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Take Your Credit Card to the Museum This Weekend

Aside from loyalty program miles and points, I’m generally not a fan of the supposed value-adds that credit card issuers loudly tout to give their plastic a bit more luster than competing cards.

Concierge service? Thanks, but I’m a do-it-myself kinda guy.

“Access to members-only offers”? In my experience, these are modest discounts widely available elsewhere.

Free companion tickets? More often than not, the associated paid ticket requires buying a pricey unrestricted fare, offsetting any savings from the “free” companion ticket.

An exception to the above may be Bank of America’s Museums on Us program.

Offer Details

Throughout 2011, Bank of America credit or debit cardholders get free general admission to 150 participating museums, zoos, and other attractions on the first full weekend of every month.

In fact, this weekend—February 5 and 6—is the second weekend of the 2011 Museums on Us program, now in its 14th year.

Coverage and quality, of course, are key. Which museums participate in my city, or in cities I’m likely to visit?

In Los Angeles, where I live, the list includes the L.A. County Museum, Skirball Center, the Hammer, and the Autry Center of the American West. And within a two-hour drive, there are more: Museum of Latin American Art, MUZEO, Discovery Science Center, Palm Springs Art Museum, The Living Desert, Riverside Art Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts, The New Children’s Museum, and Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

Elsewhere, cardholders get access to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; Art Institute of Chicago; NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina; The Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California; and the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

Handily, cardholders can sign up on the bank’s website to receive text or email reminders of upcoming free-admission weekends.

Deal or No Deal

Whether this is a legitimate value-add or just marketing froth ultimately depends on you—specifically on your propensity to visit participating museums.

While there may not be something for everyone, everywhere, the program covers a lot of bases, both geographically and culturally. And the quality of the institutions represented is generally high.

Although I’m a Bank of America customer, I don’t currently have one of their credit cards. This weekend, I’ll be wishing I did.

Reader Reality Check

If you don’t have a Bank of America card, is this a good reason to apply for one?

If you do, have you taken advantage of Museums on Us in the past? Will you in the future?

This article originally appeared on

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