The competition may have just been blown out of the water with the new Chase Sapphire Reserve. I’ll tell you right out front, this card has a $450 annual fee. But with the amazing travel benefits this card comes with, that fee is well worth it. But what are these benefits? Why is the $450 annual fee worth it? And is the card for you? This post will supply you with all the answers you need.
Sign up bonus
Right now, the card has a 100,000 point signup bonus (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months). That’s insane to me. And there are a ton of great ways to use that sign up bonus. Chase says that’s worth $1,500 in travel credits if you book through their Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Which ain't too shabby at all. But you could potentially get (and it would require some homework) more bang for your buck if you transfer to one of Chase’s 11 travel partners:
One of my favorite transfer partners is Southwest. I fly to/from Chicago a lot and there are some pretty great deals you can get with points. But if you want to go all out, The Points Guy recently wrote a post on his 10 Best Ways to Use 100,000 Ultimate Rewards Points. And those are certainly legit options too!
As far as earning potential goes through spend, you get 3 points per dollar on all travel and dining. Everything else gets you 1 point per dollar. For perspective, my (former) favorite Chase card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earned you 2 points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Main card benefits
$300 travel credit
One of the most lucrative is the $300 annual travel credit that is automatically applied to travel purchases. That means anything you buy that is coded as a “travel” will qualify for this credit.
But what counts as travel? According to Chase’s website:
Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages. Please note that some merchants that provide transportation and travel-related services are not included in this category; for example, real estate agents, websites or owners that rent vacation properties, in-flight goods and services, on-board cruise line goods and services, sightseeing activities, tourist attractions, merchants within airports, and merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling. In addition, the purchasing of points or miles does not qualify in this category.
This is very generous when it comes to credit cards.
And we can’t forget about the fact that this $300 credit basically brings the $450 annual fee down to $150 (only $55 more than the CSP).
Complimentary airport lounge access
Yes, you’ll have access to the full compliment of over 900 Priority Pass Select airport lounges throughout the world. What isn’t clear is whether you’ll be allowed to bring a guest free of charge.
Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓
You can get up to $100 for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. And you are eligible for this credit once every four years.
Other card benefits
Much like my post on some of The VIP Perks you Didn’t Know you had when it comes to credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with quite a few of it’s own. Some of them are:
I am really excited about this card, and it just became my go to card for everyday spend and travel. It has every perk an avid traveler can wish for. It competes very well, if not better than some of the most elite travel cards out there (Citi Prestige Card, Platinum Card from American Express, and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card). It could very well be a game changer.
You may also like:
-How to Maximize Rewards Credit Card Spending
-Tips for Staying on a Budget With Credit Cards
-Best Way to Fly Domestic