[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners if available here — Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
We all know that we can use our rewards credit cards to earn frequent flier miles, hotel points or simple cash back. But what if you have a taste for something more unique than a commercial flight or a corporate hotel? Don’t worry, there’s an incredible variety of memorable and crazy credit card rewards available to those who know where to look.
1. Go On a Submarine Ride and Other Adventures
Both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou points use the same travel portal operated by a company called Connexions Loyalty. In addition to offering airline, hotel and car rental reservations, this company also offers a wide range of travel activities. For example, last June, I was able to use my credit card points to reserve a ride on the Atlantis submarine ride off of the coast of Maui, Hawaii. And in August, I redeemed points for a bicycle tour of Portland, Ore. Other interesting rewards available through this service include a Zombie Film Locations Tour in Atlanta and a rock-climbing adventure near Denver. Citi’s ThankYou points are worth one cent each toward these rewards while Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points are worth one or 1.25 cents each, depending on which Chase card you hold.
2. Travel by Bentley and Breitling
Holders of the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express earn points, which can be used to bid in an auction for some exciting events in their Moments program. Prizes include Bentley and Breitling Fly-and-Drive in Cheshire, England, private dinners with celebrity chefs Todd English and Thomas Keller, and a luxury suite for a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
3. Leave on a Private Jet
The Dynamics ePlate rewards credit card offered by UMB Bank offers rewards opportunities ranging from a race car driving experience to a trip in a private jet. Incredibly, these experiences are available for the reward points earned after spending as little as $1,250.
4. Take the Scenic Route on Amtrak
Train travel might not be as glamorous as it once was, but it is far more relaxing and luxurious than a commercial airline flight. In Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, 25,000 points can be transferred to the Amtrak Guest Rewards program and redeemed for bedroom accommodations for two people for a one-way ticket within one zone of Amtrak. Bedrooms sleep two adults and include a bathroom, shower, sink and the most spectacular scenery our nation has to offer. In addition, travelers in sleeping accommodations receive full meal service in the dining car at no additional cost.
5. Cheer on Your Favorite Teams
American Express Cardholders can use their Membership Rewards points for tickets to concerts, live shows and sporting events booked through Ticketmaster. Points are worth one cent each and can be redeemed in 2,000-point increments.
When credit card users explore the range of rewards beyond hotel rooms and plane tickets, they will discover more possibilities than they ever imagined.