Holiday shopping: Top credit card perks

Before you buy all of your holiday gifts this year, check with your credit card companies to see if they offer perks that might sweeten the purchase.

Most credit cards offer at least one valuable but little-known perk, according to a report released this week by CreditCards.com.

Credit Card Reform Legislation Would Tighten Rules On Rates And Fees (Getty Images)

 (Getty Images)

Among the most common perks: extended warranties, purchase security, price protection and guaranteed returns.

“These perks are another reason why credit cards are a better option than debit cards and cash – as long as you can pay the balance in full each month,” said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst. “Hold onto your holiday shopping receipts and check back in a month or two to see if any of these offerings will save you some money.”

For those buying big-ticket items, cards with purchase security protection will replace, repair or reimburse cardholders for personal property that is lost, stolen or damaged, according to CreditCards.com.

The coverage is generally limited to 90 days after buying the item. Jewelry, antiques, animals, plants, perishables and motor vehicles are usually not covered.

For electronics and appliances, cardholders may also be able to lengthens the original manufacturer’s warranty (usually by two years) at no additional cost when items are purchased entirely with the card, according to the website.

And if you buy and item and then find it at a lower price, check to see if your credit card company offers price protection.   You may be refunded the difference, according to  CreditCards.com. In most cases, this is restricted to 2-4 months after purchase and capped at $250 to $500 per item and $1,000 to $2,500 annually, the website said.

For those who lose their receipts, some credit cards also guarantee returns. Typically the coverage is limited to 90 days from the sale and most frequently capped at $300 an item/$1,000 a year, according to CreditCards.com.