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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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…
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.