Unique credit card benefits you won’t find elsewhere

Jan 26, 2021

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There are so many credit cards out there and many of the benefits they offer are the same, such as a credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fees or access to Priority Pass lounges. There are, however, some truly unique benefits. Here are 10 awesome ones that you won’t find on just any card.

In This Post

Free museum entry

Photo courtesy of the Intrepid Air and Space Museum
(Photo courtesy of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum)

Bank of America credit and debit cards offer access to more than 225 museums across the U.S. for free on the first full weekend of every month under the Museums on Us program. All you need to do is show your Bank of America-issued card and photo ID. You aren’t able to get guests in for free, but most reports I’ve read indicate that authorized users are also eligible. This deal excludes special exhibitions, ticketed shows and fundraising events. Facilities available to cardholders include New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Orlando Science Center.

Some museums have temporarily closed, either voluntarily to slow the spread of COVID-19 or due to local government restrictions. Museums such as New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston are among the locations not currently open. Other museums have adjusted their hours or admission policies, so you’ll want to locate and select a museum using their map, then click “Partner site” to review that museum’s policies and protocols.

Check out our guide to the best Bank of America cards.

Free two-day shipping

Hispanic manager working in warehouse going over inventory and shipping and receiving. (Photo by stevecoleimages/Getty Images)
(Photo by stevecoleimages/Getty Images)

Whether you need quick delivery for last-minute holiday or birthday gifts or just want to avoid extra shipping costs for your online purchases, you can get free two-day shipping and free return shipping with the complimentary ShopRunner membership if you have an eligible World Mastercard, World Elite Mastercard or American Express card.

More than 100 stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Kate Spade, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Kiehl’s, are part of ShopRunner. Combine this perk with your Amex Platinum’s $50 twice-yearly credit at Saks Fifth Avenue to receive speedy shipping if you shop at Saks online.

To activate this benefit, visit your card issuer’s enrollment page, enter your email address, click on “Enroll for Free” and enter your personal details and card information. This may not be the most exciting benefit out there, but it can definitely save you cash when you need an item delivered ASAP. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Price protection

Price protection is another money-saving perk. Many of the most popular programs have been discontinued (including our favorite, Citi Price Rewind), but a handful of credit cards still offer this benefit. Put simply, when the price of an item you purchased drops within a specified timeframe (generally within 60 to 90 days), these programs will give you a refund for the difference.

Price protection is currently available on select United Airlines cobranded cards from Chase, Capital One Spark Miles for Business and the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® card. The information for the Wells Fargo Visa has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Discounts on Lyft, Boxed.com and Fandango

(Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

If you have a World Elite Mastercard, you’re eligible for special discounts and promotions with these popular services. The best part about these discounts is that you don’t have to register for these offers or go through a special link — just use your World Elite Mastercard to pay and the promotion will be applied to your account automatically.

  • Lyft will give you a $10 ride credit (valid for 30 days) after you pay for five rides in a calendar month.
  • Boxed.com gives you 5% in cash rewards to use on future orders. This benefit will be discontinued as of March 31, 2021.
  • Fandango lets you earn $5 toward a future purchase for every two tickets you buy.

Fourth night free on paid hotel stays

The Thompson Hotel NYC. (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

The Citi Prestige® Card’s well-known fourth-night-free benefit has been downgraded several times since it was first introduced, but it can still offer significant value. This perk allows you to book a stay of four nights or longer and receive one night free (based on the average room rate, excluding taxes and fees). The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Reservations must be booked through the Citi travel portal, which means you can’t use discounts like AAA or member-only rates and you generally won’t earn points or receive elite benefits. You can only use this benefit up to two times per calendar year.

Fourth night free on award stays

Photo courtesy of the hotel
Get the maximum value of IHG’s fourth-night-free perk by booking a hotel such as the InterContinental Hong Kong. (Photo courtesy of the InterContinental Hong Kong)

If you prefer saving points on hotel stays rather than cash, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card from Chase has the perk for you: Get the fourth night free on award stays of four consecutive nights. There’s no limit to this benefit — you can even book an eight-night stay and get both the fourth and eighth nights free. It’s incredibly easy to use: Once you open the card, the discount will automatically be applied when you make a reservation with points from your linked IHG Rewards Club account.

Free hotel night after card anniversary

Hotel-branded credit cards often offer a free hotel night on a cardmember’s anniversary. And many programs have made their free nights more flexible and extended expiration dates due to COVID-19. They include:

  • World of Hyatt Credit Card — Free night at a Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort. Unused free nights from 2020 have been extended to expire Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — One weekend night reward with welcome bonus and again every year after renewal. Weekend night rewards issued prior to Jan. 1, 2022, can be used any night of the week. New rewards issued in 2021 won’t expire until Dec. 31, 2022.
  • IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card — One reward night at each anniversary (at a hotel with a current point redemption level of 40,000 points or less). Unused free nights with Dec. 31, 2020, expiration dates have been extended to expire Aug. 31, 2021. Free nights earned in 2020 have an 18-month expiration, instead of 12.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — One free night after card account anniversary of up to 50,000 Bonvoy points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (certain hotels have resort fees). All free night awards from Marriott Bonvoy cards that were set to expire in 2020 have been extended to Aug. 1, 2021.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card — One free night after card account anniversary of up to 35,000 Bonvoy points.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card — One free night after card account anniversary of up to 35,000 Bonvoy points.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Access to American Express Centurion Lounges

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Relax in the Centurion Lounge at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.)

Many credit cards — like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige® Card and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless — offer access to airport lounges in the Priority Pass network, but only The Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion cardmembers get complimentary access to the exclusive Centurion Lounges. Enrollment required for select benefits.

With seasonally inspired food designed by renowned local chefs, premium spirits, signature cocktails and curated wines — plus spa services, wine tasting, family areas, and shower suites in select clubs — the Centurion Lounge network can bring a big upgrade to your next trip.

Related: Guide to lounge access with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum

Sonoma County wine-tasting discounts

Wooden wine barrels on racks at a wine production facility in Sonoma County, California. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Planning a trip to wine country? Visa Signature and Visa Infinite cardholders get exclusive benefits at more than 50 Sonoma County wineries, including a complimentary wine tasting when you buy one of equal or greater value. You also get preferred pricing on non-wine purchases over $50, special wine and food pairings, and savings on same-day wine purchases and reserve tastings. Benefits at each winery vary, so do your research before planning a trip.

Free gifts

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Although it’s not a published benefit, American Express regularly sends free gifts to Platinum Card members, ranging from an Amazon Echo smart speaker to BLADE helicopter transfers to gift cards and exclusive discounts at luxury retailers and spas. They have also been known to offer special holiday gifts at the Centurion Lounges in December. There’s no guarantee that you’ll receive one of these gifts, but it’s a nice perk that can further offset the Platinum card’s hefty $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Bottom line

These benefits might not be enough to convince you to pick up a new card, but there’s a good chance that a card that’s already in your wallet has a benefit that you don’t know about. And when you’re considering a new credit card, check for these less publicized benefits when you are comparing cards.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.

Additional reporting by Caroline Lupini.

Featured photo courtesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.