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Why I Chose the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Jan. 4, 2019
Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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Heather Bertels, a 37-year-old financial professional from Olympia, Washington, had several credit cards for earning travel rewards over the years.

But, she found the Chase Sapphire Reserve® had the best perks for her, including a $300 travel credit and a Priority Pass membership.

If you’re interested in signing up for a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Bertels has some tips and advice that could help you make your decision.

The sign-up bonus

Between the card’s welcome bonus (Earn 50K 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® .) and other points she earned from early spending, Bertels was able to redeem points for a ticket to Peru that was worth $1,400. She was able to easily transfer her Chase points to the airline with the best flight price.

» Learn more: How to get started with frequent flyer programs

Bertels mainly saves her points for airline tickets. Her husband has family in Germany, so she redeems points with Lufthansa to travel there once or twice a year.

Fraud protection

When Bertels had a charge for Netflix even though she wasn’t a subscriber, Chase caught the charge before she did.

They texted her a message to ask if she authorized the charge, she texted back “no,” and within minutes fraud protection called her, canceled her card and had a new card sent overnight. The one or two times she called customer service herself, someone directly answered without having to be redirected via an automated system.

Don’t fear the annual fee

The annual fee of $450 was much higher than Bertels’ previous card. But, she gets a $300 travel credit each year. Plus she gets free TSA Precheck, Priority Pass lounge access and redemption versatility for many airlines and hotel chains. That’s in addition to bonuses she’s received. All this makes the annual fee worth it to her.

» Learn more: Which credit cards offer airport lounge access?

Gathering points is a family activity

Bertels charges everything from lunch to utilities on her card. Her husband does the same with his card as an authorized user.

Bertels and her husband transfer mileage and points strategically based on how close they are to rewards on each other’s frequent flyer accounts. Chase lets them transfer points across accounts. Right now they are saving up for first-class upgrades to Germany.

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 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Chase Ultimate Rewards: How to earn them and how to use them
How I flew for free: Round trip NYC to India using Chase Ultimate Rewards
This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards

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