Turn These 6 Sometimes Hard-to-Use Credit Card Perks Into Amazing Holiday Gifts

If you have access to these perks, you could save some money this holiday season.
Last updated Jan 17, 2020 | By Brett Holzhauer
Woman hiding gift behind her back

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As the holidays are approaching, you may find yourself scrambling to find gifts for people. Whether it’s a neighbor, family member, acquaintance, or your significant other, a great gift could be waiting just around the corner with some help from a credit card.

It can be difficult to track all of your credit card perks, and you may have one or two of these benefits that have gone unused. Luckily, you can easily turn these unused credits into holiday gifts.

6 credit card perks you can use for holiday gifts

Your credit card perks can range anywhere from discounts on travel, travel accessories, tech gear, and even designer shopping. Regardless of who you’re shopping for, you have a great chance of finding something they’ll appreciate and enjoy while you maximize your credit card's included benefits. Here are a few ideas to get started.

1. $200 Dell credit (The Business Platinum Card from American Express)

With the Business Platinum Card from American Express, you get a $200 annual statement credit for Dell purchases. You will receive a $100 credit to be used between January and June, and then another $100 to be used between July and December. The purchase must be made with your card from a Dell store or Dell.com to trigger the credit.

While this credit won’t cover the cost of a new computer, it can pay for accessories such as headphones, laptop bags, and computer mice. If you don’t mind spending more than the credit amount, Dell also sells smaller gadgets such as digital cameras and smart thermostats.

And don’t forget to stack your rewards by using a shopping portal for even further savings on your gift-giving.

2. $100 Saks Fifth Ave shopping credit (The Platinum Card from American Express)

If your gift recipient prefers a taste of luxury, consider shopping with the Saks Fifth Avenue credits from the Platinum Card from American Express. With the Platinum Card, you receive up to $100 in statement credits each year to spend at Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 in the first half of the year, and $50 in the second half.

There are a few things to keep in mind with this credit. First, it’s only available on purchases made in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or online. Saks gift cards and Saks Off 5th outlet purchases are ineligible, as are online purchases that are shipped outside of the United States.

You’ll also need to manually enroll for this credit before you make your purchase. To do this, visit the benefits section of your Platinum Card online account and follow the directions. If you’re already enrolled, the Saks benefit should appear with a green checkmark.

My wife and I each have the Amex Platinum Card and we use it as a fun game to surprise each other with unexpected gifts. We like to stay around the $50 threshold for the credit, so she typically buys me cologne while I buy her makeup products. However, if you’re unsure of the recipient’s clothing or accessory preferences, Saks Fifth Avenue also has plenty of luggage, home goods, and collectibles to choose from.

3. $300 travel credit (Chase Sapphire Reserve)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an outstanding travel credit card to have because of its rich spending categories and perks. But you can also use this card to your advantage when you are gifting this holiday season.

If your giftee wants to travel, you can offer to pay for their ticket or even book a hotel room on their behalf for a short weekend away. The following purchase categories typically qualify for the $300 annual travel credit: airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.

4. $100 TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit (various cards)

It’s a fact: No one enjoys waiting in security lines as they travel. If your recipient doesn’t currently have a membership to an expedited security program, gifting this perk can be a huge time and stress saver.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Card, for example, offer a $100 credit towards enrolling in either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Currently, TSA PreCheck is $85 for five years of membership, while Global Entry is $100 for five years of membership. To fully maximize the credit, your giftee should probably opt for Global Entry, since it also allows them to qualify for TSA PreCheck at the same time.

But before you gift this away, see when your own TSA PreCheck/Global Entry membership expires. Most credit cards only offer these credits once every four to five years, so make sure you won’t miss it in a year or two when you need to renew your expedited security membership.

If your membership is near its expiration, see if you currently hold one of the other 20 credit cards that offer this same credit — perhaps you can use another credit card to renew your own membership later.

In addition, be sure to offer this perk to someone you trust. To gift this credit, they will need your credit card information to input at the end of their application.

5. Free night award (World of Hyatt Credit Card)

If you’re feeling extra jolly this holiday season, consider gifting your free night award from your World of Hyatt Credit Card. You receive one free night every year after your cardmember anniversary, plus an additional free stay if you spend at least $15,000 on the card each year. Each award can be used at any category 1-4 Hyatt hotel.

To gift a free night to another person, you’ll need to simply make the room reservation in the name of the recipient. When that person checks in, they’ll be required to show their ID and offer their own credit card or cash to cover incidentals.

Note that free night awards come with expiration dates, so the stay must be completed before that time.

6. Companion certificate (Delta Reserve Card from American Express)

Giving someone the gift of travel can be an extremely warming feeling, especially if you know they’re dying to go somewhere in particular. With the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card, you can gift them your companion certificate.

To put it simply, a companion certificate is a “buy one, get one free” coupon for any Delta flight within the continental U.S. To make it even better, it’s good for most flight classes. If your giftee decides to buy a first-class ticket, their companion will fly first-class as well for no charge (except taxes and fees).

Gifting this certificate is simple. You will receive your certificate via email after paying your card’s annual fee, and it will give you a unique code to enter when you book a round-trip flight for two people. You (the gifter) do not need to be present during the flights. However, the certificate will come with an expiration date, so keep this in mind before you decide to use this as a gift.

Bottom line

Your credit cards are not just a way to spend money, but also a way to maximize perks and incentives.

If you don’t have any of the cards above, you may still find special offers on your card issuer’s site. For example, both Chase and Amex offer special incentives for shopping at particular stores, so you could earn bonus points or additional savings while buying a gift for someone you love.

In addition, review the often-overlooked benefits of your cards, such as special access to purchase tickets to concerts or culinary events. You may find a perk that can help you make the holiday season extra special for someone, while getting your money's worth for those annual fees you pay.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Benefits

  • 60,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • $200 airline fee credit each year
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply