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Update: My Sapphire Reserve came in the mail today and it’s a great looking card with even better benefits, have you received yours yet?
Originally posted on 08/22:
For a limited time only, Chase is offering an unprecedented 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points for spending $4K on the brand new Sapphire Reserve card within 3 months. You can use those points for $1,500 in travel or you can transfer them into airline miles or hotel points.
Note that if you have opened up 5 or more cards in the past 2 years it can be difficult to get approved for most cards from Chase unless you have a banking relationship like Chase Private Client. If you have opened additional user cards in the past 2 years you can request from the bank or credit bureaus to have those removed from your credit report so that it doesn’t negatively impact your ability to get approved for a new credit card.
The card has a $450 annual fee which is not waived for the first year. The effective annual fee though is just a third of that thanks to the travel credit.
The Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 automatic travel credit to offset the annual fee. The first $300 of any travel charged to your card each calendar year will be refunded. That includes any charges for airfare, car rentals, hotels, Airbnb, campgrounds, cruises, or transportation which includes trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking.
As the credit is per calendar year that means you’ll get $600 of travel refunds in your first cardmembership year with a $300 credit in 2016 and a $300 credit in 2017. That’s far more generous than other travel refunds that only officially refund things like airline change and baggage fees.
Combined with the signup bonus that means you can get $2,100 in travel.
The annual travel credit effectively lowers the annual fee of the card to $150 per year. That’s only $55 per year more than Sapphire Preferred and it comes with a lot of valuable benefits that make the card a keeper:
Sapphire Reserve 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)
-Hotels, Airbnb, and campgrounds.
-Restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, and cafes.
-Transportation including trains, buses, subways, Uber, Lyft, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, E-ZPass, and parking.
That’s 50% more points than the Sapphire Preferred offers in these categories.
There are no foreign transaction fees.
You’ll be able to access over 900 clubs worldwide with Priority Pass and you can bring unlimited guests with you into the lounge for free! That includes lounges with kosher food and wine in Newark and Tel Aviv. You can call Chase to enroll in Priority Pass or you can enroll online here.
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.
Additional cardholders cost $75/year and include a Priority Pass membership with free guesting privileges as well.
Increased cash back or miles:
The Sapphire Reserve 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 with miles when hunting for last minute tickets or for premium class tickets, but for regular coach tickets this will be hard to beat.
The ability to choose between 1.5 cents per dollar or mileage transfers make Sapphire Reserve an incredibly versatile credit card.
The 1.5 cents per dollar redemption option also means the travel and dining categories on this card earn at least 4.5% per dollar.
The Chase 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%.
Chase 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.
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.
Sapphire Reserve comes with primary rental car CDW insurance in every country in the world. Most other cards only have secondary coverage when you rent a car in your home country. This means that if you damage your rental vehicle you must file the claim with your own personal insurance policy first, and only if they won’t cover the damage will the credit card cover the damage. Even additional cardholders get primary coverage when they rent.
Most credit cards also exclude countries like Israel from coverage, however all Chase cards cover you worldwide, including in Israel. And they will give you a letter of coverage stating that you are covered in Israel so that you don’t have to argue at the rental car counter that your Chase Visa does give CDW coverage.
Plus you get triple points on car rentals, meaning there is no better card out there for car rentals!
-Trip cancellation insurance is free.
Trip cancellation reimburses up to $10,000 per person, up to $20,000 per trip, and up to $40,000 per year if you need to cancel for injury, death, or sickness experienced by you, a traveling companion, or an immediate family member of you or your traveling companion. Other covered reasons include severe weather, military orders, terrorism, jury duty, home dwelling becoming inhabitable, quarantine, or financial insolvency of the travel agency or operator of your trip.
Other card benefits include:
-Price protection. Find a lower price in a store or online on a non-auction site within 90 days and get back up to $500/item and $2,500/year.
-Return protection. Return an item to a store that won’t take back an item for up to 90 days ($500/item, $1,000/year)
-Purchase protection: 120 days of protection in case of damage or theft on items you buy ($10,000/item, $50K/year)
-Warranty protection: An extra year of warranty coverage on purchases ($10K/item, $50K/account)
-Lost Luggage Protection: If your checked or carry-on bags are lost you can be reimbursed by up to $3,000 per person.
-Trip Delay Protection: If you are delayed that either requires an overnight stay or is more than 6 hours you can be reimbursed for up to $500 in expenses per person.
