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Membership Has Its Perks: Consumers' Checkbook Finds Savings You May Not Know You Deserve

Credit cards, health insurance and warehouse club memberships have not-so-obvious deals you may not know about that can help you save money.

“They seem to do a pretty good job about letting you know about these benefits when they are trying to get you as a customer, and then once you're a customer, they seem to care a little bit less about letting you know about all of these benefits,” Washington Consumers’ Checkbook Managing Editor Kevin Brasler said.

Here are three perks from credit card companies:

  1. Free museum passes. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders can visit a long list of museums for free on the first weekend of each month including the Newseum in D.C. as well as museums in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York.
  2. Extended warranties and travel insurance. Consumers' Checkbook does not recommend paying for these services but says they're worth taking advantage of if they're free.
  3. Roadside assistance. A lot of cards provide free towing, tire changes, jump starts and rescues from lockouts.

Credit cards aren't the only way to save:

  • Many health insurance companies offer free or discounted gym memberships.
  • Costco members can save big by having their inkjet cartridges refilled. “It's not for free, but they’ll do it for pretty low cost and way less expensive than buying new cartridges,” Brasler said.
  • AAA customers can borrow car seats for free -- a great option when traveling with children or when out-of-town guests with kids visit.
  • Amazon Prime members have a long list of benefits, including discounted diapers. Sign up for Amazon Family to get 20 percent off diapers, formula and other family-centric goods. You have to sign up for automatic deliveries, but you can easily turn off or change the frequency if needed.
  • Credit unions and college alumni groups also offer free perks.

CORRECTION (June 28, 2017, 1:20 p.m.): An early version of this story said Capital One Quicksilver cardholders who used their cards for Uber trips received every 10th ride free, but Capital One no longer offers that deal.

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