The 100,000 bonus points offer for the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card officially expired back in March of 2017. You can still earn 50,000 bonus points with the card when you apply online or in-branch.
Even though the 100k points offer is no longer available, I still believe the card to be worth the $450 annual fee. However, I don’t necessarily feel this to be the case for users that don’t travel often, or those who don’t appreciate the premium travel perks.
*Be sure to check out the current Checking and Savings promotions from Chase Bank also.
Why I Chose The Chase Sapphire ReserveSM
I’ve been looking to jump on a premium travel card for some time. After a long period of debating between the Platinum Card® from American Express and the Citi Prestige® Card, the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card made its introduction at the perfect time and I took the plunge.
For those simply seeking a hefty credit card sign-up bonus, the 50,000 bonus points that you can earn will be worth $750 towards travel booked through Chase. This offer more than makes up for the $450 annual fee, which isn’t waived for the first year.
Now that the bonus offer is down to 50,000 points, this card won’t be such a good choice for those only looking for bonus value. If you’re in this boat, go for one of the other bonus options with lower annual fees that are waived the first year (e.g. the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM or Chase Sapphire Preferred®).
If you are in the market for a premium travel card to hold on to, it’ll be hard to pass this one up. I don’t usually get excited when a new credit card arrives, as it’s always been a financial move towards the bottom line. It’s not the first metal card I’ve had, but this one felt a little more special. It put a smile on my face knowing I now had three premium travel benefits I picked this card for – Priority Pass lounge access, 3X points on travel/dining, and $300 in annual travel credit.
#1: Free Priority Pass Select Membership
You’ll have access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide with the complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. This membership level is equivalent to the “Prestige” membership plan that would cost you $399 if purchased directly on the Priority Pass site ($359 with this discount). As this is a benefit that is important to me, I perceive the savings as a huge rationale for the $450 annual fee.
You’ll have access to all of these 1,000+ lounges at no cost, and your guests will also be covered according to the Priority Pass Select welcome letter I received.
While it is still a nice retreat when traveling domestically, this premium benefit is much needed on those long international travel plans. You’ll find common amenities like showers, refreshments, alcohol, WIFI, and comfortable seating at many lounges.
Lounges can be found at busy domestic airports like LAX, ATL, ORD, JFK and DFW. More importantly, many more lounges can be found at international airports like PEK (Beijing, China), DXB (Dubai), LHR (London), BKK (Bangkok, Thailand), NRT (Narita, Japan), etc.
Go to the Priority Pass website to find a lounge in your intended destination and terminal.
- Once you receive your Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card, you’ll have to activate your free Priority Pass Select membership to take advantage of the benefit.
- Log into your Ultimate Rewards account.
- Click on either the “Use Points” or “Earn Points” menu at the top.
- Click on “Card Benefits”.
- Click to activate your Priority Pass Select membership.
- While some lounges may give you access with just your Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card, your best bet is to carry your Priority Pass member card during your travels. It could take 2-3 weeks after activation to receive your card, so plan accordingly (I received mine in under 2 weeks).
- If you’re traveling before your Priority Pass member card arrives, charge the in-network lounge access to your Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card and you can call in to have it reimbursed.
#2: 3X Points On Travel/Dining
You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel worldwide from airfare and hotels to taxis and trains. The 3 points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants worldwide applies to both fast casual to fine dining. Outside of these categories, you’ll earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
What are these points worth?
While you can redeem your points towards Gift Cards, Cash Back, or Amazon.com “Shop with Points”, you’ll receive 50% more value when you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Taking into account the 50% extra value, your rewards rate will be 4.5% on Travel/Dining and 1.5% on all other purchases. In comparison, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® earns an effective rate (also when redeemed towards travel through Chase) of 2.5% on Travel/Dining and 1.25% elsewhere. Hence, this is my second rationale for the $450 annual fee.
