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This article has been updated with new credit card offers.
Many think a credit card is just a way to pay for bills and purchases, and while that’s not entirely wrong, there’s typically more than that to many credit cards. Depending on which one you have, they’re also a great way to rack up points and miles for travel.
If you pay an annual fee on a credit card, you’re likely doing so because you were looking to take advantage of some of those perks. But even without traveling, you can still use some of the benefits.
Due to the pandemic, many credit-card issuers have introduced new offers to keep cardholders happy (and to entice them not to drop cards that may carry hefty annual fees) while they are in lockdown at home.
The cardinal rule here, of course, is to never spend more with a credit card than if you had just used a debit card or cash, or buy things you wouldn’t have bought otherwise. Especially in this volatile economy, it’s important to be responsible with your finances.
Depending on which card you have, it pays to familiarize yourself with the perks you’ll find most valuable. They might save you a considerable amount of money. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite perks among those that many of the most popular cards on the market offer.
Several cards are offering discounts to everyone stuck at home looking for their next binge watch.
For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express is offering up to a $20 monthly credit for select U.S. streaming services and another up to $20 monthly credit for U.S. wireless services through December 31, 2020. These subscriptions include Netflix, Hulu, Apple Music, Spotify and more.
For a limited time, you can also use your Chase Sapphire Reserve® $300 annual travel credit towards grocery store purchases. This benefit expires June 30, 2021.
Price protection is a rare but coveted perk, especially for frequent online shoppers. It’s an insurance against price fluctuations on your purchases. In other words, if the price of an item you just bought drops, your credit card’s issuer will refund you the difference in price, if you bought the item with that card.
Not to be confused with price protection, purchase protection is also a type of credit card insurance that gives you peace of mind if an item you purchased is broken or stolen within a certain timeframe. If you find yourself in that situation, and you have a qualifying credit card, you can get reimbursed for your purchase by the credit card issuer, even if the date to return the item at the retailer has passed. Credit cards that have this perk typically have a coverage duration of 90 to 120 days.
Restaurants and Food Delivery
Many cards come with dining perks, either as statement credits or subscriptions to popular food-delivery platforms.
For example, if you have the Amex Gold card, you’ll receive up to a $120 yearly dining statement credit, distributed to $10 every month (enrollment required). It works as a statement credit on purchases from restaurants such as Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and even on food delivery and pick-up on platforms like GrubHub and Seamless.
Credit cards aren’t just for paying your bills — many of them offer complimentary perks, such as dining and travel credits, airport lounge access, rental-car insurance and even streaming service credits.
Similarly, the Amex Platinum monthly Uber credit also applies to pick-up and delivery orders on Uber Eats.
Additionally, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Freedom Flex and Chase Slate* cardholders have access to complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscriptions. With this perk, you’ll have no delivery fees and reduced service fees if your order is over $12. This subscription otherwise costs $9.99 per month.
Many co-branded credit cards — such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card* and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — as well as the Citi Prestige® Card* offer various amounts of yearly travel credits. For a limited time, on the Citi Prestige Card, you can use this credit at restaurants and supermarkets (through December 2021).
Another popular and little-known perk of the Amex Platinum card is the up to $100 yearly Saks Fifth Avenue credit. It’s divided up into two $50 increments you can use from January to June and then July to December.
A handful of American Express cards come with complimentary access to ShopRunner — a $79 yearly membership that gives you access to free, two-day shipping as well as returns at a handful of retailers.
This really comes in handy especially if your desired retailer doesn’t offer any or either of these shipping options, and at no extra cost to you.
Rental Car Insurance
There are a bunch of credit cards on the market that offer primary rental car insurance, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred, as well as the Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. This can really come in handy if your rental vehicle is stolen or damaged, and can save you a lot of money. It’s not liability insurance, though, and you’ll still need to buy that independently — but it does let you decline the primary insurance offered by the rental agency, which can be pricey.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most popular travel-rewards cards, largely thanks to the $300 travel credit it offers every calendar year. This is a broad statement credit that covers everything from airfare and hotels to trains, buses, taxis, car services and even parking lots and tolls. Until December 31, 2020, gas station and grocery store purchases will also count towards the travel credit.
If you have the Amex Platinum card, you’ll receive up to $200 in annual Uber Cash — in the form of $15 every month, except for December, when you’ll get a bonus $20.
*All information about the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card, Capital One Spark Cash for Business, Capital One Spark Miles for Business, Chase Slate, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.