Chase Sapphire Reserve
Globe trotters, rejoice. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, earn 3X points on dining and travel worldwide and 1X points on everything else. Further, you’ll get a 50% boost to your points by redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Despite its $450 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers an incredible amount of value to frequent travelers with the means to spend big.
Here are the details:
As one of the best travel cards of all time, the Chase Sapphire Reserve can earn you both stellar rewards and top-notch benefits. You’ll get 3 points per dollar on dining (including fast food and delivery), as well as 3 points per dollar on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar.
You’ll receive a $300 statement credit for travel purchases made on your card each yearly account anniversary. You can also expect up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, as well as a Priority Pass™ Lounge membership.
The card offers a pretty standard welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening, equal to $750. To get the most out of your points, redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards and receive 50% more value for your points.
Points are flexible and there are plenty of partner airlines and hotels that you can transfer to. Chase’s definition of travel is pretty generous and includes everything from hotels and flights to tolls and parking garages.
Is this card right for you?
Frequent travelers with a flair for food will benefit most from this card. At first, the $450 annual fee may seem like a roadblock. But as long as you make full use of the $300 travel purchases statement credit each year, along with benefits like Priority Pass Lounge membership, the $450 is completely justifiable.
The Sapphire Reserve will get you access to benefits like trip cancellation insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation and more. Plus, when staying at qualifying resorts and hotels, you’ll get Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection program benefits and Guest Privileges like room upgrades, breakfast for two, early check-in and late check-out.
Should you be traveling outside of the country, you won’t be charged foreign transaction fees for purchases made abroad.
How much are the rewards worth?
When you redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, your 50,000 bonus-point offer is worth $750. Outside of the portal, your 50,000 bonus points are worth around $500.
As for the annual fee, simply utilizing the $300 travel statement credit each year will justify $300 in savings toward your annual fee, effectively bringing the cost of owning this card down from $450 to $150.
How this card compares
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
A little intimidated by the Sapphire Reserve? With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, get 2 points per dollar on travel and dining at the cost of a $95 annual fee (waived your first year).
You won’t get some of the luxury perks of the Sapphire Reserve, like the $300 annual travel credit and 50% bonus on rewards redeemed for travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, but you’ll have access to standard Chase-wide benefits.
Citi Prestige® Card
Earn 5 points per dollar on air travel and restaurants, 3 points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines and 1 point per dollar on everything else with the Citi Prestige Card. Of all the perks of this card, the two that stand out are its $250 yearly travel credit and complimentary fourth night free on hotel stays of four or more nights booked via ThankYou.com. (Note: As of September 1, 2019, this benefit will be capped at two nights annually.)
How to use this card
Once you’ve hit $4,000 in purchases within your first three months of account opening, you can redeem your 50,000 bonus points via Chase Ultimate Rewards. (Make sure to wait six to eight weeks for your bonus points to load in your account.) Simply log into your Chase account and redeem for gift cards, cash back or, to get the most bang for your buck, travel. Redeem your bonus points via Chase Ultimate Rewards to receive $750 toward airfare, hotel stays and more.
To receive your free Priority Pass™ Select Membership, which includes lounge access for up to two guests, simply activate the card benefit by logging into Chase Ultimate Rewards and clicking “Activate Now” under the Airport Lounge Access tab.
As for your application fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you’ll receive the statement credit within 24 hours of paying the application fee.
The bottom line
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best travel rewards cards available. This card will earn you great rewards on travel and dining and offers a number of ways to maximize your rewards value.
The high annual fee may seem risky to some, but if you travel regularly enough and fully utilize the $300 travel statement credit, this card will be more than worth it in the long run.