Chase Sapphire Reserve
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The rewards and annual credits the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers are among the best available for a travel rewards card. Bankrate also gives high marks to this card for its boosted rewards redemption value, 50% higher when used for booking travel.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the top premium travel rewards cards, offering bonuses and perks tailored for consumers who dine out and travel frequently. Cardholders who can justify the pricey $450 annual fee will earn industry-leading rewards when they fly, cruise, rent cars or stay in hotels.
Since its introduction in August 2016, the Sapphire Reserve has offered points- or rewards-obsessed credit card customers a fantastic sign-up bonus, superior travel rewards and extra benefits that outshine many competitors’ cards.
Ultimate Rewards Points are flexible and can be transferred to a wide range of partner airlines and hotels, typically at a 1:1 value. Where Ultimate Rewards really become valuable is when they’re redeemed through Chase’s travel portal, where they are worth 50% more.
Although it no longer offers jaw-dropping 100,000 bonus points, worth $1,500 in travel, the current sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus points is worth a still-respectable $750 toward travel. The ongoing benefits beyond signing up also are some of the best available.
Sapphire Reserve pays 3x points on travel and dining out and 1x points on all other purchases. The card also comes with a $300 annual travel credit, a $100 credit for the Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee and a Priority Pass Lounge membership.
Chase’s definition of travel is pretty generous and includes everything from hotels to flights to tolls and parking garages. If you ever leave your house, there’s a good chance that over time, you’ll use the $300 annual travel credit, which effectively brings the cost of owning this card down from $450 to $150.
Who should get this card
Anyone who dines out, flies or stays in hotels frequently can benefit from owning this card.
Fees and APR
- There’s a variable APR of 17.24% to 24.24% with this card.
- There’s a $450 annual fee.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
- Late payments won’t affect your APR but you may have to pay a late fee of up to $37.
Extras, perks and using points
You’ll receive a free membership in the Priority Pass Select lounge program, which has more than 1,000 airport locations worldwide. Everyone you’re traveling with can join you in the lounge.
Cardholders also receive discounts and free upgrades at Avis, National and Silvercar car rental companies.
There are perks at participating Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection hotels, as well, including free WiFi, breakfast for two, early check-in and late check-out.
To use the 50,000 bonus points, log on to your Chase account and redeem your points for gift cards, cash back or travel. The points are worth $500 if you choose a statement credit, gift cards or wish to transfer the points to another rewards program, like Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards.
You’ll get more mileage on those points — $750 in travel credits — if you book directly through Chase’s travel portal. Your points will be used to cover all or a portion of the cost. You’ll have to pay any remaining balance.
There is no fee to redeem your points.
How this card compares
If the $450 price tag on the Reserve has you scared, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which is one step below the super-premium credit cards, meaning you’ll get good rewards without having to fork over hundreds of dollars in annual fees each year.
The Citi Prestige Card gives air travel rewards at a rate of 3x points to the Amex Platinum’s 5x points. But it comes with one perk that could make it worth more to you: on hotel stays of four or more nights booked through the Citi concierge, get the fourth night free. For some, this benefit could exceed the cost of card ownership.
Another contender in the premium rewards card category is the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite, which, in addition to its boosted rewards on travel also 3x points per $1 on all mobile wallet purchases — something no other card currently offers. This means you could theoretically earn triple points on all your spending with this card. The only catch is you have to be a U.S. Bank customer to apply for the card.