For a long time I used a combination of chase credit cards known as Trifecta Chase for all of my family’s expenses. The trifecta also includes the Hunt Unlimited Freedom® and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Cardbut my favorite credit card is by far the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
While I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Reserve since it was introduced as a premium Chase card in 2016, this card now has an even better rewards proposition. In August 2021, Chase announced some improvements to what was already an amazing premium travel card. Its boosted reward rates on trips booked through Chase the Ultimate Rewards This means you can now earn up to 10 X points on select travel purchases.
Although the sapphire reserve has an annual fee of $550, my husband and I each have this card, and we get away with it very far considering how much we get in return. That was true long before the pandemic began, and it’s especially true now that travel is returning to a “new normal” and people are getting back on the road.
I’m even in Verona, Italy as I write this – a trip made possible in part by the rewards I’ve earned with my Chase Sapphire Reserve.
5 Reasons to Love the Chase Sapphire Reserve
You might be wondering why I continued to pay the high Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee during a time when I couldn’t really travel. Thing is, I knew travel would eventually return once the pandemic started to die down. Not only did I want to keep earning rewards for that day, but I also wanted to keep the awesome perks I get from the sapphire stash.
Here are the main reasons why this card is my favorite:
Exceptional pay rate
The Sapphire Reserve earns 3X points on general travel and dining purchases, which are two categories I’m able to max out quite a bit. Since August 2021, Chase has increased this rate to reward cardholders for booking through their own travel portal. Now cardholders earn 5X points on air travel booked through Ultimate Rewards as well as 10X points on hotels and car rentals booked through Ultimate Rewards (after earning the $300 travel credit).
By the way, I don’t usually use my sapphire stash for daily expenses and bills. Since it only gives 1X points on non-bonus category spend, I use my Freedom Unlimited to ensure I earn a minimum of 1.5X points on everything I purchase.
The best airline and hotel partners among flexible cards
We mainly travel internationally to the Caribbean and Europe, and Chase transfer partners work wonderfully for our purposes. Concretely, we are transferring a ton of Chase points to the Air France / Flying Blue program for cheap flights to Europe as well as to the Southwest Quick Rewards cheap flight program to Mexico and the Caribbean. Other popular transfer partners include The world of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, United MileageMore and British Airways.
For the particular trip I’m on in Italy right now, I transferred 120,000 Chase points to the United MileagePlus program to pay for one-way flights to Indianapolis from Milan. It was a pretty good deal considering I took four one-way flights that cost over $1,200 each the day I booked them.
I love getting 50% off travel through Chase
Another reason to love the Sapphire Reserve is the fact that it gives you 1.5 cents per point in value when you redeem rewards for travel through the Chase portal, which is partnered with Expedia.
That’s part of the reason why I use the Hunting Trifecta to maximize rewards on all of our personal and business expenses. I use each card strategically to earn as many rewards as possible, then pool them in my Sapphire Reserve account, so I can redeem them for airfare, excursions, hotels and more.
Not only do I book quite a few airline tickets with points through Chase, but I frequently book “things to do” or excursions. Sometimes I even use my points to splurge on something out of the ordinary!
In fact, tonight we have a cooking class for four in Verona with a Cesarine, which we paid for with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. (Cesarines are certified home cooks in Italy who teach travelers how to cook homemade pasta and other Italian dishes.)
While this special tour would normally cost over $644 for four people if we paid cash, I redeemed 42,994 Chase Points to make it free.
Travel benefits I can use
I love that the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $300 annual travel credit. This credit is incredibly easy to use since it applies to any travel purchase and is automatically added to your card as you use it.
Also, I frequently use the Priority pass Select the membership that comes with this card, which grants access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. The lounge benefit is particularly useful to me since it gives me a quiet place to escape to in the airport. Plus, I save money by popping into the airport lounge for drinks and snacks.
Consumer protection and insurance
Finally, it’s important to note that the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers more travel insurance benefits than any other. travel credit card. Benefits include primary car rental coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost baggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation coverage and much more.
These benefits are the primary reason I charge all of our paid travel expenses to this card. Only Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is worth up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip, and it’s free when you use the card to pay for the trip.
This is yet another way the Chase Sapphire Reserve is saving money. Every time I use travel insurance instead of buying separate travel insurance, that’s money I don’t have to spend.
The bottom line
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium Chase credit card that offers a host of luxury benefits for frequent travelers. While it’s not the only card to see reduced travel spending since the pandemic began, Chase’s increased rewards for travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal are a great incentive for cardholders to pick up the slack. their travel expenses.
If you’ve been steady with the Sapphire Reserve during the pandemic like I have, now’s the time you’ve been waiting to ramp up your travel rewards strategy again. And if you are an ardent traveler and you have been waiting for a sign to finally take the plunge on CSR, this is also your moment.