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For frequent travelers who want to earn rewards for all of their travel purchases, it typically requires carrying multiple rewards cards – one for hotel stays, one for booking airline travel, and sometimes another card for other types of travel purchases. Since its debut in late 2016, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has garnered a lot of hype around its generous travel and dining rewards and for good reason. Cardholders earn 3X points on travel and dining purchases and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
Chase Travel Category Rewards All Types of Travel Purchases
What sets the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card apart from some of its top competitors, such as the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, is that the 3X points is good on all types of travel purchases, not just airline purchases as with the Gold Amex card. There is no more switching rewards cards to earn maximum points on both airline travel and hotel stays.
Depending on how much you travel and your preferences, there are rewards cards that generate more generous hotel rewards, such as the Citi Prestige card with its fourth night free program; or the 5X points on hotels earned with the Amex Platinum card. However, no other card offers 3X bonus points in both the categories of travel and dining, which seems like the natural combination for frequent travelers.
Just to be clear, Chase defines “travel” purchases as any made in the lodging category that includes hotels, motels, timeshares, Airbnb, and campgrounds; and the transportation category, including airlines, car rentals, trains, buses, taxis, Uber, ferries, tolls, and parking. Purchases made through travel agencies and discount travel sites are also included.
What’s not included as travel purchases are vacation property rentals, in-flight goods and services, sightseeing and tourist activities, and airport purchases. Also excluded is any travel arranged through real estate firms. These purchases are rewarded with 1X points.
A Big Annual Fee That’s Worth the Price
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s hefty $450 annual fee might stop some people in their tracks. However, after realizing cardholders receive an annual $300 travel credit which can be used for just about any travel purchase, the fee nets out to $150 per year.
But there’s much more to the Sapphire Reserve that makes the high annual fee worth the price. Cardholders and their guests also get free access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges – more than 900 around the world. And, for international travelers, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers reimbursement for both the Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application fee – a $185 value that resets every four years.
Between the travel credit, airport lounge access, and the Global Entry and PreCheck reimbursement, Sapphire Reserve cardholders come out ahead on their annual fee. And that doesn’t even include the 50,000-point signup bonus you earn after spending just $4,000 in the first three months. When used towards travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, that is equivalent to $750.
The Perks Keep Coming
Cardholders also enjoy other great perks, such as free and automatic car rental and hotel room upgrades. The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s purchase protection program is also top tier, providing up to $10,000 of reimbursement, replacement, or repair on any purchased item that is stolen, lost, or damaged within 120 days of purchase ($50,000 maximum in one year.)
With the annual fee taken care of, you can focus on enjoying the perks and maximizing your rewards with 3X points on every dining and travel purchase.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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