-Baggage Delay Protection: If your bags are delayed by more than 6 hours you can be reimbursed for up to $100 in expenses per person per day, for up to $500 per person.
-Travel Accident Insurance: Coverage if you are injured or killed on a trip.
-Roadside Assistance: Coverage for up to 4 incidents per year.
-Visa Infinite Concierge is included free of charge.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns Ultimate Rewards points and has the ability to transfer points into miles. It also gives you the ability to transfer points from fantastic no annual fee cards like Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Cash into miles as well, as those cards can’t transfer points directly into miles without having the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Plus card.
You can also transfer points at an equal ratio to your own or to one authorized user’s airline and hotel programs:
-United (Star Alliance)
-Singapore (Star Alliance)
-British Airways (OneWorld)
-Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam)
Chase Ultimate Rewards offer instant and fee-free transfers to top-notch mileage and points programs at a 1:1 ratio.
You can transfer points to a household member’s Chase card or to an authorized user’s airline/hotel programs.
You can also transfer points to Chase business Ink cards like Ink Plus and Ink Cash where you can transfer from there to other business owner’s cards and/or programs.
Transfer partners include:
–United (Star Alliance) is an excellent currency. They never charge fuel surcharges, have very flexible routing rules, they allow one-way awards for half the mileage, they have short-haul awards for 10,000 miles, they often run discounted award promotions, they allow for a stopover and an open-jaw so that you can really maximize a single award ticket into several free trips, and they have dozens of partners to fly on, most of which can be booked on their website.
–British Airways (OneWorld) is awesome for short-haul awards, though partner American has been stingy with award space of late. Awards start from just 4.5K miles. Flights to Israel on Air Berlin are just 60,000 miles round-trip with no fuel surcharges. They allow one-way awards for half the mileage. There are no close-in or expedite fees. You can cancel an award for as little as $5.60. Infants are only charged 10% of the miles on international trips instead of 10% of the full fare like US carriers charge. Plus they don’t collect fuel surcharges on American within the western hemisphere, on Qantas from or within Australia, on Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Alaska, or LAN and you can transfer points to Iberia to limit fuel surcharges there as well.
You can read more in this post on everything you need to know about BA Avios. And you can see 110 places you can go to nonstop from NYC with Avios.
–Korean (Skyteam) offers unbeatable first class availability (A380 First Class Trip Report here) and they also have true bargains on partner travel, just 30,000 miles to fly round-trip on Hawaiian or Alaska to Hawaii in coach or 60,000 miles in first. And it’s just 20,000 miles to fly to Alaska in coach or 40,000 miles in first. You can even get a free stopover on the way to or in Alaska! If you can find Delta saver availability you can fly to Hawaii round-trip for just 25,000 miles in coach or 45,000 miles in business.
–Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam) offers promo awards from rotating North American cities to Europe, Israel, and Russia from just 12,500 miles each way. Regular awards to Israel are just 25K miles each way, though some fuel surcharges apply on most airlines except for Delta.
–Singapore (Star Alliance) offers private walled-in first class suites that can only be booked with their miles. A suite one-way from JFK to Europe is 57,375 miles. Travel to the US48, Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, and Israel can all be had on the cheap. There are no close-in booking fees and changes and cancellations are very cheap. Fuel surcharges apply when flying on most airlines besides United. More info here.
–Southwest offers a value of about 1.7 cents per point towards award travel, though that rate can now vary. Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes or flight cancellations. and you can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down.
–Virgin Atlantic has some niche uses with awards on Delta.
–Hyatt is a very powerful hotel currency. They have a cash and points option that offers some excellent values and more importantly those stays earn points, elite stay credits, promo credits, and you can use suite upgrades on cash and point stays as well. It remains far less expensive for high-end hotel stays than any other hotel program.
You can also funnel points through Hyatt to Southwest to qualify for a free Southwest Companion Pass which gives you a free companion every time you pay for or redeem for a free ticket.
-You can also transfer points to Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and IHG.
Generally speaking you’ll want to use the 1.5 cents per point option when redeeming for round-trip coach tickets booked in advance. You’ll generally want to transfer to miles for business class, first class, last minute and one-way coach awards. You’ll be better off with 1.5 cents per points for IHG and Marriott hotels, but Hyatt points can often be worth more than 1.5 cents each, so you’ll want to transfer points to Hyatt in those cases.
Will you be signing up for Sapphire Reserve? Hit the comments!