There's a lot of neighbors envy in the travel world. You stick with a program, credit card, loyalty program, whatever, only to find out that your neighbor, your program's competitor has been showing off some pretty cool stuff. Putting all the cards (literally), on the table, I'll take a look at what I would argue are the two greatest frequent flyer benefits anyone can achieve and the two greatest credit card benefits.
Credit Card Benefits
Fourth Night Free On Every Hotel Stay
It's not a typo, it's a real thing. The Citi Prestige card allows you to book any hotel in the world, even using corporate discount codes and special rates, and receive the fourth night free, on any booking. All you have to do is book through them, and yes, the rate is just about always the same as the best found online.
Lounge Access On Any Airline Plus Guests
Having lounge access is such a game changer for anyone who flies less than 50,000 miles per year. Why? Because unless you do, and even if you do, you won't necessarily have lounge access when you fly, especially if you fly with a competitor. It's also very doubtful you'd be able to bring in two guests. Getting lounge access from Priority Pass, with complimentary access for you and two guests is incredible and changes the airport experience.
Frequent Flyer Benefits
Worldwide Upgrade Certificates
I've held plenty of statuses where I received complimentary upgrades on domestic or short haul flights. It's a nice perk but a slightly bigger seat doesn't make a big difference, not for just a couple of hours. On an overnight ten hour flight, it makes a drastic change. Virtually zero airlines advertise complimentary upgrades on international long haul flights. For top tier fliers on American, Delta and United, you'll receive between four and eight certificates, which you can use to immediately confirm an upgrade to business class on any fare. It's a hell of a perk.
Business/First Check In + Fast Track + Lounges
If you want to be tight, you could say this is multiple separate benefits, but I'll lump them all into one because they're really just airport experience. Lounges are almost as good as cash rebates, offering free wifi, food and beverages every time you fly. Fast track and business class check in saves you time, which for business travelers is also money. Getting fees comp'd and all that jazz is great, but I want my flying to be better every time. I'll use my credit cards to get rebates and cash off flights. You'll find this as a mid to top tier flyer with most airlines.