Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review: Best Travel Card Ever?

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card has a notably large sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Although the annual fee is high at $550, the benefits for frequent credit card users who want an excellent travel rewards program more than offsets the annual fee.

Among premium credit cards, the annual fee is in the normal range. Considering the fact that 50,000 points (after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening) are redeemable for $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, it’s not hard to see how this card may benefit frequent travelers.

Add the $300 annual travel credit that comes as a statement credit to reimburse cardholders for travel purchases charged to the card each account anniversary year, and the annual fee isn’t such a big deal.

Card Name APR Annual Fee Intro Bonus Credit Needed Key Feature
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Purchases: 16.99% - 23.99% Variable $550 + $75 for each additional user 50,000 points to new cardholders who spend at least $4,000 in purchases within 90 days Excellent Excellent travel rewards program

What we like about the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card

Cardholders get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is great if you want to max out your earnings.

This card comes with several valuable travel perks, as well. If you experience a travel delay lasting six hours or longer, trip and baggage delay insurance, included with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, covers up to $500 worth of costs per person if you purchased their ticket with the card. So, the cost of a change of clothing, meals, hotel costs and essentials won’t ruin the trip.

While waiting in the airport, you and up to two guests will have free access to the Priority Pass network of 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide. Cardholders also get credit for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry applications, and if approved, this helps them get through airport security faster.

Things to consider

New cardholders must spend a total of $4,000 on purchases within 90 days of opening the account to get the 50,000 bonus point offer through Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card. That’s an average of $1,332 per month. It’s important to reach the threshold to maximize the advantages of owning this card and offset the $550 annual fee.

There isn’t an introductory APR for balance transfers or purchases with this card, either. The variable APR ranges from 16.99% - 23.99% Variable, which makes carrying a balance on this card expensive. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a card that may be best for people who don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel rewards details

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card should be a strong contender for those who travel, dine out and use credit cards frequently. The travel rewards program is one of the best available today.

You’ll get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you use the sign-up bonus on travel with Chase, it’s worth $750. Your Chase points could be worth even more than 1.5 cents each if you transfer them to any of Chase’s hotel or airline loyalty partner programs.

Even after earning the 50,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening, you can earn three points per dollar spent on dining, including some bars and food delivery services. You’ll get the same points-to-spending ratio on travel, including parking fees, subway fare, cruises, hotels, tolls and many other travel-related costs.

On your first account anniversary of owning the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card, and every year after, you’ll automatically get a $300 credit that you can apply to the travel purchases you made the year before.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® fees

There are 0% foreign transaction fees with this card. The annual fee is $550, which is immediately offset the first year by the 50,000-point bonus (after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months) for cardholders who qualify. After the first year, the automatic $300 credit to use toward travel costs incurred with the card during the previous years does a nice job of offsetting the annual fee.

How does it compare to other travel cards?

Another outstanding travel card with a lot of great benefits is The Platinum Card® from American Express. This card offers a rewards rate of 5X Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on travel if you booked through airlines and hotels with AmexTravel.com. The Platinum Card® from American Express annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees), and its welcome bonus is 60,000 points after spending $5,000 with the card during the first three months.

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Apply Now on American Express's secure website

Highlights
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

While the annual travel credit is up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more and has to be used on a single airline’s fees, the card also offers up to a $200 Uber credit, up to a $100 hotel credit and up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit annually. Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express offer a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, as well.

Citi Prestige® Card is also a contender for the most popular travel rewards credit card. Its annual fee is $495 + $75 for additional users. The bonus reward with this card is worth $850. You’ll get 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 with the card within 90 days of opening the account. Rewards pile up fast with this card. You can earn five points per dollar spent on restaurants and air travel, three points per dollar spent on cruise lines and hotels and one point per dollar spent on everything else. The travel credits are lackluster compared to The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve®, though.

The bottom line

For those who love to travel or are required to do so for work, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card has benefits that could far outweigh the $550 annual fee. This card offers incredible value for travelers, especially during the first year, if you qualify for the 50,000-point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Even in the following years, the $300 travel credit you can earn each account anniversary year and easy points-earning process make this card a winner.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

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