travel credit cards

In 2016, Chase introduced a new travel credit card with some outstanding travel benefits, including a major 100,000-point bonus upon meeting the minimum spend, though it comes with a hefty $450 annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card was so popular that it resulted in Chase running out of the material it used to make the card!

Note: To apply for the credit cards included in this post and to help support Go to Travel Gal at NO COST to you, please click TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS on the main menu above. This allows me to earn a commission and pay the blogging bills :), so that I may continue to bring you great information on how to travel nearly free — at no cost. I sincerely appreciate you taking this step!

While the bonus points have dropped from 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points initially to 50,000 points currently, this can still be a great card for those who travel a lot, as the benefits allow you to earn much of the $450 annual fee back in travel credits. Plus, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to many different airline and hotel partners, including my favorite, Southwest Airlines, as well as Air France, United and Virgin Atlantic.

Key Benefits of Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
  • 3X points on dining and travel; this one-ups Chase Sapphire Preferred, which earns 2X points on dining and travel. Great benefit! You also earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • $300 reimbursement on any travel expenses put on the card each year. This includes hotel, airline, car rental, transportation (bus, cab, train), tolls, parking and cruise line expenses. See complete list.
  • Access to more than 900 Priority Pass Select Airport Lounges around the world.
  • Credit for $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck application fee when purchased with the card once every four years.
  • Discounts at National & Avis Car Rental when paying with your card.
  • Upgrades and other special amenities when staying at Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties.
  • Trip cancellation insurance up to $10,000.
  • Primary car rental collision insurance, which means you DO NOT have to file a claim with your insurance company, resulting in higher rates.
  • $500 per airline ticket for accommodations and meals if your flight is delayed overnight and you paid for your airfare with this card.
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation up to $100,000.
  • $10,000 per claim for damage and theft of new purchases with this card for the first 120 days.
  • And more insurance coverage…

Other Details

Annual Fee: $450, You should earn back $300 in travel expenses and $85-$100 with TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Then you are at a $50-$65 annual fee, which is reasonable.

Interest Rate: 16.49%-23.49%

Authorized Users: $75 annual fee for each authorized user

Reasons You Should Apply for This Card

  • If you think you will use the $300 travel credit quickly and recoup $300 of the $450 annual fee.
  • If you can pay the $450 annual fee charged to your account in the first month by the credit card due date.
  • If someone in your traveling party needs TSA PreCheck, for which you will be refunded the $85 fee when paying with this card.

Reasons You Should Not Apply for This Card

  • If you have not yet applied for or been approved for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Chase Visa personal and business cards and you plan to earn the Southwest Companion Pass (and you should if you want to fly free around the U.S. – learn more in my free guide) or simply want to accrue the points for free flights. Chase will not approve you if you have applied for more than 5 credit cards in the last 24 months, so apply for Southwest cards FIRST and then Chase Sapphire Preferred OR Chase Sapphire Reserve.
  • You don’t have $450 to spend out of pocket on the annual fee and/or can’t pay the $450 charged to your balance within 30 days. Instead, I’d suggest starting with Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has NO ANNUAL FEE for the first year, earns 50,000 bonus points after a $4000 minimum spend and earns 2X points (versus 3X for Reserve) on travel and dining. One of my all-time favorite cards!
  • No one in your traveling party needs TSA PreCheck

Keep in mind that you can only hold EITHER Chase Sapphire Reserve OR Chase Sapphire Preferred, but not both. You can instead, if it’s an option, allow one partner or spouse to hold Reserve while the other holds Preferred.

Will I Apply?

I won’t apply for this one yet as I hold three Chase cards right now and need to wipe balances clean before closing one and applying for another. My husband, however, did apply for the card while it was at the 100,000-point bonus and it netted us four tickets to Ireland entirely on points (plus security fees and fuel surcharges) on Aer Lingus.

If you decide to apply, let me know if you are approved and how you like the card!

Thanks again for starting at the TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS link in the Go to Travel Gal Main Menu if you decide to apply for this card!

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