There are a lot of fantastic credit card perks out there, as credit card issuers are having to compete more fiercely than ever before for your share of wallet. Credit card companies’ margins are down, though at the same time people are using credit cards more and more, so their volume is going up.
There are plenty of cards that are incredibly generous yet that I don’t necessarily consider to be “too good to be true.” For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is a well rounded, generous card that I recommend for a lot of people, but I get how the card can work long term for Chase.
In this post I wanted to look at the credit card benefits that I personally consider to be the most generous. These are many of the benefits that people email me about and say “there’s no way this can last, right?” Well, my general approach is to always take advantage of card benefits when they’re out there, as we don’t know what things will look like in the future.
So, what are the card benefits that I consider to be most generous? In no particular order:
2x points with The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Of the benefits I’m covering, this is the only one that actually relates to the return on spend offered by a card. Specifically, this no annual fee (Rates & Fees) card offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually (after that 1x). I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s the equivalent of a 3.4% return.
Offering that as a “no strings attached” return on a no annual fee card is crazy generous.
Annual free night certificate for $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $89 with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
The way I view it, for the average person this is the most useful anniversary free night certificate offered by any credit card, given that the IHG card is one of the lowest annual fee card to offer an annual free night certificate.
You can redeem this at so many IHG properties across the world, as long as they don’t cost more than 40,000 points per night. That includes thousands of hotels, so almost everyone should be able to get outsized value there.
Annual free night certificate for $95 with the World of Hyatt Credit Card
Hyatt’s co-branded credit card also offers an annual free night certificate, restricted to Category 1-4 Hyatt properties. That covers lots of very nice properties, including many that retail for $250+ per night. Most people should be able to get a lot of value out of that.
Fourth night free with the Citi Prestige® Card
This is the single benefit that has gotten me more credit card statement credits than anything else. The card offers a fourth night free benefit when you book through them, where they’ll reimburse you the cost of the fourth night of a hotel stay at virtually any property in the world. Even pre-paid rates, AAA rates, etc., qualify. This works at everything from a Holiday Inn Express to a $2,000+ per night hotel.
Unfortunately, this benefit was significantly changed in 2019.
Authorized user Admirals Club access with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
While there are a few credit cards that offer lounge access benefits, there’s something that makes this one unique. The card offers an Admirals Club membership for the primary cardmember, as you’d expect for a card with a $450 annual fee. However, what makes this unique is that you can add up to 10 authorized users to the card, and each of them receives access to Admirals Clubs when they fly as well, even if they’re flying another airline.
So with this card you can potentially get lounge access for up to 11 people, all for just the cost of the main annual fee.
The way I see it, the above are some of the most generous credit card benefits available today. That’s not to say that the above are necessarily the most well rounded or generally useful cards, but rather that these cards have specific benefits that almost seem too good to be true. I think just about anyone would get outsized value from The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, and the World of Hyatt Credit Card.
Meanwhile I think the other two cards are a bit more niche — if you stay in hotels a fair amount in increments of at least four nights, the Citi Prestige® Card will pay for itself time and again, and if you’re an American flyer, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is the best way to access Admirals Clubs.
Are there any other major credit card benefits you consider to be (almost) too good to be true?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).