One of the main perks we think of when we think of travel reward cards are free or discounted airline flights or hotel rooms. There are several other perks that may be available to you. Some of the rewards card may have an annual fee, but if you travel a lot during the year the perks you can receive may outweigh the annual fees you pay.
Some airlines offer a certain number of free checked bags for you and your party if you use their rewards card or credit card. With most airlines charging for each checked bag, this can be a good incentive.
Another perk with rewards card is priority boarding. Many airlines allow their elite status members to board the airplane before other fliers. This allows them to get settled into their seats without others waiting behind them.
Once you have charged a specified amount each year, some airlines offer you a free companion ticket. Which means you can have someone fly with you for free. If you redeem frequent flier miles and also receive a companion ticket you are both basically flying for “free”. That is only if you are charging items that you would normally purchase. If you are purchasing more than normal just to receive the rewards points and cannot pay off the balance fairly quickly, the extra finance charges you may pay may minus out the rewards you receive.
The number of frequent flier miles needed for a free or reduced ticket has been recently increasing making it more difficult to receive free tickets. With travel reward cards, some airlines lower the number of frequent flier miles needed to receive a free ticket.
Many airlines have member lounges at major airports. These lounges are for elite status members of the specific airline. Other fliers may be able to have access to the lounge for a specific fee. These lounges have more comfortable seating, quieter environment, free drinks & snacks, internet access and more.
Global Entry is a service that helps fliers speed through customs using electronic kiosks. There is usually a $100 fee for every five years. Some airlines refund the fee for members of their Platinum cards.
Some airlines offer a certain percentage discount of purchases made online with their airline credit card. The purchases include food, alcoholic drinks, movies, headphones and other items.
There are several perks of travel rewards cards besides free airline tickets and hotel rooms.