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The #1 Premium Travel Credit Card Pays for Itself. Here’s My Full Review!

The #1 Premium Travel Credit Card Pays for Itself. Here’s My Full Review!

Million Mile SecretsThe #1 Premium Travel Credit Card Pays for Itself. Here’s My Full Review!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

It’s not surprising that the Chase Sapphire Reserve continues to be one of the most exciting credit cards available.  I think this is the best premium travel rewards credit card!

The Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus is worth at least $750 in travel.  And you also get a $300 annual credit for travel purchases every cardmember anniversary.  That’s $1,050 in value in the first year, which doesn’t consider other money saving perks you enjoy as a cardholder.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
Chase Sapphire Reserve Cardholders Enjoy Terrific Benefits, Including a Few Lesser Known Perks! Plus, You Can Earn My Favorite Flexible Points, Which Can Save You Money on Travel!

Folks looking to get Big Travel with Small Money can do really well with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  I’ll share my full review of the card, so you can decide if it’s a good fit for your wallet.

Complete Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve 50,000-Point Offer!

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

When you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  

You’ll also get:

Million Mile Secrets team members Keith and Harlan say this is the #1 card they’re using right now.  Because they make frequent travel and dining purchases, so they can earn lots of valuable points!

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
Besides Earning Lots of Points on Travel & Dining Purchases, Team Member Keith Loves the Free Priority Pass Membership He Gets With the Sapphire Reserve. Because He Can Enjoy Complimentary Food and Drinks in Airport Lounges Before Flights!

The card has a $450 annual fee, which is NOT waived for the first year.  But the annual travel credit and airport lounge access can more than offset the annual fee!  That said, if you shy away from premium credit cards with high annual fees, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred (my #1 card pick for beginners!)

Just be sure to do the math when deciding between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve.  For example, you’re effectively paying a $150 annual fee with the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee – $300 travel credit).  After the first year with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll pay a $95 annual fee.  So you’ll pay effectively pay $55 more each year ($150 – $95) to get many extra perks, like lounge access, more bonus points on travel & dining purchases, rental car discounts, and much more!

Sapphire Reserve cardholders also automatically get these travel protection benefits, which can be a huge money saver (just ask team member Harlan!)

CoverageChase Sapphire Reserve
Primary Rental Car Insurance• Cardholders covered when you rent a car with your card and decline the car rental agency’s collision damage waiver
Delayed Baggage• If your baggage is delayed for more than 6 hours, you could be reimbursed for purchases of essential items (i.e. clothing, toiletries, cell phone charging cables, and more)

• Up to $100 per day for a maximum of 5 days
Lost Luggage• Covers the cost to repair or replace lost luggage and personal items inside

• Up to $3,000 per person each trip with a limit of $500 for items such as jewelry and electronics
Trip Delay Protection• If your trip is delayed for more than 6 hours, you could be reimbursed for up to $500 per ticket for reasonable expenses (meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items)
Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance• Up to $10,000 per person per covered trip (maximum $20,000 per occurrence)

• Up to $40,000 per 12 month period

• See the Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits Guide for more details
Emergency Medical and Dental Coverage• Up to $2,500 for medical expenses if you or your immediate family member becomes sick or injured 100 miles or more from home on a trip

• See my post on the Chase Sapphire Reserve's coverage for more details
Emergency Evacuation & Transportation• Up to $100,000 in coverage
Travel Accident Insurance• Up to $1,000,000 per person ($2,000,000 maximum)
Benefits GuideChase Sapphire Reserve Benefits Guide

The Sapphire Reserve also comes with terrific purchase protection coverage.  For example, when you shop with the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll get 1 extra year added to a warranty of 3 years or less.  And you get coverage for eligible purchases in case of theft, damage, or lost property.  Be sure to read the Guide to Benefits for additional details of these perks.

Don’t forget, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can take advantage of the roadside assistance benefits, which means you can save on annual fees with programs like AAA.

50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Worth at Least $750 in Travel (Potentially Much More!)

With the Sapphire Reserve, you earn the most useful credit card pointsChase Ultimate Rewards points are flexible, which means you can use them for travel OR redeem points for cash back.

My favorite way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to transfer them directly to Chase’s terrific travel partners, like Hyatt or United Airlines.  Team member Keith transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines to book 6 Business Class award tickets home from Sydney!

And for folks with other Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning credit cards (like the Chase Freedom), you can combine points to your Sapphire Reserve account before transferring them directly to an airline or hotel partner.


Here are a few ways you can redeem 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

1.   Book Airfare, Hotels, and Rental Cars Through the Chase Travel Portal ($750 Worth of Travel)

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve Increases Value of Your Ultimate Rewards Points

Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you can book flights, hotels, and rental cars for less with points linked to your Chase Sapphire Reserve.  That’s because they’re worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem for travel through the Chase portal.

So you’ll get $750 worth of travel with the 50,000-point Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus.  And you can combine points from other cards like the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom to still get the higher redemption value!

Plus, you never have to worry about blackout dates or finding award seats.  And you’ll still earn miles for your flight!  Prices are usually the same as what you’ll find through online travel agencies, like Priceline.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Sign-Up Bonus Gets You More Than Enough Points to Book 2 Round-Trip Coach Flights From New York to Los Angeles in a Sample Itinerary I Found in April 2018

When redeem points through the Chase portal, you’re NOT restricted to booking travel with one of Chase’s travel partners mentioned above.  You can book hotel stays at boutique hotels or airfare on budget airlines.

Keep in mind, there are 4 low-cost airlines that do NOT show up on Chase’s travel portal:  Southwest, Norwegian Air, Allegiant, and Gol.  But you can still book tickets using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points by calling the Chase travel center at 866-951-6592.

