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15 Little Life Hacks

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

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See a full list of credit card perks you didn’t know about.

Marketers know that it’s much more cost-effective to serve your existing customers rather than spending a ton of money to acquire new customers. Cost-effective, yes, but it’s sure sexier to spend money on Superbowl ads and stupid social-media spends.

The same is true of our personal finances. You could spend 10 hours per month moving your money from one high-interest account to another to eek out an extra 0.5% interest, or you could just take advantage of what you already have. One way to start is with your credit cards.

A lot of people ask me why I use my credit card for 95% of my spending. I do this for three reasons: Convenience (easily downloadable, trackable, categorizable), to build credit history, and huge consumer benefits.

Yesterday I got this list of perks in the mail, and it included a few I didn’t even know about. These perks are standard on most cards, so call yours to find out what you have.

Perks on your credit card
See a bigger version

I’ve copied the best ones below. Did you realize you got all (or most) of these perks with your credit card?

You have our dedicated concierge staff to assist you.
The 24-hour personal concierge service will make your dinner reservations, purchase tickets to events, coordinate business arrangements worldwide and locate hard-to-find items. Your concierge can assist you with gift selections as well as other requests to simplify your life.

Car rental insurance
Provides up to $50,000 in secondary coverage against collision or theft when you reserve and charge your car rental to your card and decline the car rental company’s collision, loss/damage waiver insurance.

Retail purchase protection
Protects most purchases made on your card against theft, fire and accidental breakage of up to $500 for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

Price protection
If you buy something with your card and then see it advertised in print for less within 60 days, you will receive a refund for the difference up to $250. (Excludes internet purchases and certain items.)

$0 liability for unauthorized purchases, online or off
Complete protection against the unauthorized use of account.

Extended warranty
Coverage duplicates the terms of the U.S. manufacturer or store warranties of one year or less up to a maximum of 12 months on most items you purchase and is limited to the lesser of the amount charged to your card or $10,000.

Trip cancellation/trip interruption coverage
If you are prevented from taking or continuing a trip you billed to your account, you are eligible to receive up to $1,500 in Trip cancellation/trip interruption coverage

Lost luggage coverage
You are eligible for up to $3,000 in lost luggage coverage for you and your dependents when you charge your entire common carrier fare to your Citi World MasterCard. This benefit covers permanently lost, stolen or damaged baggage or personal articles checked with a common carrier.

Roadside assistance
If your car breaks down, help is just a phone call away.

My take: If you’re already spending on your credit card, you might as well use as many perks as possible. And consider that with one use of the perks for roadside assistance or purchase protection or extended warranty, you save more than you would with stupid 0%-balance-transfer/bank-transfer games.

More tips: See a full list of credit card perks you didn’t know about.

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23 Comments on "Credit card perks you didn’t know about (part 2)"

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Bill
Bill
7 years 11 months ago

Except a few hundred a month in college loans I don’t have any debt, and pay for everything (new car too) in cash. Yes, I am filling my 401k up. While plans change the only debt I’d like to add in the future would be for a home.

Are these benefits worth enough that I should get and use a credit card?

Lilly R.
7 years 11 months ago

If you go to CardOffers.com you can actually create a free account with them and register your credit card and they will tell you about all of the perks associated with your card. The perks are not the ones mentioned above but are online discounts, like $250 off at Tourneau, car rentals, hotels, and spas. =)

Jillian
Jillian
7 years 11 months ago

Ramit – A word of caution: I read this article on Money Central yesterday regarding the lawsuit against CompuCredit for not disclosing that they rate your credit based on things you buy. The most horrifying part was their counsel saying, “These scoring models are commonplace across the industry.”

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/YourCreditRating/YourLifestyleMayHurtCreditScore.aspx

Also, I’m surprised that you haven’t blogged about this settlement/benefit from TransUnion. Free credit monitoring sounds pretty good to me!

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Banking/YourCreditRating/ConsumersWinFreeCreditScores.aspx?page=1

Big fan of your blog – BTW.

Mike
Mike
7 years 11 months ago

Ramit-

I have heard that it is actually bad for your credit if you:

1. Have a credit card with a zero balance that you do not use
2. Have a credit card that you use all the time but pay of completely every month

I am soon to be completely out of credit card debt (Thank Christ!) but will still use my credit card based on the benefits but will pay it off every month. How will this affect my credit?

Bill
Bill
7 years 11 months ago

Ramit, Just for kicks I went and got a free credit score (I noted 20 days from now in my calendar to call and cancel the service during my free 30 day free trial.) Sure enough the only thing listed in the “things that lower your score” column was that I did not have a credit card.

Per Mike’s question above, what is the best way to use a credit card, in terms of building your credit score? I hadn’t thought about that. (I’ll google it, but it couldn’t hurt to have it in the thread)

