That piece of plastic in your wallet might give you rewards points, help you out in a money jam, but your credit card may also be full of benefits you're not making use of. Mozo.com.au has dug through the fine print to find the most popular credit card benefits that could save you hundreds — if only you knew about them.
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87 out of 201 cards on Mozo.com.au offer free travel insurance which could mean a saving of between $357 for a couple or $497* for a family heading overseas needing the basics of travel insurance — like unlimited medical and luggage cover. Plus, the travel insurance on your credit card covers your spouse and dependent children under 22 years old so you're getting good value for feature that doesn't cost you a cent. Just read the policy carefully to see how to be eligible for cover or to find any gaps which might require you to take out an additional, comprehensive, travel insurance policy.
If you use your credit card to purchase a large household or personal item, you could extend the life of your warranty by up to 12 months, depending on the length of the original warranty. Check what this is restricted to; for example, the item may need to have a serial code and you may need the original warranty.
Did you know, many cards will insure purchases made on your card that are lost, damaged or stolen within a few months of buying? It's worth checking the amount you're covered for and you might need to pay some excess but it's a nice feature to have if you drop your big screen TV on the way to the living room.
Another common feature that might be going stale on your credit card, is one of our favourites — purchase protection. This means that if you've just purchased something in-store and then see it advertised elsewhere or at the same retailer for less, your credit card provider will pay the difference or a lump sum amount. You'll need to be quick to make this claim and may need a catalogue as proof.
Rental car excess
Although this is included on many cards when used overseas, one in five cards also offer this benefit when you're renting a car domestically. This could save you up to $30 a day when you're booking with one of the major car hire companies.
A handful of cards have some nice privileges when it comes to travel, including a free domestic flight each year, lounge access or chauffer driven airport transfers. It could be worth checking these out before you check in. When travelling domestically, you could be covered if you're involved in a transit accident (e.g. bus, train or ferry) or for items stolen from your hotel room within Australia.
You pay an annual fee, you use your card, you earn rewards points, so why shouldn't you be treated like a celebrity? A concierge service is included on most premium credit cards so make use of it. Need a hotel recommendation, tickets to a gig, or the nearest vegetarian takeaway? Use your concierge service — it's all part of the deal and you should get your money's worth.
On top of your bank's concierge offers, Visa, AMEX and MasterCard have their own version of a benefits program which might have some even cooler perks such as exclusive concerts, hotel discounts or pre-sale event tickets. For example, Citibank's Dining Program gives you a free bottle of wine when you use your card at selected restaurants and access to a VIP area at Sydney and Melbourne's Night Noodle Markets.
Kirsty Lamont is a director of Mozo.com.au which helps Australians compare savings accounts, credit cards, insurance and other financial products. Kirsty was one of the launch team for Virgin Money when it started in Australia in 2003, and also held a senior role at BankWest before joining Mozo in 2007.
*Estimates are based on a couple/family purchasing a standard international annual multi - trip policy underwritten by QBE (via Easy Travel Insurance) covering rental car excess of $5000 but without any customisation for pre-existing conditions or without taking into account any special conditions or requests as of 25 May 2015.