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One Credit Card Bonus /w Over $2,000 of Travel!

Perhaps the biggest news of the year (certainly the most buzz), is the brand new Chase Sapphire Reserve coming out today, and available now!

The card is giving a sign up bonus of 100,000 points (that can be used straight up for $1,500 of travel!), and it gives a ton of benefits.

Benefits include a yearly $300 towards travel (in addition to the $1,500 of travel as a signup bonus), lounge access (via Priority Pass), 3 points per dollar on travel, $100 toward Global Entry / TSA PreCheck, and more.

This is the most exciting credit card application we’ll do in a long while.

In your first year, that’s at least $2,100 worth of actual travel, and I’d argue the points are worth much much more.

This is targeted to be a high end card, similar to the Amex Platinum card. But I’m going to argue why it’s way better.

 

That’s the short description, now lets go into the long list of benefits.

Quick Overview

Here are some details about the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits

  • 100,000 points for spending $4,000 in three months
  • $300 a calendar year toward travel ($600 value)
  • Priority Pass Select
  • 1.5 toward travel
    • Meaning 100,000 points would be worth $1,500 toward
  • Or you can transfer points 1:1 to Chase travel partners:
    • United miles, British Airways Avios, Southwest points, Flying Blue miles, Korean Air miles, Singapore miles, Virgin Atlantic points, Hyatt points, IHG points, and Marriott or Ritz Carlton points
  • Earn 3 points per dollar on travel / Dining
  • $100 toward global entry / TSA Pre
  • Other basic stuff: like no foreign transaction fee and access to Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection hotels, and a long list of benefits like primary car rental insurance…
  • $450 annual fee

In all honesty, the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100k offer is probably the best credit card offer I’ve seen in a while.

I normally don’t get too crazy about cards with high annual fees. I remember getting the Amex Platinum card 100k offer in 2011, and that was very worth it to me because of the 50% bonus to British Airways (pre-Avios).

Then we had a lull in big bonuses.

And even when we see high annual fees with high bonuses, the benefits aren’t this good. Like the $300 travel credit, just reimburses travel of your choosing. Was easier than Amex.

That being said, this card is actually worth it for the bonus alone.

 

100,000 Points

Again, this can be transferred in 1,000 point increments. 50,000 United miles, and 50,000 Singapore miles. Or using the points toward travel.

Even without all the other perks this is as huge as a credit card signup bonus gets. Period.

And not only that but chase points are awesome. Not only can you transfer to miles, but you can just book travel with them and get a 50% bonus.

 

1) Transfer to partners:

  • United miles
  • British Airways miles
  • Southwest points
  • Flying Blue miles
  • Korean Air miles
  • Singapore miles
  • Virgin Atlantic points
  • Hyatt points
  • IHG points
  • Marriott or Ritz Carlton points

My personal favorites are United miles (read United stopover secrets), FlyingBlue miles (read Best Use of FlyingBlue Miles, and FlyingBlue Promo Awards).

Then for very specific redemptions I’d choose British Airways Avios (check out the Avios Map tool) or Singapore Miles (read best use of Singapore Miles).

 

All that to say, I could easily book a round-the-world trip with 100,000 United miles. In fact, I could book a stopover (for as long as I want) in Europe, Japan, and Oceania, and then a ticket home… all for the bonus of this card (see Mega Stopover and Open-jaw Tricks With United Miles).

Or you could fly First Class in Singapore Suites, or get four roundtrip tickets to Israel with FlyingBlue promo awards.

 

2) Book travel via Chase portal for 1.5 bonus

Normally I’m against not using miles, but in this case I honestly might use them to reimburse a portal booking.

See normally 1 point equals 1.25 cents toward travel when booking on the Chase portal, which was already generous.

Now, with this card specifically, you get 1.5 cents towards travel.

In other words, 100,000 Chase UR points, would equal $1,500 of travel when booking on their portal. That’s a lot of money.

 

This is a good deal on many levels. First of all, you’d be earning miles on those flights. Second, while airline charts keep devaluing, Chase is giving more value for booking travel with them.

Even when thinking about 4 trips to Israel on miles… that’s from select cities like once a year for specific dates, plus $200 in fees. And I’ve seen tickets to Israel in the last year on sale for $500. Considering that you’d earn miles and avoid $200 per person…

I’m just saying, that even the best of the best miles redemptions wouldn’t beat booking a cheap ticket via their portal at 1.5 cents per point, not by much.

 

More good news. If you already have Chase points, you can apparently transfer them to this card and use them at the 1.5 cent rate.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but using them for portal bookings – instead of transfering to miles – is actually a good deal.

 

$300 A Year Toward Travel

Apparently they just reimburse you automatically for the travel you booked (at the end of the year?).

