The Best Credit Card Benefits

Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers.

Many credit cards provide opportunities for earning rewards for purchases, but there are more credit card benefits than just points and miles.

Sure, those are the perks listed in BOLD when you search through credit card reviews and comparisons.

Having a solid credit card can provide access to a host of other benefits that may outweigh any rewards you’ll earn as a cardholder.

Let’s look at some of the best credit card benefits offered today.

Credit Card Benefits

  1. Travel Perks
  2. Cash Back and Discounts
  3. Intro APR
  4. Extra Security
  5. Purchase Protection
  6. Exclusive Perks
  7. Access to Financial Tools
  8. Building Credit
  9. Help for Your Business
  10. Fulfilling Requirements

Travel Perks

The most significant benefit offered by credit card companies may be travel perks. It’s one of the biggest reasons people apply for credit cards. People love to travel, especially if they can travel or fly for free.

But beyond earning points and miles for free travel, credit cards provide access to other travel perks that often fly under the radar.

For frequent flyers, access to airport lounges, free checked bags, priority boarding, trip cancellation insurance, credits for Global Entry and TSA Precheck fees, and upgrades are available through various travel credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred offers trip cancellation insurance, up to $10,000, if your trip is canceled or cut short due to sickness, severe weather, and other reasons.

Travel perks aren’t limited to air travel. Many credit cards offer benefits at hotels around the world and also rental car insurance, reimbursements and credit for Uber and Lyft rides, and more.

Having access to exclusive travel programs can turn an average vacation or business trip into a luxury adventure. Travel credit cards can also save money through discounts and rewards programs, which may be the best travel perk.

If you travel outside the U.S., having a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees for purchases can save tons of money in travel costs.

Pro Tip: Check out our list of the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards.

Cash Back and Discounts

Having a good cash back credit card can put hundreds of dollars back in your pocket. Cash back cards give you back a percentage of your credit card purchases.

Some cash back cards offer unlimited cash back at a specific rate, like Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver, which both earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, big and small.

Other credit cards offer more cash back in specific spending categories, like at grocery stores or gas stations. Some cards may place a cap on how much you can earn in particular categories.

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express earns 6% cash back on groceries for the first $6,000 of purchases and then 1% after that. Some cards have spending categories that rotate quarterly, like Chase Freedom. These are typically popular categories that most people spend in regularly.

Other cards offer benefits in the form of discounts on purchases. An excellent example of this is the Target RedCard, which gives cardholders 5% discounts off all Target in-store and online purchases. For avid Target shoppers, a discount like this can save hundreds of dollars annually.

Pro Tip: Check out our list of the Best Cash Back Credit Cards.

Introductory APR

Several credit cards offer special introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. This can be a valuable benefit if used correctly.

If you have a large purchase coming up, whether for your family or your business, having access to 0% APR allows you to buy something now and pay it off over time without any interest charges.

Maybe you need a new laptop or are planning an expensive vacation. Having 0% APR can create a way to buy now and pay later. The Citi Rewards+℠ Card offers 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months from account opening. (13.49% – 23.49% variable APR thereafter)

For people looking to crush their existing credit card debt, utilizing introductory 0% APR on balance transfers allows you to move over your debt and pay it off over time without mounting interest charges.

The HSBC Gold Mastercard Credit Card gives cardholders access to 0% APR on balance transfers (and purchases) for 18 months.

Keep in mind that any portion of your balance transfer that isn’t paid off before the introductory period ends will be subject to the card’s regular balance transfer interest rate.

Most credit cards still charge a balance transfer fee (typically between 3 and 5% of the balance you transfer), so be sure to read the fine print before making any decisions.

Pro Tip: Check out our list of the Best 0% APR Credit Cards.

Extra Security

People love flashier credit card perks like travel rewards and big sign-up bonuses. But extra security measures many cards provide may end up being even more valuable in the long run.

With identity theft and credit card fraud on the rise, with no end in sight, having a credit card that offers protection is huge. Whether its fraud protection or email and text alerts for suspicious transactions, having a good credit card can protect you if someone gains access to your account.

Credit cards from Capital One, like SavorOne Rewards, offer access to other security benefits like virtual card numbers, protection and card locking features if your card is lost or stolen, and alerts when there’s a change on your credit reports.

