3 credit card perks you have (but probably don’t know about)

Ramit Sethi · July 17th, 2008

My friend Paul Singh (of the productivity blog was telling me about some interesting perks from his credit card, so I asked him to write it up for everyone. I don’t have strong feelings one way or another about AmEx, but these are great examples of some of the benefits that your credit card probably offers — but you don’t know about.

Note: His annual fee is enough to make me stuff my head in a plastic bag and tie it closed with adamantium, but you have most of these perks on your credit card for free.

In case you didn’t know already, all AmEx cards come with something they call Return Protection:

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  • No More Shopping Regrets – Return Protection offers guaranteed product satisfaction on designated items purchased entirely with an eligible American Express® Card.
  • 90 Days of Protection – If you try to return an eligible item purchased in the U.S. within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express will refund the purchase price.
  • Up to $300 Coverage – You are covered for up to $300 per item, excluding shipping and handling, up to $1,000 annually per Card account.

I’m planning on using this for an iPhone I bought for my wife 2 weeks ago (assuming the new iPhone is available within 90 days of the purchase date). They’ve got a few other nice perks with their personal cards.

Also, I really like the free extended warranties – I used that on a $5K TV I bought last year and it’s nice to know that I’m covered for an extra year after the factory warranty runs out – for free. On top of that, all the travel coverages are awesome – I lost my card in Vegas last month and they overnighted me a new Platinum card. To make sure I could still party it up, they offered to have the hotel concierge drop off some AmEx travelers checks to my room within an hour.

The way I look at it, I pay $600 ($450 for mine and $150 my wife’s) per year for the Platinum Card – that’s $50/month. I get all the free coverages I talked about up above, some additional Platinum-level goodies (like airport lounge access, free complimentary airline tickets and more) and a 24/7/365 concierge that will do my bidding.

Remember, you don’t need to pay a huge amount to get these benefits. Most credit cards, including yours, come with standard benefits, including a complimentary extended warranty of an extra year on electronic purchases (e.g., iPods and cellphones — most people don’t know about this!). They also offer automatic car-rental insurance, plus the ability to dispute charges if you got a lemon from a retailer.

Compare credit cards at, and check out my list of credit-card links.

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  1. anotherguy

    Has Paul Singh used the feature?? Thats a different story all together. What usually happens is they OUTSOURCE these warranties or features to smaller companies who 7 out of 10 times will deny you.

    When you try to use these services, your CC company will ask u to call some 1-800 number where you wait for ages for your turn….this is a technique I believe to make you frustrated and give up. Then they will put you on hold for another 30 minutes, and then ask for for the ORIGINAL RECEIPT of something you bought 9 months ago and a credit card statement is NOT enough….well u get the picture.

    Trust me, I have had my share of ‘extended’ warranties by 3rd parties. They dont work. If they do, ur a lucky bastard.

  2. Payday guy

    I like using an American Express card. Their services are actually worth paying for and they treat you like a real customer which makes the purchase worthwhile.

    I really like their protection plan. I used it outside of the U.S. and they helped me resolve an issue that I had when my wallet was taken.

    If you are going to use American Express overseas don’t be surprised if it isn’t accepted in many places. I found it very difficult to find a place where I could use it.

  3. Devin Reams

    I can’t speak from experience but the first comment may be true. While Amex has awesome customer service, some of their services are outsourced to less-than-helpful groups.

    I often check FlyerTalk to see what others’ experiences are.

  4. anotherguy

    card replacement is not a perk in my believe. Its a must for them to keep me as a customer.

  5. A perk that my Visa card issued by Wells Fargo has is cell phone replacement insurance if I pay the entire bill with the card. Well i never use the card for anything except paying my cell phone bill. Wells Fargo is glad I use their card and I save $12 a month (4 cell lines x $3/month for AT&T insurance coverage) by not taking the insurance offered by the phone company.

  6. Carlin

    Using a credit card for pretty much any expense I possibly can earned me $600 last year. Didn’t have to do anything to get it, just use the card. Didn’t pay any interest, so it worked out pretty well. Being able to dispute a charge with a credit card is also fantastic (not exactly a perk, but it’s nice to put the burden of proving they didn’t screw you back on the retailer).
    There are a lot of benefits offered by credit cards, and I think they do it because they probably rarely get used – like the secondary insurance coverage on a rental car, an extra 1 year warranty, etc. If you need it, it’s awesome to have, but I’ve had the card for 5 years now and haven’t used any of the extras it offers (beyond the cash back and disputing charges, which aren’t really extras), because I haven’t had to.

  7. 52 Faces

    Cr$p! If only I had read this sooner and realized all my Amex could do. sigh. Now I’m stuck with an engraved titanium bracelet.

