Here Are 5 Of My Favorite Perks Offered By Any Credit Card

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There are a lot of reasons to pick up a credit card — some are worth getting for the sign-up bonus, some for the return they offer on spend, and some for the long term perks they offer for cardmembers.

There are a lot of cards that offer big sign-up bonuses and a generous return on everyday spend, but 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 spend bonus categories here, and am also not including travel credits (like the $200 offered on The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN), because in many ways I view that as offsetting the annual fee, rather than being an actual “perk” of the card.

So in this post I’m focusing on five of my favorite perks offered by any credit cards, in no particular order:

Annual free night certificate with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card

The IHG Rewards Club Card offers an annual free night certificate valid at any IHG property worldwide. While there are a few credit cards that offer an annual free night certificate without having to complete any minimum spend, the IHG card is the only one that doesn’t have a limit on which hotels you can redeem at. For example, Hyatt’s co-branded credit card free night certificate can be redeemed at up to a Category 4 property, while Marriott’s co-branded credit card free night certificate can be redeemed up to a Category 5 property.

On top of that, the IHG Card has among the lowest annual fees of any premium hotel credit card. The annual fee is just $49, and is even waived for the first year. Paying $49 per year for a free night at any IHG hotel is tough to beat.

IHG-Free-Night
This year I redeemed my free night certificate for a hotel stay that would have cost $400+

Fourth night free hotel with the Citi Prestige® Card

This is a perk that has transformed how I book my hotel stays, and I consider it to be the single most valuable perk offered by any credit card. There are very few strings attached with this benefit, and you’ll earn points & stay credits as you usually would if booking directly through the hotel.

Best of all, the cost of the fourth night gets reimbursed on the backend, so you even earn elite qualifying nights and hotel points for the fourth night. This is a benefit that saves me thousands of dollars per year.

Andaz-West-Hollywood-Hotel-29
I’ve used the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit many times

Lounge access for up to 33 people with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite MasterCard®

This is American’s premium credit card that comes with an Admirals Club membership. In and of itself that’s not all that exceptional, given that Delta and United also have premium credit cards that offer access to their lounges.

However, there’s something that makes the Citi Executive AAdvantage Card special — you can add up to 10 authorized users on the card at no additional cost, and they receive lounge access as well. Furthermore, each are able to bring up to two guests or their immediate family.

So a single membership with this card can get up to 11 people (along with their guests) access to Admirals Clubs when flying. That’s a great deal.

Admirals-Club-LAX-2
This card comes with a crazy good lounge access perk

Cell phone coverage with the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

There are a lot of things to love about the new Ink Preferred Card, including how extensive the travel coverage and purchase protection is. However, there’s one card benefit that sets this card apart from many others. Specifically the card offers up to $600 per claim in cell phone protection against covered theft or damage for you and your employees listed on your monthly cell phone bill when you pay with the card. You’re limited to three claims in a 12 month period, and there’s a $100 deductible per claim.

Just about everyone has a cell phone, and I think most of us live in constant fear of damaging it. So to be covered and only have to pay $100 out of pocket when something happens is a great perk that would give me a lot of peace of mind.

Sheraton lounge access with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

This is a benefit available exclusively on the business version of the card, and it was only added last year. Just for having the SPG Business Amex you get access to Sheraton club lounges when staying at those hotels around the world. I consider club lounge access to be among the most valuable elite perks, so getting that just for having a credit card is fantastic.

sheraton-grand-london-park-lane-33
Club lounge at the Sheraton London Park Lane

Bottom line

There are a lot of great credit card perks out there, though the above are some of the perks that I consider to be unique. While bonus categories, annual travel credits, etc., are nice, the above are perks that are unique to those cards, and that I think a lot of people would get value out of, even without putting a lot of spend on the cards otherwise.

What are your favorite perks offered by any credit card?

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Comments

  1. American Express FHR is a great benefit of the Platinum card. I don’t earn hotel elite status through stays–just with my card collection and credit card spend–so having a few properties to choose from in many destinations worldwide that offer me a very valuable suite of benefits (sometimes even a free night) makes the Platinum card a huge asset for me. Hilton/SPG/Marriott gold are nice, but I think the pseudo-status I’ve enjoyed on FHR stays has been more consistent. Granted, FHR properties are generally 4.5-5 star hotels so you’ll often have to shell out more per night than you would for a lower tier chain property.

  2. All cards come with “get rid of wife for a few hours feature”. Just give it to her and let her go shopping. Remember to reduce the credit line to $200 before you send her off

  3. Unlimited authorized users at no fee on my Ritz Carlton Rewards card is pretty nice given that authorized users receive a PriorityPass select membership (with guest privileges). I’m not sure how much the card is worth to me now that I can match my SPG gold (thanks to my Platinum card) to Marriott gold, but authorized user benefits help.

  4. In my experience Sheraton lounges have been incredible underwhelming, well below the standard of any airport lounge and not worth a credit card annual fee. What am I missing, is it because I’ve only been to Sheraton properties in the US?

  5. The three free gold rounds per calendar year with the Citi Prestige card is my single favorite cc perk. I just played Trump Doral Blue Monster and Trump National Silver Fox for free. They go for $390 and $165 a round respectively. I will be playing next Spring at Chamber’s Bay and TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. A U.S. Open course on the Puget Sound for fee. Not bad.

  6. @Mishas I know, devastating. Another benefit that is going away is the AA lounge access. The Prestige had the best benefits, for a short time, of any cc that I can remember.

  7. Peter,

    Agreed. The golf privelage on the Citi Prestige has been tremendous and by far, my favorite credit card perk. I’ve taken full advantage of this perk as an avid golfer. You will love Chambers Bay. I would also seek out all the TPC courses(you can play 2 per calendar year until this perk goes away July 2017) and would prioritize Sawgrass, and Scottsdale as well as the private TPC courses.

  8. I agree with Peter and Brandon. The Citi Prestige golf benefit is my favorite, too. I’ve played Pasatiempo, Poppy Hills, TPC Harding Park, TPC Sugarloaf, Doral Red course (Blue Monster was closed when I was there), and Grove Park Inn. I was so disappointed to hear that this benefit is being eliminated, and will probably drop my wife’s Prestige because of it (we play together). Fourth Night Free is probably my other favorite benefit, although I’m not traveling in situations where I can use it frequently.

  9. Not mentioned, but probably the most valuable to me: Price protection. Many cards offer some form of it, with varying degrees of difficulty to make a claim, but I’ve gotten back ~$1,500 so far this year from the various banks using this.

    It’s a bit of work to keep track of everything and file a claim when appropriate, BUT it’s been well worth my time. Just had $78 worth of checks arrive in the mail this past week.

    Points and perks are nice, but $1,500+ worth of checks showing up in the mail bring a big smile to my face.

  10. @John,

    Yes–that’s exactly why. I am sure there is a US Sheraton out there with a great lounge..I just haven’t found it. That being said, some international Sheratons have lounges where you could easily have “dinner”

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