Unique credit card benefits you won’t find elsewhere
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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.
Free museum entry
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 every month under the Museums on Us program. All you need to do is show your Bank of America-issued credit 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 Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and the LACMA museum in Los Angeles.
Check out our guide to the best Bank of America cards.
Free two-day shipping
As the holidays approach, last-minute gifts can lead to a lot of rush shipping fees. Fortunately, if you carry an eligible World Mastercard, World Elite Mastercard or American Express card, you can get a free ShopRunner membership. This gives you free two-day shipping and free return shipping at more than 100 stores, including Kate Spade, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, and Kiehl’s. 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.
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 Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, along with the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card.
Discounts on Postmates, Lyft, Boxed.com and Fandango
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.
- Postmates applies an automatic $5 discount on orders of $25 or more (also works with World Mastercards), excluding delivery fees, tips and taxes.
- Boxed.com gives you 5% in cash rewards to use on future orders.
- Fandango lets you earn $5 toward a future purchase for every two tickets you buy.
$100 airfare discount through Visa Infinite
If you have a Visa Infinite card, you can book a round-trip domestic flight in coach for two to five passengers (including you) and receive $100 off the tickets by purchasing through the Visa Discount Air Benefit website and using your Visa Infinite card for the purchase. Even better, there’s no limit to the number of times you can use this perk in a year. Visa Infinite cards typically have an annual fee of between $450 and $495, but using this benefit just a handful of times will cover that easily — and if you regularly travel with a companion and typically purchase your airfare together, the savings can really add up. This perk is also extended to authorized users.
You can take advantage of this benefit with the Crystal Visa Infinite Card from City National Bank, the UBS Visa Infinite Card, and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card (not available to new applicants). Although the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a Visa Infinite card, it does not participate in this promotion.
Fourth night free on paid hotel stays
The Citi Prestige Card’s well-known 4th 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). 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
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. They include:
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card — Free night at Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — One weekend night reward with welcome bonus and again every year after renewal
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card — One free night at each anniversary (up to 40,000-point hotels)
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card — One free night after card account anniversary of up to 50,000 Bonvoy points
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ 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
Access to American Express Centurion Lounges
Many credit cards — like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from American Express — 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. 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.
Sonoma County wine-tasting discounts
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.
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 $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
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.
Featured image courtesy of Amanpulo in Palawan, Philippines.