News & Resources

3 Common Credit Card Perks People Forget to Use but Should

Sept. 1, 20
5 mins
A woman in a yellow shirt types her credit card details into her phone.

Credit cards typically offer great perks and benefits that can be useful when planning trips or safeguarding purchases. However, it seems that users often forget they have these features or don’t bother to use them.

According to the J.D. Power 2019 Canada Credit Card Satisfaction Study, travel-related benefits are among the perks with the most influence on customer satisfaction. Yet, the study suggests cardholders don’t frequently use these benefits. Credit card usage comes in around 2% for hotel benefits, 9% for shopping benefits, and 6% for other travel-related benefits.

Overlooking common credit card perks can end up costing you money. Understanding the features offered by your card, however, can put more money back in your pocket.

1. Insurance coverage

Travel rewards cards often have the most extensive insurance packages on the credit card market. However, there are many credit cards (with and without annual fees) that offer varying levels of insurance coverage.

For example, the BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®* features a wide range of insurance options. It also has a $120 annual fee.

Insurance coverage includes:

  • Car rental benefits
  • Car rental personal effect benefits
  • Collision damage waiver benefits
  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip interruption/trip delay
  • Trip assistance
  • Flight delay
  • Baggage and personal effects benefits
  • Out-of-province/out-of-country emergency medical benefits
  • Common carrier accident coverage

A card like the President’s Choice Financial® World Elite Mastercard® has no annual fee, but a smaller selection of coverage.

Insurance coverage includes:

  • Travel emergency medical
  • Car rental collision/loss damage waiver

Cardholders usually have to charge a portion of their flights or vacation to the card to use these perks. Each card will vary, but you should find this information in your credit card welcome package or you can call the provider.

The insurance coverage can give you peace of mind on your next trip and can save you a bundle if you need to file a claim. Medical aid can cost a fortune abroad and all those other travel expenses don’t come cheap. Not only that, but travel insurance is a requirement to visit some countries like Cuba, for example. Having the coverage on your credit card can ensure you have the insurance you need.

Travel insurance for seniors

It is important to note that credit card insurance may vary for cardholders age 65 and over. Sometimes, insurance coverage is available but often for a fewer number of days or with more conditions. Speak to your provider for the full details of the policy.

2. Extended warranty and purchase protection

Two of the most common credit card perks are extended warranty and purchase protection, sometimes referred to as extended protection, purchase security, or purchase assurance.

  • Extended warranty: This coverage usually extends the original manufacturer’s warranty by a specific amount of time, providing additional coverage. Typically, only products purchased using the card are eligible for this benefit.
  • Purchase protection: This feature is particularly useful for online purchases. Purchase protection generally protects your items if they are damaged, lost or stolen.

Each credit card company will have a different set of guidelines. Sometimes companies require items to be registered, while others do not. Additionally, some coverages include items bought as gifts.

In general, extended warranty and purchase protection usually cover your purchases for a specific duration and up to a set claim value per year.

The BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* features purchase protection plus and extended warranty plus. The lifetime maximum claim limit is $60,000 on this card, twice the typical coverage.

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3. Complimentary memberships and discounts

Whether it is free room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, or money off tickets, credit cards have a surprising amount of complimentary member benefits and partner perks.

  • Rental cars: Many Mastercards feature deals with Avis and Budget for discounts off base rates on rental cars across the U.S. and Canada. Other credit cards feature Hertz and Avis Preferred membership for even more benefits.
  • Tickets: Some of the BMO credit cards offer users a percentage off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows. While American Express cards usually have great deals through the American Express Invites program.
  • Roadside assistance: Select credit cards provide free roadside assistance memberships. This can save cardmembers from purchasing their own plan. Cardholders of the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite* Card receive a complimentary Deluxe TD Auto Club Membership for around-the-clock coverage while on the road.
  • Status: Some travel rewards cards come with top tier membership statuses such as Gold Elite Status at Marriot and other hotels, or can help you advance through loyalty programs like Aeroplan.
  • Lounge access: Airport lounge access may be available with a Priority Pass membership or similar program. Often travellers can enjoy complimentary snacks, drinks, and charging stations while they wait.

Other discounts may include deals and offers at airports and spas or exclusive access to dining or hotel collections. For example, some credit cards feature Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey, providing cardholders with dining, shopping and spa offers. Each discount can add up to more savings in your wallet.

Related read: Best Premium Perks Credit Card in Canada for 2020

Compare credit cards

Start to familiarize yourself with the excellent benefits and perks on your credit card. The features may be easier to use than you expect and can save you money.

If your credit card is not rewarding you for your spending habits, it may be time to browse the RATESDOTCA credit card marketplace to compare the best credit cards in Canada. Review the perks and extras from the top credit card providers and find your fit.

Rates, product information, and rewards estimates are subject to change at any time and do not constitute financial advice. Information in this article is accurate as of the date this posting, September 1, 2020.

Hayley Vesh

Hayley Vesh is a creative, resourceful, and knowledgeable content producer who is passionate about financial literacy, storytelling, and generating ideas. She writes about credit cards, savings, debt management, and personal finance. In her spare time, Hayley can be found wandering in the woods, hunting for second-hand treasures, or curled up with a steeped tea and a good podcast.

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