2.   Hyatt Award Stay ($900+ Worth of Value)

Link:   6 Reasons Why Hyatt Is My Favorite Chase Hotel Transfer Partner!

Along with many Million Mile Secrets team members, I love transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt to book fantastic hotel stays.

You can book a free night for as few as 5,000 Hyatt points.  This means the Chase Sapphire Reserve could get you 10 free nights at wonderful Hyatt hotels around the world!  Or you can splurge for a special occasion and use more points to stay at a higher category Hyatt hotel, which might otherwise be very expensive if you paid cash.

Plus, Hyatt has a no blackout date policywhich makes it easier to use points to book award stays.  You can even use points to stay at top-rated all-inclusive Hyatt hotels, like Hyatt Zilara Cancun, which team member Scott highly recommends.  Room nights at this hotel can cost $450+ per night.  But you can book the same exact room for 20,000 Hyatt points.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
Enjoy a Wide Food Selection, Top-Shelf Alcohol, and Gorgeous Views for FREE by Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt to Stay at All-Inclusive Hotels, Like the Hyatt Zilara Cancun.

So the Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus is enough for 2 free nights at this Category 5 hotel.  And with the points you earn from minimum spending, you’ll be close to having enough points to book a 3rd night!

3.   2 Round-Trip Award Flights to Hawaii ($1,000+ worth of value)

Link:   Save Your Miles! The New Cheapest Way to Get to Hawaii and More From the West Coast!

Thanks to a new partnership between Alaska Airlines and Singapore Airlines, you can book round-trip coach flights from the West Coast cities to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines for 24,000 Singapore Airlines miles!

And Singapore Airlines is a Chase transfer partner, which means the 50,000-point Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus is enough for 2 round-trip coach award flights!  These flights typically cost $500+ per person if you pay cash.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
Earn the Chase Sapphire Reserve Sign-Up Bonus and Book a Couples Getaway to Hawaii!

Check out this guide to learn how to book Alaska Airlines flights with Singapore Airlines miles!

Important Chase Application Rules to Keep in Mind!

Chase has these restrictions for their Sapphire-branded credit cards:

  • You may no longer have more than one Sapphire-branded credit card.  For example, if you currently have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you won’t be eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
  • If you close a Chase Sapphire card account, you will NOT be eligible for any Sapphire-branded credit cards if you’ve earned the sign-up bonus on a Sapphire-branded product within the last 24 months

You should also consider the Chase “5/24 rule.”  If you’ve opened 5+ cards in the past 24 months from ANY bank (excluding Chase business cards and other certain small business cards), you will NOT be approved for Chase Sapphire Reserve.  If you’re just over the “5/24 limit”, it might be worth waiting to apply for other cards to make yourself eligible to get the Sapphire Reserve.

Bottom Line

There are lots of reasons the Chase Sapphire Reserve is such a popular premium travel rewards credit card.

When you sign-up for the the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting minimum spending requirements.  At a minimum, you can use the sign-up bonus points to get $750 worth of travel by booking airfare, hotels, or rental cars through the Chase travel portal

But you can potentially get much more value by transferring points directly to Chase’s terrific travel partners, like Hyatt or United Airlines.

The Sapphire Reserve card comes with a $300 annual credit for travel purchases every cardmember anniversary, which effectively reduces the annual fee to $150 ($450 annual fee – $300 annual travel credit).  And it’s easy to accumulate points with this card because you earn 3X points for travel & dining purchases.   

That’s one reason Million Mile Secrets team members Keith and Harlan say this is the #1 card they’re using right now.

What’s your favorite perk with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card?

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Named a ‘Best Travel Credit Card for 2017’ by MONEY® Magazine
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, no foreign transaction fees
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I was looking at this card and I see that it gives you all the perks but requires an additional $75 to add an authorized user. If my wife and I were to share this card, would she also receive the benefits? Or do we “split” the $300 travel credit and $100 for Global Entry? Also, I didnt know if that allowed us both into the airport lounges? Important for our decision! Big honeymoon planned in Europe so planning options

“But you can potentially get much more value by transferring points directly to Chase’s terrific travel partners, like Hyatt or United Airlines.” So transfer said points to partner and book off the partners website?

Yep….that’s what I do with Hyatt and Southwest. super easy…

I’m considering becoming an AU on my husband’s CSR and downgrading my CSP to a Freedom Unlimited.
If I do this, what are my transfer options for the points I earn on my Freedom cards?

What’s your advice on getting an authorized user card (CSR) for spouse? Will this effect their ability to get their own card later? Thanks, and I always enjoy your “secrets”.

Million Mile Secrets

Authorized users can earn a sign-up bonus on the card if they decide to apply in the future.

Just keep in mind, authorized user accounts count toward Chase’s “5/24 card limit”. And there’s a $75 annual fee to add an authorized user to the Sapphire Reserve.

Here’s a post with pros/cons of adding an authorized user to your Sapphire Reserve account:

https://millionmilesecrets.com/2016/09/18/chase-sapphire-reserve-authorized-user/

Does the Sapphire Preferred have all the trip delay, cancellation, emergency, accident, etc insurance like the Reserve?

Million Mile Secrets

You get a few additional coverages with the Sapphire Reserve, including Emergency Medical & Dental and Emergency Evacuation. Also, the Trip Delay and Travel Accident coverages are better with the Sapphire Reserve. Here’s a post with a side by side comparison:

https://millionmilesecrets.com/2017/05/21/travel-insurance-coverage/

Won’t get it until that fee goes down. The travel credit should at least offset the fee. $450/yr is ridiculous

It’s definitely worth the $150. I save that in one or two lounge visits with drinks alone. Cheers mate

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