Chase really shook up the premium credit card landscape when they launched the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. It’s a direct competitor to The Platinum Card from American Express and the Citi Prestige Card.
If you’re a member of the 10xTravel Insiders Facebook group, you’ve probably noticed that tons of people have made this card has earned a place in many wallets.
- Earning: 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining, 1X on everything else
- Current sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months
- Key benefits: annual $300 travel credit, Global entry fee credit, Priority Pass Select membership (unlimited guests), premium travel benefits and protection, no foreign transaction fees
- Annual fee: $450
- Authorized user fee: $75 per authorized user
- Earn 3X points on travel worldwide from airfare and hotels to taxis to trains (and more)
- Earn 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide from fast casual to fine dining
- Earn 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases
The earning structure for the Chase Sapphire Reserve makes it a great card for frequent travelers and people who like to dine out regularly. This combination of 3X on travel and dining is unmatched and can even be improved when paired with the Chase Freedom (rotating quarterly 5X categories) and Freedom Unlimited (1.5X on everything) cards.
Redeem Your Ultimate Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are, of course, best used for travel. One of the key benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is that each point is worth 1.5 cents towards travel when redeemed directly through the Chase travel portal.
When you redeem your points this way, you’ll always know exactly what you’re getting for your points. Better yet, flights booked will still earn miles.
This is a great redemption option when flight prices are low. For example, JetBlue regularly has transcontinental Mint Business class flights on sale for $399 each way, which would only require 26,600 Chase Ultimate Rewards points – and you’ll earn JetBlue points!
Assuming you could find availability, United would charge 25,000 miles (which can be transferred from Ultimate Rewards) for the same flight itinerary, but United’s transcontinental flights generally aren’t thought to be as nice as JetBlue’s and you won’t earn miles when you fly.
Even better redemptions can usually be achieved with Chase’s numerous airline and hotel transfer partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Iberia Plus
- Korean Air SkyPass
- Singapore KrisFlyer
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
On the hotel side, you can transfer to:
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- World of Hyatt
Additionally, you can combine your points from no-annual fee cards such as the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Ink Business Cash with those you earn with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Once combined, you can transfer the to partners or redeem them through the Chase travel portal for 50% more value.
A few examples of good value redemptions include:
- 4,500 British Airways Avios for a one-way short-haul economy flight on Qantas within Australia or Japan Airlines within Japan
- 5,000 points for a night at a Category 1 Hyatt hotel
- 60,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for a one-way business class flight from the US to Asia on Delta
As you can see, you can get incredible value from the Chase Sapphire Reserve by maximizing 3X bonus categories and wisely using partners, or even the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Whether you want to indulge in Korean Air’s superb first class or are a frugal traveler wanting to maximize economy class redemptions, this card can help you do both.
In addition to the valuable Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a long list of additional benefits:
Premium travel benefits:
- Annual $300 travel credit that makes up for most of the annual fee
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit every 5 years (a value of $20 per year)
- Priority Pass lounge access with unlimited guests – While the Sapphire Reserve won’t get you into as many lounges as the Amex Platinum, it will allow you to get your entire travel party into some lounges.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve also really shines through the travel protection benefits:
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance, covering up to $10,000 per trip for sickness, severe weather, etc.
- Travel accident insurance (the one I hope we won’t ever have to use!)
- Trip delay reimbursement that kicks in from with delays for 6 hours or more, even if it’s a weather delay that the airline won’t cover
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Emergency evacuation
What’s better than earning 3X points and being well protected? These benefits even apply to award tickets when you pay the taxes and fees with the card and when you book flights with points through the travel portal.
If you are using an airline gift card to cover some of the flight cost of a cash ticket, make sure to charge at least a portion of your ticket to your Chase Sapphire Reserve and you will be covered.
Last but not least, there are some great car rental benefits:
- National Emerald Club Executive Level
- Avis Preferred membership, both with special discounts
- Discount with Silvercar
- Collision damage waiver (CDW) up to $75,000 when you pay for your rental in full with the card – this benefit is primary, meaning an easy claim process, potentially hundreds in savings from the cost of the CDW sold by the car rental company, and no penalty on your own car insurance if something happens
I’m not sure there’s a better card to carry when traveling.
Are You Eligible For The Chase Sapphire Reserve?
This card falls under Chase’s 5/24 rule, so if you have opened 5 or more personal credit cards in the last 24 months—from any bank plus business cards from Capital One, you won’t be able to get the card. For this reason, it’s important to decide if you want this card early on in your miles and points journey.
One more restriction to consider is that you are only allowed to have one of the Sapphire cards. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you will not be able to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Additionally, if you’ve received the bonus on either card in the last 24 months, you will not be eligible for the card.
While the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $450 annual fee, the benefits of this card will outweight the cost for many travelers. The $300 travel credit card already takes care of a good chunk of the annual fee if you travel even a little—or just take Uber all the time.
The travel bonus category is also extremely broad, and pretty much everyone should be able to make use of it: “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.”
In short, we only need to get $150 worth of points and benefits to make the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth the trouble, or even as little $130 if we take into account the Global Entry fee credit. With only $3,334 spent on dining and travel in a whole year you would come ahead, as you would earn 10,000 points worth at least $150 on travel—probably more by using transfer partners. And this doesn’t even factor in airport lounge access!
It’s no surprise why many travelers (frequent and infrequent) have decided to make this card a priority.
If you are interested in Chase Sapphire Reserve you can learn more about it here.
Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.