The credit card perks we don’t have — but wish we did

Dec 27, 2019

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published on July 27, 2019.


What’s in your wallet? These days, it might feel like your credit card perks are slowly slipping away. Other times, it can feel like credit card issuers and their consumers aren’t as aligned as they used to be.

At the end of the day, U.S. consumers are still far more fortunate than credit card users in most other countries because they have significantly more opportunity to earn points, miles and other perks for each dollar spent. United States cardholders also have access to great credit card benefits such as Priority Pass membership through The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees), or cell phone insurance through the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

That being said, a traveler can always dream, right? As a fun thought experiment, TPG Lounge readers shared with us their fantasy list of credit card perks — and boy, is it a creative one.

Travel perks

Most of us probably got into the credit cards earning game because of the lure of free or greatly discounted travel. TPG readers have a few suggestions for banks looking for inspiration. Many of the suggestions below could actually be a win-win for both companies and customers alike, since perks such as free checked bags or priority boarding cost businesses very little while going a long way toward building goodwill.

“Refundable airline tickets, where tickets purchased with a card are either fully refundable to the card or as an travel voucher or gift card — possibly even with a certain time limit such as seven days before the flight departure, or something equivalent.” — Anthony I.

“Guaranteed business class upgrade on any economy fare once a year.” — Nelson S.

“Free checked bag for unaccompanied minors when the person paying for the ticket is a parent or guardian and a cardholder.” — Julia H.

“Waive [flight] change fees.” — Donovan T.

“Companion certificates on United and American.” — Jake H.

“A Clear and/or NEXUS membership.” — Adolfo L.

“Legitimate travel insurance.” — Richard P.

“Seat upgrades, or discounted/free access to economy-plus seats.” — Kristy R.

Chase Sapphire Reserve access to United Clubs when flying United, similar to the Amex Platinum access when flying Delta.” — Alex G.

“Planned loyalty/retention challenges to stop the churn. Just make both our lives easier.” — Paul C.

“Additional perks for elites. Sometimes the perks of the credit card can be irrelevant for someone who travels a lot and already holds elite status.” — Mike C.

“More lounge partnerships beyond the Priority Pass network, at least for the top-tier cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Something to compete with how Amex Platinum offers Centurion Lounges.” — Aspen S.

“Coupons for in-flight Wi-Fi.” — Emmanuel M., (Several credit cards offer this perk!)

“Passport renewal as an alternative to TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.” — Daren S.

“Reimbursement for travel visa fees.” — Lich L.

“Reimbursement or credit for resort fees.” — Gracie M.

“Transportation to and from the airport, especially on cards that have partnerships with Uber and Lyft.” — Robi C.

“Free airport parking.” — Petter P.

“Waived flight cancellation/rescheduling fees a couple of times a year.” — Olga T.

“Extending benefits such as one free checked bag or priority boarding to family members, or at least to authorized users.” — Jason F.

“Flight price protection! If a flight goes down in price, refund me the difference.” — Zach D.

“Free tolls.” — K.C. V.

Lifestyle perks

It’s always nice to feel like you’re getting some bang for your buck, especially where premium credit cards and their fees are involved. The following suggestions would require some creative business development partnerships between credit card issuers and other businesses, but would make a lot of consumers very happy.

“A national/international gym membership.” — Son V.

“More access to special events!” — Gloria L.

“Extra points for medical expenses.” — Beth S.

“Car insurance.” — Sol D.

“Somewhere to drop off the kids for two to three weeks while we travel. After building up enough points, that’s the main barrier to hitting Asia or other continents.” — Jeff G.

“Fuel discounts.” — Gerald S.

“Front of line rights at all theme parks.” — Richard C.

“Protection from rogue merchants who charge recurring fees without providing service.” — Pat I.

“Ability to pay student loans and my mortgage!” — Stefanie B.

“Spa credit and awards…a free massage after a certain number of nights’ stay or a certain amount spent would be lovely.” — Laura H.

Points perks

Credit card points and miles are essentially an untaxed currency of sorts. These readers have some great perspective on ways to make points and miles management more effective or appealing.

“The ability to transfer miles and points from, say, a hotel program to park them on your account with your credit card.” — Regina W.

“Anniversary point awards. For instance, you would earn 1,000 points for the card for a year. Each year thereafter, you get incrementally more points. This would cut down on some churn, and possibly get people to stick with cards longer.” — Mialisa G.

“All points transfer 1:1 to all mileage programs, and instantly.” — Jeff S.

“Interest on points and miles balances.” — Paul C.

“Double or triple points for charitable donations.” — Christopher B.

“Matched points bonuses from in-store purchases with shopping portal retailers. I waste more time ordering online for in store pickup just to earn the bonus.” — Jeff P.

Financial perks

Some of our readers were straight-up wishful when it came to perks they miss or would love to see.

“No annual fees!” — Thomas P. (No annual fee cards do exist, but often come with stripped-down perks as a tradeoff.)

“A monthly lottery in which your debt is wiped away!” — Patty H.

“All the perks credit card issuers have removed over the last 10 years.” — Joey P.

Better rewards for spending

The whole point, sorry for the pun, of having a rewards-earning credit card is null if you don’t spend on it. That being said, these TPG readers are dreaming of just a little bit more love for their dollars spent.

“I wish Amex Gold included a point multiplier for gas. I also wish Amex Platinum included complimentary primary rental car coverage and a travel credit that was easier and more flexible to use.” — Jeff R.

“Amazon Prime fee credit.” — Mike Z.

“Higher category earnings for entertainment.” — Jeff S.

“Grandfathered perks. For example, since I opened the account while Citi Prestige® Card still offered golf, unlimited 4th nights free and insurance, I would be allowed to keep those perks, even if new members no longer could have them.” — Eu T.

“I just wish there was like a little bit of a YAY, YOU GO, SMALL BUSINESS! perk for small business owners putting all of their spend on business credit cards. Something even as simple as a couple free passes to use the lounges would go a long way for me.” — Kristen J.

“Bonuses for holding the card longer and remaining in good standing: three years, five years, and so on.” — Eu T.

“I don’t need gas points for my Tesla. I should be able to get credit for charging.” — Bart P.

Featured photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages

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

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

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.