3 ethical credit card hacks you didn’t know about

We all use credit cards for our day to day expenses like grocery shopping, gas, travel and much more. While choosing a card we often choose the ones with highest cashbacks and zero or low membership fees. Did you know that you can actually save more by using certain credit cards which do have membership fees, but offer amazing rewards and benefits. These are few ethical credit card hacks I have used in past that saved me some money:

  • Save 6% on every amazon expense: Yes, you read it right, 6% on everything you buy on amazon. If you are a amazon power user (like me), and spend anywhere close to $50-100 per month, you should consider getting ‘Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card‘. The card offers 6% cashback on all the grocery stores including safeway, QFC etc. You can buy an amazon gift card and use it for your amazon expenses. Moreover, you will save additional 6% on your grocery, 3% on your gas and 1% on the remaining expenses. The card, however, has an annual membership fees of $75. If you spend $1000 in the first 3 months, you get a cashback of $250 which shall cover your membership fees for initial 3 years.
  • Alaska Airlines companion fare for $99: If you like travelling to exotic travel vacations like Hawaii, Mexico, Miami especially during peak travel season like thanks giving or Christmas, you can save a lot of money by signing up for ‘Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card‘. The card allows you to book one fare for your companion (could be anyone) at $99 flat, no conditions apply. You pay for one ticket full price and the second ticket can be booked for just $99. This is especially useful when the ticket prices are $400-$500 or higher and you don’t mind travelling with Alaska airlines. Imagine that the prices for Cancun during Thanksgiving long weekend are priced at $500 (which is not quite uncommon).  You can use the companion fare and get both the tickets booked for $600 (+ taxes of course). Also, if you sign up for this card, Alaska airlines allows one free checked in baggage which is a huge help while travelling for vacations. However, there is an annual membership fees for $75, but when you sign up, you get 30,000 miles if you spend $1000 in first 3 months. These 30K miles are good enough to book a small trip of worth $200-$250 for one person. Moreover, I know people who sell their companion fare discount codes to their friends and families to cover for this membership fees if they are not going to use it. I use the companion fare once every year for an exotic vacation and it has helped save me good money. You can read more about such travel hacks from my another post here.
  • Rental Car insurance for 60 cents/day: Okay, so 60 cents/day is the best case scenario and I used it in my bullet point just to catch your attention. But you save a lot of money if you travel with groups and end up paying insurance (or Loss/Damage waiver, LDW) of the order of $20-$40 per day. Amex offers ‘Amex Premium Car Rental Protectionat a flat fees of $24.95 for a coverage upto consecutive 42 days (now you know where 60 cents came from, $24.95/42). Once you opt-in to the product (call or look in your account online), your Amex card is automatically charged a flat $24.95 when you rent ($17.95 for California residents). Unlike typical credit card coverage, this is primary coverage, which means that it kicks in before your personal auto insurance policy. There’s no deductible to pay, and coverage limits are much higher than a typical credit card policy. Most vehicles are covered, and you can be covered for up to 42 consecutive days for that single $24.95 fee. The terms of Amex’s Premium Protection are also a bit more generous than most other cards’ coverage policies. The $24.95 price-point covers most rental vehicles up to $100,000, even large SUVs and vans, and Amex has a reputation for good customer service. A rental industry insider recently admitted that incidences of denied claims is much lower with Amex’s Premium Protection. So, the bottom line is, on any rental of more than two days, you’ll almost certainly come out ahead with Amex vs. buying LDW from the rental company.

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