8 Cool and Unusual Credit Card Rewards and Benefits
These little-known benefits provide surprising perks
With a lot of credit cards, you know what you’re going to get. Whether it’s cash back, points, or miles, you can pick the card that best fits your spending habits and your feature preferences.
But some cards go above and beyond with unusual benefits and rewards redemption options that don’t get a lot of fanfare even though they probably should. Depending on your lifestyle, we’ve researched and found some cool perks and rewards that can be incredibly appealing.
Free Days at Museums
If you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch-branded credit or debit card, you’re eligible to get into more than 225 museums across the U.S. for free on the first weekend of every month.
The Museums on Us program only covers the cardholder, though, so if you want to bring a plus-one or your family, they’ll need to pay or have an eligible card of their own. Also, make sure to bring your photo ID to verify you are the cardholder.
If you’re a wine aficionado and have a Visa Signature or Visa Infinite credit card, you get exclusive perks at more than 50 wineries in the Sonoma County area.
Benefits include a buy-one-get-one-free standard tasting, savings on select wines, and preferred pricing on non-wine purchases over $50.
Flying can be hard on your body, but the Platinum Card from American Express might be able to take away some of those aches and pains. The card offers free access to Centurion Lounges in 12 U.S. airports, some of which allow you to sign up for a complimentary massage.
Several high-end credit cards including the Platinum Card offer complimentary access to the Priority Pass lounge network, which also features lounges that offer massage rooms and other spa treatments.
You don’t have to pay a fee for your massage but it’s a courtesy to bring some cash to tip the massage therapist.
VIP Treatment at Sundance
The annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, could be considered a mecca for cinephiles. If you have plans to attend, consider applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Both cards offer unique benefits at the festival, including advance tickets, private cardholder-only screenings, and access to special panels to get a behind-the-scenes look at the film industry. In the past, Chase hosted a lounge on Main Street, where cardholders could get out of the cold and get some coffee, snacks, and beer and whiskey tastings.
Free Two-Day Shipping
Not every online retailer has followed in Amazon’s footsteps to offer unlimited free shipping to members. But with a ShopRunner membership, you’ll get that plus free returns, exclusive deals, and more with more than 100 retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Under Armour, and Kate Spade.
Membership with ShopRunner costs $79, but if you have an eligible credit card, you get a complimentary year of membership. And if you have an eligible American Express card, the complimentary membership is for life.
Credits for Limo Service
If you’re planning a night on the town with some friends or want to surprise your high-schooler for prom night, the Citi Prestige has a hidden gem for you deep within the fine print for its $250 annual travel credit. The card’s credit covers limousine services, which means Citi will reimburse you for up to $250 in limo fees you charge to your card.
Keep in mind, though, that many limo services have a minimum rental time of three to four hours, so depending on the hourly rate, the $250 credit may not be enough to cover the full bill.
Super Bowl Tickets
Tickets to the big game are hard to come by and incredibly expensive—the cheapest ticket resale prices start around $8,000 before fees, according to Ticketmaster resale prices. But if you have the NFL Extra Points Credit Card by Barclays, it’s been possible in the past to use your rewards to get tickets to the Super Bowl.
Other redemption options for die-hard NFL fans include Super Bowl and Pro Bowl sideline passes, VIP draft-day experience, private player meet-and-greets, and more.
Primary Rental Car Insurance
Rental car insurance is an incredibly common credit card benefit, but did you know that the coverage usually requires you to file a claim with your personal insurance company first (if you have a policy) before your card’s protection kicks in? This is known as “secondary coverage,” and it’ll help with the deductible but may not do much else. What’s more, filing a claim with your personal policy could cause your premiums to go up.
With certain cards, however, you’ll get primary coverage—you don’t have to involve your personal policy unless the claim exceeds the card’s coverage limit. Some of the cards that offer primary insurance include the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and United Explorer Card.
Credit cards may not cover liability (injury and damage caused to the other party), so you may want to purchase that coverage from the rental car company if you don’t want to involve your personal policy at all.
Credits for Food Delivery
Bonus rewards for dining, including takeout and delivery, have become more and more common, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. A few cards go beyond rewards for delivery and give you statement credits for food delivery.
For example, the American Express Gold Card offers up to $10 every month when you make a purchase with Seamless, Grubhub, Boxed, and several restaurant chains. You’ll also get up to $200 in Uber credits every year from the Platinum Card from American Express, which you can use for Uber Eats purchases.
The Bottom Line
If you’re in the market for a credit card, it’s important to look at more than just sign-up bonuses and rewards rates. A lot of cards offer outsized value in other ways that can make your experience more valuable.
Depending on what you want in a card, it makes sense to get one that’s tailored to your spending habits and lifestyle. So, take your time to shop around and compare multiple options before you settle on one.