The BEST Credit Card for Travelers - Chase Sapphire Reserve

Last night while a group of girl friends and I were at dinner, the bill was placed on our table and our entire group pulled out the exact same credit card. We laughed hysterically and I knew it was time to write about this credit card and share its amazingness with the rest of my community.

 

If you were following my Instagram stories early September, you may have seen how I was able to pay for most of my trip to Sri Lanka and the Maldives with my credit card points, something I had never been able to do before (don't worry a blog post is coming on this!).

 

Before jumping into the details of this credit card, I want to preface this by saying that I’ve never been a points guru. You would think with all the traveling I have done, I would be a pro at getting points from different airlines and rewards programs, but the truth is that I had rarely ever gotten a free night’s stay or a free flight before because either A.) I forget my rewards numbers and forget to input them or B.) I fly with so many different airlines that I never get to accumulate the trips I need with one specific airline/hotel/etc company to get anything out of it.

 

So,  Jan of 2017, I was traveling with a group of good friends from business school who are all frequent travelers. My good friend Ankit told us about the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card and why we needed to apply for it! He basically wine and dined us all trip with his credit card...taking us to the airport lounges pre-flights where we literally ate and drank our way through the buffet. I was already sold. When we landed at our layover in Athens, my friend Sam and I immediately started the online application process. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous I wasn’t going to qualify because at the time I wasn’t making an income, I was in business school but I did have a formal job offer letter, so I crossed my fingers that it would pass. A few days letter both Sam and I received our acceptance letters via email and we screamed as if we had just gotten our college acceptance letters haha!

 

So now for the good stuff…

 

What is this amazing credit card I can’t stop raving about?! It’s the Chase Sapphire Reserve (not to be confused with the Chase Sapphire Preferred which has different benefits). This card was released in 2016, as a way to provide a card with benefits that would speak to many millennial’s preferences - our general preference of experiences over goods, convenience, flexibility of not being tied down to one brand, and our tendency to spend our discretionary income on travel and dining.  

 

If you have no patience and already went straight to their website, do not, I repeat do not let the $450 annual fee be a deterrent. At first glance you are probably thinking “Ashley are you out of your mind?! I thought this card was supposed to save me money?!” While this is a hefty fee, Chase Sapphire Reserve credits you back $300 every year that is spent on travel (yes, this includes uber/lyft along with airlines, hotels, rental cars) and dining. It was only 2 weeks into 2018 and I had already gotten back my $300 for the year. So, when comparing this card, the $150 net annual fee is truly worth the insane benefits I will share with you below. Even if you already have this card, I urge you to read all the way through because some of these benefits I had no idea I had access to!

 

*With all of these benefits mentioned below, please be sure to read the full benefits guide for exact details and restrictions*

 

50,000 Bonus Points

You will automatically get 50,000 bonus points the moment you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of getting your card. Hack, offer to pay for anything and everything for people in your life and have them Venmo you back. All of my family and friends were more than willing to help me get to these $4,000 so that I could make use of those bonus points. At the time when I applied Chase was giving 100,000 bonus points; however, the 50K will still get you some incredible flights or hotel nights!

 

3 Points for every $1 spent on Travel & Dining

Yes, you heard that correctly, 3x points for every $1 spent on any airline, hotel, rental car, uber/lyft, public transportation, or restaurant (1 point for every $1 spent on everything else). That is like 90% of my expenses, so I am generally making 3x the points a year than I was making on a different credit card that just gave me the standard 1 point per $1 spent. These points can be used across all brands, not just specific airlines/hotels/etc. This perk unfortunately means that at every dinner with my business school friends there is always a fight over who gets to pay the whole dinner on their card. Usually we have to settle on splitting the bill and praying the restaurant allows an unlimited number of credit cards. Don’t think your friend is being a kind person by offering to pay the dinner bill and letting you Venmo them, no they are being savage as we all are in this points world. If I offer to pay for your entire vacation, I’m just being the most generous human there is ;) Jokes! I’m in it to win it.

