By Jason Steele


5 Min. To Read

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Credit card issuers love to tout the rewards and benefits offered by their cards. Some cards offer valuable points, miles, or cash back rewards, while others feature perks with specific retailers or travel providers. But there is a lesser known set of benefits that is not offered by the bank or credit union issuing the card, and is actually provided by the payment network such as Visa or MasterCard.

Many credit cards that are part of the Visa payment network are labeled Visa Signature, and this designation means that cardholders are entitled to a wide range of benefits. For example, the Visa Signature program offers travelers a range of benefits including discounts on rental cars, hotels, and car services. In addition, their Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection offers benefits such as room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, late checkouts, and free Internet at over 900 hotels around the world. Other Visa Signature benefits include discounts on shopping and dining purchases as well as special deals on entertainment and sports tickets. Visa Signature cardholders also receive access to a concierge service that can offer restaurant recommendations, book travel reservations, or assist cardholders in many other ways.

MasterCard offers even more benefits to holders of its World and World Elite MasterCards. World MasterCards offer an extended price protection policy that allows cardholders to be reimbursed if an eligible purchase experiences a price drop within 120 days of purchase as opposed to 60 days with standard credit cards. Cardholders also receive access to the World Luxury Hotels & Resorts program which features room upgrades, free breakfast, early check-in and late-checkout, and special welcome amenities. The MasterCard Priceless Cities programs features discounts and exclusive offers for luxury goods and services in various cities around the world.

In addition, cards that are part of the World Elite MasterCard program offer even more benefits. The World Elite Air Program allows cardholders to receive benefits with airlines such as discounts of 20%-30% off of their ticket purchases, or upgrades to business class from full fare economy class tickets.

Another valuable benefit of the World Elite MasterCard program is their rental car benefits. Cardholders are able to enroll in the elite status programs of Avis, National, and Hertz, each one of which offers discounts, expedited service, and car class upgrades. Finally, World MasterCard holders can receive various discounts on cruises, tours, limousines, and even private jet charters. The World Elite MasterCard program also offers MasterCard Global Service Premium, which can assist cardholders with gift buying and delivery, event tickets, and other personal services.

American Express cards are well known for offering a host of travel assistance and purchase protection plans, but these cards can offer some unexpected benefits as well. Cardmembers have access to a collection of hotels where they can receive perks such as room upgrades and credits towards food and beverages. Cardmembers also receive access to member only events such as fine-dining, sporting events, or performing arts. Finally, many American Express cardholders have access to a concierge service that can help with dining and travel reservations.

By examining the perks offered by both banks and payment networks, credit card users can ensure that they receive all of the benefits they can when they hold the right credit card.

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