4 free, underused card perks
Cathleen McCarthy is a journalist whose articles on travel, commerce and consumer topics have appeared in dozens of publications. She writes "Cashing In," a weekly column about credit card rewards programs, for CreditCards.com
Ask a question.
'Cashing In' archive
Dear Cashing In,
just found your article about Museums on Us and saved a bundle last weekend
visiting museums in Chicago. Now I'm wondering if I'm carrying a free pass to
other things in the form of my credit cards. Do other cards offer this kind of
benefit? -- Looking for Deals
Dear Looking for Deals,
deal you mentioned is something Bank of America and Merrill Lynch offer with
all credit and debit cards they issue. You may already know about the accident
insurance included when you use certain credit cards to rent a car, and the
free checked bags that come with airline credit cards, but there are other free
perks like the one you mentioned.
are four freebies and money-savers built into credit cards:
1. Free travel perks. MasterCard was
offering a free 24-hour pass this month to try out the new Citi Bike program
introduced a few months ago in New York City, but they got such a huge response,
they just rescinded the offer. Everyone wants to try the spiffy blue bikes now
parked all over Manhattan and Brooklyn and quite a few ended up downloading the
code allowing them to swipe a MasterCard at the docking station kiosks. Too
late for that one, but you can still use your MasterCard to get a free upgrade
at Hertz through the end of the year -- and that one's good anywhere, not just
2. Free refunds. This freebie can save you some money if you take advantage of it, and it works with
all Citi cards. Citi
Price Rewind is a price-comparison tool that lets you search for lower
prices when you buy an item, either online or in store with a Citi credit card,
and register it online. If Citi finds your item at least $25 lower than what
you paid within 30 days of purchase, you can get back up to $250 per item and
up to $1,000 annually. You don't have to sign up for Rewind, just register for
an online account and log in.
3. Free companion
Some cards offer free companion tickets as part of a sign-up bonus, others
(usually of the $400-plus annual fee variety) offer it as an annual bonus. The Platinum
Delta Skymiles card will give you a free domestic companion ticket each year you pay the annual fee of $150. Given the many other benefits of this
card, including the ability to earn elite-qualifying miles, some would say that
perk pays for itself.
4. Free museum admission. There is no time limit on
this one and, as you discovered, it works with any credit or debit card issued
by Bank of America -- but only on the first weekend of the month. Just show your
card at the reception desk and museum admission is waived. It's worth repeating since
people are always pleasantly surprised, even though it's been around for years.
Museums on Us now works at more than 150 cultural institutions in 93 cities
nationwide. You can find a complete list by state here. The next
eligible weekends are Oct. 5-6, Nov. 2-3, and Dec. 7-8, 2013.
See related: 11 hidden credit card perks,
Walmart gift cards best use of your Bank of America Worldpoints? , Booking via travel website may affect reward miles, perks
Meet CreditCards.com's reader Q&A experts
Vexed by a personal finance problem?
CreditCards.com's Q&A experts answer questions from readers every weekday. Ask a question, or click on any expert to see their previous answers.
Published: September 17, 2013