CREDIT & MONEY MANAGEMENT


7 Little-Known Credit Card Perks

Enhance your warranty. Gold and platinum MasterCards, Visa Signature cards and American Express cards all extend the manufacturer's warranty by up to one year when you use the cards to purchase items. If you lose or break that new laptop or digital camera within 90 days of purchasing it with Citi's new ThankYou Premier card, Citi will pay to repair or replace it or reimburse you -- up to $1,000 per claim. The same is true for purchases made with your American Express card (the $450-per-year Platinum card has a limit of $10,000).

Get you the lowest price. If you see an item you purchased with a Citi premium card advertised for less within 60 days, Citi will make up the difference, up to $250. Many gold and platinum MasterCards offer similar protection.

Cover you on the road. If your laptop is stolen from your hotel room, MasterCard will reimburse you if you used a gold or platinum card to pay for the room. Likewise, if your luggage doesn't arrive when you do, MasterCard will reimburse you for the cost of replacing essential items. Plus, MasterCard will cover the cost to repair or replace damaged luggage. Use your Visa Signature card to buy your airline ticket and you can get reimbursed up to $3,000 for lost or stolen luggage.

Help you avoid checked-baggage fees. Redeem points for an airline ticket with your U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card and receive a $25 credit toward the checked-bag fee. Gold Delta SkyMiles cards from American Express cover the cost of checked bags (up to $50 per person round-trip) for up to nine people on the same reservation. American Express's platinum card offers a $200 annual credit for flight-change and baggage fees.

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Get you free admissions. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free admission to 150 museums in 85 cities on the first weekend of the month. Participating institutions include New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chicago's Art Institute, Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, in Oklahoma City.

Provide concierge services. The 24-hour service (available to Visa Signature and MasterCard World Elite cardholders) can help with restaurant reservations, party planning, travel arrangements and getting tickets to sold-out events. Visa cardholders can see what's available by visiting Visa's Web site or by becoming a fan of Visa on Facebook.

Help you get home. Chase customers can call Global Lifeline (the number is on the back of their card) and get help with hotel and airline reservations and medical assistance. For example, Chase helped a cardholder stranded in the Dominican Republic get a flight back to New England this past winter after a massive snowstorm forced flight cancellations.

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