Chase Sapphire Reserve: 50k Ultimate Rewards + Tons of Benefits

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months.

Plus it offers up to $700 in statement credits in the first year of cardmembership.

There’s a $300 per calendar year to offset your first $300 in “travel” purchases. This broad category includes airfare, flight award taxes and fees, airline fees, hotels, Airbnb, car rentals, cruises, tolls/E-Z Pass, parking, Uber/Lyft, and taxis.

Everyone reading this blog must rack up well over $300 in such charges per year, so that’s basically free money, and since the credit resets after your December statement, you can get two $300 credits before your second annual fee is due. That’s $600 in statement credits in the first 12 months you have the card.

And there’s a $100 Global Entry credit.

The card offers valuable, transferable Ultimate Rewards; 3x points on travel and dining; and airport lounge access at over 900 lounges worldwide.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Statement Credits: First $300 in travel purchases each calendar year are offset; $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck Credit
  • Category Bonuses: 3x on travel and restaurants
  • Value of Ultimate Rewards: Worth 1.5 cents toward the purchase of any airfare or may other travel purchase OR can be transferred to seven airlines and four hotels for higher value
  • Lounge Access: Priority Pass Select Membership means free access to 900+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Global Acceptance: Visa, chip technology, and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Eligibility: Chase 5/24 Rule

Sign Up Bonus

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Ultimate Rewards have two primary uses.

  1. Use them like cash to purchase airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises with no blackouts.
  2. Transfer them to miles with six airlines or four hotels. Then they are whatever miles or points you chose, subject to those rules.

If you use these like cash toward airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises, you will get 1.5 cents each of value, making the sign up bonus worth $7500 toward travel without the hassle of searching for award space. When you redeem Ultimate Rewards like cash toward any flight, the operating airline sees you as a cash-paying passenger, so you earn miles for your flights.

As good as that sounds, don’t use Ultimate Rewards like this.

Instead of redeeming the points like cash, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards to one of the 11 airline and hotel partners.

The airline partners are awesome because of their versatility. The partners include at least one member of each alliance plus Virgin Atlantic and Southwest. And they include at four programs with region-based miles, one with distance-based miles, and one with airline pointsScreen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.20.44 AM

United miles are awesome for economy and Business Class awards with no fuel surcharges and great Saver award availability. Korean miles are awesome for the best First Class award space in the world or to fly Delta to Hawaii. Singapore miles are awesome to fly a double bed in the sky or to get to Hawaii or South America.

The most valuable hotel partner is Hyatt, but you’ll generally get more value transferring to airlines.

Overall, I value Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents each because of the transfer partners, so a 50,000 point bonus is worth $1,000 to me.

Statement Credits

Every calendar year, you get a $300 travel credit to offset your first $300 in purchases like:

Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages

This is an automatic credit that you don’t need to register for. Even better, it resets in December.

A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to $300 in statement credits annually (“annually” means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and each 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date).

That means that if you got the card now, you’d have all of 2017 to get the first $300 in credit, and about a month to get another $300 in credit before your next annual fee in 2018. That’s $600 in refunded travel purchases.

In addition, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are entitled to a $100 statement credit when they pay the $100 Global Entry enrollment fee with their cards.

Global Entry is a United States Customs and Border Patrol program designed to let trusted travelers skip the immigrations and customs queues when arriving in the United States. Instead of spending time in line and talking to an agent, you tap a few buttons at a kiosk and get to the curb in a few minutes.

Global Entry also lets you use TSA Precheck lines in the US, even on domestic itineraries.

I would pay the $100 in a heartbeat for Global Entry even if I only traveled abroad once a year. When you can get it for free, it’s a no-brainer.

How and Why I Got Global Entry

Global Entry is good for five years, and you can get this credit once every four years.

Lounge Access

Chase Sapphire Reserve holders get a free Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is the world’s largest independent airport lounge access program. Sapphire Reserve card holders get free Priority Pass Select membership, which entitles them to free access to 900+ lounges worldwide.

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-4-40-20-pm

I downloaded the Priority Pass app on my phone, so I can search for participating lounges by airport while I travel. I seem to find one or more options at most international airports and tons of domestic airports.

Category Bonuses

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3x Ultimate Rewards on travel and restaurants. Those are broad categories that include flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, tolls, parking, Uber, taxis, restaurants, bars, fast food, and night clubs.

I’m salivating at the prospect of 3 United/Korean/BA/Singapore miles per dollar in these categories.

Fees

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has no foreign transaction fees. It also has chip technology for global acceptance, so it’s a great card for overseas travel.

