Why you must apply for chase sapphire today
If you’re like me, you enjoy traveling, but have to budget for everything you do. One of the biggest questions that my readers ask is how I afford to travel so often. 9 times out of 10, I’m using credit card points, airline miles, or hotel points to travel for free.
If you missed my post about creative ways that I earn airline miles every day, check it out here.
One of the more lucrative ways to travel for free is by utilizing travel rewards credit cards. These cards offer enormous sign up bonuses of upwards of 50,000-100,000 miles simply for meeting the spending limit during the first few months. That means that if you are able to reasonably meet the spending limit with your every day spending, you have the opportunity to earn a free flight. Without even altering your everyday behavior!
While there are dozens and dozens of amazing credit cards, and I plan to write about many of them, today I am going to talk about why Chase Sapphire is the best travel rewards card on the market right now. And I’m going to break it all down for you here.
But first… read me:
I am by no means a financial advisor, nor do I claim to be an expert. I only recommend using credit cards to travel hack if you are financially fit, are able to pay your balance in full every month, and are not in credit card debt. These tips and rewards are only worth it if you use your credit card like you would use cash for every day spending. You should absolutely not enroll in a credit card for the frequent flyer miles if you tend to carry over a balance, because the interest you end up paying will greatly outweigh the benefits that any credit card could offer you.
Chase Sapphire reserve benefits:
While there are two cards offered by Chase Sapphire, I am going to outline the benefits of Chase Sapphire Reserve first because 1. There are more benefits, and 2. This is the card that I recommend more.
1. 50,000 mileage bonus
What initially attracted me to Chase Sapphire was this life-changing 50,000 mile bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of enrolling. These points can be used as frequent flyer miles or as cash to book flights, hotels, and rental cars.
The Points Guy values Chase Ultimate Rewards Points at 2.2 cents per mile, which means this mileage bonus can max out at a value of $1,100. If you take the time to do your research, you can really get a lot of value from your points.
2. Flexible Rewards Redemption
Now what exactly can you use those 50,000 miles for? You don’t need to know right away. Chase Sapphire has the most flexible rewards redemption on the market. You can redeem your rewards in one of several ways:
Book flights through the travel portal as cash
When booking through the travel portal as cash, your points are worth 1.5 cents per point. That’s a $750 flight that you can book. This is more than enough to get you a round trip economy ticket to Europe.
Transfer points directly to airline to book as rewards ticket
While this option isn’t always the most economical, sometimes it can be. You just have to do your research. For example, a roundtrip flight from Nashville to Lima will set you back $668, or 44,534 Chase Sapphire miles when booked through the rewards portal.
Meanwhile, when you transfer your points to United Airlines, you can book the ticket for just 40,000 United miles (and $78 in fees), and have 10,000 miles left over to book your hotel.
This may also be the preferred method if you are booking a multi-city ticket, because United does not charge extra miles to add a segment within the same “zone”. If you wanted to add a flight to Quito to this trip, you could without using any more miles.
Redeem as Cash back
While this certainly isn’t the point of a travel rewards card, you can absolutely pay yourself back with cash back with Chase Sapphire Reserve. Some may use this as an opportunity to pay that $78 fee on the United flight example above.
Other redemption opportunities:
You will see on the rewards portal that Chase Sapphire allows you to do things like purchase gift cards and shop on Amazon.com with your points. Frankly, I do not recommend these options. You will get more value for your points when you redeem them for travel.
3. Priority Pass membership
Another huge perk to this card is free membership for Priority Pass. Priority Pass membership gives you access to over 1,000 lounges at airports all over the world. Furthermore, Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you unlimited guests.
Ordinarily, guests are $29 each for Priority Pass members that earn their membership through other credit cards such as American Express Platinum, or simply by purchasing their membership through Priority Pass directly.
Priority Pass Membership is valued at $399 annually, not including guests.
4. $300 in annual travel credit
With a $450 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can look intimidating. This $300 in annual travel credit is applicable to such a wide variety of purchases, and is automatically applied to qualifying travel expenses.
When considering that $300 in travel credit, that sets your annual fee at $150 a year. This fee is easily comparable to other travel rewards cards.
5. Free Global Entry/TSA Pre Check
Do you hate waiting in line for security? Most people do. When you apply for global entry or TSA Pre Check, CSR will pay the fee ($85 for TSA Pre Check, $100 for Global Entry)
You might as well apply for Global Entry, which automatically includes TSA Pre Check. This will significantly shorten your wait time in customs if you choose to leave the country.
6. Travel Insurance
Roadside Assistance: $50 in coverage, 4 times a year for roadside emergencies. This coverage includes towing, jump start, tire change, locksmith, or gas.
Trip Cancellation: If your trip is cut short or cancelled due to severe weather, illness, or injury, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 for your pre-paid travel expenses.
Rental Car Insurance: When you charge the entire rental cost to your card, you qualify for Chase’s rental card insurance. Confidently decline the insurance offered by the rental car company. Up to $75,000 in coverage is offered for theft or damage to the car both locally and abroad.
Baggage Delay: If you or your party’s bags are delayed in arrival by 6 hours or more, you’ll receive $100 per day for up to 5 days. Use that money to buy yourself essentials while you wait for your bags to arrive.
Trip Delay: Hate delayed flights? Why not get reimbursed for the inconvenience? If your trip is delayed by 6 hours or more, you’ll be reimbursed up to $500 per ticket.
Emergency Transportation: If you or a loved one experience an illness or injury that requires an emergency evacuation, you can be reimbursed for up to $100,000 in medical and travel expenses.
Medical and Dental Expenses: If you’re 100 miles away from home or more, you can be reimbursed $2,500 for medical and dental expenses. This is applicable if either you or an immediate family member becomes sick or injured.
Travel Accident Insurance: Up to $1,000,000 in accidental death or dismemberment coverage when you book your flight, cruise, bus, or train with your card.
7. Concierge Service Worldwide
Get expert travel advice, access to exclusive reservations, and more with Chase’s 24/7 concierge service. Never worry about that feeling of panic when you can’t find somewhere to feed your family while traveling again.
The difference between Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred:
While Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a great card, it really is like Chase Sapphire Reserve’s little brother. Here is the main breakdown of the rewards available from the two:
Chase Sapphire Reserve:
- 50,000 point sign up bonus
- 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining
- 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- Points worth 50% more when redeemed through Chase Portal
- Priority Pass Membership
- $300 annual travel credit
- Travel insurance (outlined above)
- Concierge service
- $450 annual fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred:
- 50,000 point sign up bonus
- 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining
- 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- Points worth 25% more when redeemed through Chase Portal
- $95 annual fee, waived first year
As you can see, Chase Sapphire Reserve offers FAR more benefits than Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is to be expected with a higher annual fee. While that $450 annual fee is intimidating, when you break down the rewards, take a look at what it really comes out to:
$450 – $300 (Annual Travel Credit) – $100 (Global Entry Reimbursement) – $399 (Priority Pass Membership)= -$349 annually
That means if you use the benefits offered, you could actually save money. And that isn’t counting the thousands of points that you’ll be accumulating.
Now, if you don’t travel that often, the CSR may not be worth the annual fee. In this case, I recommend getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It is still a great card and has a more affordable annual fee. Plus, you’ll still get that 50,000 points bonus and can enjoy your first year without an annual fee.
Do you have one of the Chase Sapphire cards? Is the Reserve worth the extra annual fee to you? Let me know your thoughts below.