5 Secret Credit Card Perks

Price protecting and concierge services might just be offered free of charge.

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When most people think of credit cards, they think of using the plastic to make purchases. For those who do not pay off their balance each month, the interest rate is certainly an important feature. And there are other benefits such as interest-free balance transfers and rewards such as cash back, points or miles.

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But what many people do not know is that credit cards also come with some little-known perks. And depending on how you use these perks, that can be extremely valuable, not to mention convenient. So here are five of the least known features of the plastic you may be carrying in your wallet.

1. Concierge Service: This is one of the best-kept secrets of credit cards. Available with Visa Signature and MasterCard World Elite cards, concierge service provides a wealth of free features. From restaurant recommendations and reservations to travel arrangements to entertainment planning, concierge service is a credit card perk on elite cards that should not go unused.

2. Extended Warranties: Many credit cards will automatically double the manufacturer’s warranty for up to one year when you buy the product with the credit card. We put this feature to good use when our HP printer broke 14 months after we bought it. Although the printer came with a one-year warranty, the credit card we used to purchase the printer had the extended warranty feature. One thing to keep in mind is that this feature is offered directly from Visa and MasterCard. So if you need to take advantage of the extended warranty, you’ll need to contact Visa or MasterCard directly, not the issuing bank.

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3. Roadside Assistance: If you ever get stuck on the side of the road, call the number on the back of your credit card. Chances are your card will offer some level of roadside assistance. If you carry an eligible MasterCard, for example, you can get jump-starts, a tire change, towing, and even gas delivery. While these services aren’t free, the cost has been pre-negotiated with MasterCard. And if you care the American Express Gold Card, roadside assistance is a free feature of the card, up to $50.

4. Price Protection: This is one of my favorite credit card perks. Let’s say you purchase an item from an electronics store, only to find it a few days later at a lower price somewhere else. With price protection offered by many credit cards, you can recoup the difference. Eligible MasterCard credit cards, for example, offer this protection for 60 days after you purchase. Visa offers a similar feature on eligible cards.

Here is the fine print: Price Protection assists you in achieving the best possible price on eligible items of personal property purchased entirely with your eligible Visa card. If you buy an eligible item with your card in the United States and see a printed advertisement of it for less at any store within sixty (60) days of the original purchase date, simply file a claim and we will refund the difference up to $250. Coverage is limited to $1,000 a year per Cardholder's eligible account.

5. Purchase Satisfaction: There’s nothing worse than buying something you decide you don’t need or want, but having the store you purchased it from refuse to accept a return. If that happens, check to see if you credit card will accept the return. Believe it or not, major credit cards offer satisfaction guarantees of products you’ve purchased using a credit card. MasterCard, for example, extends this coverage for 60 days from the date of purchase for products up to $250.

So the next time you need some help with a purchase, booking travel, or changing a tire, see if your credit card can help.

DR is the founder of the popular personal finance blog, the Dough Roller, and author of 99 Painless Ways to Save Money.