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Surprise! Charging Your Purchases Can Save You Money

Credit Cards Can Protect Your Holiday Purchases, Too.  Photo Courtesy of Microsoft

Credit Cards Can Protect Your Holiday Purchases, Too. Photo Courtesy of Microsoft

In this tough economy, it is taboo to encourage credit card usage. I agree. Cash is KING, but credit card companies offer many benefits that cash doesn’t. With a LOT of discipline of paying off monthly balances and some strategic planning, your credit card will actually save you money. Of course, every credit card is different, so reading that annoying booklet of fine print on your existing credit card is very important.

Here are only SOME ways to save big money with credit cards:

REWARDS POINTS Charging burgers, groceries, major appliances and even tuition will provide you with thousands of reward points that can be utilized for free vacations including round trip airfare, car rentals and hotel stays. Not in the mood to travel? Spend your points on gift cards for specific electronic purchases or simply cash out for some greenbacks. Heck, even holiday shopping will be a breeze if you have enough points racked up—free products are only a few clicks away. It’s all legit and free to you.

FREE TRAVEL INSURANCE Every time you book a trip or airfare, you are offered travel insurance. It is a great idea but can cost around 10% of the trip total which can add up to BIG money. Many credit cards offer the insurance free as long as you charge the trip to their credit card. It’s a win-win!

LUGGAGE DAMAGE / LOST LUGGAGE Airports don’t cover damages to suitcases or lost suitcases as easily as they used to. Mutilated suitcases are no longer a negative financial impact on your travels. Certain credit cards provide insurance for your luggage and its contents that are lost or damaged when you travel.

FREE EXTENDED WARRANTIES Many credit card companies offer around one full year of FREE extended warranty protection on your purchase. Why pay $50+ dollars on extending your insurance for one year when you already get it for free? Think about all those damaged toys, computers and even your cellphone. Charge them to a credit card that offers the free warranty extension—and you get free coverage.

PRICE PROTECTION Your flat panel purchase made in a haste can land you in the hot seat when your spouse notices that you could have saved $50 by buying it at a different store or when it went on sale. Price Protection offers a rebate option for those willing to send in a copy of the sales receipt, credit card statement and a sales flyer. Ca-Ching!

PURCHASE SECURITY Ever buy a cellphone and then drop it in a puddle? Someone steal that brand new IPHONE on you? That dead cell phone has some help readily available. Items bought on a credit card that are damaged by water, fire, smoke, rain snow, etc. are repaired or replaced for free within the first specified amount of days of your purchase. Purchase security also covers THEFT of that item charged to your card within that same amount of days. Admittedly, there are trickier claim procedures with this area but if it saves you hundreds, the effort may be worth it.

TRAVEL & EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES If you ever find yourself off the beaten path in your foreign travels and need emergency translation service, ticket replacement, medical referral, transportation or even perhaps some legal referral service, look no further than the 800 number on the back of your credit card if you charged your trip to the credit card. Can you put a price on piece of mind?

AND Finally….

AUTO RENTAL COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER Yeah, renting a car inevitably causes a hard sell on their insurance coverage. Even if you carry your own insurance, why let the claim of a rental car follow you around forever? Some credit cards, like Visa Signature, offer free insurance as long as you charge to their card. This bennie will save you upfront money plus the possibility of inflated insurance premiums for the next three years.

There are more benefits readily available to credit card users and I would love to hear your success stories. Read your fine print and share your AWESOME benefits.

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