There are lots of reasons to pick up a credit card — some are worth getting for the welcome bonus, some for the return on spending they offer, and some for the long term perks that they offer.
There are a lot of cards that offer big welcome bonuses and a generous return on everyday spending. In this post, I figured it would be fun to look at some of the credit cards that offer the best long term perks. I’m not including spending bonus categories, and I’m also not including travel credits, because in many ways I view those as offsetting the annual fee, rather than being an actual “perk” of a card.
In this post, I’m focusing on six of my favorite perks offered by any credit cards, in no particular order.
In this post:
Too-good-to-be-true authorized user perks
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review) has a $395 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and that’s easy enough to justify based on the perks, which include a $300 annual travel credit, 10,000 anniversary bonus miles, a Priority Pass membership, Capital One Lounge access, primary rental car coverage, cell phone protection, and more.
I’d argue what really differentiates this card is that you can add up to four authorized users at no additional cost, and each authorized user receives a Priority Pass membership and access to Capital One Lounges. There aren’t many premium cards that let you add authorized users at no cost and get perks that valuable, making this a great card for families.
Top tier Hilton status without credit card spending
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review) is in my opinion the most lucrative hotel credit card out there. The card has a $550 annual fee, but offers incredible perks, including Hilton Honors Diamond status, an anniversary free night certificate, a $400 annual Hilton credit, a $200 annual airline ticket credit, and a $189 annual CLEAR Plus credit.
This card pays for itself over and over, in my experience, and getting top tier status with a hotel group without any sort of a spending requirement is pretty remarkable.
The information and associated card details on this page for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by OMAAT and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Valuable Marriott status without credit card spending
It’s not just Hilton offering valuable elite status without any spending requirement. Nowadays the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (review) is pretty lucrative in that regard as well.
The card has a $650 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and offers several worthwhile benefits, including Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status, an anniversary free night certificate worth up to 85K points, a $25 monthly dining credit, a Priority Pass membership (Enrollment required), and more.
I think the math very much checks out on this card — you’re getting up to $300 in annual dining credits, and the free night award can easily be redeemed at a property costing hundreds of dollars.
American Admirals Club access for authorized users
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (review) is the most premium American Airlines credit card, and it has a $595 annual fee. Like many premium credit cards, this one offers lounge access. However, the perk is a bit more generous than what you’ll find on other cards.
With the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card, not only does the primary cardmember get an Admirals Club membership, but authorized users on the card receive Admirals Club access as well. The best value is that you can pay a total of $175 for the third first three authorized users (after that you pay $175 per authorized user). In other words, for the first three authorized users you’re potentially paying under $60 each.
Each authorized user is able to bring up to two guests or their immediate family into Admirals Clubs when flying American or an eligible partner airline the same day.
Annual hotel free night certificates
It can be worth having hotel credit cards simply for the perks that they offer, as some cards offer both elite status and free night certificates. For example, the $99 annual fee IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) and IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card (review) each offer an anniversary free night award.
These can be redeemed at properties costing up to 40,000 points per night. It’s even possible to supplement these with points to redeem at a hotel costing any amount. This is only one of the many great perks of the cards, as they also offer IHG One Rewards Platinum status, and more.
Travel & rental car protection
Nowadays we’re seeing a lot of travel disruptions, so having some kind of coverage when things go wrong really comes in handy. This could include trip delay coverage, lost or delayed baggage coverage, or rental car coverage.
There are many cards offering these kinds of perks, though I tend to think that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) are the leaders in their respective competitive sets. This is one of those benefits that’s hopefully not needed 99% of the time, but when it is needed, it really comes in handy…
There are lots of reasons to consider picking up a credit card, ranging from big welcome bonuses, to generous returns on spending, to valuable perks. The above are some of my favorite credit card perks, ranging from lounge access, to authorized user benefits, to hotel status, to hotel free night certificates. These are all perks that I think people could get a lot of value out of even if they don’t plan on spending a lot on a particular card.
What are your favorite perks offered by any credit card?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (Rates & Fees).
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.