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My Favorite Travel Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve

by Suzanne Fluhr on January 11, 2018 · 26 comments

Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Disclosure: Chase Bank has less than  0% interest in having Boomeresque as an affiliate. However, this post contains links that could result in Mr. and Mrs. Excitement acquiring additional “Chase” points which they would use to support their travel habit. Notwithstanding this touch of enlightened self interest, the opinions expressed below are based on my own experience.

I still remember when I applied for my first credit card, definitely not a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It was from the now defunct Strawbridges department store in Philadelphia. I was a newly minted lawyer and needed to purchase a lawyerly winter coat. I was still using the one I had from the frozen tundra of Williams College in the Berkshire Mountains of northwestern Massachusetts. This was fine for law school, but I didn’t think I should show up at court looking like Nanook of the North. As a newly minted, 26 year old “girl” lawyer in 1980, I figured I needed all the gravitas I could muster.

Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Williams College before the first snow of winter.

The coat I had my eye on cost $60.00, a not inconsequential amount when one’s yearly salary was $16,000. I had the money, but I didn’t want to walk around Philadelphia with $60 of cash in my wallet. I filled out the store credit card application and was rejected!! Although I had dutifully paid off a college loan of $500 at $25 per month, the reason for the rejection was that I didn’t have a credit history.

That was then. Now I receive entreaties to apply for credit cards every day—by snail mail, by email, by social media and by cell phone despite supposedly being on the “do not call” list . Now we even receive credit card advice from our 30 year old travel blogger son. We’ve been very happy with his latest suggestion, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

If you don’t do a fair amount of travel every year, you should stop reading here (but you might enjoy reading about how we adopted our dog, Dino ) and how we travel without him.) If you do use a credit card for travel, enjoy the cute photo and then scroll down.

Dog photo

Gratuitous photo of my loves, Dino and Mr. Excitement. (Not necessarily in that order).

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has a hefty annual fee of $450.00 for the primary card holder and $75 for an authorized associate card holder. I admit, my first reaction was — no thanks. But, after getting more into the weeds, I realized the card was perfect for us for the following reasons:

  • If you use the card to spend $4,000 in the first three months (on any type of purchases), 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are credited to your account. 50,000 points are worth $750 for travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel services.
  • Each year, you receive a credit of $300 as reimbursement for travel related expenses.
  • You will be reimbursed for the $100 Global Entry application fee or $85 for the TSA Precheck application fee.
  • You earn 3x as many points as the dollar amount spent on travel or dining expenses. Even something like parking is considered a “travel” expense.
  • Chase points are transferable one to one for various travel loyalty programs. Our son has done this and reports it was seamless.
  • For travel purchased using the card, there is decent travel cancellation and interruption insurance.
  • Coverage for car rental collision damage waiver.
  • You get a Priority Pass membership card which grants you and a guest entry to lounges in over 1,000 airports. (We were able to use this recently to wait for our flight in comfort with complimentary food, beverages and wifi in Mexico City’s international airport).
  • No conversion or transaction fees for purchases in international currencies.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services.
  • Extended Warranty coverage for purchases.
  • Purchase Protection in cases where services or products are not received or are deficient.

So, why am I giving a megabank like Chase, free “ink”? First, I can recommend this product from personal experience. Second, enlightened personal interest. If you apply for, are approved for, and open a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card account using our link, Mr. and Mrs. Excitement are credited with 10,000 Chase reward points which will prove to Mr. Excitement that I can help earn my keep.

Note: At the risk of sounding parental, IMHO credit cards should be treated as convenience cards and paid off each month.

Any questions? What has been your experience with “travel” credit cards?

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Nan January 13, 2018 at 9:58 pm

This was really good info to know!!


Suzanne Fluhr January 14, 2018 at 10:00 pm

For people who travel a lot, I think Chase Sapphire Reserve is a useful credit card to have.


Doreen Pendgracs January 14, 2018 at 11:05 pm

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card sounds like a good one, Suzanne. All the perks can really add up. I love the Westjet card that I have. Works well for me as I live within the flight path they serve best.


