Dear Chase – Please Compete With AMEX and Capital One’s New Bonus Categories. Love, H.

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Dear Chase – Please Compete With AMEX and Capital One’s New Bonus Categories. Love, H.

Harlan VaughnDear Chase – Please Compete With AMEX and Capital One’s New Bonus Categories. Love, H.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.

I’ve always said:   When banks compete, you win.  AMEX wowed us with 4X AMEX Membership Rewards points on dining at US restaurants and up to $25,000 per year at US supermarkets (then 1X) on the new American Express® Gold Card.  Even Capital One offers unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment with the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Chase has been resting on their laurels and bonus categories with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® for years now.  Those cards formed the backbone of many travel cards we see today.  And while they’re still solid, is it time for Chase to compete again? 

I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and have never used it at a gas station or grocery store.  Come on, Chase!  If you want to be my daily go-to card, you need to take a swipe at these hungry newcomers.

Does My Chase Sapphire Card Make Me Look Fat? Apparently Not Enough! Or Is Chase Still Serving It Right?

Time to step off the throne and show us you still got it!

Chase Was the King of Travel Cards – Should They Be Worried?

I love sitting back and watching banks compete for a spot in my wallet.  They best each other with welcome offers, annual fees, and ongoing perks all the time.

But what was once a mighty and powerful card is starting to look a little less shiny these days.  I’m looking at you, Chase Sapphire Reserve (and to some extent, the Chase Sapphire Preferred).

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel and dining, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2X points in those same categories.

Groceries Make up a Large Percentage of Annual Spending for American Households. Make Sure Are You Earning American Airlines Towards Future Award Flights With Your Groceries?
I Can Earn 4X Points on These Items With the AMEX Gold Card, but Only 1X With My Chase Sapphire Reserve

Plenty of cards offer bonus points for travel, so that’s moot.  But AMEX took a big swing at Chase with the refreshed AMEX Gold Card, which earns 4X AMEX Membership Rewards points on dining at US restaurants, and US supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year (then 1X).

Even the Capital One Savor card earns 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.  Is 4X the new benchmark for dining? 

And does Chase need to add another bonus category, like grocery stores or entertainment, to keep its cards competitive? 

What Chase Could Do to Hit Back

There are a few things Chase could do here.  They might:

Wouldn’t It Be Cool to Earn Bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Gas? Or Some Other New Category?

However, Chase said they lost $300 million (!) with the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  So they may not be keen on awarding more points, credits, or benefits for a while.

But Does Chase Even Need to Fight Back?

Would you rather earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points or 4 AMEX Membership Rewards points?  

That’s the ultimate question here.  I’d personally rather have the Chase points.  Because as long as Hyatt keeps its current award chart where award rooms start at 5,000 Hyatt points, I can stay at Hyatt hotels with an instant 1:1 transfer from my Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Plus, Chase has more useful domestic airline travel partners (United Airlines and Southwest).  I’ll take United Airlines’ award chart over Delta’s non-existent one any day.

And I’d much rather have 3 Chase points than 4% cash back with the Capital One Savor card.  That’s because the points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel, which is effectively 4.5% back (1.5 X 3%).  So, no question there.

AMEX Only Award Bonus Points for Dining and Grocery Stores Within the US. Chase Gives You Bonus Points Around the World!

And AMEX shot themselves in the foot by limiting bonus points to US restaurants and US grocery stores.  What?!  These cards are supposed to be for travelers – and that’s exactly what Chase already has.  I don’t want to remember to swap my cards out when I travel.  Instead of paying 2 annual fees, I’d rather have the card that can travel with me anywhere.

If I Can’t Take a Card Overseas to Take Blurry Pics of Wine Glasses in the Faroe Islands, Is It Even Worth It?

So I’m not entirely sure Chase has to respond to AMEX or Capital One (and is Citi even in this fight any more?).

If anything, awarding extra points for dining, or adding a new bonus category would be throwing us a bone.

