Chase Sapphire Reserve annual travel credit — now even easier to use

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My Chase Sapphire Reserve card definitely gets the most use among any of the travel credit cards in my wallet. I quickly accumulate points because the card offers 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for travel & dining purchases.

The card is perhaps the best travel credit card in existence. Last year, using the Chase Sapphire Reserve for everyday purchases helped me to earn more than 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth at least $1,200 in travel). I’ll likely use these points to get at least $3,000 worth of luxurious hotel stays or first class flights.

One of my favorite Chase Sapphire Reserve perks is the card’s $300 annual credit for travel purchases. This credit is so straightforward. When you use your card for any travel purchase (like Airbnb, airfare, hotels, Lyft, Uber, and many others), 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 cardmember year with your card.

And due to COVID-19, Chase has recognized that travel has nearly stopped altogether. They’re making the card’s $300 travel credit useful for more than just travel in 2020! I’ll tell you about it.

I made six separate travel purchaes over seven days, which knocked out the entire $300 travel credit for the year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve up to $300 annual travel credit expanded

That’s right, you can now use your $300 annual credit for more than just travel. From June 1, 2020, through the end of the year, this credit will also reimburse you for purchases at gas stations and grocery stores. So even if you don’t step foot in a hotel or on a plane until next year, you’ll have no problem using your Chase credit.

I think the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the #1 premium travel credit card. When you apply for the card, you earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Our favorite way to use Chase points is to transfer them directly to Chase transfer partners, which include Hyatt, Marriott, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, and United Airlines. Based on our estimation of Chase points value, you should have no problem getting an average of 2 cents per point when transferring.

However, you can also redeem your points for travel through the Chase Travel Portal at a rate of 1.5 cents each.  And from May 31 to September 30, 2020, you can use the new Pay Yourself Back feature to give yourself a statement credit to offset purchases at dining establishments, grocery stores and home improvement stores at a rate of 1.5 cents each.

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders also get:

The card normally has a $550 annual fee. However, you’ll only pay $450 in 2020:

  • If you happen to be renewing your annual fee by July 1, 2020, Chase will give you a $100 statement credit to help reduce the cost due to the coronavirus
  • Chase will only charge a $450 annual fee to anyone renewing their card between July 2 and December 31, 2020

To me, this credit makes paying this card’s annual fee a no-brainer. This year I’m effectively paying $150 ($450 annual fee – $300 travel credit). And the card gets me access to 3x bonus categories, along with amazing trip protection benefits — not to mention airport lounge access at 1,300+ lounges around the world.

If you shy away from premium credit cards with high annual fees, you might consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card instead, which we deem as hands-down the best credit card for beginners.

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Featured photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

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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8 months ago

Does a purchase of flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal also count toward the $300 travel credit?

1 year ago

Hi, I just got approved and haven’t actually received the physical card yet. I liked your article but I was hoping you would list what you used the card on that gave you the $300 credit.

For example what are the smaller charges I see on the list above that qualified. I saw one thing that said “gas” / gas stations” qualifies as travel but I have not seen that again.

I was searching for maybe unknown or unusual things that qualify for the travel credit that are not on the site list. A lot of sites, including this one say “many other things” qualify, but I can’t find a list of those many other things… thank you for anything you can tell me.

1 year ago

So pay an annual fee and get $300 back. How is that a big deal?
Instead save the money and invest.

Reply to  Mike
1 year ago

Hi Mike — having this card allows me to invest a lot more than I could without it. The 80,000 points I earned last year on purchases helped to cover travel expenses, including some last-minute unplanned trips. Not having to pay for travel = more money for other expenses or investment opportunities.

Marilyn B
1 year ago

Just made final payment on our 18 day cruise cruise – got the $300 travel credit, saving on travel insurance, and will earn over 33000 UR points. Card has saved us a boatload (pun intended) and earned us a lot of points in just over 2 years.

Reply to  Marilyn B
1 year ago

An 18 day cruise sounds awesome! Glad to hear you’re getting a lot of value from your Sapphire Reserve!

1 year ago

and don’t forget the value of the Travel insurance benefit. I recently broke my arm- was unable to travel . I was reimbursed $500 of my non refundable hotel package.

Reply to  Tina
1 year ago

Oh wow — sorry to hear about your arm, but good to see the card benefit came in handy. Hope you’re feeling better!

1 year ago

I’m also on the calendar year cycle, and my 2019 credits started appearing in December, on travel charges that will show on my January statement.

Reply to  swag
1 year ago

Nice! Yes, even on a cardmember year, the travel credit perk is still a great deal.

Enrico Caruso
1 year ago

I’ve been interested in this card for a while now, but I already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card (10+ years) and therefore don’t qualify for the 50,000 point sign-up bonus. Too bad, because if you combine the lounge access and travel credit with the free bag and priority boarding on the Citi AAdvantage MC, and you’ve got pretty much the ideal setup!
1 year ago

Sounds great!