Pulling out the right credit card might save you money, even as you spend it. Cards often have valuable benefits that could cut your bills. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com gives tips on what to look for.
The next time you rent a car, pay with a card that has rental insurance as a perk. It could save you $20 a day. CardHub.com recently found that Visa cards have the most comprehensive coverage. But read the terms. Cards may exclude certain rented vehicles and areas, and could also limit coverage for things like driving on dirt roads or crossing state lines.
Most cards boast a concierge, but people rarely take advantage. They can handle a lot -- making dinner reservations, buying show tickets, handling travel arrangements. The service is free, and anything you have them buy or book gets charged to your card.
Most American Express and MasterCard cards, as well as Visa Signature cards, automatically double the manufacturer's warranty on products you purchase with the credit card. That adds up to another year of coverage, and saves you as much as $100 to buy an extension from the retailer. Just save the receipt, to prove you're covered.
Issuers often offer cardholders early access to concert and other event tickets, a perk that can help you avoid secondary market premiums for hot acts. In most cases, those prices are double what a shopper might pay at the box office. Cards also usually offer exclusive discounts at partners: Visa, for example, has 20% off suites at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas.
OK, it's not a card benefit, but you do want to watch out for these when you're tempted to pull out your card. More businesses are starting to offer different prices for credit and cash. Some also offer flat discounts. Usually the savings are about 3% -- the cost for merchants to process a card transaction - but sometimes it's up to 10%.
For more information on credit card benefits and other consumer tips click here.