I just took a big step in maximizing my saving and money earning for travel. Tuesday, November 29th, I went into a Chase Bank and demanded they sign me up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve! Well that’s technically not how it went down. I asked nicely. 🙂
And, I was approved on the spot.
I was hesitant to sign up for this credit card because it has a $450 annual fee! That’s a big chunk of change. I’m a cautious spender when it comes to my money. So the Sapphire Preferred card with the waved first annual fee and only a price tag of $99 seemed more appealing.
But, after calculating all the benefits of the Reserve Card and talking with my brother to confirm this was wise, I got Reserve. And here is why:
The sign up bonus for this card is the largest in the market right now and the largest in travel credit card history (I believe).
This card has a signup bonus of 100,000 points! If you redeem these through Chase Ultimate Rewards it’s worth $1500. Essentially I am getting $1500 for free, just for signing up. All I have to do is spend four grand in three months.
$300 Travel Credit
Every year the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR), gives you a $300 credit. Yes that’s right $300 for FREE. This credit is good for travel purchases.
Now you may be wondering what counts as travel credits. I know I was. I found this pretty well maintained list of purchases that count. Click HERE.
I plan to buy $300 in airBNB credits because I know I will use them to rent a place to stay in Taiwan for a month or more in March.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
Chase will reimburse you $100 for the purchase of a Global Entry or a TSA PreCheck. Global Entry is $100, TSA PreCheck is $85. Global Entry comes with PreCheck. Both last for five years! Hell yes!
Sign me up for free shorter line!
To learn more about Global Entry and PreCheck click HERE.
3X Points on Travel & Restaurants
Even though I am not going to be spending much at restaurants since I am trying to save money. It is great to know that I will be earning 3 points for every dollar.
Travel on the other hand I am really excited about. I will be buying a handful of plane tickets that should help me get some really good points! I’m also going to be taking the Greyhound from Arcata to San Fran at the end of February.
If you’re going to be spending the money anyways you might as well get paid to do it!
No Foreign Transaction Fees
This is pretty standard with travel rewards cards. But it’s great to have.
What this means is that if you use the card in a foreign country and charge it with a foreign currency Chase is not charging you for that transaction. Other than whatever you are spending of course.
I have the Chase Freedom Card. The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back on certain types of shopping throughout the year. They have four separate quarters.
January-March is gas stations and local commuter transport. April-June is grocery stores and wholesale clubs. July-September is restaurants and wholesale clubs. And, October-December is department stores, drug stores, and wholesale clubs.
The 5% cash back is great if you are shopping at these places. But the rewards points are worth less with the Freedom Card. However, you can move these points over to the CSR Ultimate Rewards increasing their value.
The trick here is to use the Freedom Card to score 5% when the CSR would only give you 1% (3% for the restaurants).
The Chase Freedom Card has no annual fee and they have a signup bonus of $150 dollars when you spend only $500 in the first three months. Cake!
Knowing that I was going to be getting a better rewards card from Chase soon I started to only use my Freedom card to get as many points in my Chase account as I can.
Do The Math
Okay let’s do the math here now. For the first year you pay the $450 annual fee but with the travel credit, global entry rebate, and signup bonus ($1900) you profit $1450. This can be more though!
At The Points Guy there is a post about transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards points to their partners to increase their value. They claim it is possible to make the sign up bonus worth $2100. Read the post here.
So that’s a lot of free money and I am more than happy to get it.
“Do the math” reminds me of Chris D’Elia’s drunk girls skit. I think it’s hilarious! Here it is for you to enjoy.