Travel Perks, Bonus Points And More: What To Know About The Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Travel Perks, Bonus Points And More: What To Know About The Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

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Story highlights The Chase Sapphire Reserve is perfect for those who can use its luxury travel perks

New card holders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first 3 months

The pricey $550 annual fee can be offset with the card’s many statement credits

(CNN) —  

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Our quick take: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great credit card for people who expect to be on the road again in the latter half of 2021 and into 2022. Despite a high annual fee, the card offers luxury travel perks such as airport lounge access and strong travel insurance protections, along with a number of statement credits to help offset its cost.

Pros:

Earn 3 points for every dollar you spend on dining and travel purchases (after the $300 travel credit). Earn 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022). Earn 10 points per dollar on Peloton bike, tread and accessory purchases over $1,800, up to 50,000 points (through March 2022). Points can be redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a rate of 1.5 cents per point. Now through September 30, 2021, points can also be redeemed for purchases at grocery stores, dining establishments and home improvement stores at a rate of 1.5 cents per point. Points can also be transferred to any of Chase’s 13 airline and hotel partners. $300 annual travel credit (gas station and grocery store purchases also count through December 31, 2021). Up to $60 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases through December 31, 2021. Up to $120 in statement credits on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021. Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership to access over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. Complimentary DoorDash DashPash subscription when activated by December 31, 2021. Strong travel and shopping protections. Cons:

$550 annual fee. $75 fee for each authorized user. No introductory rate on purchases or balance transfers. Current sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months after opening the account.

Best for: People with larger than average travel and/or dining expenses who also want travel perks.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the big sibling to the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but it comes with a higher annual fee and more benefits. But with the ability to earn extra points and a ton of statement credits, the Sapphire Reserve could be the better option for you, depending on your spending habits and travel needs.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which is best for you?

The Sapphire Reserve offers 3 points for every dollar you spend on all dining and travel purchases (after the annual $300 travel credit), 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and 10 points per dollar on Peloton bike, tread and accessory purchases over $1,800, up to 50,000 points (also through March 2022).

The card also comes with $300 in annual travel credits, statement credits for purchases at DoorDash and eligible Peloton subscriptions, a complimentary DashPass subscription and a complimentary Lyft Pink membership. You’ll also get a Priority Pass Select membership that will allow you to relax in over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide.

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve is clearly a desirable card with many benefits, it doesn’t come cheap. You’re looking at a $550 annual fee per year. But don’t let the sticker price scare you — we’ll dive into the details to show how the annual fee looks significantly more reasonable if you can take advantage of the card’s many credit opportunities.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is currently offering the highest sign-up bonus we’ve seen on it since the initial launch of the card back in 2016. Right now new card holders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months after you open the account.

Surprisingly, that’s actually 20,000 fewer points than what new card holders can currently earn on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, so if you’re just looking for the highest sign-up bonus available, you might consider the cheaper option. But the benefits you get on the Sapphire Reserve are pretty admirable and could pay off in the long run.

Related: Now with an 80,000-point bonus: Our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s bonus categories can make it easy to rack up points, especially since the “travel” and “dining” categories are very broad. Travel includes not only airfare, hotels and rental cars but also cruises, mass transit, tolls, parking and even ride-shares. Dining goes a step beyond your traditional sit-down restaurants as well and also includes coffee shops, bars, vending machines and most food delivery services.

Once you’ve earned points with the card, there are many ways to use them. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can redeem points for travel through Chase’s own travel portal at a rate of 1.5 cents per point. That means the 60,000 points earned from the sign-up bonus are worth a minimum of $900 toward travel.

Or, by using the card’s “Pay Yourself Back” tool, you can currently redeem points for purchases made at grocery stores, dining establishments (including delivery and takeout) and home improvement stores at the same exact 1.5 cents per point. So if travel is truly not in your horizon right now, you can instead offset your next grocery run or home improvement project with your Chase points.

But if you’re experienced in redeeming points and miles using airline and hotel loyalty programs and want to get the most value out of your points, your best bet is to transfer your points to one of Chase’s 13 airline and hotel partners. Because of this flexibility, frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Chase Ultimate Rewards points as high as 2 cents apiece.

