1. Return Protection
When you fail to meet a retailer’s return policy (ever waited just a little too long to bring back those pants that don’t fit?), you might still be covered, thanks to your credit card. Return protection will extend the length of time you are able to make a return, often for much longer than you’ll find offered by a retailer directly.
What to watch out for: Pay attention to the time period — it may be longer than what’s offered by the retailer you made the purchase from, but there’s still a timeframe you’ll have to adhere to. Only certain products will qualify as well.
2. Price Protection
With price protection, if you purchase an item and then the next day the price drops — or if you see the same item priced lower somewhere else — your credit card may pay you back the difference.
What to watch out for: There’s a time limit on this benefit as well. There’s also typically a cap on how much you can claim on a price adjustment and how much you can claim for the year.
3. Extended Warranty
A card with an extended warranty benefit might save you some money if you said no to that extended warranty coverage in the store. If an item breaks outside of the manufacturer’s included warranty, your credit card may actually extend that time frame.
What to watch out for: time limits, excluded products, and maximum annual coverage amounts.
4. Travel Insurance
If you’re someone that always skips over the screen that asks you to add travel insurance to your flight when booking, then this perk was made for you. Lots of credit cards will have a headline rewards program that rewards frequent travelers, but some will also offer this lesser-known benefit. If you have to cancel or change your trip, your credit card may protect you against pesky penalization fees.
What to watch out for: Make sure you have a good reason! Only certain explanations for modifying your trip will qualify for this benefit, meaning you, unfortunately, can’t change your plans just to stay on your tropical vacation a little longer…we wish!
5. Free Access to Your Credit Score
Accessing your credit score for free is notoriously impossible and could even impact your score. But many credit card issuers will give you free access to your FICO credit score so you can be in-the-know about your personal financial profile without being penalized. Some cards may even offer free alerts whenever your score changes.
What to watch out for: While some cards will let you check your score as many times as you want, others have a limit on how many times per month you can view your score. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the exact terms of this benefit.
6. Airport Perks
From complementary concierge service and access to business lounges to luggage protection and discounted companion tickets, many credit cards have valuable perks when it comes to flying.
What to watch out for: Only certain flights may qualify, and you may still have to pay taxes on something like a free companion ticket. Any benefit you receive likely also comes with certain restrictions, so be sure to read the fine print.
7. Cell Phone Coverage
How many phone screens have you cracked — be honest. With certain cards, you may be covered if your phone is damaged or stolen.
What to watch out for: Depending on the card, you may be required to have either purchased the phone with the card in question, use it to pay your bill each month, or both.
If the airline perks didn’t already convince you to read the fine print on your credit cards, you should also know that many cards come with their own unique perks like discounts on your Uber ride or credits on subscriptions to streaming services. So next time you go to pay that Netflix bill, make sure you’re already familiar with the terms and conditions of your credit card benefits, even the hidden ones.