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Last year I was travelin’ fool. I quit my full-time job and decided to consult just so I could travel. I was on a plane every single month, whether it was a two-hour flight to Seattle or a 22-hour flight to Sydney.
To prepare myself for such frequent travel, I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve when they were offering the crazy awesome limited-time 100,000 bonus points that ran from August 2016 to March 2017. They’ve since stopped running that promotion, but still have a pretty sweet deal for 50,000 bonus points.
In order to receive the bonus, I had to spend $4,000 within the first three months, which I had zero problems doing. The bonus broke down to about $1,500 in travel, so the $450 annual fee didn’t prevent me from getting the card.
I opened the card in March 2017, and since then, I’ve used it for almost every single purchase. I probably racked up close to 150,000 points in the last few years, in addition to the 100,000 bonus points I received.
Tip: The two biggest ways I’ve managed to rack up points is by booking flights through the Chase.com portal and using the card at restaurants. Both categories give me 3X the points.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Perks
Even though my travel has slowed down significantly since March, I still use the card daily and continue to rack up points. Here are the top five reasons I love my and why I use it for just about everything.
1. There are no blackout dates for travel
When I used to travel coast-to-coast frequently, I used the American Airlines Citi AAdvantage Platinum card. I loathed the restrictions and blackout dates. Planning a simple trip from L.A. to NYC became a juggling act of aligning the dates and times with meetings. Not fun.
I appreciate that I never have to experience this with Chase Sapphire Reserve. As long as there’s a seat on the flight, I can book it.
One thing to note is that when you book through the Chase portal for flights, you won’t always get a seat assignment. At first, this seemed pretty scary, but I never had a problem getting a seat. A lot of times, I had to go to the ticket counter to get my seat assignment and paper ticket.
2. I get $300 in travel credit each year
In addition to the sign-up bonus I received, Chase offers a $300 travel credit each yearas reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. The credit applies to purchases related to hotels, motels, timeshares, discount travel sites, toll bridges, parking, and more.
I don’t need to register to receive the credit and it resets each calendar year in January. This is definitely a reward in regards to Chase Sapphire Reserve perks.
3. I earn 3X the points on travel and dining
Since traveling and dining out kind of go hand in hand, earning 3X the points was easy for me since my spending was heavy in both categories. Note that you earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit.
It also helped a lot when I traveled internationally and was still able to earn points while abroad (some credit card companies won’t allow you to earn points if you’re overseas). I also since the Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t charge any.
Tip: I also have a Chase Ink and Chase Freedom, so I combine the points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card once a quarter (even though you can combine points at any time).
4. I have access to Priority Pass Lounges at airports
Sometimes, you don’t know what you’re missing until you experience it. In all my years of travel, I never really had access to airport lounges unless I was with friends who had access.
One of the Chase Sapphire Reserve perks is that I have access to lounges at over 1,200 airports worldwide. There were moments when the crowds at airports were so completely draining, seeing a lounge nearby was a godsend.
I got into the habit of arriving at airports early just so I could sit in the lounge and get some work done before my flight. I’d pile my plate with plenty of fruit and snacks. Let’s not forget the occasional wine or cocktail!
Note: If you’re thinking about getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve and want to take advantage of , you need to sign up for it separately. Use their app and update it regularly so you can easily locate Priority Pass lounges at airports around the world.
4. I got reimbursed $100 for Global Entry
One of the biggest Chase Sapphire Reserve perks for people that travel internationally is that Chase reimburses you the $100 application fee for a Global Entry card. The card gives you expedited clearance when traveling back to the U.S. from a foreign country. In a nutshell, you can skip long lines at passport control and customs.
I signed up for my appointment at the Global Entry Enrollment Center, which was at the San Francisco International Airport. I applied in April but wasn’t able to secure an interview until November.
Despite the long wait, I happily showed up. After being asked a few questions with a sheepish border patrol agent, I received my card in the mail about a week later.
I traveled internationally three times after receiving the card, so it definitely came in handy. There’s nothing quite like skipping a massive line when you’ve been traveling for 20 hours!
5. Concierge and customer service are really awesome
Anytime I need to call Chase, I never wait long to speak to someone. Plus, they’re open 24/7.
I had to call customer service when I left my card at a restaurant in Lake Tahoe and didn’t realize it until I got home. Within two days, I had a new card FedExed to me for free.
Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with concierge service provided by Visa Infinite Concierge Service. A lot of people don’t even realize this exists, which is such a shame!
Concierge helped me out when I was traveling in Las Vegas and needed tickets to a sold-out show. I called, and by some miracle, they were able to get me tickets!
So, while I don’t have any major travel plans in the near future, I’m quietly racking away points for my big snowboarding trip to Japan next year. Chase Sapphire Reserve perks are the reason why this will remain my go-to card. The alluring benefits and easy ways to rack up points make this card great.
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