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Free Credit Card Perks That Go Beyond Rewards

Have you ever read the tiny print associated with your credit card? Odds are, probably not. But if you take a second to see what fine print is offering, you might be surprised by some of the free benefits and perks associated with your card. Credit card networks like Discover, American Express, Chase and Citi all offer membership benefits that go beyond points and rewards. For instance, you could use your member benefits in emergency situations, or get a refund back on a purchase whose receipt has gone mysteriously AWOL.

Here are 5 credit card benefits you may have had no idea even existed...

1.) Purchase Protection

Purchase protection protects consumers from items that they bought with their credit card that have been damaged or stolen within 90 days. Visa and MasterCard both offer purchase protection on most items; consider it insurance for the purchases you make with your credit card. American Express also offers reimbursement for accidentally damaged or stolen items within 90 days, as do select Chase and Capital One credit cards.

This is another reason to opt for your credit card over your debit card when making a retail or online purchase.

2.) Roadside Assistance and Global Assist

Don't have AAA? Don't sweat it if you carry a platinum Visa or American Express credit card. Both credit card networks offer emergency assistance if you're having simple car trouble (a flat tire, out of gas, etc.). AmEx takes it one step further with their Global Assist program, which is a 24/7 hotline that offers emergency card replacement worldwide.

RELATED: 5 Best Rewards Credit Cards

3.) Event Specials and Concierge Assistance

Want VIP presale opportunities to upcoming concerts and events? Or are you on vacation and looking for some ideas on tours, entertainment or something else to kill some time? Your credit card might be able to help you out there, too.

American Express offers premium cardholders VIP event specials and concierge services. One card - the Discover it Card - includes a Cash Back Concierge(SM) service, which puts cardholders on the line with a live customer service agent to better explain how to net the most cash back with your card.

4.) Airport Perks

The best airline miles credit cards offer airline and airport perks you won't receive with any typical card. The Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card, for example, offers cardholders priority boarding, and they'll allow members and companions on the same reservation to check their first bag free of charge each way - a $100 round-trip value.

Other airline credit cards include airport lounge access (we always wanted to see what went on in there), in-flight beverage discounts, companion tickets and more. If you're a frequent flyer, you might be missing out on some serious benefits if you don't own an airline credit card. Compare miles and perks on the best frequent flyer credit cards with our helpful new infographic on Creditnet.

5.) Online Mall Discounts

Finally, before you make a purchase online or in the store, you should check your credit card provider's online marketplace. Both Discover and Chase offer discounts of up to 20 percent when you shop online with them, and American Express is notorious for having an excellent point redemption program.

It's not like the items you find on these online redemption centers are second rate; we're talking about brands like Apple, Macy's and more. You can essentially buy anything - and book anything - at a cheaper rate through the rewards redemption center offered up by your credit card.

For more information on credit cards that offer the best perks, follow the "Apply" links below.

Discover it™ - Cashback Concierge(SM) perks and 5 percent cash back

Our favorite cash back credit card also offers some of the best bonus perks of any credit card available today. Featuring top-rated customer service - including their new Cashback Concierge(SM) feature which allows cardholders to better understand the cash back opportunities afforded by this card - and one of the best rewards programs of any card on the market, this is as good a credit card that you'll find today. Plus, there's no annual fee to boot.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express - 6 percent cash back on up to $6,000 annually in grocery purchases

Our favorite credit card for gas and groceries is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Not only will members earn 6 percent cash back on up to $6,000 made each year in groceries, they'll also receive another 3 percent at stand-alone gas stations and select major department stores. Plus, members are privy to all of the excellent perks afforded by American Express, including Global Assist and Roadside Assitance.

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Jason Bushey's picture

Jason Bushey is the former Editor and Vice President of Creditnet. Jason is a Burlington, Vermont native who moved to sunny San Diego after earning a Bachelor's Degree in English and Political Science at the University of Vermont ('09). When he's not sharing his take on credit cards, administrating the Creditnet Forum or blogging about all things related to credit, you can probably find him cheering on the Green Bay Packers (He's an owner!) or running up and down the streets of SoCal.

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