At $450 the Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most expensive credit cards you can choose to keep in your wallet today. After recommending the card to someone, the obvious question I usually get is whether or not its really worth all of that money. The short answer is of course yes, but today I want to dive into the longer answer around one of its best perks, the annual travel credit.
Lets start off by calling a spade a spade, if you’re not an traveler and don’t aspire to be, then chances are there are better cards for you and your lifestyle. I’ve always preached on the podcast and in articles that the best cards are the ones that fit your lifestyle and spending habits the best. That being said, if you’re a traveler and you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you should be able to get the net annual fee down to $150 using the annual travel credit.
How the Annual Travel Credit Works
When you or an authorized user of your Sapphire Reserve make a purchase in the travel category, you will be automatically credited, on the same day, the amount you spent. This will continue to happen until you reach the maximum allowable credit of $300. The travel category in this case is loosely defined and will include pretty much anything you can think of. Rental cars, hotels, flights, taxis, parking, and more. Its important to note however that its up to the merchant to properly code the transaction as travel for Chase to be able to apply the credit. For more information about Chase reward categories click here.
Annual is defined as the year beginning with your account open date through the first statement date after your account open anniversary, and the 12 monthly billing cycles after that each year. For those who signed up for the card prior to May 21, 2017 it works a bit differently as annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and the 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date each year.
Tracking Your Credit Status
Chase has some of the best technology out of all of the credit card companies. This is evidenced by their online portal and mobile apps. For the sake of this article, we want to focus on the annual travel credit. First you want to go to Chase.com and login to your account.
Once you’re inside you want to click on the “Ultimate Rewards – Use your points” banner.
If you have multiple Chase cards earning Ultimate Rewards then the next page is going to ask you to select the one you’d like to view the UR portal for. In this case you’re going to want to select your Sapphire Reserve card.
After you select your card, you should see your current annual travel credit status on the right hand side of the page.
Pretty cool, right? In my case i’ve already maxed out this years $300 credit, and am eagerly awaiting 12/18 for the next credit to kick in.
With the Sapphire Reserve, if you can spend the $300 per year on travel the annual fee quickly drops to a net of $150. At that point you only need to earn an additional $55 in rewards to break even over the Sapphire Preferred. When you factor in the 3x per dollar on travel and dining, lounge access, and 50% redemption bonus, the card becomes a no brainer.
Have any questions about the card? Let us know in the comments!