We both got the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card almost two years ago and we think it’ll still be the best credit card for 2019. Prior to getting Chase Sapphire Reserve, Jared had only one card. In fact, the same one since 1998. I never had a credit card. The sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card was unreal at the time—100,000 bonus points, or effectively $1,000 in cash or $1,500 in travel, along with so many other perks. We couldn’t pass it up. [Note: As of this post, the number of bonus points offered is 50,000, which is still a pretty good deal equal to $500 cash or ~$750 in travel!] We told ourselves we’d cancel the card after the first year to avoid paying another $450 annual fee, but here’s why we haven’t.
Great travel rewards for purchasing airfare, hotels, and rental cars
Cardholders accrue 3 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, and 1 point for all other purchases. The points rack up pretty quickly. Redeeming points for travel through Chase results in great savings, often times a 30% savings compared to purchasing directly through the airline or a travel website like Expedia. Case in point: We bought tickets to visit our family in Texas a couple of months ago. It was going to cost $335 to buy the ticket directly from United. We bought the same ticket for 22,000 points through Chase travel, or effectively $220 (the cash amount you could redeem those points for). That’s $115 saved per ticket.
Access to fancy lounges and food vouchers at airports
Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership, which gives us access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide. Getting to relax in an airport lounge while charging up our phones and sipping a free glass of wine is the best way to travel. It doesn’t give us access to all lounges, but we always get into lounges at bigger airports like Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. And the number of lounges is always expanding. Also, Priority Pass has started to partner up with airport restaurants to offer bill credits when eating there. We recently flew out of the Boston airport, and we were able to get $56 ($28 per person) off of our bill. With the credit, we had an omelette, breakfast sandwich, and 2 mimosas for a whopping $1.75.
Enough savings to more than cancel out the $450 annual fee
The card has a $450 annual fee, which scared us. We’ve never had a card with an annual fee, and we were skeptical the perks could justify the fee. We know credit card companies don’t exist to lose money and benefit consumers. But, we’ve found that the annual fee is easily canceled out by all of the perks. Here’s some quick math to show that: Chase credits us $300 per year for any purchases associated with travel. We easily spend that (probably in the first month of the year), due to our busy travel schedule. That brings the fee down to $150. (Note: the credit card automatically detects travel spending, so you don’t have to manually request credits!) The card also gave us Global Entry and TSA Pre-check, another savings of $100. We’re down to $50. If you simply use the numbers above, $115 savings on the ticket to Texas and $56 credit to the restaurant in the Boston airport, the fee is totally canceled out. We book all of our travel through the card, so we typically end the year in a significant net positive over the annual fee. We use the card for all monthly bills we can, such as our Blue Apron subscription, ensuring we have plenty of points available all year.
Check it out!
We’ve named just a few perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. There’s many more, and you can check them all out on Chase’s website. You can also check out other sites that talk about the benefits of the card. See The Points Guy’s review or NerdWallet’s review. If you’re looking for a new credit card, you should definitely consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve, especially if you like to travel. We don’t get any perks from this post, we just wanted others to benefit from the card’s perks! In our experience, the benefits definitely outweigh the annual fee.
Disclaimer: We should note that we pay our credit card balance off every month. When you don’t pay off your balance every month, that’s when credit card companies make money (lots of it). Paying interest on a balance quickly negates any perks of the card. We recommend always being responsible with your money. Pay off that balance every month!