And again, that’s calendar year. So if you got the card now, you’d have say Sept – Dec to spend $300 on travel (it doesn’t roll over), and then Jan – Aug you’d get another $300 toward travel.

This isn’t via the portal, this is just swipe your card on something that Chase recognizes as travel. It’s just an extra $300 a year, and that’s $600 in your first year.

 

$450 Annual – Is it worth it?

Which reminds me, you’re getting $600 as a bonus in your first year, and spending $450. Clearly it’s worth it for your first year. But is it worth not canceling or downgrading the next year?

Well, let’s just say you got the $600 in your first year and of course you have to pay the $450 annual fee, if you pay the $450 fee for the next year, you get another $300 toward travel.

You could now say you made $150 profit your first year, and now you’re spending $150 a year.

So is $150 worth keeping the card for year two and so on?

Well, it likely depends how much you spend on travel, and how much value you get out of the card. Chase is doing a good job at enticing travelers with a big bonus, but also giving value over time.

The main benefits for you to consider for the long term are the value of Chase points (and remember these can be redeemed at 1.5 cents per dollar toward travel), and spending… which is the next subject.

 

Earn 3x on Travel / Dining

Earn 3 points per dollar on all spending travel and dining related.

Then you can redeem those points for 1.5 cents per travel.

Am I crazy, or is Chase losing money on that? I guess they assume I do other things besides eat and travel! (Not really a joke).

If you redeem your points via their travel portal for 1.5 cents, and earn at 3x… that’s a value of 4.5 cents per dollar spent on travel and dining.

That’s about as good as it gets anywhere, I suppose.

 

But if the Chase Sapphire Preferred (not this new Reserve card we’ve been talking about) earns at 2x and redeems at 1.25 cents, you could have gotten 3 cents per dollar on travel and dining. That’s 1.5 cent difference. How much do you therefore have to spend on travel and dining to make up for the $150 loss on the annual fee?

The truth is, there are still other benefits… or $10,000.

 

Lounge Access – Priority Pass Select

You may already have this from another card like the Amex Platinum card (I don’t because I canceled mine ages ago).

And unlike the Citi AA Executive card, which gives access to AA lounges, Priority Pass is global.

This plan gives one person access to the lounge for free, and a second person entrance for $27.

 

You have two options if you want to get in more than 1 person.

You can read my post on getting two people into the lounge with one PriorityPass.

Or you can pay $75 to get an authorized user (per year) onto your Chase Sapphire Reserve. Now one other person can have the Priority Pass benefits.

 

Check out Priority Pass Locations here. I mean, they are pretty much everywhere. And international lounges, at least in Asia, are better than AA lounges (as much as everyone loves cheese cubes).

 

$100 toward Global Entry (TSA Pre)

This card will reimburse $100 toward Global Entry. If you’re not already one of the cool kids, these are the people who skip the passport lines coming back into the country and whip by the kiosks.

5 years ago, I’m pretty sure we were like the first people to sign up, and I always felt like I was doing something wrong skipping the line. Now there’s sometimes a line at GlobalEntry… but when that’s a case, you should see the other line!

 

Technically Global Entry is $100 per person… however, when we signed up, I also signed up for Nexus (which is $50) and the total for both of us was $100 – the price of the two of us doing Nexus. Is it cheaper to do Nexus and Global Entry than it is to just do Global Entry?

 

5/24 Rule

If you don’t know what this rule is, it doesn’t effect you.

Apparently Chase has a rule where you can only apply for 5 cards in 24 months (hard pulls go away after 24 months). So if they see 5 cards on the credit report they pull, you get declined.

There have been reports of people not pre-approved and well over 5/24 getting the card. But frankly, it’s hard for me to know how to trust the understanding of internet strangers. And this is me skimming, to be honest I haven’t been online in the last 24 hours and I’m catching up.

However, it seems the wisdom to see if a local Chase branch has you pre-approved. Then it could at least be better odds.

It’s been a long couple days for me, but as soon as I hit post, I’ll be applying online to test the not calling strategy. We’ll see. If it’s a fail, we’ll try in a month in branch.

I’ll try to update this… but…

If you have gotten more than 5 cards recently, and you really want to increase your odds of getting this card… why would you not try going in branch? Your odds won’t be lower, and they might be higher if you’re pre-approved.

 

 

Other Benefits

The Luxury Hotel & Resorts Collection

Meh. You can check it out here.

This is for people who overpay for hotels and justify by using the word “value”. “I’m not earning points, and I picked a more expensive hotel, and it’s more than had I booked on Orbitz… but I get $50 toward the spa”. Oh wow! No, you’re right, you’re a deal master! Too bad the spa is overpriced and that’s like a 10% discount.

The best deal is $100 credit towards dining… which deserves more cynical remarks, but I’ll let it go.

