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5 Travel Credit Card Perks (That Aren’t Miles)

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When it comes to flying for under $100 anywhere in the world, travel credit card sign-ups are the most lucrative way to earn miles. With many cards offering between 30,000-100,000 miles as a sign-up bonus, it’s easy to earn a round-trip flight in no time. It’s exactly how we booked our business class flight for our Southeast Asian honeymoon, and it’s how you can book your dream honeymoon too! But while we’ve talked at length about the benefits of miles, now I want to talk about amazing travel perks these travel credit cards offer that aren’t miles. Check out these travel credit card perks here:

1. Lounge Access

Oh yea! Who doesn’t want to get free food and booze before their flight? Especially when celebrating getting married and going on their honeymoon! Some lounges even offer showers and such to freshen up during long-haul flights. And some even have rest areas. Let’s not forget the standard lounge will at least have free wifi, comfortable seating, and places to charge your devices so whether you’re blogging like myself, or your Kindle battery is low, you’ve got a place to plug it in.

Basically, if you want to relax without crazy crowds and the hustle and bustle of the airport, lounges are pretty great. And the best part still may be the ability to eat a decent meal/snack and have a drink for free… rather than pay $20 for a sandwich and water at Hudson News.

Cards that offer this perk: United Mileage Plus Explorer Card offers two lounge passes annually and Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and the Platinum Card from American Express offer access to 1,000+ lounges worldwide. The United Mileage Plus card only has a fee of $95 annually, making this a worthwhile card for lounge access, while the Reserve and Citi Prestige is $450 annually and the Amex is $550 annually. These are definitely steep annual fees, but they also offer several other perks, meaning they mostly pay for themselves.

The Delta Reserve Card from American Express and the Citi AA Advantage Executive World Elite Mastercard also offer lounge access to their lounges, but with a $450 annual fee and fewer benefits as the cards above, unless if you’re a staunch AA or Delta fan and don’t mind the fee, I wouldn’t recommend these.

travel credit card perks

Avoid the chaos of the airport and relax a little in the lounge.

2. Companion passes

Now this is for sure one of the travel credit card perks I can get on board with. Basically, these are annual buy one-get one free plane tickets. And there are several cards that make this a worthwhile perk. Southwest even offers an amazing companion pass, where if you gain 110,000 airline miles within a calendar year, they will give you a companion pass to use for the remainder of that year and the full following year, meaning gaining this in January would basically ensure about two years of unlimited companion flights!

You can even redeem miles for a flight and your companion still flies free! And with the business card offering 60,000 miles as a sign-up bonus and the two personal cards offering 40,000 miles, you can get 110,000 miles easily in no time!

But enough about Southwest’s generous companion pass (even if it’s the best thing since sliced bread). Several other airlines offer an annual pass where you get a companion as well like Delta or Alaska Airlines.

Cards that offer this perk: Southwest Airlines (unlimited for up to two years companion pass as explained above) via their Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card ($69 annually), Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card ($99 annually), or Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card ($99 annually).

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card offers an annual companion fare where you can fly Alaska Airlines or their partner, Virgin America, from $121 ($99 plus taxes started at $22) annually. Did I mention Alaska Airlines flies to Hawaii? Can you imagine your Hawaiian honeymoon with a buy one-get one ticket? Not a bad perk. With an annual fee of $75, it’s not a bad deal. Southwest will be flying to Hawaii starting in 2018 so you may be able to use your companion pass there too!

Platinum Delta Skymiles Credit Card from American Express offers this perk after you renew your card (for an annual fee of $195). They also restrict their companion pass to the continental United States. But if you’re dreaming of visiting Napa Valley or Miami and live far away, it could be perfect!

3. Uber credits

Aside from the Uber credit card that will give you cash back on Uber, the Platinum American Express Card offers an amazing perk of $15 a month in Uber credits, plus an additional $20 in December. Meaning you can get up to $200 in Uber credits a year with this card. It also counts Ubereats! As a person who lives close to downtown Cleveland and orders Ubereats often, I know we’d definitely use our $200! Seriously though, this is a great credit card perk for those who use Uber frequently.

Cards that offer this perk: Platinum American Express. As discussed above it has a $550 annual fee, but this $200 credit helps make up for the cost.

Travel credit card perks

I’m excited to fly out west and bring Chris with my Delta Platinum Companion Pass.

4. Airline credit

There are cards out there that give you money back for flying, and some even give you credit for incidental fees like lounge passes, checked bags, food/drinks on the flight, etc.

Cards that offer this perk: Chase Sapphire Reserve offers $300 annually in statement credits for travel purchases, including airline tickets. The Platinum American Express card offers $200 in airline fee credits including checked bags, food/beverage in-flight, and lounge access. What they don’t tell you is that you can buy gift cards and that counts for this airline fee credit too. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card offers $300 for baggage fees, upgrades, and more. Lastly, the Citi Prestige Card has a $250 credit on air travel including airline tickets, upgrades, baggage fees, etc. While again, these have higher annual fees, their benefits could outweigh the costs.

5. Global Entry/TSA precheck

If you’re a business traveler or frequent flyer already, you probably know all about the benefits of TSA precheck. In short, it means you get to skip the long security line. You also don’t even have to take your shoes off while going through a smaller line! Global Entry (which includes TSA precheck) means you can skip the long lines at Customs and pass through via an online kiosk. It cuts your time waiting in line at airports in half and makes it much easier. And some cards even offer a reimbursement for these programs, meaning you’ll be breezing past security in no time.

Cards that offer this perk: Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Presitge Card, the Platinum Card from American Express, and even the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card. While their higher fees may deter you, with several offering multiple benefits such as this perk, airline credits, lounge access, and more, it could be worth it.

So there you have it, amazing travel credit card perks besides amazing sign-up bonus miles! Which card would you open? Which benefit is your favorite? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to subscribe for more news and a FREE 3 Days to Becoming a Travel Hacker Course!


travel credit card perks

Which perk do you want most?

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