Beyond the Basics: Exploring Lesser-Known Benefits of Credit Card Rewards

Credit card reward memberships have become increasingly popular among consumers for their ability to earn points or miles on everyday purchases. However, what many people may not realize is that these reward memberships often come with additional perks that can save you money, provide convenience, and enhance your lifestyle in ways beyond just the rewards themselves. In this blog post, we’ll explore the lesser-known advantages of credit card reward memberships, with specific examples of credit cards that offer these services and benefits.

Cash Back Rewards and Travel Credit Cards:

The not so hidden, main benefit to credit card rewards, and the reason most get these cards are the cash back rewards or the points and miles you could get in return for your purchases.

When it comes to cashback cards, the thing you should consider are the categories you you will be purchasing. Whether it is dining, travel, groceries or even online retailers, credit cards can prioritize on a single or multiple categories so finding the right card is important to maximize your returns. Something else to consider are cards with rotating categories where they have higher percentage back on different quarters through out the year. The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, while the Discover It Cash Back features a rotating cashback categories where you can earn 5% on specific categories during certain times of the year. For example, you might earn 5% cash back on gas stations in one quarter and 5% cash back on restaurants in another quarter.

Then there are the travel rewards, offering opportunities to earn airline miles, hotel points, and travel discounts. For instance, the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card allows cardholders to earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, with the flexibility to redeem the miles for travel expenses such as flights, hotels, and car rentals. Many of these programs allow you to transfer to airline and hotel partners. So it may be in your interest to find a card that partners with your favorite hotel chain or airline.

With the obvious benefit out of the way. Let’s dive into other benefits you may be missing out on.

Purchase Protection:

Credit card reward memberships often come with purchase protection benefits that can save you money and provide peace of mind. These benefits may include extended warranty coverage, price protection, and purchase insurance. For example, the American Express Platinum Card offers up to 90 days of purchase protection, protecting eligible purchases against accidental damage, theft, or loss. Another great option is the Citi Prestige Card, which offers similar purchase protection benefits, allowing you to shop with confidence knowing that your purchases are protected against unforeseen circumstances.

Moreover, some cards like the Citi Prestige Card offers price protection benefits, which can be a valuable feature for cardholders. If you make a purchase with the Citi Prestige Card and later find that the price of the item has dropped, the price protection benefit can reimburse you for the price difference. By taking advantage of this benefit, you can confidently make purchases with your Citi Prestige Card, knowing that you have added financial protection against unexpected price drops.

Special Discounts and Offers:

Credit card reward memberships can also grant access to special discounts or offers from partner merchants, providing cardholders with additional ways to save money. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers exclusive benefits through its partnership with the luxury travel platform, The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. Cardholders can enjoy perks such as room upgrades, late check-outs, and daily breakfast for two at participating luxury hotels and resorts worldwide. This partnership allows cardholders to enhance their travel experiences while taking advantage of exclusive discounts and amenities.

Similarly, the American Express Gold Card offers cardholders access to the Amex Offers program, which provides targeted discounts and statement credits at a variety of popular merchants. Cardholders can add these offers to their card and enjoy savings on purchases made at participating merchants, ranging from dining and shopping to travel and entertainment. This allows cardholders to enjoy exclusive discounts and promotions while earning rewards on their purchases.

It’s important to note that partner merchant benefits and offers may change over time and may be subject to terms and conditions, including expiration dates, spending thresholds, and merchant restrictions. It’s recommended to review the details of each credit card’s partner merchant benefits to fully understand the available offers and how to take advantage of them.

Access to Exclusive Events:

Some credit card reward memberships offer exclusive access to special events and experiences. For instance, For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card offers access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Experiences, which includes exclusive events like culinary festivals, sports games, and concerts. Cardholders can redeem their points for these unique experiences, allowing them to create unforgettable memories and enjoy one-of-a-kind opportunities.

Another example of credit cards offering exclusive events is the American Express Platinum Card, which provides access to the Global Dining Collection. This program offers cardholders unique dining experiences, such as chef-led tastings, private dinners, and culinary events at top restaurants around the world. This allows cardholders to indulge in fine dining experiences and culinary adventures that are curated exclusively for them.

Lounge Access:

Credit card reward memberships can be especially advantageous for frequent travelers, as they often come with perks like airport lounge access. For instance, the American Express Platinum Card offers access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes over 1,200 airport lounges in more than 130 countries. Cardholders can enjoy amenities such as complimentary snacks, beverages, Wi-Fi, and comfortable seating while waiting for their flights.