To possibly get even more value from your earned points, you can take advantage of the 1:1 points transfer feature. This is where you can transfer over your Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card for an equivalent amount of points/miles with their transfer partners. Depending on how you use your rewards with these partners, your transferred points could end up being worth more. This is the case with many of the hotel rewards partners. Partners sometimes change, but here’s a current list:
Ultimate Rewards Airline/Hotel 1:1 Point Transfer Partners
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
- United MileagePlus®
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG® Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards®
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®
- World of Hyatt
#3: $300 Annual Travel Credit
Thirdly, the $300 Annual Travel Credit that you’re allotted will cut down on the $450 annual fee substantially. I’ve seen some misunderstanding from readers and websites on this credit thinking it only applies to minor expenses like baggage fees and seat upgrades. Actually, the $300 in credits will be used as reimbursement for travel purchases that includes airfare and hotels charged to your card. The credits also occur throughout the year automatically as your charges are processed (it only took a few days for my first hotel booking with the card to get credited).
This credit will be easily used up for any traveler, much less a frequent traveler that I only recommend this card for. I received my entire $300 in reimbursements within the first month for my trip, where even my Uber rides were credited.
Anyone who makes full use of all the travel benefits of the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card will see why choosing a premium card with a whopping $450 annual fee can actually make sense in some cases.
50,000 Bonus Points To Top It All Off
To earn the 50,000 bonus points, you’ll have to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening to qualify.
Frequent travelers should have no issues meeting the spending requirement for the bonus, but some common methods of doing so can be found at our Minimum Spend For Card Bonuses page.
Earn Up To 50,000 Bonus Points More Each Year
Once you have a Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card active, you can start making referrals to earn up to 50,000 bonus points each year. The referral offer is for 10,000 bonus points for each referral who gets the card.
You can refer via Facebook, Twitter, email or your personalized link. Enter your information on the referral page to make sure you’re qualified to make referrals. Each friend will still receive the offer for 50,000 bonus points after they spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening as well.
What’s The Competition?
The Platinum Card® from American Express
|The Platinum Card® from American Express has a special offer for 75,000 Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. The best options for redeeming these points would be by booking travel through American Express or by redeeming for gift cards. Using these options, the 75,000 bonus will be worth $750. You must go directly to the American Express website to find this offer. Typically, the bonus offer reverts back to a 60,000 or 40,000 points promo, so it's all about timing here.|
The biggest drawback to this card is the $550 annual fee, which puts it in the premium class of credit cards. The card has a market because it offers premium travel benefits, such as 5X points for flights and eligible hotels, access to 1,000+ airport lounges, $200 in Uber credits yearly, and a $200 airline fee credit annually. For frequent travelers, the added benefits make sense in terms of value and added luxury. Full Review
Citi Prestige® Card
|The Citi Prestige® Card is offering 50,000 bonus points after you make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. For the most value out of your points, redeem for flights through Citi, where your bonus will be worth 1.33 cents per point, or $665. This offer tends to revert back to a 40,000 bonus points offer, so check back often directly through the Citi website.|
This is another card that competes in the premium travel category, and the annual fee will signify that at $450. In effect, this card is only a good option for frequent travelers who can take advantage of the premium benefits : 3X points on air travel & hotels, 2X points on dining & entertainment, $250 Air Travel Credit annually, and free access to 1,000+ airport lounges with Priority Pass Select. For those in this niche market, this card will provide high perceived value. Full Review
If you don’t spend enough on Travel/Dining or don’t feel as though the premium travel benefits are worth the annual fee, you may want to consider the alternatives discussed earlier in this article – the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM and the Chase Sapphire PreferredSM.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Chase Sapphire PreferredSM
|The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card currently has an offer for 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Redeeming these bonus points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, which is praised by users, will get you $625 in value towards travel. |
The 50K bonus points are worth $625 because you get 25% more value whenever you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Ongoing rewards with this card include earning 2 points per $1 on Travel and Dining at restaurants. The annual fee is $95, but it is waived for the first year. Full Review
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