Cashing in with every swipe of your card simply takes a little know-how. Here, the pros share the savvy tips to uncovering the hidden perks your card offers.
Check in for savings.
“New offers come and go often, so it pays to check in on your card’s promotions regularly. I just discovered that U.S. Bank cards added a gym perk, giving users five percent toward membership to gyms like Orangetheory, Equinox and more. And Chase Slate now offers a free three-month membership to DoorDash, a food delivery service that costs $10 a month!” —Lisa Thompson, savings expert at Coupons.com
Score instant insurance benefits.
“The rewards and billboard features of a card are important, but there are actually added perks to be found, tucked into the fine-print details of credit card agreements. Many come with a slew of money-saving bonuses like auto rental and cellphone insurance. All you have to do is pay for your car rental or your cellphone bill with your card to be eligible for coverage. And since car rental insurance can cost $20 or more per day, and cellphone insurance can cost $15 per month, that’s quite a bit of savings netted just by using your card.” —Shawn Plummer, financial advisor at AnnuityExpertAdvice.com
Get more cash back.
“Most cards offer points or a percentage of cash back on every dollar you spend, but some bump those rewards up in specific categories. For instance, if you use credit to buy groceries, look for a card that offers a higher amount back in that category. Then mark each card with a sticker to denote which is best for groceries, restaurants or gas so you’re always getting the most bang for your buck!” —Donna Tang, budgeting expert at CreditDonkey.com
Guarantee the best purchase price.
“One of the lesser-known credit card perks? Price protection: If you buy a laptop, for example, and two weeks later the exact one is on sale for 10 percent less, the card you bought it on will refund you the difference. Typically, all you need to be refunded is a copy of your receipt and proof of the lower price. Some cards that offer this: The Wells Fargo Visa Signature Credit Card and Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard.” — Chris Morgan, credit expert at CreditHelpInfo.com
Nab free shipping.
“Retailers tend to offer a onetime discount when signing up for their cards, but there are long-term benefits too. For example, Macy’s cardholders get free shipping with no minimum purchase, Target RedCard holders always get free shipping at Target.com and Banana Republic cardholders who earn 5,000 points in a calendar year get free shipping on online orders at all Gap Inc. stores. What’s more, American Express and World Mastercard offer free memberships to Shoprunner, which gives you free shipping from 100- plus retailers online.” —Sara Rathner, credit cards expert at NerdWallet.com
Shop your card’s ‘mall’ for discounts.
“Many credit card companies partner with a set of national retailers to offer regular discounts to cardholders. Simply scroll through the ‘discount mall’ section of your credit card company’s website to find savings on everything from dining to movies, then use your card to make the purchase. For example, American Express’ ‘mall’ gives you five percent back on Starbucks purchases or $25 back toward a $99 annual subscription for HBO Max when you pay for either with your card.” —Alyssa Hayes, money-saving specialist at Forbes.com/advisor
Grab a sign-up bonus with gift cards.
“New-card sign-up bonuses, like earning 5,000 points when you spend $500 dollars in the first three months, are key when you plan to make a big purchase. But what if you have no purchase in mind? Buy gift cards for your favorite stores and restaurants instead! That way you’re spending money to get that bonus, and you’ll have gift cards to use at places you frequently shop.” —Lisa Thompson
“A great way to get maximum benefit out of your credit cards is to use them to buy anything that comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. This includes everything from washing machines and computers, to eyeglasses, luggage and more — the card issuer will extend and mirror the terms of the original manufacturer’s warranty, usually for one extra year. Simply charge the item to your card that offers the coverage, then save your receipt and the product’s warranty documentation. That way, if the product breaks after the original warranty expires, you may still get reimbursed from your card’s warranty. One card that offers this perk: The Chase Freedom Unlimited.” —Chris Morgan
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.