Valuable Benefits You Can Get From Credit Cards (2019)
The “Classic” card benefits
Most people will want to build up a core credit card collection that provides a set of valuable travel benefits.
|Airport lounge access||
Most premium credit cards, provides free access to a network of over 1,000 airport lounges around the world, along with their other valuable benefits. Get Free Airport Lounge Access from a Credit Card.
|Annual free night certificates||
Most hotel credit cards provide a certificate for a free hotel night, every year you have the card. Get Free Hotel Nights with Credit Card Certificates.
|4th night free benefit||
The Citi Prestige card, which gives you your 4th night free at most hotels, up to twice each year. You can save hundreds of dollars per year. However, you always need to check prices first. Sometimes the room rate to use this feature is significantly higher than what you can find elsewhere, reducing the value of the free night. In extreme cases paying for three nights through Citibank can be more expensive than paying for four nights elsewhere. Get Your 4th Night Free with the Citi Prestige Card.
|Annual companion airfare certificates||
The Alaska Airlines and Delta airlines cards provide a certificate for a nearly free companion airfare ticket, every year you have the card. A bunch of other airline credit cards also offer companion certificates or discounts, but they are often hard to take advantage of. Get 2 for 1 Airplane Tickets with Credit Card Companion Certificates.
|Automatic elite status with hotel companies||
Several credit cards can give you a high-enough level of hotel status to get free breakfast and/or lounge access at Hilton hotels. All hotel credit cards give you at least some elite status, even if it isn't enough for free breakfast. All the Credit Cards that Give You Automatic Elite Hotel Status.
|Free checked bags and other airline benefits||
Most airline credit cards entitle you, and often some travelling companions, to a free checked bag, early boarding, and other airline benefits. Get Free Checked Bags with Airline Credit Cards.
|Southwest Companion Pass||
The Southwest Companion Pass lets you bring along a companion for free, whenever you fly on Southwest—on both paid and award travel. It's basically two-for-one air travel on Southwest, all the time. The easiest path to earn the pass is via the Southwest Airlines credit cards. Get 2 for 1 Travel with the Southwest Airline Companion Pass.
|$100 Visa Infinite airfare credit||
Several “Visa Infinite” cards provide a $100 rebate on domestic coach airfare purchases of two or more tickets. This benefit can be used over-and-over again, to save hundreds of dollars per year. Save $100 Every Time You Fly with a Companion.
|GoGo inflight wireless access||
Several credit cards provide 10-12 passes that can be used for GoGo inflight internet sessions. Get Free Inflight WiFi or Hotspot Access with a Credit Card.
|Cell phone protection||
Many credit cards offer “purchase protection” for damaged and stolen items. However, this coverage typically only applies to problems that occur during the first 90 days. Several cards offer additional coverage for damaged or stolen cell phones, throughout the life of the phone. To get coverage, you don’t have to buy your cell phone with the credit card, but you do have to use it to pay your monthly bill. Coverage will kick-in automatically, for any month that you used the card. Get Free Cell Protection from these Credit Cards.
|Primary rental car insurance||
A handful of cards provide “primary” rental car insurance, that lets you avoid involving your personal insurance company, if you damage your rental car. Credit Cards That Provide “Primary” Rental Car Coverage.
|Global entry fee reimbursement||
All the premium credit cards offer a reimbursement of your TSA application fees (up to $100), once every 4 or 5 years. Which Premium Reward Card is Right for You?
|Automatic elite status with rental car companies||
All the premium cards, and some not-so-premium cards, provide elite status with car rental companies. While, this isn’t that much of a reason to get a credit card, it is still nice extra perk. Get Elite Car Rental Status from a Credit Card.
|Easier path to elite frequent flyer status||
Several credit cards make it easier to reach elite status with American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, or United airlines. Some cards let you earn status directly, others let you earn "qualifying miles" that can help you get to the next status level, and some cards let you bypass "qualifying dollar" requirements. Easier Elite Frequent Flyer Status with the Right Credit Cards.
