Best Perks Credit Cards

When it comes to credit cards, most of us focus on the rewards and annual fees.

And for good reason – we want the biggest return for our spending while paying the least amount possible.

But, it's also worth paying attention to other things that credit cards offer, like perks – all the "extra" things that either help you save money or make your life easier.

Most credit cards that offer great perks generally charge annual fees. But when you factor in the added value, your annual fee is often covered (and then some).

So, here's the guide you didn't know you needed to all the extras offered by your credit card.

And if you're wondering, we track each and every one of these features for each card in our database and incorporate them into our genius rating.

And while most perks are found on travel credit cards, cash back cards offer some pretty decent ones as well.

Perks offered by all credit cards

Here's a sampling of the type of perks you can find on credit cards, no matter what type.

Concierge service

Concierge service is a popular perk offered by any type of premium credit card. Found on Visa Signature, Visa Infinite, World Mastercards, World Elite Mastercards, and many American Express cards, you get a dedicated phone line to help you make plans and reservations.

If you're traveling, concierge service can help you with things like:

  • travel plans,
  • hotel reservations, and
  • restaurant reservations.

A dedicated team is just a phone call away to help you get things planned.

Roadside assistance

Let's be honest, vehicles are mechanical contraptions that tend to break down and can leave you stranded on the side of the road. Sometimes it can be something as simple as a dead battery from leaving a light on, locking your keys inside your car, or getting a flat tire.

That's where roadside assistance comes in. You can get the services you need to get you going again for a reasonable annual fee.

But, rather than shelling out for a AAA membership, many credit cards come with a basic roadside assistance plan should something like this happen to you. This way, you can still get the services you need, but for no additional cost.

Credit reports

Many credit cards will give you access to your FICO credit score for free.

Rather than having to spend $20 to check your report, your issuer will give you access with no charge. This way, it makes it easier to stay on top of your credit score.

Perks offered by travel credit cards

Travel credit cards usually come with a long list of perks. They're a big help in saving money while you travel and making your overall experience more enjoyable.

So with that in mind, here's what can be found on most travel cards.

Statement credits for travel purchases

Many cards will give you a statement credit just for making a travel purchase through their travel site. Simply charge a travel expense to your card and use your points to pay for it. Most cards have a point value of 1 cent for this kind of redemption.

Some cards will give you statement credits for things like checked baggage as well, up to a certain amount per year.

Airport lounge access

If you want to relax before your flight, accessing an airport lounge will let you get away from the hustle and bustle of a busy airport, let you unwind, and enjoy some food and drink before heading out on your flight.

Many credit cards come with complimentary lounge access. A membership to a lounge network like Priority Pass costs $99 plus $32 for each visit. You can save this every year just by having the right card.

Just be sure to double check what exactly your card offers – many come with lounge membership, but don't include any free visits.

Perks offered by airline credit cards

When it comes to total perks, nothing beats an airline-branded credit card.

In addition to what's offered by regular travel cards, they also offer exclusive perks when you fly with their specific airline.

Here are some examples.

Annual companion vouchers

If you find yourself often booking trips for 2, a companion voucher is a great way to save money.

Simply book a ticket for yourself and bring a 2nd person with you for just the taxes and fees. Although some airlines may have additional fees, you're still ahead of the game considering the total savings of a companion voucher.

Free checked bags

Let's be honest, we all hate paying for checked bags. But with the right credit card, you can get at least one free checked bag for yourself whenever you fly, helping to take a bite out of your total travel costs.

Priority check-in

Wouldn't it be nice to avoid the long lines when checking in and dropping off checked bags? Well, some credit cards offer priority check-in, so you can skip to the front of the line, making your check-in process quick and painless.

Priority boarding

Similar to priority check-in, credit cards sometimes offer priority boarding to skip the line when boarding the aircraft.

This way, you can (almost) guarantee yourself access to the overhead bins for your carry on and get a jump start on that movie you want to watch during your flight.

In-flight statement credits

Everything is better with snacks. If you find yourself making lots of food and beverage purchases during your flight, there's a good chance your airline-branded credit card will offer you a discount or statement credits for your onboard purchases.

Perks offered by hotel credit cards

Hotel credit cards are no slouches either when it comes to perks. You'll get a bevy of ways to save on stays and earn bonus points towards your next vacation.

Free night vouchers

The biggest perk hotel credit cards offer are free night stays. Usually once per year, after your cards anniversary, you can get a free night stay up to a certain hotel category.

There are no catches – just a free night stay every year, simply for having their card.

Upgraded hotel status

Hotel credit cards also offer upgraded status in their respective loyalty programs. Upgraded status comes with loads of added perks, like earning bonus points on your stays, free room upgrades, and access to better wi-fi.

Things to watch out for

While all of these perks are great, the annual fee is important to keep in mind.

Credit cards with perks can save you money, but only when you actually use the perks. Otherwise, you're paying more for nothing. And the more perks offered, the higher the annual fee.

It's also important to note exactly where – or with whom – you can make use of the perks offered.

Most of the travel perks are only valid when used on a set airline, hotel program, lounge program, or travel booking site. Make sure to pay attention to the small details so you're not missing out on everything your card has to offer.

Compare Credit Cards With The Best Perks

The creditcardGenius algorithm calculates an estimated dollar value for all rewards and bonuses by using a typical point value a person can realistically achieve by redeeming their rewards in a reasonably optimized way. The "Welcome Bonus" is the dollar value obtained by combining all one-time bonuses available to new cardholders within the first year. To qualify for the full bonus you may need to make purchases, meet minimum spending requirements, or complete special actions. Terms and conditions apply.

* Conditions apply.