The Internet is still abuzz with excitement over the Chase Sapphire Reserve and for good reason. Despite the hefty $450 annual fee, this card offers a plethora of travel benefits and is widely regarded as the best travel credit card on the market. Having recently met the minimum spend (thanks Dad for buying car parts with my card!), I’m ready to take full advantage of this card. Here are my favorite Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits and perks:
1. There are so many ways to use the 100,000 point signup bonus
Chase Ultimate Rewards has a travel portal where points are worth 1.5 times more with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This means that 100,000 points are worth $1500 in travel. If you have other cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, this is extremely valuable.
I love booking through the portal because it gives you access to options beyond the big hotel groups. I recently needed to book a hotel for two nights in Puerto Natales, Chile. I was pleased to see that Chase Ultimate Rewards had several options that would allow me to book with points.
You also have the option to transfer to travel partners such as United, British Airways, or Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. This must be done in 1,000-point increments. I use this option to top off accounts when I need more points to complete a booking. I also prefer transferring to United or Southwest for flights.
2. Three points per dollar spent on travel and restaurants is about as good as it’s gonna get
When I think of money spent on travel, I tend to think of hotels and flights. Since I try to get these for free, I was originally unimpressed by the 3x points on travel. However, after using this card for a month, I love seeing all my Ubers, public transportation, and other smaller “travel” purchases that I tend to overlook earning me 3x the points. Even the fee from a Delta flight booked with miles earned 3x points! In terms of restaurants, the criteria is pretty broad. It covered all of the bars I’ve been to in the past month. I spent the last week in Napa and Sonoma and was hopeful wineries would count, too. Unfortunately (and understandably!) they don’t.
3. Chase Sapphire Reserve has the best travel credit out there
The $300 travel credit on its own is the highest among premier travel cards. Since you can get this credit every calendar year, you will actually get $600 worth of travel credit (for 2016 and 2017) after paying only one annual fee. You’ll net $150 by applying for this card if you spend your first $300 on travel by the close of your December 2016 statement. This is a great option for booking travel that points typically won’t cover (buses, public transportation, Airbnb).
This card also reimburses the $100 fee for Global Entry once every four years. When applying, you have to pay $100 non-refundable fee before being approved for an interview. This freaked me out and probably would have stopped me from applying if it wasn’t going to be reimbursed by Chase. I’m excited about this benefit, but suggest submitting the application ASAP. I applied mid-September and will be patiently waiting for my interview in May 2017. While Chase will reimburse for TSA PreCheck if you prefer to enroll in that program, Global Entry typically covers you for both. Both the travel credit and Global Entry reimbursement post within a day or two.
4. Priority Pass lounge access makes travel more comfortable
Last but not least, the Chase Sapphire Reserve provides access to over 850 airport lounges with a free Priority Pass Select membership. I’m new to the world of airport lounges so I’m really excited to try this out. Travel companions can join you in these lounges for benefits including free Wi-Fi, snacks and beverages, and even showers. Since lounge access is limited in the U.S. with only 25 lounges, this benefit is a big perk for international travelers. Free Wi-Fi is enough to make it worth it for me when I’m traveling internationally. It took about three weeks for my card to arrive after activating my membership. You can activate this benefit as soon as you sign up for the card. Just sign in to your account, click the “Things you can do” drop-down menu, and click “Card Benefits” to find the activation link.
While these are the highlights of the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits, the card offers many other perks including rental car insurance, trip and baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and much, much more. The travel-related insurance coverage is extensive but less exciting because hopefully you never have to use it! If you’re over five cards in 24 months and can’t get the card yourself, convince a friend or family member to sign up, pay half the annual fee, and split the rewards. Let’s hope this offer sticks around! How do you plan to use your 100,000 point bonus?