Credit cards

credit cards

Credit companies are bending over backward to get your business. Several no-annual-fee credit cards offer valuable benefits that are often overlooked. Here are nine common credit card benefits you may already have and can tap into.


How many times have you purchased an item that goes on sale the following week? When the store will not refund the difference, your credit card company may be a solution. If your credit card has price protection, you can receive a refund on any item purchased with the credit card if the price drops within a given period – usually 60 to 90 days.


It’s undoubtedly a disappointment to buy something that is damaged or stolen soon after. If you purchased the item with a credit card, you may be eligible for purchase protection. Your receipt will be needed as well as a police report if the item was stolen. Claims can usually be submitted up to 90 to 120 days after purchase.


Consider declining the retailer’s extended warranty if you are charging a major purchase. Many credit card companies add an additional year to the manufacturer’s warranty if you purchased the eligible item with your credit card.


If you are dissatisfied with an item and the store’s return policy has expired, you may still be in luck. Some credit cards offer return protection that extends the return period or even creates a return policy where none may have existed at all. Returns are typically allowed up to 90 days from date of purchase up to a certain amount. Some items may not qualify for return protection.


For the longest time, it was tough to get free access to your FICO score. Now most credit card companies offer this benefit if you have online access to your credit card account.


When you rent a vehicle, decline the rental company’s supplemental insurance and save money. If you rent with a major credit card, you’re likely covered. For primary coverage, you must charge the entire rental to your credit card and decline the rental company’s insurance. Most rental cars are covered up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage.


If you have to cancel, delay or cut a trip short, you may be able to recover some of the costs if you charged the trip on a credit card that offers trip cancellation insurance. Coverage can vary greatly between cards so check out the fine print.


Most cards offer lost luggage protection. If you charged the entire trip to your credit card, your lost or stolen luggage is covered. Both checked and carry-on luggage are typically covered up to certain amounts with a few exceptions. Tickets purchased with rewards miles may not be eligible.


Wine lovers take note: If you have a Visa Signature or Visa Infinite credit card, take advantage of special savings at more than 50 wineries in Sonoma County. If your Visa credit card says “Signature” or “Infinite” under the Visa symbol, you’re eligible. Here are the common perks, though some may vary by winery:

• Purchase one tasting, receive a complimentary tasting of equal or lesser value (limit one per day).

• Preferred pricing on nonwine purchases over $50.

• Savings on wine purchased same day in the tasting room.

• Savings on reserve tasting or special wine and food pairings.


It is worth the time to review that obnoxiously long card agreement for valuable reward benefits. Don’t miss out on the credit card perks you are already carrying. 

Chris Thornburgh is a CPA and partner at Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. Contact her at or 324-4971. The views expressed are her own.

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