Why You May Want to Start with this Great Travel Hacking Credit Card
It is no secret that I love Chase Bank credit cards for Travel Hacking. As I’ve written before, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is a great first credit card. That’s because currently, the sign up bonus is 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. And, the annual fee is only $95. However, there’s another great Chase Sapphire credit card. This one is the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. Read on to find out why you may want to start your travel hacking hobby with the Sapphire Reserve rather than the Sapphire Preferred credit card from Chase.
The Elephant in the Room
Let’s talk about annual fees. People are often scared off by the amount of some credit card annual fees. The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card comes with a $450 annual fee. But let’s look at the value you receive for paying such a high annual fee.
You receive a $300 credit toward any travel purchases each account anniversary year. This effectively takes your annual fee down to $150. If you plan to travel a lot, as many Travel Hackers do, that $300 credit is a no brainer.
Another Valuable Credit
Use your Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card to pay the fee for either Global Entry ($100) or TSA Precheck ($85) and you will receive a credit for the full amount. If you already have one of these designations, you can use the credit for a family member or friend. Depending on which designation you choose, your annual fee is reduced to either $65 or $50 dollars. That’s less than the annual fee of the Sapphire Preferred!
Priority Pass Select Membership
If we stopped with just the two points above, you’d be hard pressed to say no to this card. However, Chase has sweetened the offer with a Priority Pass Select Membership. This membership gives you access to over 1300 Airport Lounges around the world. Priority Pass lounges offer a comfortable place to relax before your flight. Most offer free food and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. You can bring up to two guests in with you. The value of this membership is minimally $249 per year.
The Sign Up Bonus
The Sapphire Reserve credit cards comes with a 50,000 point sign up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months. See number 5 to find out how much those points could be worth to you.
Points are Worth More
The points earned with the Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents each when you use them to pay for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal. With the Sapphire Preferred, the points are only worth 1.25 cents. This means the 50,000 bonus points are worth $750 at a minimum.
Chase has many transfer partners which can make your points go much further. From my own experience, when I’ve transferred my Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to book a business class flight to Europe, I got a value of 10 cents per point. I wrote about the value of Transfer Partners here: Redeeming Credit Card Travel Points
You’ll earn 3 x points for all travel and dining purchases. This is an additional point per dollar spent as compared with the Sapphire Preferred credit card. All other purchases earn 1 x point.
There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made with you Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.
What if I already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
If you started out with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, Chase will not allow you to have both the Preferred and the Reserve. You can however, “product change” and upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. I would wait at least 6 months from when you opened the Sapphire Preferred to do the upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve.
All it takes is a private message or phone call to Chase to get the ball rolling. I will be doing this myself and can’t wait to get the additional benefits of the Reserve.
Whether you choose the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve credit card, you’re going to have a great travel hacking credit card in your wallet. If you plan to travel often and can pay the $450 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve may just be the better card to start your Travel Hacking journey.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. Scroll down and leave a comment.