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There’s no denying that travel rewards cards offer some pretty amazing benefits — from annual travel fee credits and luxurious airport lounge access to cell phone protection and primary rental car insurance. While some of these perks are incredibly lucrative, at the end of the day issuers are running businesses, and these fancy extras are meant to secure your business as a cardholder rather than to gift you with tons of freebies “just because.”

But while there may be a limit to card issuers’ generosity, our imagination knows no bounds. TPG editors and contributors put together a wish list of the credit card perks we’re hoping for — but aren’t exactly expecting to see any time soon:

Airline Cards

Holding an airline-branded credit card can improve your travel experience ever so slightly, with modest perks like priority boarding and a few lounge passes per year. If issuers and carriers really wanted to win our loyalty, though, they could up the ante with better earning rates, free amenities on board and more:

  • Guaranteed priority economy seating — or at least the opportunity to select an aisle or window seat in advance
  • Waived change fees — maybe 1-2 times per year on the lower-end cards like the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard and the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, but unlimited on the premium versions
  • Free in-flight Wi-Fi
  • First-class upgrade certificates
  • 3x points/miles on all airline purchases — rather than the 2x we see with virtually all airline co-brand cards

Hotel Cards

The top hotel co-branded cards offer generous sign-up bonuses that get you free nights at high-end properties, and the more premium options even get you on-property benefits like a $100 credit for paid stays of two nights or longer with the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card. But there’s still plenty of room for improvement:

  • Free Uber to and from airport
  • A complimentary spa treatment on all stays
  • Waived resort fees
  • Free dinner — not just breakfast for elite members
  • Free laundry up to $50 per stay

Other Travel Rewards Cards

Cards that fall into this last category are some of the most valuable options on the market, thanks to annual travel credits and unique features like the 4th Night Free benefit on the Citi Prestige Card. That’s not to say they couldn’t look a whole lot better, though:

  • Waived minimum-balance requirements for accounts with the issuing bank
  • Express checkout lane at select grocery stores for credit cards that offer grocery stores as a bonus category — would be useful for Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s lines in the city!
  • Full card benefits extended to one authorized user
  • Charity matching — for example, an issuer will match your spend dollar for dollar and donate that money to a charity of your choice up to $5,000 a month if you spend $10,000 in the first month
  • Basic medical insurance for travel abroad
  • Access to business centers such as Regus and WeWork
  • Discounts with select merchants when paying with the card

What benefits — realistic or not — would you most like to see on travel rewards credit cards?

Featured image courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.