Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit, Everything to Know

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Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. Update:   Chase no longer offers the $300 travel credit each calendar year.  Instead, you’ll qualify each cardmember year. 

Million Mile Secrets Reader, Adam, commented:

The Chase website says you can automatically receive UP TO $300 in statement credits for travel-related purchases made with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  How exactly is the $300 travel credit with the Chase Sapphire Reserve earned and applied?

Thanks for reaching out, Adam!

The Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 annual travel credit couldn’t be easier to use.  When you use your card for a travel purchase, you will automatically be reimbursed, until you’ve spent a total of $300 on travel.  In other words, Chase will pay for the first $300 in travel you spend each calendar year with your card!

Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Travel Credit
Use The Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit for Purchases From Airfare to Train Tickets to Parking Garages

I’ll give you all the information on this $300 travel credit to help you decide if the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it for you!

Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Travel Credit

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits

Folks are excited about the sign-up bonus and travel benefits with the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card!

When you open the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  You’ll also get benefits like:

But one of the best benefits of this card is the $300 annual credit for travel purchases.  We’ve heard a lot of questions about this perk, so let’s answer them!

1.   How Do I Receive the Credit?

When you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll receive access to the annual travel credit immediately.  The travel credit is not associated with the sign-up bonus, so you can start using it as soon as you get your card!

2.   How Do I Use the Credit?

Whenever you make a travel purchase, your Chase Sapphire Reserve annual travel credit will automatically activate, with no extra steps on your end!

Also, you do not have to spend $300 in 1 transaction to use the travel credit.  You will be reimbursed for all travel purchases until you’ve reached $300.

For example, you can spend $40 with Uber, $6 at a parking garage, $160 with Airbnb, $50 refilling your E-ZPass, and still have $44 left!

Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Travel Credit
You Can View Your Annual Travel Credit Progress in Your Account Page

If you want to view how much of the credit you have left, you can view it in your credit card account page.

Note:   The travel credit will not affect the minimum spending requirement on your card.  So if you spend $300 on travel as part of reaching your $4,000 minimum spending, you don’t have to worry about falling short!

3.   What Counts as a Travel Purchase?

Chase covers many bases when it defines a travel purchase.  According to Chase, a travel purchase is money spent on:

  • Airlines (even for airfare and incidentals like change fees or checked bags)
  • Hotels & Motels (including Airbnb)
  • Timeshares
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rental agencies
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies
  • Discount travel sites
  • Passenger trains
  • Buses
  • Taxis (including Uber and Lyft)
  • Limousines
  • Ferries
  • Toll bridges & highways
  • Parking lots & garages

There is everything you’d expect to find, and maybe a couple you didn’t, like tolls and parking lots!  Purchases with companies like Airbnb and Uber count as travel, too.  And you’ll earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel purchases!

Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Travel Credit
I Stayed in an Airbnb During My Last Trip to New York City and Loved the Location and Experience

This broad category makes it easy to use the travel credit.

4.   When Does the Credit Post?

According to Chase:
Statement credit(s) will post to your account the same day your travel category purchase posts to your account and will appear on your monthly credit card billing statement within 1-2 billing cycles.

So, as soon as your credit card transaction goes from “pending” to “posted”, your statement credit should kick in to reimburse the purchase.

5.   When Does the Credit Renew?

Update:   Chase no longer offers the $300 travel credit each calendar year.  Instead, you’ll qualify each cardmember year.  

You will receive a new travel credit each calendar year.  Chase considers the end of the year to be when your December statement closes.  So depending on the exact date, you could receive your second travel credit before January of the following year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Travel Credit
For a $450 Annual Fee, You Can Get $600 in Travel the First Year (Not to Mention Fantastic Travel Perks!)

So as long as you spend $600 in travel before you pay your second annual fee, Chase is effectively paying you $150 the first year you have the card ($450 annual fee – $300 travel credit upon application approval – second $300 travel credit after your December statement closes = $150 profit)!

But make sure you spend at least $300 in travel per year, or you’ll forfeit the remaining credit!

Does the Travel Credit Make the Chase Sapphire Reserve a Keeper?

For the second year and beyond, the $300 travel credit effectively brings the Chase Sapphire Reserve $450 annual fee down to $150.  That’s not cheap, but it’s well worth it for a card with excellent benefits, like airport lounge access and 3X bonus points on travel and dining purchases!

Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Travel Credit
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Comes With a Lounge Membership That Would Otherwise Cost Hundreds of Dollars
Check out my post comparing the Chase Sapphire Reserve to the lower annual fee Chase Sapphire Preferred.

And remember, if you’ve opened ~5+ credit cards from any bank in the past 24 months (except non-Chase business cards), it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for most Chase cards.

In that case, consider cards with a similar sign-up bonus, like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, which offers a 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards point welcome bonus after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve annual travel credit is very easy to use!  The credit posts automatically when you use your credit card for a travel purchase.

You do NOT have to spend $300 in 1 transaction to activate this benefit.  You can use the credit in increments.  But make sure you spend at least $300 in travel before the end of the year, or what’s left of your travel credit will go to waste!

The travel credit renews each calendar year when your December statement closes.

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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