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Premium credit cards don't just come with high annual fees. They also come with high-value benefits that can improve the quality of any vacation. For families, premium credit card perks like annual spending credits and lounge access help make travel easier, more comfortable, and less expensive. Yes, even after accounting for the annual fee.
There are several premium credit cards to choose from, and each has its own unique offerings to consider. Here are the best premium credit card perks for families.
- Transferrable Points vs. Loyalty Program Points
- Annual Travel and Dining Credits
- Authorized User Benefits
- Credit Card Lounge Networks
- Credit Card Hotel Collections
- Elevated Earning Rates
- Travel Insurance
- Perks of Premium Airline Credit Cards
- Perks of Premium Hotel Credit Cards
- Additional Premium Credit Card Perks
- Final Thoughts
Transferrable Points vs. Loyalty Program Points
Before getting into the perks of premium credit cards for families, it's important to know the different types of reward points — especially the difference between transferrable points and points earned within loyalty programs. This will help you to distinguish which credit cards are actually most valuable to your family's specific travel needs.
Premium credit cards that offer transferrable points provide much-needed flexibility to any travel rewards wallet. The most popular cards with transferrable points are offered by American Express, Chase, Citi, and Capital One. Each card has its own set of perks, but you can expect benefits like annual travel credits, exclusive lounge access, and complimentary elite status from select programs.
Points and miles earned through co-branded premium credit cards differ from transferrable points in that they belong exclusively to the loyalty program in which they're earned. Unlike transferrable points, you won't lose your rewards if you elect to close your card. Typically, these points can only be used within that program or transferred to select partners (though this may have fees or cause your points to lose value). Examples here include earning miles with American Airlines or Delta Air Lines, rather than earning American Express Membership Rewards that you can transfer to 21 different airline and hotel programs.
When choosing which type of card to get, we recommend having at least one card that earns transferrable points. If opening a card that earns hotel points or airline miles, you should choose a card that will earn rewards with your preferred airline or hotel brand.
From here, let's look at what you can expect when looking for the best premium credit card perks for your family.
Annual Travel and Dining Credits
Let's start with one of the best perks that premium credit cards provide: annual credits. Not only is it nice to save when paying cash for accommodations, food, etc., but annual credits also help you see the value of your credit card because of the tangible cash value you're received.
The following cards offer annual travel or dining credits:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®: $300 annual travel credit that applies broadly to anything “travel” or “transit” paid for with your card.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: $200 annual hotel credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings (minimum two-night stay at The Hotel Collection), $200 annual airline incidental fee credit, and $200 in annual Uber Cash.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: $300 annual dining credit available as up to $25 per month, plus a $100 on-property credit when booking stays of at least two nights at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis hotels.
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: $300 annual travel credit for travel booked through the Capital One Travel portal.
- Capital One Venture X Business: $300 annual travel credit for travel booked through the Capital One Travel portal.
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: $250 Hilton resort credit, $100 Hilton on-property credit when staying a minimum of 2 nights at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad branded hotels, and up to $250 in annual airline incidental fee credits.
- Citi Premier® Card: $100 annual hotel savings off of hotel stays of $500 or more booked with Citi Travel.
Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
A family looking for the most bang for their buck might strongly consider the Amex Platinum, especially if they prefer more high-end accommodations. The annual fee is steep at $695 (Rates & Fees), but the annual credits and Centurion Lounge access make it the top premium card earning transferrable points.
Authorized User Benefits
An authorized user is someone you add to your credit card account who can make purchases. Premium credit cards grant authorized users varying levels of access, but the primary account holder is responsible for the bill — as well as the one receiving rewards earned on the card.
