One of our goals at Sift is to help consumers get the biggest bang for their buck. Surprising to some, which credit card(s) you choose can have a large impact on how far your money goes and how much money you can get back. A lot of that is based on how you use your credit card, from travel and dining out to clothing and groceries. We’ll be taking a look at popular credit cards and which kind of spending they serve best, starting with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
For those looking to get the maximum return on credit card purchases, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card should be at the top of the list. For those who can reap the most rewards from the cards, most notably business travelers, the $550 annual fee proves its value pretty quickly as does its $300 annual travel credit, awesome signing bonus, and more. If you’re a business traveler, it’s probably the only card you’ll want to use. If you travel a lot for pleasure, it might just change the way you travel altogether.
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve
Among the top credit cards for travel rewards, Chase’s Preferred card has been leading the pack for years. While the Chase Preferred card has many of the same benefits for a much lower annual fee ($0 the first year, $95 per year after that), the Chase Reserve raises the dollar value of the points while also raising the points value for what you spend on travel or dining. For example, where you earn 2 points per dollar spent with the Preferred card, you earn 3 with the Reserve. The value of Preferred card points is 1.25 cents, compared to 1.5 cents per point on the Reserve card.
The value of total annual return for the Chase Sapphire Reserve tops out at about 4.5%, giving you access to free flights, free hotel stays, first class airport lounges and lots of VIP perks along the way.
Getting the Most Out of Your Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Rewards Card
To maximize the value of your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you will want to make sure that you are taking advantage of all its benefits.
Book through Chase Ultimate Rewards
To get the most out of your points, you will need to redeem and book your travel arrangements through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The card does offer 1:1 points matching with major airlines and travel partners (United, Southwest, British Air, and Hyatt Hotels), so in a pinch, you do have some freedom when booking.
Redeeming for maximum travel reward value
If you redeem your points for cash value, the value is a dollar for every 100 points. If you redeem for travel (flights, hotels, etc.) and book through Chase Ultimate Rewards, the value is $1.50 per 100 points.
Tip: When you do decide to book, you may want to shop around for deals, as published fares accessed directly through Chase may vary with other offers.
Shop online to earn even more points
If you shop online, this one is a no-brainer. Just access your favorite store through the Chase Rewards Mall and your purchases can potentially earn you up to 25 times more points than if you bought directly through the retailer’s site! Stores include Macy’s, Staples, the Apple Store, Best Buy, and beyond.
50,000 point signing bonus, plus another 5,000 points for additional authorized users
If you spend $4,000 on anything within your first three months of signing, you will receive a 50,000 point bonus, which translates to $750 worth of travel expenses. Just on this alone, you’ve well surpassed your first annual fee.
Tip: If you are adding more authorized users to the account you can add another 5,000 points to that total, boosting your signing bonus to $945.
$300 annual credit towards travel expenses
Every Reserve cardholder receives $300 annually in credits for travel expenses. This balance is applied automatically against your travel expenses.
Travel and dining expenses earn triple points
Travel and dining carry more point value than any other purchases; whatever you spend on flights, restaurants, rental cars, taxis, trains or hotels, is worth triple points.
In the ‘anything else’ category, you will still receive 1 point for every $1. To garner to the best possible value out of the card, you will want to make sure you’re using it for all of your hotel stays, dining, and flights.
Car rental discounts
When booking a rental car through Avis, National, or Silvercar, you are eligible for discounts against the base rental rate. The amount of discount varies from location to location, and blackout dates apply as do various other restrictions.
Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection Benefits (LHRC)
If you are booking accommodation in this worldwide collection of luxury hotels, you can make the most of your membership by taking advantage of food and beverage credits, spa credits, free room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, Wi-Fi and a best rate guarantee.
The rates may be the same as if you booked outside of the program, but the VIP benefits are pretty great. Locations include Hyatt, Hilton, Trump, Wynn, Loews, InterContinental, Fairmont and many independently owned boutique hotels.
Tip: some LHRC rates tend to be higher than other rewards program rates, but the perks add considerable value. You might want to comparison shop to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Airport lounge access
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can enjoy access to more than one thousand airport lounges as well, giving you a place to hang your hat on a layover. This service is provided in partnership with Priority Pass, which is an independent operator of airport lounges in many locations. Enjoy complimentary snacks and refreshments (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), have a nap, clean up, or get some work done in comfort.
Tip: check in advance whether the airport you will be visiting is a Priority Pass partner. The lounges are not airline specific, so it doesn’t matter who you’re flying with.
Some more great reasons to sign up for a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card include:
- Your points never expire
- When you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards, there are no blackout dates. As long as there is a seat on the plane, you can be in it.
- 24/7 customer support, manned by real people who care
- $100 TSA Pre check or Global Entry fees credited back to your account when charged to your card
- No-charge purchase protection, extended warranty, traveler’s health insurance and car rental insurance on purchases made through the card
- Option to receive your points value as cash-back of $1 per 100 points
Bottom Line: Chase Sapphire Reserve Adds Value to Your Travel
If you travel a lot for business or any other reason, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is an attractive choice. If you are put off by the high price of enrollment, whip up a little spreadsheet and weigh the facts: some simple math ought to tell you whether it’s going to be worthwhile or not.
How Can Sift Help?
This is a lot of information about just one credit card – keeping track of all of your benefits can be difficult! That’s why we founded Sift. The app sifts through the often hard to read and complex credit card policies for you – once you’re signed-up, you can just let it do the work and get your hard-earned money back. From 90 days of Price Protection and Return Protection to 120 days of Extended Warranty Protection, Sift will make sure you can reap the most benefits from your Chase Sapphire Reserve card.