This article was updated on June 25, 2018.
Most people know there are a lot of benefits to using a credit card over cash or debit cards. You usually can get rewards points or cash back, and you can more easily protect yourself against fraud. Some cards offer price protection and extended warranties as well as complimentary rental car and travel insurance.
Those benefits are great, and it's not hard to find a credit card that offers all of the benefits listed above. That's why a lot of issuers and payment processors work to distinguish their products by adding unique benefits, but not everyone knows about them. Here are some surprising perks you might not know your credit card offers.
1. Free museum admission
If you have a Bank of America credit card (or debit card), just present it at the admissions counter at participating museums during the first full weekend of every month. Free admission is limited to the cardholder, so hopefully anyone you're visiting with also has a Bank of America card.
This is a unique benefit, and it can be an incredible money saver if you're into museums. Plan a weekend getaway using travel points from a card like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards and get into the museums for free.
Read more about the Fool's top pick for the best Bank of America credit cards.
2. Cash back or bonus points for shopping
On top of your regular rewards points or cash back earnings, you can earn extra cash or points with credit cards from Bank of America or American Express.
Bank of America offers BankAmeriDeals. These are deals that pop up in your account from time to time and offer you additional cash back for shopping at places Bank of America thinks you'll like. Click to add the offers to your card and then shop normally. You'll get a statement credit at the end of the month.
American Express's Amex Offers work similarly. Add the offers you want from your credit card account, then shop normally. American Express offers cash back for most offers, but sometimes you can earn bonus Membership Rewards points.
For access to Amex Offers, read the Fool's top picks for the best American Express credit cards.
3. Free two-day shipping and returns
In the wake of Amazon Prime, several retailers banded together to create Shoprunner -- a two-day shipping service that works with a growing list of retailers. Shoprunner usually costs $79 per year, but your credit card might give you a free membership.
If your credit card says World Mastercard, World Elite Mastercard, or American Express on the front, you can register for a free account and stop paying for shipping now.
4. Access to exclusive events and hard-to-purchase tickets
If you've ever tried to get tickets to a big concert or popular broadway show, you know how quickly tickets can sell out, and markups on the secondary market can be outrageous. But if you have a premium credit card, your issuer may offer you access to presale tickets, allowing you to buy tickets at face value.
American Express offers the benefit on its premium charge cards and credit cards like the Premier Rewards Gold Card and Platinum CardⓇ. The Citi Private Pass is available to all Citi credit and debit cardholders. Chase partnered with Madison Square Garden to offer presale tickets to events at the company's venues through its Chase Preferred Experiences program.
Additionally, all three offer exclusive access to events like meetings with professional athletes or special access at the Sundance Film Festival. The Starwood Preferred Guest program also offers access to exclusives like the chance to the throw out the first pitch at the World Series. While you don't have to hold the Starwood Hotels credit card for access, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express helps rack up points.
5. Discounts on Uber
One of the benefits of the Platinum CardⓇ from American Express is a $15 per month Uber credit. Cardholders receive an extra $20 for December.
But if you're not ready to pay the $550 annual fee for the Platinum CardⓇ, you may be able to get extra Uber dollars from a no-annual-fee credit card. Visa cardholders may be able to take advantage of Visa Local Offers in the Uber app. Just add your Visa credit or debit card as a payment option in Uber and activate Visa Local Offers. You'll receive a percentage of every purchase as Uber credit when you use your Visa card at participating retailers. The offers vary based on location.
6. Automatic cash back on business purchases
Visa, Mastercard, and American Express each offer their business credit cardholders access to additional savings by signing up for their respective cash back portals. Visa Savings Edge, Mastercard Easy Savings, and American Express' OPEN Savings all offer automatic statement credits for eligible business purchases at select retailers and service providers. Simply go to their website and register your business credit card before making eligible purchases.
Capital One offers some excellent business credit cards including the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business, and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. Chase offers the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and Ink Business Cash Credit Card, which are both great options as well.
7. Free smartphone insurance
Most people carry around a pocket-sized supercomputer all day that often costs the better part of $1,000. Dropping and breaking smartphones is such a common occurrence that an entire industry has cropped up around insuring those slippery rectangles.
But if you hold a Wells Fargo credit card, you can get $600 of cellphone insurance just for paying your phone bill with the card. The insurance covers the primary account holder's phone as well as up to three additional lines. So, instead of paying $150 to replace your cracked smartphone screen, you just have to pay the $25 deductible and Wells Fargo will take care of the rest.
8. Free or discounted music streaming (and other great deals)
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card cardholders are eligible to receive 50% off their Spotify subscription plans as a statement credit when they pay their bill with their Capital One card. The offer is good through April 2018.
Citi also has an ongoing deal with Amazon Music Unlimited. Sign up for the service with your Citi card and promo code "CITIMUSIC" and receive a $30 credit to be used toward Amazon Music Unlimited. Read the Fool's top picks for the best Citi credit cards.
Deals like these usually show up in marketing emails from the issuer and can save a lot of money over time.
9. A free night at any hotel
One of the best benefits of the Citi Prestige® is its fourth night free for any hotel stay. Citi will reimburse the average rate for one night on stays of four days or longer booked through ThankYou.com or the Citi concierge.
What's more, you can use your Citi ThankYou Points to book the hotel if you book it online. You'll have to call the concierge in order to combine the fourth night free benefit with other hotel promotional rates not found on ThankYou.com. You'll also be able to add your hotel loyalty rewards number to the reservation if you book through the concierge.
This one benefit alone can make the $450 annual fee of the Citi Prestige® worth it for frequent travelers.
10. $100 off domestic roundtrip airfare
If you hold a Visa Infinite credit card, you may be eligible to receive $100 discount on two airline tickets within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii but not U.S. territories). Eligible cards include the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card from Chase, the UBS Visa Infinite, and the City National Bank Visa Infinite. Cardholders must book flights through their cards' respective Visa discount air website and use their qualifying credit card. The $100 discount will be applied at checkout.
These cards all come with hefty annual fees. But for frequent travelers, this benefit alone can make it worthwhile.
If you're not taking advantage of all the benefits your credit card offers, you might be leaving money on the table. Be sure to review your benefits manual that comes with your credit card, and don't ignore those marketing emails that show up in your inbox. They could save you a lot of cash -- much more than price protection or free rental car insurance.
Adam Levy owns shares of Amazon and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Mastercard, and Visa. The Motley Fool recommends American Express. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool's alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. Review The Motley Fool’s ratings methodology to uncover how we pick the best credit cards.