Another example is the United Club membership that comes with the United MileagePlus Club Card. This membership provides access to United Club lounges. Capital One Venture X gives you unlimited access to their own Capital One Lounge at DFW airport. They are opening two more lounges in Dulles Airport (IAD) and Denver International Airport. Check out this post for mose details on Capital One’s Venture X card which we voted as a top travel credit card for 2023.

Concierge Services:

Credit card reward memberships can offer valuable concierge services to assist cardholders with various tasks, such as travel bookings, restaurant reservations, and event tickets. For example, the Mastercard World Elite Concierge, available with the Mastercard Black Card, provides 24/7 personalized assistance with travel arrangements, dining reservations, and more. Another option is the Visa Infinite Concierge, which is offered with select Visa Infinite credit cards and provides similar services to help cardholders with travel planning, entertainment recommendations, and special event bookings.

These concierge services can be a convenient and time-saving benefit for cardholders, providing them with personalized assistance for their travel and entertainment needs. From booking flights and hotels to securing reservations at popular restaurants or obtaining tickets to sought-after events, these services can add value and convenience to credit card reward memberships, enhancing the overall cardholder experience.

Fraud Protection:

Credit card reward memberships often include robust fraud protection measures, providing cardholders with enhanced financial security and peace of mind. For instance, the Discover it credit card offers features such as free Social Security number alerts, freeze it functionality, and $0 fraud liability guarantee, which protects cardholders against unauthorized charges. Another example is the Capital One Venture X credit card, which provides advanced security features like virtual card numbers for online purchases, personalized transaction alerts, and 24/7 fraud monitoring to help safeguard cardholders against fraud and unauthorized use.

These comprehensive fraud protection measures offered by credit card reward memberships can provide cardholders with added confidence and peace of mind when it comes to protecting their financial information and preventing fraudulent activities. Such features can be invaluable in mitigating potential risks and ensuring that cardholders can use their credit cards with confidence, knowing that their accounts are well-protected against unauthorized transactions.

Travel Insurance:

One of the hidden gems of credit card reward memberships is the travel insurance coverage they offer. Many credit cards provide travel insurance benefits, such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay/loss insurance, and rental car insurance. These insurance perks can provide you with financial protection and peace of mind when you’re on the go, covering unexpected expenses or losses that may occur during your trip.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance of up to $10,000 per person per covered trip, baggage delay insurance of up to $100 per day for up to 5 days, and primary auto rental collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage when you rent a car for business purposes. These travel insurance benefits can save you money and offer valuable protection during your travels.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

Another hidden benefit of credit card reward memberships is the reimbursement of the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are trusted traveler programs that provide expedited security screening and customs clearance at participating airports, saving you time and hassle when traveling. Some credit cards offer statement credits to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, making it a valuable perk for frequent travelers.

For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card provides up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. This means you can enjoy the convenience of expedited security screening and customs clearance without having to pay out of pocket for the application fee. The best part? This benefit extends to any additional users you add to the card.

Cell Phone Protection for Unexpected Accidents

One exceptional benefit that I know most do not utilize is the Cell Phone Protection. Some cards insure your purchase of your cell phone. Take for example the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, which provides up to $600 in cell phone protection. With a low deductible of just $25 per claim and a maximum of two claims per year, this benefit can offer you peace of mind knowing that you’re financially protected against unexpected accidents or theft involving your cell phone.

Annual Statement Credits

With certain credit cards, you can enjoy annual statement credits that are tailored to specific categories like travel, dining, or shopping – a fantastic benefit that can offset the annual fee or provide you with extra savings. These statement credits are typically applied automatically and can be used towards eligible purchases made with the card, making it a hassle-free way to save money on your everyday expenses.

For instance, the American Express Gold Card offers up to $100 in annual airline fee credits, which can be used towards incidental fees like checked bags or in-flight meals. This can help offset the card’s annual fee and provide you with additional savings on your travel expenses. Another example is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers a $300 annual travel credit that can be applied towards a wide range of travel-related expenses, such as flights, hotels, rental cars, and more. This can significantly offset the card’s annual fee and save you money on your travel purchases throughout the year.

These annual statement credits are a hidden gem of credit card reward memberships, providing tangible value and helping you make the most out of your card’s benefits while keeping more money in your pocket.

Credit card reward memberships offer more than just the obvious benefits of cash back or travel rewards. They often come with additional perks such as purchase protection, special discounts and offers, access to exclusive events, and airport lounge access. These lesser-known advantages can save you money, provide convenience, and enhance your lifestyle in ways beyond just the rewards themselves. It’s important to review the details of each credit card’s benefits to fully understand the available offers and how to take advantage of them. So, when considering a credit card with reward membership, make sure to look beyond just the rewards and explore the additional perks that can enhance your overall experience as a cardholder.

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