Credit Card Benefits
Our hobby constantly reminds us that we can never know everything. I’m consistently humbled by this, and I’d have it no other way. The wealth of options we have for earning and redeeming points and leveraging credit card benefits can be overwhelming. I went down the credit card benefits rabbit hole again not too long ago. I refreshed my memory on a few, and learned for the first time about others. Today, I’m sharing a bit of what I picked up. Maybe you’ll find a few of these cred card benefits useful.
Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard
This card started off my latest exploration of credit card benefits. When I logged into my Aviator Blue Mastercard account, I noticed I was eligible for a card upgrade. I didn’t have any need to upgrade, but I was curious, nonetheless. I noticed that the Aviator Silver offers up to $25 back daily in statement credits on inflight food and beverage purchases when one uses the card on American Airlines operated flights. Even mildly loyal American Airlines travelers may be able to justify the $199 annual fee based on this one benefit. But the card comes with many more. You can’t apply for the Silver, Blue, or no annual fee Aviator cards, but you can easily product change to them from the Red card.
Chase Southwest Performance Business Visa
A helpful MtM Diamond member recently pointed out that the Chase Southwest Performance Business card has an outstanding wifi benefit. Performance holders receive statement credits when they use their cards to make inflight wifi purchases, up to 365 $8 credits per year. This member shared that the credit is extremely flexible – I’ll let you ruminate over the possibilities.
And it gets better. For the $199 annual fee, cardholders also receive 9k anniversary points and four upgraded boardings annually. The Southwest Performance Business and Southwest Premier Business cards also provide $500 in fee credits for points transfers.
Amex Hilton Surpass
Many cards offer Priority Pass lounge benefits, but what the American Express Hilton Surpass offers here is relatively unique. Sure, the Surpass card only provides ten Priority Pass lounge entries. But as long as the lounge doesn’t have a guest limit policy, a cardholder can use up to all ten entries in one visit! This makes the benefit particularly useful for larger families traveling together, infrequent travelers, or both. Mark dives into this benefit more here.
Chase Ritz Carlton Rewards Visa
The Ritz Carlton card has a hefty $450 annual fee, but it comes loaded with benefits. And it takes Priority Pass access to another level. The card offers unlimited free guests to a Priority Pass lounge. Secondly, since you can add authorized users to the card for no additional fee, each one can effectively obtain free Priority Pass memberships. The Priority Pass membership from the Ritz Carlton card is even more useful in that any cardholder can use Priority Pass benefits at select restaurants, up to $28 per person. Each cardholder is entitled to another $28 credit for an additional guest. Imagine the possibilities!
Chase United Gateway Visa
This card’s sole excellent benefit is worth highlighting again. From my perspective, there’s only one reason to hold this card, but it’s a big one. The United Gateway card enables additional award availability with no annual fee. This obviously comes in handy for anyone looking for maximum flexibility when booking with United. Given the Gateway’s inferior welcome offer, you’re probably better off applying for another United card, such as the United Explorer, and subsequently downgrading to this one in year two.
Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercards
My wife and I have held the Amtrak’s $79 annual fee World Mastercard and still hold no annual fee Platinum Mastercard accounts. A big reason is we love earning one of the most valuable points currencies out there for a travel method we enjoy. We and many others easily obtain 2.5 to 2.9 cents per point when redeeming for Amtrak travel. Even better, both cards offer a 5% points rebate on all Amtrak travel redemptions, easily bringing value of over 3 cents per point in many situations. I’m concerned that this benefit may be on life support, though. Bank of America is no longer offering these cards via new applications, and I was recently turned down when I tried to product change to the Amtrak World Mastercard. Fingers crossed, this benefit will continue in some form with the legacy and/or new versions of Amtrak cards.
I can’t possibly cover all overlooked credit card benefits today. Indeed, I’m excited to see what are your favorite hidden gems in the comments. A unique credit card benefit can be the deciding factor for someone holding onto a card rather than closing it. Even better, you can pursue retention offers with these cards to wipe out the annual fee (or make a few bucks) while enjoying these distinctive benefits. And with banks constantly competing for our business, I look forward to seeing what new credit card benefits come next. What are your favorite niche credit card benefits?