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If you’re wondering how to make all of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points more valuable and how to have access to tons of money-saving benefits and perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the answer to your question.
Currently, it has a 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points welcome bonus, which you can earn after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Some people are scared off by the card’s $450 annual fee. But you might be surprised to hear that the yearly benefits are easily worth much more than that. You even get a $300 travel credit every cardmember year that applies to a wide range of purchases (more on this later).
Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits & Perks
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are my favorite type of flexible rewards for a couple of reasons. First, they are easy to earn because there are so many cards you can use to collect them, like:
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
- Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
- Chase Freedom®
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
With each of the above cards, you can redeem your points for 1 cent each for things like statement credits or gift cards, or up to 1.25 cents each toward travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal (if you have one of the annual fee cards).
What makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve the king of Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning cards is that with it, your points are worth 1.5 cents each when you use them to pay for travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal.
That means you can earn points with any of the cards listed above and then pool them into your Chase Sapphire Reserve card account, and they instantly become more valuable. It’s that simple!
Plus with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you have the ability to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Chase’s partner airlines and hotels (the Ink Business Preferred and Chase Sapphire Preferred also have this ability). This is an incredibly valuable perk because you can transfer your Chase points to the following airlines and hotels:
- Aer Lingus
- British Airways
- Flying Blue (Air France & KLM)
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
But those aren’t the only airlines you can travel on with Chase Ultimate Rewards points because you can use one airlines’ miles to book award flights with their partner airlines. For example, you can use British Airways Avios points to book American Airlines award seats. And Flying Blue miles can be used to book Delta awards.
If you’ve got questions about any of this, these guides are helpful:
- How to Book Travel With the Chase Travel Portal
- How to Pool Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- Complete Guide to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
1. Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards Bonus Points on Dining and Travel
If you want to amass Chase Ultimate Rewards points as quickly as possible, spending with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best way to accomplish that goal (other than earning a big intro bonus by opening a new card).
With it, you’ll earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on every qualifying travel and dining purchase.
And this is a great card to use while your traveling because not only does it not have any foreign transaction fees, but the 3X bonus for dining and travel applies to worldwide purchases. This isn’t the case with other travel rewards credit cards.
2. Yearly $300 Travel Credit
I know that the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $450 annual fee looks scary up front, but it’s not as daunting as it seems because the card has one of the best travel credit perks of any premium credit card.
Every cardmember year you’ll get the first $300 spent on travel automatically reimbursed as a statement credit. So you can look at it as prepaying $300 in purchases you were going to make anyway.
What qualifies for the travel credit? Lots of stuff, including:
- Rental cars
There are two things to note about the travel credit. The first is that while you normally earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases, the $300 in travel that is reimbursed as part of the credit won’t earn any points. So you’re sacrificing 900 Chase Ultimate Rewards points in exchange for $300. I’ll take that trade any day of the week.
Also, some charges that may seem to be travel related might not qualify for the travel credit. This is the case with some vacation rentals because they might code as a real estate transaction instead of travel. Lots of people report that Airbnb stays do count as travel, but sometimes rentals through VBRO or HomeAway don’t end up coding that way.
Most people I know spend much more than $300 combined in qualifying travel categories. So after the travel credit, you only need to get $150 a year in value from the Chase Sapphire Reserve to make it worth keeping. And as you’ll see, that’s not hard to do.
3. TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Credit
Do you know what can really mess up a trip? Getting stuck in the airport security line and then missing your flight. So instead, you end up compensating by showing up way too early for every flight, then you’re stuck hanging out in the crowded airport longer than necessary. It’s a lose-lose situation.
The answer is TSAPreCheck or Global Entry (which comes with TSA PreCheck). Once you’re approved for it you can use an expedited security line (if your airport has one) when you’re flying with any of 65 eligible airlines. Plus you won’t have to remove your shoes, belt or laptop. It makes airport security a breeze.
It even saved Joseph from missing his flight and having to purchase a nearly $600 replacement flight. You can’t beat that!
Normally TSA PreCheck costs $85 and Global Entry costs $100. Both are valid for 5 years. But if you pay either of those fees with your Chase Sapphire Reserve you’ll get the fee reimbursed up to $100. So it ends up being free.
And you can use this perk once every 4 years. So every time you need to renew your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry it will be free as long as you keep your Sapphire Reserve card.
4. Airport Lounge Access
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you won’t need to dream of whiling away the hours of an unreasonably long connecting flight in a comfortable airport lounge with fast WiFi and complimentary food because it will be a reality for you.
The card comes with a Priority Pass membership that is far more valuable than even the most expensive Priority Pass membership you can purchase – I’ll explain.
The best Priority Pass membership you can buy costs $429 per year and with it, you get free unlimited access to the 1,000+ lounges in the network. But you’ll need to pay $32 for each guest you want to bring along.
But with the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s Priority Pass membership you get the same unlimited lounge access for yourself and 2 guests. And if you need to bring a 3rd person along it’s only $27 extra. If you travel with a partner and child that’s an easy $64 in savings per visit over purchasing a membership
One of the hidden benefits of Priority Pass membership is that there are a growing number of airport restaurants that will accept your Priority Pass membership. Right now there are ~30 in the US alone. The rules vary slightly depending on the location, but in general, you’ll just need a same-day boarding pass and proof of your Priority Pass membership and you’ll get $28 to $32 dollars off your bill per person for up to 2 people. That’s an easy $56 to $64 free meal and afterward, you’ll still have the option to relax in an airport lounge.
5. Best Trip Delay Insurance
Trip Delay insurance is one of those perks that’s easy to overlook until you need it. Just last year alone I was reimbursed over $500 from 2 separate Trip Delay insurance claims with my Ink Business Preferred and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards.
The Trip Delay insurance for both of these cards covers expenses you incur as the result of an eligible trip delay, including:
- Ground transportation (rental, taxi, etc.)
- Incidentals (toiletries, clothing, medications, etc.)
The coverage you get with those cards only applies to delays that are 12+ hours long or require an overnight stay and will cover you for up to $500 per ticket. What you get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is much more useful.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s Trip Delay coverage will reimburse you for the same $500 per ticket, but it covers delays of 6+ hours or ones that require an overnight stay. That’s a big difference.
It also comes with lots of other useful insurances and coverages, like:
- Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance
- Delayed Baggage
- Lost Luggage
- Emergency Evacuation & Transportation
- Emergency Medical and Dental Coverage
Some of those coverages could be so valuable that just using them once in a lifetime could pay for the card many times over.
6. Primary Rental Car Insurance
The rental car insurance that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is primary coverage. That means you can decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver and it will still cover you for theft or damages.
That’s a very real costs savings that could easily be $15+ per day.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has all the bells and whistles you could want from a premium travel credit card. And while it does have a $450 annual fee, it’s surprisingly easy to get many times that in value each year you have the card.
The annual travel credit alone will reimburse for the first $300 in eligible travel purchases you make each cardmember year. And other perks like the generous Priority Pass Membership and TSA Precheck/Global Entry free credit are worth more than $150 combined to most people.
But maybe the biggest reason to get the Sapphire Reserve card is the fact that it can make all of your other Chase Ultimate Rewards points more valuable. With the card, you can use your Ultimate Rewards points to book travel through the Chase Travel Portal at a rate of 1.5 cents each, which is up to 50% more than other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards.
You can apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card here.
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