The card has an annual fee of $450, and the first one is due on your first statement. If that is offputting, you totally missed the part about the $700 in statement credits you can get during your first 12 months, and the bonus points worth $2,000 to me.

Eligibility to Be Approved

If you have opened five or more new credit cards in the last 24 months, you will be denied for Chase cards, including the Sapphire Reserve. This is the so-called Chase 5/24 rule. Remember that most business cards don’t count towards your 5/24 limit.

Bottom Line

I think the Chase Sapphire Reserve one of top credit cards on the market. The bonus points are worth $1,000 to me, the first year statement credits are worth $700 to me, and the lounge access and 3x category bonus are incredible. All of that swamps the $450 annual fee in my opinion.

If you aren’t limited by Chase’s 5/24 rule, you should get this card.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. wow sounds great! Thanks for the posting.
    Does the priory pass allow the cardholder to bring his spouse into the lounges?
    And if I just recently paid the Global Entry fee a month ago, can I apply to have it refunded even though I was not a card holder at the time?

  2. That 5/24 rule is certainly a killer. I’d need to wait at least 16 months without applying for ANY cards before I’d be eligible for this one, and who knows what the offer will be by then. It’s a great card, but unless and until Chase changes its rules, it looks unobtainable for me.

    And I’m not willing to wait – in that amount of time, I expect to apply for other cards whose combined value will easily outstrip this one. I know they want to block churners and I sort of am one, but I have three Chase cards I’ve kept for years paying the annual fee, so I would think they would see me as a prospective good customer who can be sold on good value for this one, not just an automatic grab the benefits and run guy.

    • If the Reserve is a card you’re seriously interested in, go into your nearest Chase branch. Lots of data points rolling in of people well over 5/24 with existing Chase relationships (like you, as you said you have three cards) asking bank reps in-branch if they have pre-approval, and then receiving the full offer after completing the app at the bank. Publishing a post about this shortly.

      • For whatever reason Chase has no branches in the Boston area. Closest one is 2.5 hrs away so I applied online and got pending. Well over 5/24, so it looks grim.

        I’m guessing either I see about upgrading my CSP for no bonus, or I start ramping up my Ink+ usage to make up the difference

  3. Is it possible to transfer these rewards points to BA Avios (as it states in the post), then transfer those Avios to American Airlines miles? I have an AA balance from bonuses already, so it would be great to pad that for a single big trip. Thanks!

  4. Got approved for this card on Aug. 27. I have paid the $450. But, it has been 12 calendar days and 9 business days and still no credit card from Chase.

    Is anyone else having a problem getting their card to them?

    I have to pay for a cruise on Friday and this card was the one for it to go on for the trip insurance part and also to get the $300 credit.

    • I applied, was accepted on the spot online, and got my card delivered by courier (not int he mail!) in about a week. They ran out of the metal cards and I got sent a plastic one. They even forgot to include any info about needing to activate the card prior to use — when I called, they said yes I had to activate, and that due to great demand and trying to get cards out fast enough they did not have time to include that info!!! So you are probably the victim of an overly successful card launch. I expect it will come very soon.

  5. Update: The card was in my wife’s name. For some reason Chase had our old address in the computer under my wife’s name. Chase gave me th tracking number. A friend goes by, knocks on door, looks on porch, but no answer or nothing. I call the local police and they go by and knock on the door and a lady then answers and he asks for the UPS envelope, and she then produces it.

  6. I’m not one to churn credit cards, I tend to pick and choose carefully. I have to agree, this is one of the best travel-related credit cards I’ve ever seen. The 100K points bonus after just $4K in spend is reason alone, but the $300 travel credit [which can be gamed by calendar year] is also a big incentive. In fact my very first purchase was for $500 of flights, and the $300 was immediately credited. Now I just wait until the January billing period and repeat. The Chase customer service is also excellent: they pick up quickly, no phone tree, pleasant and knowledgeable reps. Thanks Scott for the valuable info.

  7. Do you think it’s too late to get this card this year? What’s an easy way to use up the $300 travel credit, e.g. like through the AmEx credit by making purchases through the United app?

    • Don’t get it this month. If you get it now, your first statement closes in 2017, so you don’t get a 2016 credit. Get it starting next month when you’ll have 11 months for first $300 and one month for second $300 before second annual fee.

  8. This statement is not true I don’t believe, “That means that if you got the card now, you’d have about four months to get the first $300 in credit, and about eight months to get another $300 in credit before your next annual fee. That’s $600 in refunded travel purchases.” One would have to use the second $300 credit in the first 10 days of 2018, wouldn’t they?

  9. “United miles are awesome for economy and Business Class awards with no fuel surcharges and great Saver award availability.”

    Even for a credit-card shill, that’s an incredibly delusional assertion.

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