Our Vote For Best Travel Credit Card
There is an array of answers we can provide, but today we want to highlight one. The point-reward system is a huge game that we like to play and one credit card received a lot of attention in 2016. The Chase Sapphire Reserve hit the market with one of the highest offers we have seen in years, 100,000 points after spending $4000. It was hyped for weeks and dominated forums for the travel-loving point hoarders like us. Now that our annual fee is about to return, the big question is…. Is it worth keeping in our wallets and should you take advantage now?
There’s no doubt about it. Cydny and I, each, hold a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. A $450 annual fee is steep and tough to justify, but we will convince you otherwise. The $300 annual travel credit actually cuts down that annual fee to $150, assuming you use it all. The annual travel credit can be used for Uber, airline tickets, train tickets, rental cars, hotels, and even some tours/excursion. We exhausted the travel credit almost immediately! Based on how much my Cyd and I travel, it’s a no brainer to hold onto the card. If things stay the same, the chances are high for the foreseeable future. The main reason being, we travel a good amount.
We both received the card late last summer and quickly qualified for the 100,000 sign up bonus. We thought this justified the $450 annual credit alone until we put its other perks to the test. Just a couple weeks ago we spent three weeks traveling throughout Asia. The gifted Priority Pass lounge membership quickly became worth its weight in gold. Once in Asia, we hopped on seven different flights and got to utilize an airport lounge five times. I can’t even begin to calculate how much money that saved us in food and drinks, plus the connectivity for working on-the-go.
In past trips, we took advantage of the Avis Preferred benefits. In June, we spent a week road-trip around Ireland. That complimentary car upgrade came in handy when we had to lay out our tent to dry from the humorous Irish weather.
Don’t forget about that free reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA-precheck. We’ve witnessed a number of Global Entry members rise since last summer but it still makes those pesky international arrival lines nonexistent. Especially in New York City.
As longtime United Mileage Plus members, we are able to transfer our Chase Reward Points to United and many other airlines. The point flexibility is too attractive to pass up.
If we were casual travelers, say 2-3 trips/year, I would still keep this card in my wallet. The $300 travel credit and elite perks (Global Entry, rental car status, etc) make this card worthy of our attention. Once you are a Chase member, one can also utilize the Chase shopping portal that applies anywhere from 2-20x/points to a purchase made there. Using this card religiously since it arrived late last August, I’ve accumulated an additional 120,000 points, in addition to the 100,000-point bonus. That’s not including Cyd’s earnings! You will want to use this card everywhere you eat, shop, and travel. The hardest part is going to be deciding on what to use our points on.
It’s not all fun and games though. I do have one gripe with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. If you’ve ever held one in your hand, you know the aura and sophistication the metal card demands. Unfortunately, I think I’ve used it too much because the plastic coating has begun to peel away from the metal insert. I’ll be having Chase Infinite concierge address this one.
So, it’s been a year with Chase Sapphire Reserve and we have no reason to part ways. Even for the casual traveler or restaurant aficionado, this card is worthy of the $450 annual fee. If you missed the 100,000-point bonus, that stings, but some have had success applying at their local Chase branch requesting to match the old offer. The offer currently provides 50k points after a $4000 spend, but if you are looking to take advantage of the travel game, this card is hard to outclass. It still wins our vote for best value.
Until then, Just Go!