  8. Ryan McLean

    Well I don’t have an AMEX,
    But I have applied for a student credit card…with a limit of around $300. So I don’t know if I will get all of these perks on my card. But great post….thanks

  9. Take a look at the contract fine print in reference to Return Protection. There are so many product exclusions that this perk is rendered useless.

  10. Celeste

    I’ve had the AmEx One card for two years, and rather then have to pay the annual fee last year, they sent me $35 for being such a good customer! I was also given $50 when I signed up.

  11. Frisco Kid

    I have a Amex Platinum and a Mastercard with similar benefits.
    These benefits and a lot of others are usually detailed in the fine print booklets that come with the card; you know the ones – usually thrown away.

    Filing a claim for purchase protection is not unlike filing a medical claim or Auto damages claim. Be prepared to have accurate documentation. If a theft is involved – even if in another country – get a police statement.

    As far as exclusions go, the trick is to think a minute about what is not excluded. The product is good for something if you can figure out what.

    BTW – the concierge service with the Amex Platinum is great for restaurant reservations. So is the Airport Lounge hook up if you travel enough.

  12. You must be good, really good if you can teach me to be rich.

  13. Amal Rhoe

    The company I work for,, actually has a section in the “CardPerks” that will let you know the benefits you receive with every major card. It’s a free service. You can also register your card in the “Membership” section to view your perks at any given time. The site gives you the tools to shop and compare cards. I once read that people should do the same type of comparison shopping for their credit cards as they do with their home and auto loans. With the current economy, we should be making our money work for us.

  14. I have had great experience with AMEX about the extended warranties. But had worse experience with MasterCard.

    MC was asking me lots of paperwork including the receipt, warranty info, statement copy etc. etc.,, I never had such issues with AMEX. They were very reasonable and I got my money within a few weeks on both instances.

    BTW I have a fee free AMEX card.


  15. Credit card perks you didn’t know about (part 2) @

    […] about (part 2) Posted on August 26, 2008 by Ramit Sethi. Categories: Contributors, Personal.See Part 1 of credit card perks you don’t know about. Marketers know that it’s much more cost-effective to serve your existing customers rather than […]

  16. The Nordstrom Visa card is, IMO, a much better deal.
    -my rate is pegged (NOT introductory) at “prime”
    -free concierge services (I have the Signature card) — this is great. I use it quite frequently; I travel a LOT
    -NO annual fee
    -travel points (one point per $)
    -all the same travel benefits
    -no over-limit fees (also does not get reported to agencies)
    -very generous late-payment policy
    -true 21+ day interest-free float
    -no interest on last month’s purchases

    I know this kinda sounds like an ad, but I’m always just completely impressed whenever I have to deal with them–no outsourcing the call center to India, when my card number got stolen, they called me, overnighted me a new one, immediately, and preemptively removed the charges, etc. etc.

    The kicker: the first time I tried to pay my bill over the phone, a REAL person answered. even at the beginning of the automated system, the actually say you can press “0” for a live human.. absolutely incredible!

  17. moviewithnotitle

    Not sure if any of you realize this, but your still losing with these services. You’re paying to get the AmEx card and the supposed benefits that come with it! Concierge services…A little due dilligence on the computer can get you similiar. Replacement cards, REQUIRED in my book. Travlers checks, I can get them too through my bank under emergency situations. No perks or benefits here that other than maybe the warranty that might or might not be needed. But for those that say “well at least I have the warranty” your hedging your bet that the product you bought it will break.

    RULE #1, you will never get rich owning a credit card of any type! Just like the house in Vegas, they always win!

    Don’t get me wrong people, Rammit’s site is GREAT, and full of lots of really good information, but the above is some information for the trash. Dump your CC’s and live within your means. The only good reasons to have a Credit Card is for online purchases, and emergencies!

  18. Robert Peaslee


    Just because you use a credit card doesn’t mean you are living outside of your means. I use a (fee free) AmEx card for 95% of my purchases – I pay it in full every month, and get the advantages of the said services plus cashback perks. I’m saving around 3% per year on living expenses using my credit card, and also get the advantages of having my purchasing finances in one place, with tools that show where I’m doing my spending, and in a format that is easily exportable to my personal finance software.

    A credit card is a tool. Be responsible and let it work for you.

  19. I called both my Chase Mastercard and my AmEx Blue Card and both said that they do not have Trip Cancellation Coverage. Does anyone know what cards do have that as a perk?

  20. I purchased a hot tub for Christmas last year with my Visa credit card. It’s a piece of junk. I’ve paid almost $400 for it and recently spent another $100 trying to get s defective part replaced. I’m getting no where with the retailer. Is there any kind of insurance thru Wells Fargo that might help me?