The following cards offer authorized user benefits:
|Card||AU Card Benefits||AU Annual Fee|
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card||Full Priority Pass membership with same guesting privileges plus all the travel insurance and Visa Infinite perks offered to primary cardholders. Don't receive a separate $300 travel credit or Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit.||Four complimentary authorized users|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Full Priority Pass membership with same guesting privileges plus all the travel insurance and Visa Infinite perks offered to primary cardholders. Don't receive the $300 travel credit or Global Entry fee credit.||$75|
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||Full Admirals Club membership with same guesting privileges. A same day boarding pass on American or partner airlines is required for entry.||$175 for the first three authorized users, then $175 each|
|Citi Prestige® Card||Full Priority Pass membership with same guesting privileges, don't receive the $250 travel credit or the 4th-night free perk.||$75|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Receive the full suite of Amex Platinum benefits except for the travel & Uber Credits. This includes all lounge access perks, elite status benefits across multiple programs, plus each card receives a Global Entry/TSA fee statement credit up to $100. |
Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
|$195 for each additional Platinum Card for Authorized Users - Rates & Fees|
|The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card||Full Priority Pass membership with same guesting privileges and can use the $100 Visa Infinite Airline Discount and insurance benefits. Don't receive the $300 airline credit or Global Entry fee credit.||$0|
Credit Card Lounge Networks
Several credit cards now offer their own lounge networks. Centurion Lounge access is a card benefit for Platinum and Centurion cardholders (both business and personal versions). Capital One now has Capital One Lounges and Chase has Chase Lounges.
Many premium credit cards also offer a Priority Pass membership, which allows you to enter more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world.
Lounge access can be especially valuable to families for several reasons. Being able to get food and drinks for “free” can go a long way toward saving money during travel days — especially given the cost of airport food. Most Centurion Lounges have family rooms equipped with a TV, toys, books, and children-sized furniture to make your time there even more comfortable. And being able to relax in an often quieter environment before the stress of getting on the plane is invaluable to those traveling with especially young children.
Do note that U.S.-issued Amex Platinum cardholders must spend $75,000 or more on their card each calendar year to qualify for guest privileges (two guests) at Centurion Lounges. Otherwise, adding an authorized user can be a good way to provide lounge access to others without the hefty spending requirement.
Credit Card Hotel Collections
Premium credit cards provide access to exclusive hotel collections.
Chase offers the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. With The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you'll have access to Fine Hotels + Resorts Collection, and the Premier Collection is available to Capital One Venture X cardholders. Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige® Card holders can book hotels through the Citi Luxury Hotel Collection.
Perks of booking hotel collection hotels and resorts vary, but you can expect a few things within each program. For example, space-available upgrades at check-in, a resort credit to spend during your stay, and complimentary Wi-Fi are almost always included. Additional benefits may include complimentary breakfast for two. While that doesn't the breakfast needs of everyone in a family of three or more people, it goes a long way to saving money at the end of the day on a family vacation. And Amex's Fine Hotels + Resorts Collection properties offer guaranteed late checkout.
To book through these various collections, you'll need to log into your account or provide your card details on the program's website.
Elevated Earning Rates
When it comes to earning travel rewards, the more the merrier. With premium credit cards, you can earn even more points per dollar spent in certain travel categories.
The Capital One Venture X and Sapphire Reserve both earn 10x on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel and the Chase travel portal, respectively. Both cards also earn 5x on flights booked in the respective portals, plus the Sapphire Reserve earns 3x on travel booked outside the portal. Note that elevated earning rates on the Sapphire Reserve only apply after you've exhausted the card's $300 annual travel credit and the Capital One Venture X travel credit no longer earns miles.
Amex Platinum cardmembers earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Airline and hotel credit cards also provide elevated earnings on purchases within their respective programs.
Keep in mind how many miles or hotel points it would cost for a specific redemption and craft your credit card strategy around earning what you need for that redemption. Bonus points on travel expenses and dining will go a long way to earning those points even sooner.
Travel insurance is there to protect your investment in the unfortunate event that you have to cancel, your trip gets delayed or interrupted, or other inconveniences like lost luggage affect your family's trip. Thankfully, premium credit cards come with travel insurance that protects you from having to pay out of pocket for many common travel headaches when you pay for your trip with a card offering these protections.
Travel insurance can come in especially handy for a family traveling with multiple pieces of luggage who might experience a lost or delayed bag. It also can be helpful if you incur additional costs because of a cancelled flight, interrupted trip due to an accident, or if you have to cancel because someone in your traveling party suddenly becomes ill.
Check your credit card's terms and policy details for the specifics of your card's insurance benefits. But knowing that the extra meals, hotel room, or toiletries you purchase during delays can be reimbursed will reduce headaches.
