9 ongoing benefits your credit card might have that you don’t realise

Dec 16, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Credit and charge cards can come with all sorts of benefits that you might be well aware of — they may have even enticed you to apply for a particular product to begin with. There may be a generous welcome bonus, offer points or miles for all your purchases and maybe even travel insurance.

But there’s a good chance if you have a decent rewards card that you might not be aware of all of the benefits your card might have. These don’t apply to every single card, but here are some you may have missed.

Related: The best U.K. miles and points credit cards of 2021

In This Post

Access to special tickets and events

Depending on your card, you could have the chance to purchase presale tickets to sought-after events. For example, all Barclaycard credit cards, provide 5% off tickets (both general and presale) through its Barclaycard Entertainment programme. Log in to your card’s account to see if your card issuer offers this feature.

Cashback offers

Even if your card is not a traditional cashback credit card, you may still receive a cashback (by way of a discount on your statement) by using the card at select retailers. American Express in particular this year has consistently offered countless generous cashback offers with big savings for spending with popular retailers like major hotel chains. These can be either percentage discounts for any purchase, or a fixed amount back for a minimum spend. Here at TPG U.K. we are big fans of these Amex Offers.

Related reading: Your ultimate guide to Amex Offers

You’ll need to ‘save’ these to your card before you are able to use it – check your account regularly for new offers. Many are a one-time offer, others can be used multiple times.

Screenshot from American Express

Ongoing balance transfer offers

Many cards will offer you an introductory balance transfer offer to entice you to switch from your existing card to a new card. The transfer may have a 0% interest rate for a certain period, like 12 months. However, if you don’t take advantage of the balance transfer rate when activating the card, some cards, like the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard Credit Card will also offer an ongoing balance transfer offer.

This may not be as lucrative as the introductory offer (the interest-free period may be much shorter) and there may be a higher balance transfer fee, based as a percentage of the amount you are transferring. But if you are looking to consolidate your balances into one account and/or close another card product — perhaps to avoid an annual fee — you may want to see if your card offers an ongoing balance transfer offer.

Related reading: Understanding credit card balance transfer offers

Double points for certain spend

Cobranded credit cards like airline and hotel cobranded cards will usually offer double points for purchases directly with that airline or hotel. If you have a British Airways cobranded American Express credit card, for example, then you will earn double points for purchases with British Airways and BA Holidays. This can range from your airfares through to paying fees and taxes on an Avios redemption, or to paying for seat selection, excess baggage and even the buy-on-board menu.

Related: Trying out British Airways’ Tom Kerridge Speedbird Café pre-order menu

(Photo courtesy of British Airways)
(Photo courtesy of British Airways)

Elite status

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with several elite hotel and car rental programme statuses and these statuses are valid for as long as you hold the card. Where you have enrolled in these statuses and then cancel the associated credit card, the elite status will usually still continue until the end of the 12 month period after enrolment.

I love my Hilton Honors gold status from the card and use it regularly.

Purchase protections

Did you know that legally, all U.K. credit card providers must provide purchase protections? Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, you are protected for purchases over £100 and under £30,000 where you are entitled to a refund (such as for defective goods that you have purchased), where the retailer will not provide you with such a refund. Check to see what the specifics are on your credit card.

Related: What are card chargebacks and purchase protections, and how do they work?

Annual gifts and bonuses

For those cards that charge annual fees, the card issuer will often give you an incentive to keep the card for another year (and pay another annual fee). These can differ from card to card. For example, the Preferred Rewards Gold card from American Express offers an additional 10,000 Membership Rewards each year you spend £15,000 on the card, after your card’s annual renewal date. While £15k might sound like a lot to spend, over the course of a year it’s only a little more than £1,000 per month, which may be what you are spending already.

And don’t forget the British Airways 2-4-1 Companion Voucher, which we think is the most valuable credit card benefit available in the U.K. right now.

If you hold the Virgin Atlantic Rewards+ credit card, £10,000 on spend on that card you will earn a choice of rewards each year including a cabin upgrade, companion pass or lounge pass for their fabulous Virgin Clubhouses.

David Intercontinental IHG Tel Aviv Hotel. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Travel protections

If you love to travel as much as we do, occasionally something may go wrong during your travels. Several American Express U.K. credit cards come with travel protections, like travel accident insurance for up to £150,000 for public transport when you use the card to purchase that transport on the Platinum Cashback Credit Card from American Express U.K.

We always recommend you have comprehensive travel insurance (included in some of the most premium credit cards available), but if for whatever reason you don’t have adequate travel insurance in place, check if your credit card provides any travel protections. Keep in mind that you’re required to enrol in order to take advantage of the insurance benefits with American Express cards.

Related: The ultimate guide to travel insurance

Lounge passes

A great way to relax before your next flight is in an airport lounge. You can enjoy a meal, maybe a drink or two, charge up your devices and prepare for your departure. The Platinum Card from American Express U.K. comes with a Priority Pass membership, which is hugely beneficial if you travel regularly and do not hold elite status with the airline you are travelling with and are not in a premium class.

Even the Preferred Rewards Gold Card from American Express U.K., which has no annual fee in the first year comes with two lounge passes, which you can use at hundreds of lounges across the world.

Related: 9 of the best Priority Pass lounges around the world

Bottom line

Your credit card might come with more features than you might realise. Even if you don’t use the card as much now as when you first applied for it, it’s worth having a look at your account to see if there are benefits from purchases to travel that can make the card worth keeping.

Featured image by Josh Gribben / The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.