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The premium Chase Sapphire Reserve® may come with a hefty $550 annual fee, but if you travel often, the benefits it offers can far exceed the cost.
The card's welcome offer alone is worth more than the $550 annual fee: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Additionally, the annual $300 travel credit to use toward everything from airline tickets to hotels and taxi fares also offsets the card fee and brings it down to just $250.
Here are other valuable benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and why it might be worth a spot in your wallet.
Bonus points maximize travel-related purchases
The other thing that sets this card apart for travelers is that it comes with bonuses for both travel purchases and redemptions.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® holders earn 3x for dining and travel purchased outside the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal — two categories that add up fast for road warriors. And when Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are redeemed for travel through the Chase portal, they get a 50% bonus, making each dollar spent worth 1.5 points. Purchases in the portal are even more lucrative: You'll earn 5x points on air travel and 10x points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
That means every $10,000 worth of travel and dining expenses charged on the card will earn at least 30,000 in points. And those 30,000 points can buy $450 worth of travel for Chase Sapphire Reserve® holders through the portal.
You can also transfer points earned on other cards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® family to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to take advantage of the booking bonus.
Frequent flyers get helpful perks
Travelers also love the complimentary Priority Pass Select lounge pass that provides access to over 1,000 lounges worldwide. Complimentary food and beverages can keep airport expenses down, and scoring a shower during a layover on a long flight can be priceless.
Miles and points enthusiasts also like the fact that the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program transfers to other airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 rate. Depending on the price of the ticket or stay, and how many points it costs, you may get more value per Chase Ultimate Rewards® point. Partners include United, Southwest, British Airways, Marriott, Hyatt and others.
Overseas travelers can also save on foreign transaction fees. That can add up as the normal fee is up to 3% of the cost of the transaction.
The card also comes with an application fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck trusted traveler programs that help travelers skip the long lines at airport security.
A safety net in an emergency
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is also good in an emergency. It is a Visa Infinite card, so in addition to the benefits of Visa Signature cards it also offers travel insurance. Visa Signature benefits include rental car insurance, travel and emergency assistance, emergency card replacement and emergency cash disbursement. Those additional benefits can offer tremendous value when things go wrong.
In January 2020, Chase announced partnerships with ride-sharing service Lyft and food delivery platform DoorDash. The new benefits specifically for holders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® are:
A $60 DoorDash dining credit in 2021. No activation is required.
If you don’t currently have another premium travel card offering some of these benefits and you haven’t run afoul of the Chase 5/24 rule, which allows you to apply for only five credit cards in the past two years, this card is definitely worth getting for the welcome bonus alone. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards® don’t expire and can be used for travel in so many ways, you can save them for when you need them most.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card