10 surprising travel perks that probably come with your credit card

Credit cardShutterstockYou might be carrying around perks without even knowing it.

You’ve been taught to always, always read the fine print.

This is to avoid nasty surprises, mostly, but in this case, the fine print might be hiding some benefits.

Check your cards to potentially uncover some of the following travel perks.

1. Concierge services

Some cards (like the World Elite MasterCard, American Express, and Visa Signature card) come with concierges — a number on the back that you can call to get help with travel planning, restaurant reservations or event tickets.

2. Emergency assistance

Similarly, if you get into any trouble some cards will have someone on-call to help 24/7 — be it medical or legal assistance. That said, only the help is free, not the actual service you need. Visa Signature, Visa TravelMoney, and all American Express cards offer this perk, for example.

3. Hotel upgrades and perks

Some cards, like the Visa Signature or anything co-branded with a hotel chain will get you hotel room upgrades when possible, complimentary Wi-Fi, even a later checkout.

4. Lounge access

Airport LoungeFlickr/Matt WeiboLounge access is a nice perk.

Credit cards like the Visa Black Card, Citi Prestige, and
American Express Platinum either include free lounge access or a certain number of day passes a year.

5. Priority Boarding

This perk can often be found on most credit cards pandering to travellers, especially those co-branded by airlines. Most cards that charge an annual fee will also offer priority boarding.

6. Car rental insurance

A lot of cards come with this perk, but be advised that it’s not generally bumper-to-bumper coverage, though they will cover whatever your primary car insurance won’t. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a safe bet.

7. Roadside assistance

A lot of cards can help you when your car breaks down, you’ve locked yourself out, you need a jumpstart, you need to be towed, or you need a tire changed. American Express has Roadside Assistance Anywhere, and some (not all) Visas offer Roadside Dispatch, though in some cases you’ll have to pay a small fixed fee for the services rendered.

8. Travel insurance

A lot of credit cards offer travel insurance. Details obviously vary by credit card, but it’s worth combing through the fine print in which those will inevitably be buried. Should anything happen during your trip — luggage gets lost, flights are canceled or delayed — and you have to spend extra money because of it (on essential items or a hotel room for example), save your receipts because your credit card might cover those costs. Sometimes this perk is known as baggage delay and lost luggage reimbursement, but whatever the name, most travel related or co-banded cards will feature it.

9. Trip delay and cancellation coverage

Similarly, an estimated 15% of cards offer trip cancellation coverage, meaning that you could be reimbursed for nonrefundable flights should you have to cancel them. Discover cards will reimburse you up to $2,500, American Express will give you up to $250 to cover your meals and hotel if a trip is delayed, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa will reimburse you up to $10,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.

10. Avoiding ATM fees

Discover’s Cash-Over for example lets you add up to $40 to a purchase and get it back as cash, helping you avoid costly trips to the ATM.

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