Many credit-card holders never use benefits such as zero liability for fraudulent charges, and many run into hurdles when they do try to use them, according to Auriemma Consulting Group.

Auriemma's monthly "Cardbeat" report on a survey of credit card customers said issuers often bury descriptions of some features — listing them as bullet points in direct mail card offers, for example. As a result, consumers may not be aware of some of the rewards and issuers receive little promotional benefit.

"There may be an opportunity for some of these more-peripheral benefits to be marketed more aggressively to consumers in a way that may aid card acquisition," wrote Nancy Stahl, the editor of "Cardbeat."

Auriemma, of Westbury, N.Y., surveyed 419 U.S. credit card customers online in November and released its report Monday. Roughly 59% of respondents said their issuers provide additional cards for family members if requested, and 29% said they had made such requests.

Half of respondents said their cards offer zero liability for fraud, and 15% had used that feature. Roughly 26% said their issuer reimburses them for stolen or damaged items within 90 days of purchase with the card, and 4% had used that feature. Roughly 17% said their issuer offers extended manufacturer warranties on items purchased with their card, and 5% had used that feature.

Respondents ranked zero liability for fraud the most desired card feature (69%), followed by the ability to pay credit card bills online (59%) and emergency card replacement (36%). Reimbursement for damaged or stolen luggage ranked near the bottom of list (10%), followed by special access to events (6%) and concierge services (3%).

Many respondents said they had encountered problems trying to use certain features, including an inability to bypass foreign exchange fees (24%), obtain a free credit score (23%), redeem merchant coupons (18%), obtain reimbursement for lost or stolen luggage and collect on trip costs after emergency cancellation (13%).

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