Here’s a complete list of Chase’s 13 travel partners, all of which transfer at a 1-to-1 ratio (meaning for every 1,000 Chase points, you’ll get 1,000 airline or hotel points or miles when you transfer them):

Airlines Hotels Aer Lingus AerClub JetBlue TrueBlue World of Hyatt Air France-KLM Flying Blue Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer IHG Rewards Club British Airways Executive Club Southwest Rapid Rewards Marriott Bonvoy Emirates Skywards United MileagePlus Iberia Plus Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Depending on where you’re looking to travel, you could consider redeeming using either of these options. When utilizing the travel portal, there are no blackout dates or capacity controls on award tickets. You’re booking travel just like you would at an online travel agency such as Expedia and just paying for the flight or hotel with points instead of cash, so the sky’s the limit as far as availability.

But for a very expensive flight or hotel room, you might find that transferring your points to an airline or hotel loyalty program will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

For instance, let’s say you want to stay at a Hyatt hotel that costs $600 a night, but you can also get the room through the chain’s World of Hyatt program for 25,000 Hyatt points. Booking that room through Chase’s travel portal would require a much larger 40,000 points, since you’re only getting 1.5 cents per point when redeeming that way.

So you’re better off transferring your Chase points to Hyatt and then booking the hotel reservation directly with Hyatt, since you’ll save yourself 15,000 points. The key is that the airline or hotel has to be offering award availability on the dates you want in order to be able to book it using transferred points.

Related: How to choose the best Chase credit cards for cash back and travel rewards.

The $300 annual travel credit that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve can be used for anything that falls into the same broad “travel” category. But even if you aren’t traveling right now, Chase is allowing the travel credit to be used for gas and grocery purchases as well through December 31, 2021.

You don’t have to use the entire $300 in one transaction — you can split it up over multiple purchases throughout the year. That makes using the credit quite easy, so you shouldn’t have a problem earning the entire $300 each year. And once you take that $300 into account, it effectively brings your $550 annual fee down to a more palatable $250.

On top of the annual $300 travel credit, there are also two credits available in 2021 only. Sapphire Reserve card holders can earn up to $60 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases, and up to $120 back on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Memberships. If you can take advantage of both of these credits, that’s another $180 back, effectively bringing your annual fee down to just $70 for this year.

Peloton

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with up to $120 in credits toward eligible Peloton purchases in 2021.

And once you start traveling again, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a complimentary annual Priority Pass Select membership. This gives you and two accompanying guests access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the world, so you’ll have a place to get away from the bustle of the terminal whenever you’re on the road.

Some airport restaurants and cafés also participate in Priority Pass — for these establishments, you’ll get a credit to spend on any menu items. Typically the credit amount is $28 per registered guest, but many restaurants cap the credit at one guest per card holder. You can view all of the participating lounges, restaurants, cafés and markets at the Priority Pass website.

Related: 9 of our favorite credit card perks that you won’t want to miss out on.

If you’re thinking about getting back on the road, another benefit of the Sapphire Reserve is up to $100 in credits for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership. You can get this credit every four years, which further offsets the card’s annual fee.

Other Chase Sapphire Reserve card benefits include a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership, which offers unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee, for at least 12 months when you activate it by December 31, 2021. The card also provides a complimentary Lyft Pink membership, good for 15% off the company’s ride-sharing trips.

Aside from all these benefits, the Sapphire Reserve also offers outstanding protection on the purchases you make with it. This includes protection against damage or theft for up to 120 days after you buy an item (up to $10,000 per claim), an additional year on eligible manufacturer warranties of three years or less and the ability to return an item within 90 days of your purchase (up to $500 per item).

Related: Protect your purchases from theft or damage with these credit cards.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll also be covered when you’re traveling. The card includes trip interruption and cancellation insurance, which will cover you if your trip is cut short by sickness, severe weather or other covered situations — up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.

You’ll also be covered by the card’s trip delay reimbursement protection. If your trip is delayed by six hours or more, or requires an overnight stay, you’ll be reimbursed up to $500 per ticket for your out-of-pocket expenses, such as meals and lodging. This is significantly better than the insurance that’s provided with many other travel credit cards, which doesn’t kick in until the 12-hour mark.

Other protection benefits that you hope t

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