 

Insurance

Usually these insurance benefits come with a lot of terms and conditions and require the travel/flight purchases be done with this card, if that’s not obvious.

  • Primary car rental insurance – $75k CDW and Theft
  • Trip delay reimbursement – delayed 6 hours (or requires an overnight), you and your family are covered up to $500 in hotels and food
  • Baggage delay insurance – delays over 6 hours get $100 a day for 5 days.
  • Trip cancelation protection
  • Roadside assistance – $50 per incident (get towed, jumpstart, etc…)
  • Other insurance stuff…

 

Conclusion

I think this card is a no brainer.

If you’re over the 5/24 (having 5+ cards in 24 months), I think it’s still worth trying. If you’re near a Chase branch, it could be worth walking in and speaking to a manager to see if you’re pre-approved. YMMV.

 

I think that just about explains all the reasons this is one of the most highly anticipated cards in a long time.

Simply put, this is 100,000 bonus, with an even higher than normal value via the portal: $1,500 worth of travel.

Then you get $300 a year toward any travel ($600 for your first year), negating the $450 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year.

Then you get a bunch of other perks, like earning more miles, and lounge access.

 

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31 Comments

  1. Wow, titan(ish) pumping blogger you’ve become. This application sign-up is available on chase.com with no affiliate link too.

    Reply
  2. How long do you think this offer will continue? We have a trip in Dec where we can more easily hit the min spend.

    Reply
  3. Hi Drew! Great post. Very excited about this card. Am tempted to apply online but kind of want to do so in branch to be more certain (would hate to get declined). What are the chances you’ll have an affiliate link up soon? Would love to send the $ your way. Also, if you’re declined online, why would you wait a month to go to a branch to apply in-person? It’s probably some rule I’m not aware of.

    Reply
  4. I applied online, got “pending” status, which some say means a denial in a week. Following your line of reasoning, I’ll wait until I’m denied to call recon (if ever – by then we’ll know what response recon is giving). My nearest Chase branch is more than three hours away, so that’s only an option to me if it’s pretty much a sure thing. I guess we’ll learn more in the next days and weeks; it’s not like the card is going away instantly after its launch.

    Reply
  5. Applied for all my family members – all 8 of them during the leaked app week – 2 weeks or so ago, and all of them got approved eventually. All of us are something like 12/24 apps, so we definitely slid under the radar. 832k here we come!

    Reply
  6. What are the odds that you were pre-approved at branch but get a pending decision? I didn’t call yet…

    Reply
  7. Ugh!! I got the pending for my husband. I just HAD to try. I also tried the Ritz for myself, got pending. Dang it!! So, possibly try in branch in a month? For both?

    Reply
  8. I think I did the wise thing. I went into a Chase branch, asked if I was pre-approved. They checked, said no, and I walked out. I will definitely not be applying for this card. Why waste a hard pull when there’s at least 1 Citi card I need to get before the 08/28 deadline, and another one right after it? Happy for those who got it, but I’m not pushing my luck.

    Reply
  9. $450 is a lot of money unless you want to waste it by “justifying” value by spending on travel which one would not have paid ideally by using reward miles/points etc. The other benefits are being offered in lot of other similar credit cards. Why duplicate for those if one already has the other cards and pay $450 out of pocket (~$500 before tax)??

    Reply
  10. @ff_lover – This is hands down the single best credit card offer in the last couple of years. Nothing comes close. I’m sure the $300 “travel” credit per calendar year can be used on something that you wouldn’t typically be able to use your points on. The 100k signup bonus and 3x points on travel/dining is unbelievable.

    Thanks Drew for another great post and good luck on getting the card considering 5/24!

    Reply
    • Not so fast! $500 (before tax) annual fee (not waived) doesn’t justify for the 3x dining/travel since there are other cards provide very close (2x) w/o such a large annual fee. Chase INK has 70K w/ first yr free.
      The other “touted” benefits (car insurance, luxury hotels etc.), lot of other cards provide..

      Reply
    • you can’t pay airbnb with miles or points. I already received and used all the referral bonuses i could via them as well. Guess what, this card covers airbnb!!! The refund was instant and it was an expense I would have paid out of pocket regardless. Why waste 20k-30k points for a 200-300 dollar room, when I can get a just as nice airbnb for 50 a night.

      Also, the amount of points we are going to earn with our regular spending will go far beyond the remnant 150 dollars we are “paying”

      Reply
  11. “Usually these insurance benefits come with a lot of terms and conditions and require the travel/flight purchases be done with this card, if that’s not obvious.”

    I have read a lot of blog posts about insurance coverage and have never seen this “rule” anywhere. I suspect that, if true, it would disqualify most rentals for most of us, as we all love to do award bookings! :-(

    Can you confirm that what you wrote is, indeed, accurate?

