Fargo Propel American Express® Cardare two of the best options if you’re looking for cell phone protection through your credit card.
The Ink Business Preferred has protection that is subject to a $100 deductible and you can have a maximum of three claims per calendar year with a maximum benefit of $600 per claim and $1,800 per year. You must pay your cell phone bill each month with this card in order to have the insurance benefit apply.
The Wells Fargo Propel also requires that you pay your monthly bill with the card each month and will cover up to $600 per claim, but with only a $25 deductible. You can max a maximum of two claims per year, but notably, the coverage will not cover lost phones. This is still a pretty great deal for a card without an annual fee.
5. Purchase protection and return protection
Two final related benefits that may really come in handy are purchase protection and return protection. Unfortunately, many cards have removed these benefits in the past year, but some cards still have them.
Purchase protection covers you if something happens to a purchase you make within a specific time period after purchasing. Return protection allows you to make returns of items for a specific time period even if the store you made the purchase from won’t take the item back.
Again, exact terms of these benefits vary, so you will want to look up the requirements and limits associated with your card or the card you are thinking about getting. A couple of good cards with purchase protection are theUnited MileagePlus Club Card,American Express® Gold Card, andCitiDouble Cash Card.
There are a ton of other cards that have these benefits though, so don’t despair if your card isn’t listed here!
The bottom line
Certain benefits of cards like cash back or points are really easy to consider, but there are a ton of other super-valuable benefits that your card could offer that you might not know about. Purchase protection, travel insurance, and lounge access are just a few of the benefits that you might be missing out on. Even if you don’t have a card with any of these benefits, you may want to look into a card that does have them because it could save you in the long run.
Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy
Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy
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