7 Surprising Credit Card Benefits You Should Know About

Credit cards can help you build credit, and, in some cases, give you access to red-carpet events.

Credit card with flowers
Photo: cherezoff/Getty Images

While many are familiar with the most common credit card benefits—say, free credit or fraud checks, airline lounge access, or travel insurance—there are other, lesser-known perks that may just be worth the price of admission. Below, check out some of the most surprising credit card benefits you should know about.

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Egyptian mummies, hands-on science exhibits, and abstract expressionism aren't exactly things one immediately connects with credit cards, but Bank of America credit and debit cards come with museum access. Free entrance to key cultural institutions are included with Bank of America's cards, including New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Orlando Science Center, and more than 200 other museums across the U.S.

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The only thing better than vineyard-fresh wine is vineyard-fresh free wine. A Visa Signature or Visa Infinite credit card comes with special perks at more than 50 wineries in Sonoma County, California. Some of the perks, which vary by vineyard, include complimentary tasting sessions, preferred pricing on select bottles, savings on wine purchased same-day as tastings, and special wine and food pairings. It's a good thing the discount vino offer in some cases comes with discounted food to absorb some of the sampling!

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Free Flights

Credit card points that can be redeemed for travel, including flights, is one thing. An actual free plane ticket is on another plane entirely (pun intended). The Delta SkyMiles Platinum card comes with a free companion flight with card renewal each year (the annual fee runs $195). The free flight is limited to an economy seat within the 48 contiguous states in the U.S. The Delta SkyMiles Reserve card costs a bit more, at $450 a year, but comes with priority status upgrades that bump cardholders up to first or business class over other elite status flyers. Both cards include airport lounge access (can anyone say, "unlimited moist towelettes?").

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Cash for Good Grades

A highly unique, and super cool, benefit that comes with the Discover it Student Cash Back and Discover it Student chrome cards is a statement credit for college students who earn good grades. Forget pleasing parents as a reason to keep decent grades in college; now students can earn $20 a year for up to five years if they maintain a 3.0 GPA. What college kid couldn't use some extra pocket change?

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Event Tickets

Whoever thought a swipe of the card could land you a spot on the red carpet? Another little-known credit card benefit is tickets to special events. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($95 annually) or Chase Sapphire Reserve Card ($550 a year) come with the added perk of being able to purchase tickets to special events using rewards points, including the Emmy Awards, the Sundance Film Festival, and scheduled events at Madison Square Garden, including NHL games. In addition, new benefits of the card include an annual $50 hotel credit, exclusive access to reservations at sought-after restaurants across the country, and a one-year subscription to DoorPass, Door Dash's subscription service.

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Next-Level Airport Access

No, it's not a ride in the cockpit, but the next best thing. The American Express Platinum card ($695 annual fee) includes complimentary access to the American Express Centurion Clubs. The lounges are a notable upgrade from the standard fare airport lounge experience. They feature locally inspired gourmet cuisine, premium bars, family rooms, and more. Most notably, the access includes complimentary spa treatments, including massages.

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Your credit card benefits take you farther— literally—with ridesharing and travel cash. The Platinum Card from American Express comes with up to $200 in Uber credits every year, among other perks. The Citi Prestige card comes with $250 a year in credits that can be used for limousines or other travel services.

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