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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 Enhanced 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?