If you have more than one credit card it is clear that not all credit cards are created equal. Add to this fact that if you are paying an annual fee on any of your cards you need to get the most out of what you are paying for. Having to deal with an annual fee of $30 while paying an APR of 21.99% hardly seems like a good use of your money or credit line.
Now we come to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Concierge card, which comes with a hefty annual fee of $450. Anyone who is paying that much to have that kind of credit card better know what their benefits are, and how to make the most of those benefits. For those unacquainted with this particular brand of Chase card, it is intended mostly for frequent travelers who will be able to get the most from that $450 annual fee.
The Travel Credit
First, you have a travel credit of $300 a year once you are accepted for the card. This credit is useless unless you travel regularly, so for most Concierge card holders the annual fee drops to only $150 for all practical purposes. Then there is the $100 Global Entry bonus that allows you to speed your way through those annoying airport security check lines. Since the vast majority of frequent travelers will use the Global Entry option, the annual fee for the card drops another $100 and now costs a mere $50.
With the first two goals accomplished we now move on to how you can get the most for your $50 annual fee. If you are not traveling alone, you can add an authorized user for $75. This may not seem like an advantage, but they will have all the benefits of the Sapphire Concierge card that you do, so all those bonus points and cash back rewards associated with the card can be multiplied by two (or more).
Making Points Count
Now we arrive at one of the main purposes of having a reward points card – amassing as many points as possible. One strategy to maximize this number is to combine your Chase Sapphire Concierge card with your Chase Freedom credit card. (If you don’t have one, now is as good a time as any to add one to your wallet.) The most important reason is to transfer bonus points between the cards and heap them into one lump sum. Another reason is to take advantage of the cash back feature of the Freedom card and use the accumulated points to get a higher value when connected to the Sapphire card.
Frequent flyers know that being delayed at an airport is more of an inevitability than a matter of random chance. Here is where the choice of a Chase Freedom card in concert with your Chase Concierge card can pay off. The Concierge card will reimburse you for up to $500 if your flight is delayed for 6 hours or more for any unreimbursed lodging and meal expenses. One caveat is that your airline ticket must have been purchased using a qualified Chase card, which the Freedom card just happens to be. The $500 covers the cost of an above average hotel and you don’t have to settle for McDonalds (unless you are stuck in a place where top shelf food is McDonalds). Still, either way you break even or maybe come out ahead.
Utilizing Your Concierge
The word that can be missed while counting bonus reward points is “concierge.” Yet this is one of the most important features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Concierge card. With your concierge services comes the opportunity to book dinner reservations, access quality seats for music concerts and sporting events, and potentially be eligible for a hotel room upgrade from the VISA Luxury Hotel Collection. These are perks that often come in handy when trying to impress a potential client or simply get great seats for a concert. People who have a Chase Concierge card often speak of how they get great seats at the last minute by using this benefit.
Frequent travelers often end up frequently renting a car, and the Chase Concierge card allows you to use it as your source of primary car insurance coverage when traveling. What this means is that instead of you first having to file a claim with your primary car insurance company (not Chase) you can file directly with Chase and speed up the claim process considerably. You are covered for up to $75,000 for damage and theft done to your car. Keep in mind liability is not included, so you will want to have a separate liability policy to prevent any potential loss of income or assets.
Cash Back Perks
For everyday purchases, which the Chase Concierge card can also be used for with a 1% cash back bonus, you should make those more expensive purchases using your Concierge card. The reason is that if anything you purchase becomes lost or stolen it will be reimbursed for an amount up to $75,000. Chase has the option of replacing or repairing the item depending on the merchant, and the claim must be filed with Chase within 90 days of the event. There is a limit of five claims per calendar year, though the majority of people do not approach this maximum.
At the end you are left with the question of whether this list of features and benefits can be used to the maximum to get the maximum use out of your $450 annual fee. As the card is intended for frequent travelers, unless you have a number of friends or relatives around the world to put you up for a night or a week, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Concierge card will pay for itself – and then some. It has the reputation of being one of the best overall travel cards on the market, and combined with an “ordinary” Chase Freedom card you can accumulate literally tens of thousands of points simply by doing normal traveling.
Written by Bill Vix
Read more posts by Bill Vix