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

Feb 28, 2020

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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 2020

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, the basic Barclaycard Rewards credit card, which has no annual fee, provides 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 U.K., for example, regularly offers £5 back for using your card for a £10 purchase at select small retailers in the U.K. through its excellent Shop Small programme.

Related reading: Your ultimate guide to Amex Offers

Amex also offers percentage discounts at select retailers that you can ‘save’ to your card. Both of these instances are commonly referred to as Amex Offers.

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, through to paying for seat selection, excess baggage and even the M&S buy-on-board menu.

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

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.

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, for each year you hold the IHG Rewards Club Premium Credit Card, you’ll earn a free night at any one of the more than 5,000 worldwide IHG properties each year when you spend £10,000 on the card, which can be worth more than the cost of the annual fee.

And don’t forget the British Airways 2-4-1 Companion Voucher, one of the most valuable credit card benefits available in the U.K. right now.

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.

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