What credit card benefit would you like to see added to a card, that doesn't currently exist? - Expert Roundup Issue 18
When people think of credit card benefits, they most look to rewards programs. However, there are many other benefits that savvy consumers seek out such as auto rental collision insurance, annual airline allowances, lounge access, and many more. For issue #18 of our Credit Card Industry Expert Roundups, Jason Steele asks our group which perk that currently does not exist would everyone like to see added to offers in the future:
What credit card benefit would you like to see added to a card, that doesn't currently exist?
This week's contributors are Eric Rosenberg, Debra Schroeder, Jason Steele, Susan Johnston Taylor, Greg Johnson, and Zina Kumok:
Eric Rosenberg - Finance, travel, and technology writer in Ventura, California
I would love to see a credit card that offered a wider range of auto support services. Some cards offer towing and other basic car assistance, but you'll have to pay extra for the tow truck company and repairs. I would love to see the emergency roadside assistance benefits added to a premium credit card so users don't have to pay for an outside roadside assistance insurance product. This would negate the need for AAA or other roadside coverage from your auto insurance company.
It wouldn't be a huge stretch for American Express, Chase, or other high-end card providers to add this type of benefit. Because they already offer a scaled-back version of this benefit in some cases, they could easily include towing and repairs up to a certain limit with your credit card. This benefit would only be viable for cards with an annual fee, but many premium cardholders are already used to paying $450 to $550 in annual fees, so it is reasonable that a high-end card could include this type of service to bring even more value to customers.
Debra Schroeder - Freelance writer specializing in the intersection of travel and personal finance.
The credit card benefit I'd love to see added to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a 5x bonus on the first $50,000 spent on all purchases.
People get travel rewards cards so they can travel. Large signup bonuses entice them to apply for new cards so they can take their dream trip sooner or take more vacations.
To earn lots of points they engage in what banks feel are undesirable activities. They cancel existing cards to become eligible for another signup bonus. Once received, cards are only used until they met the minimum spending requirement. Then put away in the sock drawer only to see the light of day when there's a bonus offer.
Giving a 5x bonus on all purchases on the first $50,000 spent gives everyone the ability to earn lots of miles and points regardless of their income. Households that can only charge $1,000 a month would be able to earn 60,000 points a year. While other consumers could earn millions of points.
With a 5x bonus a consumer would only need to spend $10,000 on an existing card to earn what they would have earned for a new Chase Sapphire Reserve card signup bonus.
This would encourage cardholders to use their cards beyond meeting the minimum spending, keep their cards instead of churning, and generate revenue for the banks from swipe fees. It's a win-win for all parties: Chase and the cardholders.
Susan Johnston Taylor - Contributor to Bankrate.com, CreditCards.com, DailyWorth.com, Learnvest.com and U.S. News & World Report
When your phone, tablet or laptop is acting up, it's typically a pain to get it fixed (especially if you have to make an appointment at the mall and/or send it in for repairs). Similar to how some premium credit cards offer extended warranties on purchases made with the card and/or offer roadside assistance for cardholders, I'd love to see a card offer in-home, on-demand tech repairs. This service already exists but you typically have to pay for it and getting one or two of these visits per year as a credit card perk would be really useful in my opinion. They would likely partner with an existing provider and pick up the tab or send reimbursement when a card-holders uses the perk.
How feasible is this really? I'm not sure. I expect there'd have to be some sort of geographic parameters around it, because getting a tech to visit cardholders living or vacationing in remote areas could be tricky. Maybe there would also be parameters around time or complexity of the service call. I do wonder if this perk would make financial sense to card issuers. We've already seen several premium credit cards cutting back on some perks and/or raising their annual fees, and there comes a point where card-holders may not want to pay close to a thousand dollars as an annual fee regardless of how good the perks are because they know they have lots of other options. Still, it would be very convenient, and with so many cards offering similar airline credits and other perks, this would be a nice differentiator.
Greg Johnson - Partner/Owner of Club Thrifty
With dozens of credit cards already offering multiple benefits, it’s hard to find a new benefit I’d love or – for that matter – use. Our family loves to travel, so we use a lot of the travel-related benefits on our favorite rewards cards. Some of our favorites perks include lounge access, free checked bags, primary auto rental coverage, and more.
We’ve even used benefits we hoped we’d never need. For instance, a years ago, we got stranded in Jamaica for two extra days due to a snowstorm in the U.S. Thankfully, the card we used to pay for our hotel had trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance attached to it. We simply called our credit card company, and the customer service agent walked us through filing a claim for the extra expenses. It worked like a charm, and we weren’t out any extra money due to the delay.
As far as new benefits go, I’d be interested in a card that offered a subscription to a premium cable channel like HBO or Showtime. Several of my favorite TV shows are on those networks, so that would be pretty cool. I’m also a sports fan, so a co-branded card that offered free game tickets or a subscription to something like MLB.TV might be something I’d consider as well.
Jason Steele - Producer of CardCon, The Conference For Credit and Credit Card Media
There are lots credit cards that offer a statement credit towards the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. I must have three or four cards in my wallet, and I can’t even use them all. But in the last few years, The PreCheck lines have gotten so long that it’s just not enough. I also subscribe to a service called Clear, that performs the initial ID check and lets you skip the lines for PreCheck. I’d love to see them partner with credit cards to offer Clear in addition to Global Entry and PreCheck. Clear isn’t a substitute for PreCheck, but it compliments it nicely and means that I only spend a maximum of five minutes going through airport security.
Zina Kumok - Personal finance writer and speaker who has been featured in the Washington Post, Time, and many more
I'd love to see credit cards be more transparent about how to earn and redeem rewards. For example, right now many make you opt in to get 5% cash back for specific categories. But what if companies did that automatically? What if they told you the best way to achieve your goals, whether that's earning more cash back or traveling for free? Right now consumers have to be really savvy to get the most bang for their buck and I think it makes rewards more confusing.
Fortunately, the account I intended to pay the card balance with was with the same bank so they were somewhat sympathetic, but I was stuck paying some of the fees. Needless to say, after that fiasco, I always make sure that I am both paying credit cards with the proper account and that there are sufficient funds to cover the payment.