Perks of Premium Airline Credit Cards
Although premium airline credit cards don't offer travel credits that you could use toward the cost of your ticket, they do offer lounge access, which is one of the most valuable perks of any credit card.
What makes airline lounges especially great is that they're exclusively reserved for travelers in premium cabins, those with memberships, or credit cardholders. The airlines' own lounges are less likely to be Priority Pass lounges, which reduces chances of overcrowding, allowing for a quieter place to relax and grab some food and drinks before your flight.
American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines offer premium co-branded credit cards. Unfortunately, other favorites like Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and JetBlue have yet to introduce a proper premium credit card option to the market.
Below is a chart detailing all of the premium airline credit cards and their perks.
|Benefits||Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||United Club℠ Infinite Card||Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card|
|Annual Fee||$595||$525||$550 (Rates & Fees)|
|Authorized User Fee||$175 for the first three authorized users, then $175 each||$0||$175 (Rates & Fees)|
|Welcome Offer||Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles||Earn 80,000 bonus miles||Earn 60,000 bonus miles|
|Bonus Earnings Toward Elite Status||10,000 Loyalty Points after spending $40,000 per qualification year||Earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 spent (up to 4,000 PQP / $96,000 spent in a calendar year)||15,000 MQMs for every $30,000 you spend in a calendar year, up to $120,000.|
Effective 1/1/24, the Status Boost benefit and MQD benefit will no longer be available, and there will be a new way to earn toward Medallion Status with the Delta cards - Learn more.
|Category Bonus||• 10x at aa.com/hotels and aa.com/cars|
• 4x on American flights (plus, after you've spent $150,000 on eligible purchases, earn 5x on AA purchases through the end of that calendar year)
• 1x on all other purchases
|• 4x miles on United purchases|
• 2x miles on dining
• 2x miles on all other travel
• 1x on all other purchase
|• 3x on Delta purchases|
• 1x on everything else
|Lounge Access||• Admirals Club (+ 2 guests or immediate family) (AU cardholders also get access via their own membership)||• United Club (+ 2 guests or 1 adult and dependent children under 21 years of age)|
• Star Alliance Lounges when traveling same-day on Star Alliance ticket
|• Delta Sky Club® & international partner lounges when traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed/operated flight|
• 2X one-time guest passes for complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club
• The Centurion Lounge - When flying a same-day Delta-marketed/operated flight paid for with a U.S.-issued American Express rewards Card
(Starting 2/1/25, Reserve Card members get 10 Delta Sky Club visits yearly. Spend $75,000+ on the card between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24 for unlimited visits, and each calendar year thereafter - Learn more.)
|Elite Status||N/A||• Avis President’s Club membership|
• IHG Rewards Platinum Elite status
|Free Checked Bags||• Free first checked bag for cardholder and up to 8 companions|
• Adding your AAdvantage number to the reservation triggers the benefit
|• 2 each for you and a companion on the same ticket|
• Ticket must be purchased using this card to qualify for the benefit
|• 1 each for you and up to 8 companions on the same ticket|
• Adding your SkyMiles number to the reservation triggers the benefit
|Companion Flight Ticket||N/A||N/A||• Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card|
• Valid within the Continental U.S.
• Pay just taxes and fees
|In-Flight Benefits||• 25% off in-flight purchases on AA domestic flights, which comes as a statement credit|
• Applies to food and beverage purchases only, not Wi-Fi
|• 25% back (as a statement credit) on food, beverage and Wi-Fi purchases on board United- and United Express-operated flights||• 20% discount on pre-purchased meals and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets|
• Comes as a statement credit
• Does not apply to WiFi purchases
|Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit||Every 4 years||Every 4 years||Every 4 years|
|Trip Delay||• 6 hours|
|• 12 hours|
|• 6 hours|
|Baggage Delay||N/A||• 6 hours|
• $100 day up to 3 days
|Auto Rental CDW||Secondary in the U.S., primary outside the U.S. for up to $75K||Primary coverage up to retail value of vehicle||Secondary up to $75K|
|Additional Perks & Benefits||• Priority check-in, airport screening, and early boarding |
• Up to $120 in annual credits with Avis and Budget
• Up to $120 in annual Lyft credits
• Up to $120 in annual Grubhub credits
|• 10% fewer miles required for economy saver award bookings on United / United Express flights within the Continental U.S. and Canada|
• Close-in award fees waived
• Complimentary Premier Upgrades on award tickets
• $70 discount on CLEAR membership
|• Priority boarding|
Perks of Premium Hotel Credit Cards
Premium hotel credit card perks give families a ton of value when it comes to spending or saving money on accommodations. These cards come with annual credits that you can use toward hotel stays as well as extra points on spending at participating hotels. Bonus points can be used toward the redemption of free nights in the future.
