Credit cards offer customers several advantages over using cash, checks, and even debit cards. They are secure and convenient methods of payment that can also be used to finance purchases. In addition, many cards offer rewards for spending in the form of points, miles, or cash back. But what many cardholders may not appreciate is that there are valuable perks available to holders of particular cards.
Here are five of the most important benefits to look for when shopping for a credit card:
1. Travel provider benefits. Many credit cards are offered by travel providers such as airlines and hotels, and these cards can feature benefits that can make your journey much smoother. For example, airline credit cards like the United Mileage Plus Explorer card from Chase provide priority boarding, free checked bags, and discounts on in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and entertainment. Other high end cards like the American Airlines AAdvantage Executive card from Citi even offer airport lounge access. In addition, hotel credit cards such as the Hilton HHonors Surpass from American Express can offer free Internet service, late check-outs, and even room upgrades.
2. Fee credits. One of the more recent trends in credit card benefits is cards that offer statement credits towards travel fees. Several cards now offer to reimburse customers baggage fees, seat selection charges, and in-flight purchases, up to an annual maximum. For example, the Citi Prestige card offers a $250 annual air travel fee credit, while the American Express Platinum features a $200 annual air travel credit.
3. Price protection. Don't you hate that feeling when you make a purchase, only to realize soon afterwards that the item became available for a lower cost? To help with this problem, some credit cards offer a price protection policy that reimburses customers for the difference in price if a purchased item experiences a price drop within a limited period. In most cases, cardholders must file a claim, but Citi's Price Rewind service will issue credits automatically if a registered item can be found elsewhere at a lower cost.
4. Return guarantee. Most retailers will allow you to make purchases very quickly and easily, but some will make it difficult to return items. Yet credit card issuers offer return guarantees that provides a refund if a covered item is not accepted for return within a designated time period.
5. Travel insurance. Your credit card can offer a wealth of travel insurance policies that can be very valuable when on the road. For example, automobile rental insurance can prevent you from needing to purchase costly policies from the rental car agency, while baggage insurance can offer reimbursement if your checked luggage is lost or delayed. Even trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance is available. Finally, travel accident insurance can help protect you in the event of a disaster.
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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.