My 6 Favorite Perks Offered By Any Credit Cards

My 6 Favorite Perks Offered By Any Credit Cards

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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.

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 credit10,000 anniversary bonus miles, a Priority Pass membershipCapital One Lounge accessprimary rental car coveragecell 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.

Even authorized users get great credit card perks

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.

This card offers Diamond status for as long as you’re a cardmember

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.

You’re then getting Bonvoy Platinum status, which offers perks like suite upgrades, complimentary breakfast, guaranteed late check-out, and more.

This card offers Platinum status for as long as you’re a cardmember

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.

This card comes with an incredible lounge access perk

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.

Use your free night at a Six Senses (with a points top-off)

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…

Travel & rental car coverage can really come in handy

Bottom line

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.

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  1. iamhere Guest

    There are many other perks that are useful such as the Reserve $300 travel credit which is basically face value, so I think there could have been more thought in this article. Furthermore, I always find it interesting when bloggers discuss the Marriott Platinum status with the Amex card. On one hand it is easy to obtain this way but on the other hand there are complaints when hotels do not handle the situation properly due to overcrowding and other issues.

  2. bo Guest

    I don't really agree that top-tier Hilton status is worth much - at many properties Hilton Diamond status just provides an avoidance of the room overlooking the HVAC and a $10 credit towards breakfast. Very few Honors properties allow suite upgrades these days, and program compliance with the few benefits that are supposed to be provided is not monitored well.

    I would however include in your list cards that include the restaurant benefit with Priority...

    I don't really agree that top-tier Hilton status is worth much - at many properties Hilton Diamond status just provides an avoidance of the room overlooking the HVAC and a $10 credit towards breakfast. Very few Honors properties allow suite upgrades these days, and program compliance with the few benefits that are supposed to be provided is not monitored well.

    I would however include in your list cards that include the restaurant benefit with Priority Pass - CSR, Chase Ritz, and Altima (I think?). Our family is three people and we live in DC. Every time we depart DCA or IAD, we get an $84 meal credit, which can be used an unlimited number of times each year.

    1. Nick Guest

      $84? I thought it maxed out at $56

    2. David Guest

      holder plus two guests

  3. Eskimo Guest

    Things that travelers take for granted because many cards offer them.

    No foreign transaction fee.

    This is the single most tangible perk that have saved me a lot of money.

    1. bo Guest

      Foreign transaction fees usually don't exist anyway. That's like saying how much you appreciate AA not charging fuel surcharges like BA does - or how much you appreciate Air Canada now offering refunds for cancelled flights, only because they didn't do that during covid

    2. Donna Diamond

      @bo - Cards issued from US Banks will always charge you foreign transaction fees when doing transactions with foreign currencies unless they specifically state, as part of the terms and conditions, that they do not! And the rate can be very high.

    3. tim Guest

      Yes, but most every US card that readers of this blog hold these days does specifically state that the fee is waived. Of the 18 cards I currently have, the only one charging an FX fee is my Chase Business Account unlimited. It’s actually somewhat difficult to find a travelcard these days that still charges the fee.

    4. tipsyinmadras Diamond

      Plenty of widely held cards have foreign transaction fees. Chase Freedom Flex/Unlimited, Citi Double/Custom Cash, CapitalOne Quicksilver, Amex Everyday, Blue Cash all have fees for foreign transactions.

  4. David Guest

    in the Citi card discussion, second paragraph, may want to delete the extra word "third"...

  5. Pam Guest

    The top of my own list are AMEX & Chase Offers, esp on hotel stays. $200 credit here & there really add up & always, for me at least, pays for the card’s (or card family’s) AF

  6. Mm Guest

    Hmm.
    8 of the last 13 posts are credit card related.
    While there is value in some of that data, it is awfully skewed towards the CC side of your blog.
    Not quite as interesting as the rest of your reports......

  7. TheRubioRoom Member

    My favorite credit card perk is absolutely the Category 1-4 certificate on the World of Hyatt card. In the several years I've held the card, I don't think I've ever redeemed it for anything less than a room that was retailing for less than $150 before taxes (I don't necessarily aim to always use it for a Cat 4 precisely, I think about making sure I'm getting the annual fee back at least twice over in what I would have paid including taxes).

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iamhere Guest

There are many other perks that are useful such as the Reserve $300 travel credit which is basically face value, so I think there could have been more thought in this article. Furthermore, I always find it interesting when bloggers discuss the Marriott Platinum status with the Amex card. On one hand it is easy to obtain this way but on the other hand there are complaints when hotels do not handle the situation properly due to overcrowding and other issues.

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tipsyinmadras Diamond

Plenty of widely held cards have foreign transaction fees. Chase Freedom Flex/Unlimited, Citi Double/Custom Cash, CapitalOne Quicksilver, Amex Everyday, Blue Cash all have fees for foreign transactions.

0
David Guest

holder plus two guests

0
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