 

Free Access to Priority Pass Airport Lounges

This is honestly one of my favorite perks of the card. If you weren’t born into a privileged life where airport lounges were a given since the day you started traveling, it is a true game changer! The sheer money you save by now having free buffets and drinks (yes, alcohol is included) alone makes up for the $150 net annual fee. Along with the food/drinks, many airport lounges have showers!! I had my first airport lounge shower experience on a 36-hour return from the Maldives, in Doha, and it was the best thing ever!! You don’t need to bring a towel or toiletries, they give you a fresh towel and toiletries are included in your private shower (no communal gym-like showers). I could stop here, but the benefits continue…

 

Insurance for Delayed and Lost Luggage

Say whaaa?! Delayed luggage?! Yes, Sapphire Reserve pays you up to $100 a day for a maximum of 5 days, if your luggage is lost for more than 6 hours. This not only covers yourself, but your spouse/partner and your immediate family. This is why I insist on putting my family’s flights on my credit card (ok that and me wanting the points). Items covered by this insurance are essentials for the day, including clothes, toiletries, and one cell phone charger.

Similarly, if your bag is lost, damaged, or stolen, Sapphire Reserve will pay you up to $3,000 to cover both the actual luggage as well as the belongings inside. This applies to both checked and carry-on luggage.

Of course, this insurance only applies if your flights were purchases on your Sapphire Reserve card.

 

Global Entry or TSA Pre-check Paid For

As if you needed any more reasons to go apply for this card, the Sapphire Reserve card also will pay for the $100 fee to apply for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check. Word to the wise, apply for Global Entry because it automatically gives you TSA Pre-check if you get accepted, whereas getting TSA Pre-check will not give you Global Entry. And learn from my mistake and be sure to schedule your Global Entry interview before 6 months of when you applied, otherwise your application gets cancelled and you’ll have to pay for that application fee again, yourself (yep, still annoyed at my dumb mistake…). But, that’s what I’m here for, to save you from committing all the same travel mistakes I’ve made in my years of travel.

 

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

In the event that your trip has to be cancelled or cut short, Sapphire Reserve will pay cardholder and family members (even if the cardholder is not traveling with them) up to $10,000 each, with a max of $20,000 per occurrence and $40,000 during a 12-month period.

Qualified reasons for cancellation/interruption include:

  • Accidental injury, death, or sickness for cardholder, traveling companion, or immediate family member

  • Severe weather that interferes with start or continuation of trip

  • Terrorist action or hijacking

  • Jury duty or a court subpoena that cannot be postponed or waived

  • Financial insolvency of the cardholder’s travel agency, tour operator or travel supplier

You must file a written claim within 20 days of occurrence.

 

Emergency Medical/Dental Coverage while Traveling

Sapphire Reserve covers up to $2,500 (subject to a $50 deductible) for medical/dental emergencies while traveling. It also covers up to $75 for a hotel room, if a doctor determines you cannot travel immediately. This is so incredible and something I wish I had known during a couple of trips where I ended up seeing a local physician and had to pay the expenses out of pocket. 

Chase will cover charges from a legally qualified physician/surgeon, nurse, dentist, or osteopath for:

  • Hospital/operating room charges

  • Charges for anesthetics, x-ray exams or treatments and lab tests

  • Ambulance services

  • Drugs, medicines and therapeutic services and supplies

Note that coverage will not include treatments that are not medically necessary or if the illness occurred in a country that is determined unsafe to travel to by the U.S. Government. Travel must have been booked on your Sapphire Reserve card, you must contact the Chase Benefit Administrator within 90 days, and trip must be within 5 and 60 travel days in length and be a minimum of 100 miles from home. Even with these restrictions, this in an incredible benefit I didn’t even know we had!

 

Rental Car Collision Damage Insurance

If you rent a car using the Sapphire Reserve card to book a rental car, you are eligible for up to $75,000 if your rental is in a collision or a victim of theft, both in the U.S. and abroad. They will even cover the necessary towing expenses to get the car to the nearest repair shop.