Suzanne Fluhr January 15, 2018 at 2:42 am

I don’t know if the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is available in Canada. Different cards work best for different people and circumstances, so it was nice that our son did some of the leg work for us on this one


Lois Alter Mark January 15, 2018 at 12:50 am

My son and his girlfriend swear by this card. As travelers, the benefits have far outweighed the high annual fee. I’m definitely going to look into it now!


Suzanne Fluhr January 15, 2018 at 2:44 am

That $300 reimbursement of travel expenses per year, the Priorty Pass membership for airport lounges, and the 50,000 point sign up bonus makes the annual fee feel a lot smaller.


Kerwin January 15, 2018 at 11:46 am

Cool article. Yeah, it’s totally worth it, even with their regular card its a good deal earning the points for doing your everyday thing. If you travel its a no-brainer.

Priority Pass alone makes it worth it. They had to match Amex so they could be competitive.


Carol Colborn January 15, 2018 at 11:55 am

I am glad we have one!!! Even just for the no exchange fees, it’s worth it! I didn’t know about the rest!


Suzanne Fluhr January 15, 2018 at 8:14 pm

Carol, check out the other benefits. If you’re going to be flying back and forth to Mexico, you can use your Chase points for airfare. If you don’t have enough for an entire ticket, they let you use what you have towards a ticket.


Cathy Sweeney January 15, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Like you, I get solicitations for credit cards all the time. They very quickly end up in the trash. A couple of your points here had my mouse hovering over your link. I’m going to go back up and click now. Can’t guarantee I’ll get the card, but you’ve made a strong argument.


Suzanne Fluhr January 15, 2018 at 8:13 pm

I had the same reaction when our son recommended the card. It turns out we’ve been very pleased with the benefits. Let me know what you decide (privately if you prefer). BTW, Priority Pass has a lounge in Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.


karen escalera January 17, 2018 at 10:57 am

The rep from Points Pros recommended the card to me and I’ve had it ever since. Incredible the way it racks up points. The only thing I wish is that it included Admirals Club (had to get another card for that one).


Suzanne Fluhr January 17, 2018 at 11:16 pm

We’re so used to sitting in crowded, often dirty and smelly, airport waiting areas, that admission to any lounge is a considerable improvement. I better not try an Admiral’s Club and be spoiled.


Charles McCool January 18, 2018 at 9:15 am

I cannot grant you another 10k points because I already have the CSR. Wife does also. Magnificent card. Been using it for 3 years now. We both signed up when the bonus was 100k points. Yippee.


Suzanne Fluhr January 18, 2018 at 12:52 pm

We missed that dithering around trying to decide.


Marilyn Jones January 18, 2018 at 12:26 pm

I do travel a lot and appreciate this valuable and easy to understand information about Chase Sapphire Reserve! Dino is a cutie too!!


Irene S Levine January 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

We love this card, too! It’s the perfect partner for my Amex card.


Robert January 19, 2018 at 10:38 am

Looks like another great card for travelers!
We’ve used the Alaska Airlines Mastercard for years now. Always like this card as Alaska has many airline partners for flights to choose from. Also use a couple of others for their benefits when traveling. We’ve enjoyed many flights over the years using credit card points!


Kristin Henning January 19, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Thanks, Suzanne. We’ve traveled with the Chase Sapphire Preferred for many years and loved from early on the lack of foreign transaction fees. Many offer that now, and the Reserve card you talk about seems to offer similar benefits to AmEx Platinum. Points are good, and so is Priority Pass and $$ travel credits.


Suzanne Fluhr June 27, 2018 at 6:59 am

We’ve found that fewer and fewer places accept American Express, especially abroad. Apparently, they charge a merchant fee higher than Visa and Mastercard, so many merchants are telling them to “stuff it”.


Agness of a Tuk Tuk January 23, 2018 at 7:29 am

This is the first time I am hearing about the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. Thanks for the enlightening and informative post!


Alyssa Heberlig March 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm

Thank you for this. I have always thought about getting one of these cards, but it can be so hard to find a compiled list of pros, cons, and exactly what the card comes with. I did think about this, but I went for the Delta Sky Miles Platinum card instead.


Suzanne Fluhr March 11, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Different cards work best for different people. Living in Philadelphia, we have very little opportunity to fly on Delta.


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