When choosing a credit card, most people focus on the main features: rewards, fees, and interest rates. But there are other perks you can get with some credit cards that make them all the more valuable.
Credit card companies and their payment networks (think Visa and Mastercard) offer these benefits to encourage you to spend more money. This is because many people who use credit cards end up paying interest.
“Credit cards offer more than convenience and rewards,” says Matthew Goldman, founder of Wallaby, an app that helps you maximize your credit card rewards. “Many credit cards differentiate themselves by offering other perks and amenities. And, while some are basic, card issuers are offering many unique and valuable perks.”
If you use your card responsibly and pay it off in full each month, you’re essentially getting the value of these perks for free. Here are some standout credit card perks you’ll want to consider when doing your research.
Rental car insurance
“The majority of U.S. credit cards come with secondary auto rental coverage,” says Goldman. “There are a handful of cards that offer primary car rental insurance, which is far more valuable.”
Here’s how secondary auto insurance works: If you have an auto insurance policy on your primary vehicle back home, you have to submit a claim to that insurance company first. Then, if it doesn’t cover the full amount or it rejects the claim, that’s when your credit card’s rental car coverage kicks in.
This means that having a credit card with primary car rental insurance can be valuable. It keeps you from having to submit a claim to your primary insurance, which can increase your premiums.
Have you ever bought something, only to notice the retailer dropped the price just days afterward? They may or may not let you return the item and buy it at the lower price, but that won’t matter if you have the right credit card.
“If something you’ve already purchased has been marked down in price, some credit cards will refund you the difference within 30 to 60 days of the initial purchase,” says Goldman.
With most credit cards, you have to track the item and provide proof. But with Citi Price Rewind, you just need to register your item, and they’ll do the work for you. There are a handful of great Citi cards from which to choose, but the top ones include the Citi Double Cash, the Citi Simplicity, and the Citi Prestige.
Airport lounge access
Relaxing at the airport sounds like an oxymoron. Whether you’re stuck in the airport security line, rushing to make your flight or wondering whether there will be enough overhead baggage space on the plane, it’s not easy to breathe easy.
That is unless you can spend some time in an airport lounge. Separated from the hubbub of the rest of the airport, lounges offer a space to sit back, get a meal or drink, take a shower, and sometimes even get a massage.
Keep in mind, though, that most cards that offer lounge access come with a hefty annual fee. Here are the top credit cards that give you access to airport lounges:
- The Platinum Card from American Express: Centurion lounges, Priority Pass Select lounges, and Delta SkyClub lounges
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Priority Pass Select lounges
- Citi Prestige: American Priority Pass Select lounges
- United Mileage Plus Club Card: United Club lounges and participating Star Alliance affiliated lounges
Banks often say “thank you” for doing business with them, but they don’t often go the extra mile and put their money where their mouth is. Bank of America offers bonus rewards on some of its credit cards through its Preferred Rewards program if you have another account with them.
Here’s how it works:
- Get 10% more cash back or miles if you have an existing checking or savings account with Bank of America.
- Get 25% more cash back or miles if you have at least $20,000 in combined eligible assets with Bank of America and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch.
- Get 50% more cash back or miles if you have at least $50,000 in combined eligible assets with Bank of America and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch.
- Get 75% more cash back or miles if you have at least $100,000 in combined eligible assets with Bank of America and/or Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch.
Do your due diligence
All things considered, you’ll want to get as much value out of your credit cards as possible. “Most people don’t realize all of the experiences and perks they may be able to access with their card — for free,” says Goldman.
As you’re searching for a credit card, be sure to review all of a card’s perks. The more you know about them, the better the chances you’ll find one that fits your needs. Start with comparing credit cards based on their main benefits. Then dig deeper once you’ve found a few you like.