Note, the exceptions to this insurance include:

  • “Expensive, exotic, and antique” cars; vans designed to carry more than 8 people, vehicles that have an open cargo bed, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, and motorbikes, limousines, and recreational vehicles

  • Expenses reimbursed under your personal auto insurance policy, your employer or your employer’s insurance

  • Any obligation you assume under any other agreement

  • Injury of anyone or anything inside or outside of the vehicle

  • Leases and mini leases; including hourly rentals and car share services

  • Any violation of the auto rental agreement

  • Loss or theft of personal belongings

Say goodbye to ever paying the additional rental car insurances!

 

Purchase Protection

There are 4 types of purchase protection covered with this card. I have a feeling that some of my friends are going to go on a crazy shopping trip after they read these benefits below. 

  1. Purchase protection - if you purchase an item and it is damaged or stolen within 120 days from purchase you are eligible for up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account. Exclusions:

    • Items that mysteriously disappear with no evidence of a wrongful act

    • Used or pre-owned items

    • Antiques and collectible items

    • Boats, automobiles, aircraft and any other motorized vehicles

    • Computer Software

    • Items purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use

  2. Price protection - if you purchase an item and the price goes down within 90 days, you are eligible for $500 per item (max $2,500 a year). Exclusions:

    • Seasonal sales and seasonal items

    • Boats, cars, and any other motorized vehicles and their motors, equipment, and accessories

    • Cell phone service agreements and cell phone contracts

    • Items previously owned, sold “as is,” and refurbished items

    • Items purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use

    • Items purchased outside of the U.S.

    • Jewelry, antiques, collectible items, rare or one-of-a-kind items, special order items, custom items, and tailored items

    • Price differences involving manufacturer and/or merchant rebates, shipping and handling fees, and sales tax, if any

  3. Extended warranty protection - if you purchase an item with your card, the manufacturing warranty is extended 1 extra year. The warranty must be 3 years or less. The warranty is not only offered if the cardholder keeps the item, but also for items gifted to other individuals and purchased on the Sapphire Reserve (um whaaa?! This benefit is crazy). Coverage is up to $50,000 per item with a max of $50,000 per account. Items purchased outside of the U.S. are also eligible as long as they have a manufacturing-written U.S. repair warranty, a store-purchased dealer warranty or an assembler warranty. Exclusions:

    • Boats, automobiles, aircraft and any other motorized vehicles

    • Items purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use

    • Used or pre-owned items

    • Computer software

  4. Return protection - if you are dissatisfied with a purchase you made with your card, and the merchant will not accept the return, Chase will cover up to $500 per item with a max of $1,000 per year. Item must have been purchased within 90 days and must be returned to the Chase Benefit Administrator. Exclusions:

    • Animals and living plants

    • Automobiles, boats, aircrafts, trailers and any other motorized vehicles and their motors, equipment, or accessories

    • Computer software or medical equipment

    • Jewelry, art objects, collectible items, formal attire and accessories

    • Damaged and non-working items

    • Items purchased for resale, professional or commercial use, or outside the U.S.

    • Tickets, travelers checks, gift cards and any other negotiable instruments

    • Seasonal items and objects which are intended to become part of real estate such as garage doors and ceiling fans

 

I am in awe of all of these benefits. To be honest, I didn’t even know some of these existed until I started doing research for this post. Basically, with all of these benefits and insurances you will never want to pay with another credit card again! Talk about the ultimate protection against anything!! As you can see these benefits make up for the $150 net annual fee and surpass any benefits I’ve seen to date. If you are a frequent traveler or have a desire to travel, this card is definitely for you!

 

I cannot wait to see you guys get started with this card and see where in the world it takes you!! Let me know when you get that acceptance email, I’ll be doing a celebratory dance with you.

 

I’ve included my referral link; I don’t get any commission off your acceptance, but I do get a nice 10K points for each person (up to 5 per year), so it’s basically like a big thank you for bringing you all these amazing benefits to your life :) I am thrilled that I have convinced so many of my family and friends to get this card (before the referral program was even created!) and witnessed them taking advantage of these benefits.

 

I seriously can’t wait to get all of your acceptance notifications!

Til next time!

❥Ashley

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