Perks you probably already have, but might not know about
Most reward and travel credit cards come with dozens of listed benefits. These are spelled out in the documents you received when you got your card, and often on the card’s website, but you might have forgotten you have some of them.
|Free 2-day shipping with ShopRunner||
American Express and World Mastercard cardholders receive a free membership to ShopRunner, which provides free 2-day shipping from over 100 of the largest online retailers. Since you probably already have, or will be getting, at least one of these cards for other reasons, you don’t need to go out of your way to get a card with this benefit. You just need to remember to turn it on, and take advantage of it. ShopRunner website.
|Free Roadside Assistance||
Most premium, and some not-so-premium, credit cards offer FREE roadside assistance. Many other cards, list a roadside assistance benefit. But, that only translates into the credit card company contacting a service provider on your behalf—you still have to pay for service. Get Free or Discounted Roadside Assistance with these Credit Cards.
|Access to luxury hotel collections||
Most travel and reward cards provide access to luxury hotel programs. When you use these programs to book high-end hotels, you’ll get a set of valuable extra benefits, that usually includes free breakfast, late checkout, a room upgrade, and often a $100 hotel credit. There are several different programs, run by different credit card companies. You get access from any Visa Signature card, any World Elite Mastercard, and most of the better Chase and American Express cards. Take Advantage of Luxury Hotel Programs for Valuable Extra Perks.
Several types of credit cards provide an ever-changing set of discounts to their cardholders. The most famous of these are "Amex Offers", which are available on every American Express credit card. For example, you might get $25 back on a $150 purchase, or earn an extra Membership Rewards point for all your purchases with a specific merchant. To take advantage of Amex Offers, you need to sign into your account on the American Express website, browse through the set of offers, and “activate” them for your card. Once activated, the offer will be automatic applied, if you use your card at the corresponding merchant. Bank of America and other credit card companies operate similar programs. Earn Extra Rewards by Enrolling in Credit Card Shopping Programs.
|Protections for things you buy||
Many credit cards offer protections for the things you buy, which can include extending the warranty coverage and covering repairs or replacements for products you’ve recently bought A few cards will even refund the difference if the product you bought drops in price, and/or refund you for a purchase when a merchant won't allow a return. Automatic Protection for the Things You Buy with Your Credit Card.
|Boingo hotspot access||
A few credit cards provide free access to over a million hot spots around the world, without having to pay the normal monthly, daily, or hourly fees. his is a great way to get Wi-Fi access at many airports, hotels, and other public places. This benefit is available with the Amex Marriott Bonvoy cards, but is being discontinued on April 30th for the Amex Platinum cards. Boingo Website.
Most premium credit cards offer extra travel protections, which can include lost bags coverage, compensating you for cancelled or delayed flights, and providing travel assistance while you are away. Some cards even provide free trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Best Credit Cards for Travel Spending.
|Free credit scores||
While it used to cost a bunch of money to get your credit score, most banks now provide free credit scores to their cardholders. Monitor Your Credit Score to Make Sure Everything is On Track.
Other unique credit card benefits
Most people are going to be interested in cards that get free access to airport lounges, automatic elite status with hotels, free night certificates, free checked bags, companion airfare certificates, and the other benefits described above. However, you may also be interested in a few of the cards that have more unique benefits.
|Free museum admission||
If you have a Bank of America credit card, you get free access to more than 150 of the best museums in the country, on the first full weekend of every month. Free entry is only available to cardholders and authorized users. If you have a family, you may still need to pay some money to get everyone in. Bank of America Museums on Us Program.
|Increased access to economy award space on United Airlines||
The United Explorer Credit Card gives you increased access to United award redemptions. You’ll get guaranteed access to higher-priced standard rewards (which often, but not always, aren’t worth the large number of miles needed), as well as some additional availability of lower-priced saver rewards.
|American Express Auto Purchasing Program||
Many Amex cards provide access to upfront pricing on car purchases. Auto Purchase Program.
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