Secret credit card perks that could save you thousands

Radhika Sivadi

4 min read ·


When you make purchases on your credit card, you're automatically eligible for secret perks that almost nobody knows about.

I'm not talking about the standard "cash back" or "frequent-flier miles" perks, which are great.

These are hidden perks that can easily be worth over $1,000 per year to you.

I got sick of credit card companies taking advantage of readers on my blog, so I wanted to figure out how to take advantage of every perk they offered. I spent almost two years studying these perks and testing them to figure out which were worth using. For example, did you know:

  • If you buy something and it gets stolen or broken in the first 90 days, your credit card will write you a $1,000 check?
  • You get an automatic extended warranty up to 1 year, which means no need to waste money buying extended warranties?
  • Your credit card may offer a "concierge" service that can get you hard-to-find tickets…for no additional charge?

Here are my 7 favorite secret credit card perks (but do check your card offers them first — every card is different and offers a different mix of benefits. If yours doesn't offer ANY of these then it is probably time to find a better card):

PERK #1: Purchase protection: Get reimbursed if your new purchase is stolen or broken

This is an incredible benefit that almost nobody knows about. If you buy something and it's stolen or broken in the first 90 days, your credit card will write you a check of up to $1,000!

For example, I bought a brand-new laptop and, in the first week, I spilled coffee all over it. I submitted a claim to my credit card, who wrote me a check for $530. (They would have submitted a check for up to $1,000, but I made a mistake in the paperwork.) Then I sold the computer on eBay for parts, netting me another $600.

Result: Instead of having to buy another $700 computer, I was only out of pocket about $200 for my mistake.

Purchase protection is an incredible benefit for any new purchase you make. Many credit cards have it, especially the higher end ones, though some limit it to $500 and others pay $1,000. Just be sure to store your receipts safely in case you need to use it.

PERK #2: Discounted movie tickets, flowers, and purchases from major retailers

Log into your credit card's website. Most of them have a "shopping" area, where they offer discounts on major retailers like Target, Best Buy, movie tickets, and flowers. Since most of us are already going to make these purchases a few times a year, we can save money with just a few clicks.

PERK #3: Price protection: A refund if you find a lower price

If you buy something with your card and then see it advertised in print for less within 60 days, you will receive a refund for the difference up to $250. (Note: This usually excludes internet purchases and certain items, so check with your credit card.)

PERK #4: Dedicated concierge staff — free.

I was trying to buy concert tickets as a gift, but the event was sold out, so I called my credit card's concierge and asked if he could help. The next day, he called me back — with tickets in hand. Most credit cards now offer a 24-hour personal concierge service, which will make your dinner reservations, purchase tickets to events, and almost anything else you can think of. It doesn't always work, but when it does, it can be a huge time-saver. Give them a call (or send an email) and try it out.

PERK #5: Skip the car-rental insurance — you already have it.

You can skip the additional car-rental insurance, since your credit card provides up to $50,000 in secondary coverage against collision or theft (provided you book the car with the credit card — and again, check YOUR card offers this).

PERK #6: Roadside assistance

Most credit cards provide free roadside assistance, so you can skip purchasing it for your car or when renting cars.

PERK #7: Automatic extended warranty

No need to buy extended warranties. Your credit card will match whatever store/manufacturer warranty your new product comes with — up to one year. So if you buy a new phone and it comes with a 1-year warranty, your credit card will provide an additional one-year warranty. That means if it breaks on day 366, just let your credit card know and they'll reimburse you for repair or a new one.

Many credit cards offer all of these perks, plus a few I didn't list. Just give them a call and ask for your "Booklet of benefits" to understand the perks they offer. Using each of these can easily add up to $1,000 in savings per year.

My take is, if you're already spending on your credit card, you might as well use as many perks as possible.

Bonus: Never pay another late fee again

One last thing: If you have credit card debt, or you're just interested in figuring out how to negotiate late fees and even the APR (interest rate) you're paying, I put together a few word-for-word scripts you can use to get these fees lowered…usually instantly. Thousands of my readers have used these to lower the amount they pay their credit cards by hundreds of dollars — sometimes hundreds a month. If you're curious, here are the free word-for-word negotiation scripts to use against your credit card.

Radhika Sivadi