Rewards credit cards offer an opportunity to earn a bundle in cash back and other freebies. And one type of rewards card — the travel rewards card — offers extra benefits that cost you nothing, but can be worth a lot when you’re on the road.
Many cardholders aren’t even aware of the extra benefits they get with their cards. Consumers who ignore or overlook these benefits may be missing out on thousands of dollars’ worth of free services and other perks.
Here are 14 travel benefits that you might not realize are free with certain credit cards:
1. Concierge service
Sure, personal concierge service sounds a lot like fancy customer service. But there’s a reason you find this benefit on many premium travel credit cards.
Concierge services can help you with shopping and research. They can also help you with directions and getting around unfamiliar areas, which can be priceless, especially while traveling abroad. For more specifics, check out “Are You Overlooking This Valuable Credit Card Perk?”
Then, check your card’s terms to see if it offers this freebie — or any of the other perks on this list. If not, try Money Talks News’ free credit card search tool. Select “Travel Rewards” from the menu on the left to narrow the results to travel cards.
2. Price protection
Cards with price protection may refund you the difference if you buy an item and its price drops within a certain time period. Cards like the Citi Price Rewind will even do the work for you: Just register your purchase, and Citi will search for a better price for 60 days from the date of purchase.
When you think of price protection, you might associate it with big-ticket purchases such as electronics and appliances. However, it can come in handy when you use your card to purchase items for traveling.
Just note that this perk, like many others on this list, generally hinges on you charging the applicable items or services to the credit card that offers the perk.
3. Rental car insurance
If you rent cars, you’ve certainly been offered car insurance from the rental company for an additional fee. But free rental car coverage is commonly offered by credit cards.
The best cards with this perk offer primary rather than secondary coverage, as we detail in “The Top 6 Credit Cards to Use When Renting a Car.”
4. Lounge club access
Membership at airport VIP lounges can cost hundreds of dollars a year. But some travel credit cards, like the Chase United MileagePlus Club card, offer discounted or complimentary access.
Depending on the lounge, you could get access to complimentary food and drinks as well as amenities such as Wi-Fi and even showers, not to mention a comfortable place to rest while you wait for your flight.
5. In-flight purchase discounts
It seems that everything on an airplane costs money, and this expense can double and triple if you are traveling with family. But cards with in-flight discounts help you save on snacks, drinks, entertainment and other in-flight expenses.
6. Checked bags
Although there are airlines that offer the first checked bag free, many charge $25 to $50 per bag, per flight. Instead of trying to stuff all your belongings in a carry-on, consider a card that gives you free checked bags when you fly.
7. Reimbursement for lost baggage
Baggage is rarely lost by airlines these days, but when yours goes missing it can be an ordeal. If your card includes coverage for lost baggage, you could get reimbursed for replacements.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, for example, covers costs if you need to repair or replace damaged or lost luggage. The coverage is worth up to $3,000 per person, per trip.
8. Travel accident insurance
Although this is a benefit you hope you don’t need, it is important that you know you are protected in the event you or a family member are injured while traveling. Some cards offer travel accident insurance for travelers whose transportation tickets are charged to the credit card.
9. Trip cancellation insurance
Have you ever had an emergency that forced you to cancel a trip? In situations like this, trip cancellation insurance can prevent you from losing the money you spent on nonrefundable airfare and hotel reservations.
Usually, there is a requirement that you purchase your tickets with the credit card that offers the insurance.
10. Airline fee credits
If you travel, you’re already familiar with the little fees that can add up along the way. Some credit cards include an airline fee credit that you can use for luggage fees, seat fees and even in-flight snacks, for example. This credit can save you hundreds of dollars.
11. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
The U.S. government’s TSA PreCheck and Global Entry programs provide shortcuts through airport and border security, allowing eligible travelers to avoid long lines. They aren’t free, but some travel rewards cards now offer credits that can either pay for or help pay for the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees.
12. Travel and emergency assistance
When traveling in unfamiliar territory, it can be difficult to know where to go when you need help. Travel emergency assistance, provided by some travel rewards cards, can help you with referrals for travel questions or even medical or legal emergencies when you are away from home.
13. Roadside assistance
Whether you are on a road trip to a different state or driving in another country, you never know when you might run out of gas or end up with a flat tire. It’s nice to know you have this benefit available if you need it.
14. Trip delay reimbursement
Trip delays are usually out of our control. Trip delay reimbursement, however, can take the sting out of a delay by helping with expenses that occur as a result.
While cards may require you to use your card to charge the expenses upfront and then issue a reimbursement afterward, it’s better than being stuck with the entire cost of the delay. This benefit can help cover meals, lodging, medication and other items you need while you wait.
Do you know what benefits are included on your credit cards? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.