Money

Most people don't know about these credit card perks that can save you hundreds of dollars

The Etihad GVK First Business Lounge at the Indian Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
Jeff Greenberg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images
The Etihad GVK First Business Lounge at the Indian Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

When you get a new credit card, you probably know something about the rewards and the sign-up bonus. If you tend to carry a balance, hopefully you know the APR as well. But there's a good chance you're unaware of perks that can save you hundreds of dollars.

Less than half of the respondents in a recent WalletHub survey knew about popular secondary credit card benefits, including rental car insurance and airport lounge access. Some benefits are lesser-known still: Only 17 percent of those polled knew that some cards offer cell phone damage protection, like the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card, CNBC Make It's top-ranked balance-transfer credit card. It covers up to $600 in damages to your phone — twice per year.

To benefit from a lot of these perks, you need to be aware of them. For instance, U.S. Bank requires you to pay for your cell phone bill with the Platinum card in order to receive the protection benefit.

Some cards offer price protection, meaning if you buy an item on your credit card and then its price drops within a set time frame, usually a month or two, you can get refunded the difference. But that requires you to submit a claim form. In the Wallethub survey, one out of four respondents said they want a card that offered price protection, making it the most popular of any secondary benefit.

Other perks are easier to access but still require awareness. If you have an elite travel card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum, for example, you don't need to buy marked-up cocktails in the airport terminal as you wait for your flight; you can go get free drinks at the lounge.

Likewise, a rental car salesman working for commission intent on warning you about the recent hail storms in the area may not mention the fact that your credit card actually already offers a damage waiver. But if you have a Visa or American Express card, you could be covered on $50,000 in rental car damage.

The Capital One Venture card, meanwhile, our No. 1 pick for the best travel credit card, offers an auto rental collision damage waiver and travel accident insurance.

So no matter what card you have or are considering getting, read the fine print to ensure you're taking advantage of the deals available to you. Annual fees can cost hundreds of dollars, and these perks are partly what justifies them.

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