Credit Cards The Basics

Credit Card Companies Need to Innovate – This Benefit Is Really Boring

Top Credit Cards for Gas Purchases
Written by Charlie

In the hyper competitive credit card space, issuers need to really start innovating and move away from boring benefits like this one. Here are some ideas that could really be interesting.

Next to bonuses and annual fees, there is one thing that is common to more credit cards than anything else. That is the Global Entry/TSA Precheck reimbursement benefit. With almost 20 credit cards offering this, it really isn’t anything special and it is time for the credit card issuers to truly innovate away from this benefit.

Credit Card Companies Need to Innovate – This Benefit Is Really Boring

Why the Global Entry Benefit is Boring
TSA precheck

By Arina P Habich, Courtest of Shutterstock

With almost 20 credit cards from several issuers offering the Global Entry perk, it really is nothing special at all.  If it was just a simple benefit that was just present, that would be one thing. But, the issuers always highlight this benefit as some great feature. Guess what? IT’S NOT GREAT!

Look at it this way – while they vary in how often it resets, the best case scenario translates to this being a $25 perk per year (when spread out). That is nothing really to get exciting about, especially when so many people (at some airports, it seems like most people) have Global Entry/TSA Precheck already!

Ideas for Credit Card Innovation

So, what are some things that could set a credit card apart while still maintaining that $25 per year amount?

Passports are one thing that come to mind. While you cannot use your credit card at Passport Accetptance Facilitiies (like the Post Office, except for the processing fee), you can use your credit card at the Passport Agency offices. This is where you actually have to pay an expedite fee so having a credit card credit for that would be great.

seconduspassport

International Driving Permits are something that every global traveler should have (especially if you are from outside the US and visiting Greece). At $20, it isn’t a big fee but it is something that is only good for a year. You get these at the AAA so maybe the credit card issuers could either have a $20 refund on a AAA charge or give a coupon each year for this permit?

Inflight WiFi is getting better and better. I have actually never paid for a monthly subscription because most of my travel is international but I know that I have paid for it on long-haul flights where I need to get work done. Offering a $20-25 reimbursement per year for Inflight WiFi would be a nice thing to help those people out.

HMSHost is the management company for restaurants and shops in airports all over the place. Think of that Starbucks at your airport, chances are good it is run by HMS. Having a $20 credit per year for HMS Host shops would be a cool perk and encourage use by the cardholders during their travels.

Come on, Credit Card Companies!

banks tighten

Getting the credit card on top of the wallet is a big goal of all issuers | Courtesy of Shutterstock

Let’s face it – issuers want their card on the top of your wallet. The best way to do that is to offer perks and benefits that will cause you to reach for it regularly. The second best way is to offer some perk for travel.

That is because we don’t carry all our cards when we travel but people do tend to spend a lot when traveling! If you have your card for something like a drink in the airport, chances are you may use that at the hotel, for metro tickets, etc., when you arrive.

Those are just a few ideas that I thought of in 5 minutes. Why are credit card issuers so lazy with the Global Entry/TSA Precheck benefit instead of giving us something that may actually be exciting?

What are some of your ideas?

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

4 Comments

  • I definitely have to echo the desire for NEXUS. It’s also only $50 vs the $100 for Global Entry.

    iPass could be a better benefit than just Gogo for inflight wifi.

    For the British Airways and Virgin Atlantic cobranded cards at least, it would make sense to cover the UK equivalent. It would also help to attract consumers who actually want to fly on those airlines to go to the UK, instead of just use the points to redeem on other partners like ANA.

  • Good call, I was guessing that Global Entry would be the boring benefit before I read the article. Your proposed alternatives sound good to me.

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