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Beyond cash back: holiday credit card perks pay off

(BPT) - Hunting for deals and door buster sales this holiday? There are several little-known credit card perks to keep in mind before you reach into your wallet.

In addition to cash rewards and extra airline or travel credits, many credit card issuers also offer some valuable benefits which can help you stretch your dollars this holiday. You may also get extended product warranties, price protection and return guarantees on eligible purchases.

Seek out the online deals this holiday

When you shop online this holiday, make your credit card reward site your first stop. You may get exclusive offers such as free shipping and cash back on your purchases.

For instance, Discover regularly offers 5 to 20 percent cash back at hundreds of top retailers through the ShopDiscover online mall, and the offers are even better during the holidays. You log in to the card site and click through to the retailer website, and your purchases earn cash back. Be sure to read the terms - some items may not be included and things like gift-wrapping may not earn cash back either.

Gift cards - always a great gift

Many people save their rewards for the holidays and redeem them for gifts like merchandise or gift cards. It saves on your out-of-pocket expenses - and can often get you a better deal.

For example, if you redeem for partner gift cards at Discover, you can often get an extra $5 in value or more, or redeem them for Discover gift cards that are embossed with the recipient’s name. You can also cash in and get a bank deposit or account credit. Pay with the cash back you’ve earned at popular online stores like Amazon.com so that K-cup maker you’ve had your eye on could cost you nothing out of pocket.

Price protection and return guarantee

Just by using your rewards credit card this holiday, you may be able to get the best deal and avoid buyer’s remorse.  That’s because some credit cards offer a benefit called price protection. If you find a lower price on your eligible purchased item within a specified time frame (typically 90 days) your credit card company will refund the difference.

Not happy with your purchase and the store won’t accept your return? You may be in luck. Some credit card companies will refund the purchase price regardless of the store policy if you submit a claim within a designated time frame. Be sure to read the terms to see what may and may not be included in these offers.

Extended product warranty

Many credit cards will now extend the manufacturer’s warranty up to an additional year at no additional cost. Check to see if your credit card offers extended product warranty coverage - another way to get a great value from your credit card.

Purchase protection

If a recently purchased item breaks or is stolen, you may still be in luck if you bought it using a credit card that offers purchase protection. Many credit cards offer free purchase protection on items if they are damaged or stolen when the entire purchase is made on your credit card. Not all features may be available to all cardmembers, or they may only apply to certain cards, so it is important to read the fine print on your agreement.

Travel protection

Many rewards credit cards offer points, airline miles or cash back on your airline travel. Did you know they may also offer added travel protection as well? Look for credit card benefits like 24/7 travel assistance that can help with things like rebooking a flight or tracking lost luggage. And see if coverage is offered for things like car rental and flight insurance when you use your card. You may be surprised at the added value these benefits offer.

Know your coverage before you shop and you can enjoy worry-free benefits that will help you earn cash back, stay safe and keep saving this holiday season.

More information about Discover’s smart benefits, including price, purchase and travel protection and extended product warranties can be found at www.discover.com/credit-cards/member-benefits.

The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or descriptions of coverage on any specific credit card.

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