Learn Your Credit Card's Perks

About This Week's Action

If your dog chewed up the new pumps that you just purchased yesterday what would you do? Would you lament the accident? Or would you call your credit card company and ask for your money back? If you're a knowledgeable credit card user you know that you can do the latter.

Many people know you can get car rental insurance as part of their credit card's perks. But, there are a lot of credit card perks that you may not know that you have. This week's action is to figure out what credit card perks you have available for your cards. Then you'll be able to start using those perks when you need them.

Why Should You Learn Your Credit Card Perks

You'll Save Money When you know what credit card perks you have available to you you'll be able to use those perks instead of paying for something that you don't need and you'll be able to get money back when you deserve it. But you can't know to use a perk if you didn't know you have it in the first place.

How Long Does This Action Take?

It will take you 15 minutes to learn your credit card's perks and determine the best perks on your card.

How to Learn Your Card's Benefits and Perks

First, you need to know what card benefits are available to you. Here is a complete list of possible benefits. I have personally use price protection and return protection before to get money back when the price of an item dropped and when an item I had purchased couldn't be returned.

1. Determine Your Top 1 or 2 Credit Cards

If you have a number of credit cards but rarely use most of them, there's not a point in finding out the benefits for all of them. Instead, determine which 2 cards you use the most. Take them out of your wallet.

2.Check to See if You Own a "Premium" Credit Card

Look at the rest of the cards you own and see if you have any "premium" cards. This would include American Express, Visa Signature, or any card where you have to pay an annual fee. Even if these aren't cards you use frequently, chances are they have better benefits than other cards. So, you'll want to looks at the benefits these cards offer to determine if you should start using this card for its protections

3. Ask Your Credit Card Company for a List

Call the number on the back of your credit card (or login to the site and send them an email) ask ask your credit card company to send you a complete list of the card's perks and benefits. Usually they will send you a brightly colored pamphlet that focuses on the rewards with the rest of the benefits typed in fine print in the back. Read through the fine print as you'll be surprised that you may have everything from lost luggage insurance to roadside assistance.

4. Keep the Benefits in the Back of Your Mind

Once you've read through the benefits, either write down the ones that most likely will apply to you or just remember them. When something goes wrong after a purchase (whether the item can't be returned or is damaged or stolen) or the price drops remember to call your card company. Before you go on a trip be sure to double check the card's various travel protections including baggage insurance, trip delay insurance, and car rental insurance. Then, forgo extra insurance that you don't need to pay for.

Have you used your credit card's perks and benefits before?

Photo credit: Andres Rueda

This post was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance.