Many Americans have a love/hate relationship with credit cards. On the one hand, Americans have over $800 billion in credit card debt. On the other hand, it is the easy credit provided by credit cards that have facilitated a high quality of life. The simple reality is that credit cards can be used irresponsibly and lead to a cycle of debt, but credit cards themselves are not the problem.
It is the guilt associated with using credit that has prevented many people from actively finding the best ways to use credit cards. Instead of simply paying for items with a tap of a card and putting it out of your mind, you can find a lot of hidden benefits when using your credit card.
Credit cards have perks like free rental car insurance, discounts on travel, and more. Do you know about the following benefits?
Travel discounts are one of the better-known forms of credit card perks, but it is easy to assume that these discounts won’t amount to much. After all, we are taught never to expect something for nothing.
The reality however is that you can get significant travel discounts simply for using your credit card to make purchases. Many people travel the world with the help of travel perks provided by their credit card company. There are credit cards that specifically offer travel perks that are ideal for travel lovers.
Make sure to get to know the different rules for earning travel rewards. These include shopping at certain companies, having a specific balance on your card, and more.
Different credit cards offer discounts on rental cars (and it may be a perk of using a travel credit card). These discounts will come into play when you rent a car from specific companies using your credit card. Some of these discounts will apply directly to the price of your rental. Others are more indirect.
For example, you may get free insurance on your rental car that would otherwise cost a significant amount if you paid for it yourself. Car rental insurance is absolutely necessary, but rental companies tend to overcharge for it. Getting it free is a big benefit.
A number of credit card companies are getting in on the streaming game. They partner with different streaming services to offer you discounts when you get a subscription. In some cases, the benefits are in point form or rewards for every payment you make to the streamer. Credit card companies have benefits with streamers of all kinds, including video streaming and music streaming services.
Purchase protection is a great benefit with certain credit cards that few people know about. This is a type of insurance that you receive for an item you have bought that will replace it if it is broken or stolen in a specific timeframe. Most people will simply write the item off as a frustrating but unavoidable loss, but check with your credit card provider to find out if you have this perk.
Do you order in a lot of the time? Many of us got used to ordering food delivery during COVID-19 lockdowns and have found ways to get healthy food from restaurants nearby. Certain credit cards have dining perks, providing rewards or discounts when you use services like Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Seamless. If you regularly order food or even go out to eat, these perks may make a significant difference over time.
One of the reasons people neglect to read up on their credit card perks is that they expect to receive rewards that, on the surface, mean nothing to them. A thousand points has no real monetary value – you need to find out what that means and when it can be used. Dollars, however, are far more attractive, seeing as cash has no expiry dates, limited outlets, or changing value.
The good news is that some credit cards offer cash back rewards in lieu of a points system. They provide certain values for every dollar you spend at various stores. They then provide you with a numerical value of exactly how many dollars you have available to use. This is a far more intuitive way for many people to benefit from credit card perks.
Do you take advantage of all your credit card perks? If you’re unsure, find out what the rewards program entails and how you can benefit.