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- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a premium rewards card from Chase that gets me heightened rewards on various travel purchases, as well as rewards on dining.
- I can score 50 percent more value for my points when I redeem toward travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, and Chase offers a variety of hotel and airline transfer partners that bring me even more value.
- The card also features top-notch travel benefits that bring me peace of mind on my trips.
For a long time, I’ve used a combination of Chase credit cards known as the Chase trifecta for all my family’s spending. The trifecta also includes the Chase Freedom Unlimited®* and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, but my favorite rewards credit card of the bunch by far is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
While I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Reserve since it was introduced as a premium Chase card in 2016, this card now has even better rewards propositions. While it does have a $550 annual fee, both my husband and I each have this card, and we come out way ahead considering all we get in return.
I’m even in Verona, Italy, as I write this piece — a trip made possible in part by the rewards I have earned with my Chase Sapphire Reserve.
5 reasons I love the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Here are the major reasons why the Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of my favorite cards:
Exceptional earning rate
The Sapphire Reserve earns 3X points on general travel and dining purchases, which are two categories I am able to maximize quite a bit. Plus, I can earn 5X points on air travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 5X points on Lyft purchases through March 2025 and 10X points on hotels, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards. (Note, travel rewards rates apply after earning the $300 travel credit.)
As a side note, I don’t typically use my Sapphire Reserve for everyday spending and bills. Since it only offers 1X points on non-bonus category spending, I use my Freedom Unlimited to make sure I earn a minimum of 1.5 percent cash back on everything I buy.
The best airline and hotel partners among flexible cards
We mostly travel internationally to the Caribbean and Europe, and Chase transfer partners work splendidly for our goals. Specifically, we transfer a ton of Chase points to the Air France / KLM Flying Blue program for cheap flights to Europe as well as to the Southwest Rapid Rewards program for cheap flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. Other popular transfer partners include World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, United MileagePlus and British Airways.
For the particular trip I’m on in Italy right now, I transferred 120,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the United MileagePlus program to pay for one-way flights home to Indianapolis from Milan. This was an especially good deal considering I snagged four one-way flights that were going for more than $1,200 each on the day I booked them.
In my opinion, Chase Ultimate Rewards has the best airline and hotel partners of any of the flexible travel programs, including American Express Membership Rewards and the Citi ThankYou program. In fact, according to Bankrate valuations, Ultimate Rewards points can be worth up to 2 cents each toward high-value transfer partner travel.
I love getting a 50 percent bonus on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Another reason to love the Sapphire Reserve is the fact that it offers 1.5 cents per point in value when you redeem rewards for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, which partners with Expedia.
This is part of the reason I use the Chase trifecta to maximize rewards on all our personal and business spending. I use each card strategically to earn as much in rewards as possible, then I pool them in my Sapphire Reserve account to redeem them for airfare, excursions, hotels and more.
Not only do I book quite a bit of airfare with points through Chase, but I frequently book “things to do,” or excursions. I even sometimes use my points to splurge for something out of the ordinary!
In fact, tonight, we have a four-person cooking class in Verona, Italy, with a Cesarine, which we paid for with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. (Cesarines are certified home cooks in Italy that teach travelers how to cook homemade pasta and other Italian dishes.)
While this special tour would normally cost over $644 for four people if we paid in cash, I redeemed 42,994 Chase points to make it free.
Travel benefits I can use
I love the fact that the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $300 annual travel credit. This credit is incredibly easy to use since it applies to any travel purchase and is automatically added to your card as you use it.
Further, I frequently use the Priority Pass Select membership that comes with this card, which allows entry into more than 1,300 airport lounges around the globe. The lounge benefit is particularly useful to me since it gives me a quiet place to escape in the airport. Plus, I save money by popping into the airport lounge for drinks and snacks.
Consumer protections and insurance
Finally, it’s important to note that the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with more travel insurance benefits than any other travel credit card. Perks include primary auto rental coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation coverage and so much more.
These benefits are the main reason I charge all our paid travel expenses to this card. Just the trip cancellation and interruption insurance alone are worth up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip, and it’s free when you use the card to pay for travel.
This is yet another way the Chase Sapphire Reserve actually saves me money. Each time I use the travel insurance instead of buying a separate travel insurance plan, that’s money I don’t have to spend.
The bottom line
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium Chase credit card that comes with a slew of luxury benefits for the frequent traveler, and Chase’s boosted rewards for travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal is icing on the cake.
If you’re an ardent traveler and have been waiting for a sign to finally take the leap on the CSR, this is your moment.
*The information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.