But – and banks know this term well – being “top of wallet” is what every card strives to be.  I still use other cards for gas, grocery shopping, and entertainment purchases.  Not to say my Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t get a heavy workout, because travel and dining tend to the be bulk of my spending.  While it’s always in my wallet, it’s not the card I reach for every time.

And that should be reason enough for Chase to step up their game.

Bottom Line

Chase laid the groundwork for a successful travel card with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred.  And while other banks, like AMEX with the AMEX Gold Card and Capital One with their Capital One Savor card, tried to close the gap, Chase is still sitting pretty with extremely solid card products.

Chase simply offers the most valuable rewards.  And you can earn bonus points worldwide, instead of dealing with AMEX’s short-sighted US-only restriction.  And earning points for award travel beats cash back because travel is a more valuable reward for lots of folks – myself included.

Still, I’d like to see Chase close the gap with other cards.  Whether they need to, or if they can even afford it, is an entirely different story.

What do you think?

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Gosh, I just don’t agree. You have to have the Amex platinum to get a 35% discount on points for only one airline but the CSR allows you to receive 1/3 off all points on everything! Which makes the value of that spend worth so much more no matter how I look at it.

Author

That’s a great way to look at it – thank you for sharing your viewpoint, Nina!

Okay, this article got me thinking, what would be a perfect credit card? A credit card that I could use for ALL purchases. A “One Card to Rule them All” credit card. Here is my “perfect” card:

– Pick 1 category to earn 4x points

– Pick 2 categories to earn 3x points

– All other spend, 2x points

If that card existed, I would only have 2 credit cards in my wallet, one of those for business and one for personal. I am basically getting that now with my Amex Gold, Chase Reserve and Amex Blue Biz+, why wouldn’t a credit card company want to capture ALL of my spend?

Author

You may have just designed the perfect credit card. This is amazing. I would use a card like this constantly!

Frankly, I still feel like Amex needs to up its game.

I can see that for a lot of more business-oriented, all of these “travel coverage” don’t mean much. After all, you can expense whatever costs you face. Plus, when you travel a lot, the odds are for you, so a few percents in exchange of these coverages probably don’t make financial sense.

However, for me, they are crucial. First, all my travels come out of my pockets. This means if anything happens, I pays out of pockets, from rebooking flights to clothes to extra hotels to whatnot. Secondly, I fly about 2-5 times/year, usually once internationally (generally speaking Asia). So, 5 vs 3 pts/dollar is like what, $100? $75? Not that much, basically. Finally, maybe I am just risk-adverse, but it seems like too many things may go wrong, and insurances feel reassuring.

Thus, travel coverage saved me real money. In my books, I have not paid Chase a cent for 3 of the last 4 years (let’s see, rebooked ticket to MN in 2015, delayed luggage to India in 2017, cancellation of my East Coast trip this year; each incident got ~200-500 reimbursement).

Amex, for all its talk of “luxury” and whatnot, gives the worst travel coverage of all “travel credit cards.” It’s such a joke: Chase Preferred has better coverages than Amex Platinum!

So, my take is simple: Amex needs to up its game. Hell, even Citi has done that (Premier seems to be a very decent mid-range card! if only they have as many points earning potential…)

Author

Yes, they’ve always been lacking in that department. I’d love to see expanded travel coverage, especially on the $550 annual fee Platinum Card!

Thank you for sharing this!

Been holding out on applying for the CSR in hopes of a better signup bonus. I’d love 75k

Author

I really don’t think that will happen any time soon, TBH. If it does, I’d be very surprised. Chase is pretty sensitive about this card at the moment.

Hello. I’ve used my csp once at shell, when there was a promotion in either August or September to save 35 cents on the next fill up if I linked my fuel rewards account to chase pay and paid for at least 5 gallons of gas through chase pay.

Author

Yes! I remember that, too. Those promotions are nice for extra points here and there, but would love to see permanent bonus categories for that! 😉

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