Credit card perks

April 29, 2008 4:44:35 PM PDT
Chances are you could have great deals at your disposal and not even know it.Many credit cards offer perks, but you've got to know about them in order to use them.

Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Glassberg has more.

For many credit cards, you pay an annual fee of $50 or more. But with that money comes benefits, most of which card holders never manage to pursue, but they probably should.

"Every nickel, every penny is important when you're planning a wedding," Ronnie Rothstein said.

Rothstein is in the wedding business and knows brides can spend a pretty penny on their gowns. But right now, if they use The Knot credit card by American Express, they'll save 10 percent off that dress at Kleinfelds.

"The average cost of a dress a Kleinfelds is about $5,000, so they're going to save $500, which they can use for invitations, they can use it for the champagne or for the wine for the wedding," Rothstein said. "They're excited about it."

But you don't have to be a bride to benefit from your credit card purchases. Just about every card, from ever bank, offers some kind of perk or incentive.

Robin Sidel covers banking for the Wall Street Journal. The more high-end cards, she says, come with higher annual fees and better perks, from free hotel rooms to discounts on concert and theater tickets.

Even things like drug store items and gas can come cheaper. And with today's tight economy, it may be worth reading the fine print.

"There are a lot of people who spend their time really kind of gaming the system," Sidel said.

But you often have to act fast, since some offers have limited runs. That includes a session with stylist to the stars David Evangelista.

"You get a makeover with me," he said. "So that's haircut, conversation, and our main color director colors your hair, with my direction again."

Cash in your membership rewards points for that, and you'll save yourself hundreds of dollars in cash. And speaking of cash.

"One of the most popular rewards is cash back," Sidel said. "And almost every card, every bank has a card that offers some kind of cash back. The more you spend, the more cash you get. And that's appealing to a lot of people."

You can get 15 to 20 percent cash back in some cases, for some purchases. So the bottom line is do the work, read the fine print and you will save money.