Best Credit Card Freebies
When you received your last credit card in the mail, did you take the time to read the brochure with all the terms and fine print? Probably not, but not many people do. There is a good chance that your card offers a lot of great free perks that you never knew you had.
This weekend, take some time to read up all the benefits that you could receive from your credit cards. There is likely to be hundreds of dollars’ worth of value that you are missing out on. Here are a few of our favorite credit card freebies.
TSA Precheck is a program that allows you to bypass the normal airport security lines. When you have TSA Precheck marked on your boarding pass, you will be allowed to go through an expedited line where you can keep your shoes on, laptops in your bags and other conveniences that make security much faster.
TSA Precheck normally costs $85, but many high end credit cards like Platinum Card® from American Express (a Credit Cards House advertiser) and others offer an $85 statement credit when you charge the application fee with that card.
If you are working hard to raise your credit score, then having free access to track progress is important. Several credit cards are starting to offer free access to check your FICO score each month. While you probably won’t get a score from all three credit bureaus, you will get it from one which will give you a good idea about where you currently stand.
Car Rental Insurance
When you rent a car, it’s almost a guarantee that you are going to be asked if you want to be covered for any damages. Depending on the credit card that you used to book your reservation, you might already have all the coverage needed. A lot of times it’s secondary coverage, which means your everyday car insurance company would hold your primary coverage. There are other cards that will actually act as your primary coverage. One of those cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card.
It’s always frustrating when you purchase something and then a few weeks later you notice the price has dropped. To make things worse, it’s usually after the return deadline has already passed. Luckily, a lot of credit cards will include price protection, which protects you from this exact situation. If you purchase an item and you see the price drop, usually within the first 90 days, then the difference will be refunded to you.
Most of the time there is a limit to how much you can actually use the benefit during a year and over the lifetime of the card. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® will protect you up to $500 per claim and $2,500 per year.
Free Checked Bags
When you are traveling, one of the biggest unexpected expenses can be the cost to check your bags on your flight. Most airlines will charge $25 for the first bag, which means it would cost a family of four $200 for a round trip vacation. Most airline branded credit cards will offer their cardholders and their travel companions free checked bags. This can help reduce the out of pocket expense tremendously.
If you are carrying an American Express card in your wallet, then you most likely have access to a free Shoprunner membership. This will give you free shipping at hundreds of online retailers. The normal cost for a membership is $79, which is a value you might not have even known you had with your card.
Each time you book travel, whether it’s through an airline or with an online travel agency like Expedia, you’re asked if you want travel insurance. This is something that would be nice to have, but no one ever wants to spend the money for it.
The next time you book travel plans, be aware of the credit card you are using. There is a chance that it might include trip interruption and trip cancellation coverage. What this means is that if your trip is cancelled or delayed and you have prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses, you could be reimbursed. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card has one of the best coverages with an up to $10,000 per trip benefit amount.
The Bottom Line
Credit cards advertise their high signup bonuses and generous reward programs, but most also have a lot of other free benefits that can add a lot of extra value for the average consumer. The next time you apply for a new credit card, make sure you look into all the other perks that you can take advantage of.
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.