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Chase will soon be launching the Sapphire Reserve card and it’s shaping up to be a very solid card.
1. It will offer a whopping 100,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 within 3 months.
2. It will have a $450 fee, however it offers a $300 automatic travel credit to offset that. The first $300 of of any travel charged to your card each calendar year will be refunded. That includes charges for airfare, car rentals, hotels, or transportation which includes trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, and parking.
As the credit is per calendar year that means you’ll get $600 of travel refunds in your first cardmembership year. That’s far more generous than other travel refunds that only officially refund things like airline change and baggage fees.
If you travel at all, it effectively lowers the annual fee to $150 per year.
3. It offers 3 points per dollar on:
-Airfare, including tickets bought from travel agents and online agencies.
-Timeshares (just in case you’re a real sucker)
-Restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, and cafes.
-Transportation including trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, and parking.
That’s 50% more points than the Sapphire Preferred offers in these categories, though the value of this will depend on how much much you spend in these categories per year, whether you have a card like the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card that also offers generous travel and dining spend bonuses, and how you value each currency.
4. It allows you to use all your Chase points for 1.5 cents each per dollar towards travel.
Previously it’s always been worth transferring Chase points into real airline miles and hotel points.
But at about 1.5 cents per dollar it can start making sense to consider redeeming points directly for paid travel without transferring them into miles. That’s especially true as those fares, as opposed to traditional mileage tickets, also earn additional miles. You can still do much better when hunting for last minute tickets or for premium class tickets, but for regular coach tickets this will be hard to beat.
This also means the travel and dining categories earn at least 4.5% per dollar.
The Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5 points per dollar everywhere. Having the Sapphire Reserve makes everyday spending on that card worth at least 2.25%.
Freedom and Ink cards also have 5 point category bonuses and those will be worth at least 7.5% if you have the Sapphire Reserve.
5. Priority Pass Select Membership.
You’ll be able to access over 900 clubs worldwide, though it’s not yet known if you’ll be able to bring guests into lounges as well and it’s unknown if the $75 annual fee for additional users will include their own membership.
Unfortunately the lounge selection in the USA isn’t comparable to what the AMEX Platinum offers and it’s too bad that Chase couldn’t leverage some sort of United Club access for Sapphire Reserve cardholders. Of course United would not want this card to sabotage the Chase United Club card, but surely there could have been ways to mitigate that risk by only allowing Sapphire Reserve cardholders access when flying United or by not allowing guest access.
6. Global Entry credit.
Every 4 years you can get a $100 credit for a 5 year Global Entry membership which also includes TSA pre-check. That means you can skip the lines and forms when flying back from abroad and you can leave your shoes on, laptops in their bags, and go through metal detectors when flying from the US.
And of course it comes with the other benefits of the Sapphire Preferred card like no foreign transaction fees, primary rental car insurance, and other travel and purchase protections.
As a Visa Infinite card, it also comes with some benefits like discounts on car rentals (including Silvercar), though apparently the card won’t have the Visa Infinite benefit of $100 off companion airfare.
For an effective $55 annual premium over the Sapphire Preferred I plan on applying for and keeping the Sapphire Reserve in my wallet. Do you plan on adding it to yours?