It’s nice to earn rewards and cash back, but it’s better to know that your purchases and personal information are safe.

Pro Tip:  Check out all of the Best Capital One Credit Cards.

Purchase Protection

Some credit cards offer protection for purchases made with the card.

Most American Express cardmembers can get up to $1,000 of purchase protection on select purchases (for up to 120 days) if they are stolen or damaged.

This includes the popular Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.

Always check for exclusions and restrictions when making large purchases to ensure you’re covered.

Pro Tip:  Check out all of the Best American Express Credit Cards.

Exclusive Perks

Want access to private invite-only events? Many credit cards provide that and much more.

Having a credit card that offers exclusive perks can make you feel like royalty. You can gain access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences most people won’t get to experience.

You can also qualify for ticket presales before they are opened to the general public. Many cards also offer concierge services 24/7 for all your needs.

Visa Signature cards, like Chase Sapphire Preferred, gain complimentary access to Visa Signature Concierge Service.

Services like this can help you find hard-to-get tickets to sports and entertainment events around the world, among other help.

Access to Financial Tools

Some credit cards allow users to access tools that can benefit them financially.

Discover credit cards give cardholders free access to their FICO credit score, without affecting their credit negatively.

The majority of lenders use these numbers, so knowing where you stand can help determine if you qualify for loans and other financial products.

Other credit cards give access to mobile apps, which may allow you to track your spending, set up automatic payments, and sometimes even create a budget.

Building Credit

While some credit cards are great for earning rewards, others can be a tool for building or rebuilding your credit.

Whether you are a college student with no credit yet or someone who has made mistakes in the past to damage your credit, using certain credit cards can be helpful with getting back on track.

Secured credit cards are great for this purpose. Secured credit cards, like Discover it Secured, allow people to bypass a traditional credit check and instead pay a refundable deposit to secure a credit card. This is helpful if you’ve been denied for other cards because of your credit.

By making purchases on a secured credit card and paying off the balance in full every month, your payments are reported to the three major credit bureaus.

For people who continue to build responsible credit card habits, you’ll improve your credit score and get your financial life back in order.

Pro Tip: Check out our list of the Best Credit Cards to Build Credit.

Help for Your Business

If you’re a small business owner, having a business credit card can be a great tool, especially when starting out.

Many business credit cards offer valuable perks like:

  • Travel rewards and perks
  • Introductory 0% APR
  • Free cards for employees
  • Annual reports
  • Purchase and fraud protection
  • Customized spending limits for employees
  • Discounts on select business expenses

Having a solid business credit card can be essential for start-up businesses.

Plus, you can capitalize on rewards earning in spending categories like office supplies, internet and cable services, travel, fuel, and more.

Providing your employees with credit cards can maximize your rewards earning.

Pro Tip: Check out our list of the Best Small Business Credit Cards.

Fulfilling Requirements

Although this may not be the first benefit that comes to mind, having a credit card can be necessary at times.

In certain situations, credit cards are used as a primary or secondary form of ID. Having a credit card in these instances helps avoid issues.

Other times, businesses might require a credit card to make reservations, open another line of credit, or gain access to exclusive discounts.

While you may not absolutely need a credit card, there are times when it’s more convenient if you do.

Credit Card FAQs

What are the advantages of a credit card?

Advantages of having a credit card include convenience as well as opportunities to build credit, earn rewards, protection against fraud, and more

What is the best credit card for benefits?

The best credit card available is the one that has benefits that matter the most to you. A credit card may have huge earning potential, but if it doesn’t give you access to programs and protections that are important to you, it’s not worth having.

What are the advantages of credit?

The advantages of credit include lower interest rates, increased approval odds on loans or rental properties, avoiding security deposits, better insurance rates, and more.

Are credit cards useful?

When used properly, credit cards can be a useful tool for almost anyone. It’s important to pay off your card in full every month and only use your card on purchases you can afford.

What Credit Card Benefits Matter the Most to You?

After seeing all of the benefits that can come from having a good credit card, what benefits are important to you?

What benefits are just the icing on the cake? Let us know in the comments.

Additional Disclosures: Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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