Carlin
Carlin
7 years 11 months ago
Having available credit usually boosts your score. The only negative is that when some lenders pull a credit report and see you have $40k in unused credit at your fingertips, they might consider it a risk that you’re going to get a loan, max out your credit cards (because you have a lot of available credit) and then declare bankruptcy or have issues paying back the loan. This is a very unlikely scenario, and honestly, I’ve never actually heard of a lender turning someone down because of this. They usually see it as a positive that other lenders have given… Read more »
Joseph
7 years 11 months ago
I am like you Ramit, at least to an extent. I prefer to charge what I can and then pay it all off at the end of the month. I’m *this* close to a free airline ticket right now… I think I should have it within the next few months. As for all of those extra benefits you showed.. I knew that some of them were pretty standard due to my banking experience (such as the car rental insurance and the extended warranty) but most of them I had no idea were offered benefits. I’ll have to check my cards… Read more »
Khyron
7 years 11 months ago
Mike: Having a card with a zero balance is never bad. First, you don’t owe. Second, as long as the card doesn’t idle like that too long, you’re fine. Lenders have in the past (and will in the future) canceled cards that were inactive, which is why you hear people say that you should use the card occasionally then pay it off in full. For example, I have an HSBC MasterCard that was literally sitting in the freezer on ice until about a month ago. (Had been in there about 12 – 18 months.) I had to use it to… Read more »
Rick
Rick
7 years 11 months ago
Studies have shown when you shop with a credit card you spend on average 15% more than if you paid with cash. Since it’s more “painful” forking over the cash to buy an item than swiping your credit card which you will “pay off later” you will spend more with credit. If your intention is to raise your FICO score you should know that you can still get competitive mortgage rates though lenders who do manual underwriting even if you have no credit score. They look at you as a person and your ability to pay off the debt not… Read more »
luigibio
7 years 11 months ago

I always use my credit card for the same reason.
To solve the problem about avoid too spend too much I have three credit cards.
The first one, with tight limits I have always with me for my everyday expenses.
The second one is for more important expenses as the third one, that is a revolving one.

Laura
7 years 11 months ago

Has anyone actually tried to use these rewards?

I tried once when my flight was canceled, to get assistance getting another flight booked. I was given the runaround and told to call three different 800 numbers before someone finally told me no they can’t help me with that. I just wonder how many of these services they ACTUALLY offer.

A. Dawn
7 years 11 months ago

I use a credit card which gives 1% cash back. It’s like getting 1% discount on everything. It does not sound a lot but it adds up at the year end.
A Dawn Journal
http://www.adawnjournal.com

Carlin
Carlin
7 years 11 months ago
Below is an interview with Fair Isaac product support manager Barry Paperno from Bankrate. Having too much credit is mentioned and called an “old wives tale”. I should have been clearer in saying that this was something I’ve heard before too, but that I don’t think is true. http://www.bankrate.com/nydn/news/cc/20080328_close_credit_card_FICO_score_a1.asp “I’m going to start by providing a couple of misconceptions that I hear regularly with regard to closing accounts. No. 1, that the FICO score penalizes you for having too much available credit, and No. 2, that if you close an account, you lose all the history associated with that account.… Read more »
Ole
Ole
7 years 11 months ago

Rick, Thanks. Couldn’t have said it much better.

evie
evie
7 years 10 months ago

Yes – thanks, Rick.

I’d like to see the numbers on how much extra the average person spends because they are using credit cards (as opposed to cash) over time, in comparision to how much benefit they receive from using credit cards.

If you pay everything off every month, why care about a FICO score at all? If you are living within your means, you don’t need one.

Bill
7 years 10 months ago

Rick is dead on.

“Credit card perks” is an oxymoron, Just like airline miles offers, most go unused and are only offered as an enticement.

While the readers of this blog seem to be an exception, the vast majority of Americans abuse credit when given access to it. Banks know this but want their piece of the action no matter what the toll is on the lives of the average consumer, e.g., stress, divorce, and suicide.

Ultimately though, the blame falls on anyone who believes there are perks associated with credit card use.

Jennifer
7 years 10 months ago
You can’t fool Rick and Bill — credit card “perks” are most definitely an oxymoron. The perk is an successful, yet tired credit card company marketing tactic that has enticed consumers to stick around. The more you spend…the more security, travel and/or retail perks you receive. Plus, plastic is so easy and convenient – who could ask for a better way for those individuals in debt denial to continue their perpetual cycle of spending and borrowing. Instead of rewarding consumers who squander money they do not have, why not reward the cream of the crop consumers who are financially responsible… Read more »
Dave
Dave
7 years 10 months ago
There’s one reason I don’t use CCs at all: Time. Working a regular 7-5 job, I just don’t have time to meet either bankers or gov’t hours. Being a laborer, I’m not supposed to have access to luxuries like telephonic communications during the day. Usually, I wish I didn’t even have to take holidays off since they are useless days. I plan out trivial things like vehicle registration weeks in advance. A lunch hour will at least let you handle anything within three blocks as the traffic allows. Maybe I’ll take the first part of the day off I took… Read more »
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[…] public links >> card Credit card perks you didn’t know about (part 2) Saved by fzelders on Sat 18-10-2008 Discover More Card Offers $50 Cash Back Bonus Saved by pitoow […]

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7 years 7 months ago

[…] Sources: [1] Store credit cards: flashy perks, high rates – MSN Money (moneycentral.msn.com/content/banking/creditcardsmarts/p55860.asp) [2] Tricks of the trade: Credit card perks – Oct. 16, 2002 (money.cnn.com/2002/10/08/pf/banking/q_perks/index.htm) [3] Credit card perks increasing for small businesses (www.bankrate.com/brm/news/biz/Cashflow_banking/20010928a.asp) [4] Top 5ive Credit Card Perks for Holiday Shopping – WalletPop (www.walletpop.com/top5/best-holiday-credit-card-perks) [5] Credit Cards: Store credit cards come with perks–and a price (www.bankrate.com/brm/news/cc/19981214.asp) [6] Credit card perks you didn’t know about (part 2) | I Will Teach You To … (iwillteachyout… […]

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[…] card company and ask them to send you a one-sheet with their list of perks, like they’ve done over at the I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog. Sure, credit is evil, but if you’re going to dance with the devil, at least get to know […]

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