Additional benefits — such as space-available upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and complimentary Wi-Fi — go a long way in making a hotel stay more comfortable for those traveling with multiple people. Without these perks, costs for your trip would quickly escalate.
Here are the perks of premium hotel credit cards.
|Benefits||The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card||Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card|
|Annual Fee||$450||$450||$650 (Rates & Fees)|
|Authorized User Fee||$0||$0||$0 (Rates & Fees)|
|Welcome Offer||No longer open to applications.||Earn 150,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a Free Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.||Earn two 85K Free Night Awards after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Card in your first 6 months. Each award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy. Card Members could enjoy a value of up to $1,200 when redeeming each reward. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/1/2023.|
|Category Bonus||• 6x at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy|
• 3x on dining, car rentals, and airline purchases
2x on all other purchases
|• 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio|
• 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly through select rental companies, and at U.S. restaurants
• 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card
|• 6X points on purchases at Marriott Properties|
• 3X points at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery
• 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines
• 2X points on all other eligible purchases
|Annual Free Night Rewards||Annual free night award worth up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points||Annual free night reward on your account anniversary, valid at nearly any property||Annual free night award worth up to 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points|
|Lounge Access||Priority Pass Select (+ unlimited guests, and Authorized Users also get a membership)||Priority Pass Select (+ up to 2 guests)||Priority Pass Select (+ up to 2 guests)|
|Elite Status||• Automatic Gold Elite status|
• Spend $75K on your card in a calendar year for Platinum Elite status.
|Hilton Honors Diamond Elite||Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite|
|Travel Credits||• $300 airline incidental credit (based on a calendar year)|
• $100 hotel credit on paid Ritz-Carlton stays of two nights or more
|• $250 Airline incidental fee statement credit|
• $250 Hilton resort statement credit
• $100 Waldorf Astoria and Conrad credit when booking Aspire Card package
|$100 hotel credit on paid Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis stays of two nights or more|
|Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit||Every 4 years||N/A||Every 4 years after applying for Global Entry or every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck|
|Trip Delay||• 6 hours|
• $500 per trip
|• 6 hours|
• $500 per trip
• 2 claims per 12-month period
|• 6 hours|
• $500 per trip
• 2 claims per 12-month period
|Additional Perks & Benefits||• 3 Club Level upgrades each year on paid stays of up to seven nights|
• 15 Elite Night Credits annually
|Second free night reward after $60K spend per calendar year||• Up to $300 dining credit each calendar year (available as up to $25 monthly)|
• 25 Elite Night Credits annually
Additional Premium Credit Card Perks
In addition to the valuable perks already discussed here, families can also look forward to card-specific perks. For example, Capital One Venture X cardholders can enroll for Hertz President's Circle status (through December 31, 2024), which comes with guaranteed upgrades, skipping the line at pickup, and a free additional driver.
With the Amex Platinum, you can enroll for elite status with Hertz, Avis, and National Car Rental to get upgrades, line-skipping privileges, and more. Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
Another valuable premium credit card perk is the annual points bonus and companion fares. The Capital One Venture X gives cardholders 10,000 bonus miles on each account anniversary. The Delta Reserve offers an annual companion certificate on each account anniversary, where you'll pay just taxes and fees (up to a maximum of $80) to bring someone along on a flight within the continental U.S. The card also offers a 15% discount on booking Delta flights with miles.
Families can absolutely take advantage of the perks offered by premium credit cards. Annual travel and dining credits, lounge access, authorized user benefits, and travel insurance are all reasons to have a premium credit card as part of your travel rewards strategy. And these benefits can be especially useful for family travel.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Rates & Fees), and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (Rates & Fees)
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