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Emily and I love to help folks get Big Travel with Small Money! So we started a new series to help readers with their credit card strategy, to help them achieve their travel goals!
We received an email question from Million Mile Secrets reader Tom who wants to make sure he’s using the right card for travel purchases.
I just got the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Should I use it for all travel purchases instead of the Citi Prestige® Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, or United MileagePlus® Club Card?
But there are times Tom might consider using one of his other cards depending on the type of travel purchase he’s making.
The Sapphire Reserve Is a Great Card to Use for Travel Purchases
In general, using the Sapphire Reserve for travel purchases is a good idea. Because you earn 3X valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you pay for ANY of these types of travel:
- Car rentals
- Passenger trains
- Buses, taxis, and limousines
- Ferries, toll bridges, and highways
- Parking lots and garages
You also get fantastic trip protection benefits when paying for travel with the Sapphire Reserve card.
But because reader Tom has other great cards in his wallet, he might consider using a different card for certain types of travel purchases.
3 Examples When Using a Different Card to Pay for Travel Might Make Sense
Tom has 4 cards in his wallet. Here are a few examples when paying for travel with a different card could be a good idea.
1. Looking for Superior Trip Delay Coverage?
The Citi Prestige is the best card to use for folks looking to get the superior trip & baggage delay benefits. Because you’ll be covered after a delays of more than 3 hours. The Sapphire Reserve only covers you after delays of 6+ hours.
Million Mile Secrets team members Harlan and Jasmin consistently use their Citi Prestige card to pay for travel because of the excellent trip delay coverage. And Jasmin has successfully used this benefit to get reimbursed for meals and a hotel night!
2. Paying for a Marriott, Starwood, or Ritz-Carlton Hotel Stay
You earn 2 Starwood points per $1 spent at any of the 3 chains. And depending on your travel goals, Starwood points can come in handy! Because you can use them for more than just free hotel stays.
- Transfer Starwood points to airline partners like American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, and more
- Book once-in-a-lifetime experiences through SPG Moments
- Redeem Starwood points for Nights & Flights packages
3. Boost Citi ThankYou Points Balance or Use the $250 Airline Credit
Tom can earn 3X Citi ThankYou points on airfare & hotel purchases when paying with the Citi Prestige card. The 3X bonus category isn’t as broad as the Sapphire Reserve. But flexible Citi ThankYou points are valuable for certain award redemptions.
And you can now use Citi ThankYou points toward 4th night free hotel reservations when you book through the Citi travel portal. So using the Citi Prestige (instead of the Sapphire Reserve) to earn bonus points on airfare and hotel purchases might make sense if Tom will use them to save money on hotel stays!
Don’t forget, the Citi Prestige comes with a $250 annual statement credit for airline fees such as airfare and baggage fees. So reader Tom will definitely want to use this card to at least get the $250 savings!
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a wonderful card for travel purchases! Because you earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And the travel category is broad. So it includes much more than just airfare and hotel purchases.
But you might have another card in your wallet that could be useful for certain types of travel purchases. For example, the Citi Prestige comes with the best trip & baggage delay benefits. Because coverage kicks in after a delay of more than 3 hours!
So in addition to figuring out how many points you’ll earn, it’s always good to consider the card benefits when making a travel purchase.