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As travelers are daydreaming about the places they can’t go to right now, I’m looking at my credit cards and reviewing the perks that I should be taking advantage of — the ones that are normally relegated to the back of my head.
Even if you're starting to travel again, it's useful to keep your cards’ non-travel benefits top of mind. Here are some that could be useful for you, too.
Free two-day shipping and free returns
You might be ordering more items online than you normally do. And if you dislike paying extra for faster shipping or to return products that didn’t fit right, there’s a credit card benefit worth paying attention to.
Many AmEx cards, and some Mastercards, come with a complimentary ShopRunner membership that will get you two-day shipping and returns from participating stores at no charge to you. This membership normally has a value of $79. To activate your membership via one of your cards, set up an account, then you'll be able to start using free expedited shipping. Terms apply.
Some of the participating stores are Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Popcorn Factory and the NBA Store. You can check the store list here. Here are some of the cards that will get you this benefit:
For Mastercard holders, check to see whether your card is branded as a World Elite or World card, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. Both of these Mastercard categories come with ShopRunner privileges.
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for online shipping
$120 dining credit
If you have an American Express® Gold Card, you can save up to $120 annually on dining. All you have to do is enroll and you'll get up to $10 every month credited back on your statement when you use your card to pay for your food delivery orders at Grubhub or Seamless. The same benefit applies to dine-in options like the Cheesecake Factory, Boxed, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shacks. Terms apply.
With the American Express® Gold Card, you will also earn 4x points for those restaurant purchases — whether you're ordering in or going out. Terms apply.
$100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit
The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a $50 statement credit from January through June, and a second $50 statement credit from July through December for purchases made at Saks Fifth Avenue (both online and in stores). You can use it across multiple orders as long as you keep tabs on the two credit amounts, but it does require enrollment before you purchase. Terms apply.
$240 digital entertainment credit
The newest benefit on the The Platinum Card® from American Express is a $240 digital entertainment credit, doled out in monthly increments of up to $20. This credit can be used for eligible purchases on Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
$60 DoorDash credit
Anyone holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card can have up to $60 annually credited back to their statements for food orders processed through the delivery service. The best thing about this benefit is that you don't need to register to make use of it, and it’s allotted as a lump sum (so none of that drip-drip-drip benefit like other cards offer every month).
The downside? The terms and conditions say this benefit is only for 2020 and 2021, and so far it doesn’t look like this will continue past this year.
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for restaurants
Up to $400 Dell credit
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express will credit up to $200 back to your statement from January to June, plus another $200 from July to December, for purchases with this card at Dell, for a total of up to $400. Terms apply.
$300 travel credit
Did you know that some of those "travel" benefits on your Chase Sapphire Reserve® aren’t only for flights and hotels? Some of your charges for tolls, toll bridges, parking, garages, ferries, taxis, buses and trains may also qualify under the travel category and be offset by the card’s $300 in annual travel credits on your statement.
You don't have to enroll for this benefit, but the merchant has to be coded on the travel category for Chase to recognize the purchase and grant the credit.
» Learn more: The beginner's guide to points and miles
If you want to use non-travel credit card benefits
It can be difficult to remember all of the ways you can get the most out of your credit cards. Keep this list handy, or set a quarterly reminder to review the terms and conditions of the cards in your wallet. Then, you'll be lightyears ahead of many when it comes to maximizing these financial tools.
To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.
To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card