    Reply
  12. (I suspect you didn’t mean that it applied to the car rentals, although you listed it that way and doofuses like me might misinterpret it.)

    Reply
    • Doofi*

      Reply
  13. I’m way over 5/24 and got approved today at a branch. I asked if I was pre-approved, and I was. I then submitted an application and was approved within about three minutes. So excited!

    Reply
    • Is there a way to see if you are pre-approved by looking online somewhere?

      Reply
  14. I wonder if the $300 yearly travel credit could be used on the Chase Portal for booking travel? Say if your hotel cost $1,800, could you use the 100,000 points for $1,500 worth AND charge $300 to the card to be negated by the $300 travel credit?

    Reply
  15. applied, happy to finally be able to support the site a bit :)

    Reply
  16. I applied for the CSR in branch after getting the $500 Biz Checking Bonus… Oddly enough, the rep said he couldn’t tell me if i was ‘Pre-Approved’ for anything, and I should just apply. I’m around 8/24 and it went to pending.

    Side Note: He DID say that the $300 Bonus for Travel happens EVERY DECEMBER. Not sure if that’s legit, but I think that would mean you don’t get $600 in credits from canceling the card next year, if its paid out annually in Dec.

    Reply
    • Chris, any idea if you can cancel after year one and recoup some or all of the second $450 annual fee? For instance, I apply in Sep, get the $300 in Dec ’16, pay $450 in Sep ’17 then cancel after Dec ’17 and get some or all of the second year annual fee back. I know United and Southwest Chase cards I was able to cancel after I was charged the annual fee, but at that point it wasn’t paid yet. Hoping they would prorate it, but wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t.

      Reply
    • I think the rep is a little confused, I read the T&Cs and it talks about December because it is the last statement that each $300 is credited. But here’s the key part:

      “Statement credit(s) will post to your account the same day your travel category purchase posts to your account and will appear on your monthly credit card billing statement within 1-2 billing cycles.”

      So if you spend $300 in the first half of the year, it will be credited by Sept.

      Reply
  17. Hey Drew–

    I know you guys have done a ton of travel in South America, but I am having trouble finding a lot of posts about it. I am planning a two month long trip in Southern SOuth America– and I am wondering if you have any tips for maximizing flights points in that region. It looks like my best bet may be ANA and Avios (since I won’t be changing regions and can’t take advantage of United’s stopover rules).

    If you can point me towards any of your posts, that would be amazing. I am reading the ones on Avios and ANAs.

    Erika

    Reply
  18. I wonder with this card, if you spend $300 on travel and it gets credited due to the $300 yearly travel credit does it still count towards your $4,000 spend?

    Reply
  19. New to this credit card stuff. Can I use the card to pay my mortgage? Will this count toward my spend? Will any bill pay count toward the $4000 spend?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  20. I’ve read elsewhere that the priority pass access with the CSR comes with complimentary guest access (no $27), with screenshots from Chase to support that.

    Reply
  21. If I apply now, does the $300 credit have to be purchased this year, or does it have to be purchased and completed by 12/31/16?

    Reply
  22. What about the price protection benefit?

    Does this count with airlines and hotels? if I can book a flight, and the card reimburses me if the flight price drops within 90 days, thats a game changer!

    Reply
  23. I was hesitant to get this card but did the math last week and pulled the trigger. Applied on Friday, approved on the spot. Card arrived by ups today (Tuesday). At a minimum look at it this way, spend $4k in 3 months and get 100k pts which is equivalent to $1000 dollars in some sort of redeemable method. The annual fee is $450 so if you don’t travel you’ll have a gain of $550. If you travel by year end and do so occassionaly, you’ll have a gain of $850. This was a no brainier in my opinion.

    I’m not a road warrior per se but I do travel domestically for work about once a month. I’ll easily get the $300 travel credit. The 3x pts on travel/restaraunts is similar to the Costco Visa if your a member. That card gives your 3% cash back on this category.

    Not sure if I’ll keep if beyond the first year as I am the churner type. I’ll see how it goes. I am excited about the quality and just how the card feels! Overall do it and apply. Worse case just cash in the 100K pts for gift cards or a station credit.

    Reply
  24. It’s mentioned that you can earn points when going through the Chase travel portal and redeeming at 1.5 cents/dollar.

    Just curious, has anyone had success with this? Will this work with airlines like Virgin America or just the airlines that give you points for each mile flown?

    Reply
  25. Hey Drew,

    Why you almost never answer the questions your faithful enabling readers ask you? It always makes me choose other bloggers to use affiliate links from.

    Reply

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We have spent the majority of our marriage traveling full time, living out of hotels.   All the while, we list our expenses publicly, budgeting $25,000 a year for our nomadic life while still staying in mostly 4 or 5 star hotels across ~20 countries a year.
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