There are some types of cards, whether they are store credit cards, travel cards, hotel cards, or just your average credit card that are worth having because of the benefits they accrue for the user during the course of the year. There are cards with annual fees and those with no annual fee, and obviously many people opt for the zero dollar price because it allows the user all the benefits at zero cost to them. The cards that do have an annual fee such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve with Lounge Access can come with a hefty fee, making you wonder whether or not the card is worth getting at all. For the Chase Sapphire Reserve card it is an eye watering $450 a year, so we need to look into the details to find out who would use such a card and why. To answer the “who” part of the question, it is definitely a card for frequent flyers and travelers. Few casual flyers will be able to justify the cost of the card, unless it is strictly for bragging rights. As for the “why” part of the answer, take a look at these 10 benefits that are available that will help you make your final decision about plunking down the money for this prestigious card.
1. A $300 travel credit each year
Though you have to use the $300 on your travel and dining expenses (you don’t get a check in the mail) if you are a frequent flyer this amounts to a free airline ticket (or two) or a whole lot of free food. It amounts to being free cash because you’re going to be traveling anyway, right? If you plan your travel just right, you can save $600 in less than 30 days by flying at the end of the calendar year and the beginning of the New Year.
2. A $100 precheck credit every year
Even casual flyers know the hassle you have to go through waiting for TSA to screen you and your body cavities. A precheck pass gives you the opportunity to get pre-approved for security, resulting in a virtually hassle-free airport experience. Some airlines require a fee to be paid for the precheck pass, and saving this $100 is an added bonus to make your frequent flying a significantly better experience.
3. The 3 for 1 bonus reward points
Regardless of the type of card you have, in most cases it is all about the bonus points. Chase Sapphire Reserve cards offer a very nice 3 points for every $1 spent, making using the card on a regular basis well worth the annual fee. Combined with the Travel Bonus and the Precheck Bonus, just using the card monthly will have it paying for itself in no time.
4. Access to early bonus points
Early points are those available if you spend a certain number of dollars within a specific period of time. The Chase card requires that you spend only $4,000 over the first 3 months to get an additional 50,000 bonus points. That may sound like a lot but when you pause to consider you only need to spend $1,666 a month on average, it might be a business trip or two every month.
5. Zero foreign transaction fees
Anyone who travels regularly knows how foreign transaction fees can add up quickly. This is a feature of the card that actually does put real money in your bank account right away. If you are not sure of how much you spend on foreign transaction fees, you should check last month’s or last year’s bank statements and add up the total. It will help you decide whether this card can hold its value.
6. Meaningful savings on car rentals
If you travel regularly you will also be including the cost of a rental car with the trip expenses. Chase Sapphire Reserve card has agreements with major car rental brands such as Avis and National Car that will get you special deals. Driving a rental car can be a pricey proposition without car rental insurance, and here Chase has you covered with a $0 cost benefit to you. The benefit pays for $75,000 worth of collision insurance as well as auto theft, so you have what you need without having to pay 10 cents for insurance.
7. Lost luggage coverage
We have all heard the stories about how someone’s luggage ended up in Hawaii instead of New York City. As long as you don’t pack in more than $3,000 worth of property in your suitcases and travel bags, Chase has you covered. And yes, it applies to your carry-on pieces as well.
8. Shop ‘til you drop benefits
While the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is primarily aimed at frequent travelers, frequent travelers are shoppers too. You likely won’t be able to recoup the $450 annual fee simply by shopping, but if you already have the card there is no sense in letting bonus points and benefits pass you by. The card’s purchase protection covers all your purchases if they are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase. There are limits: you are only allowed 5 claims per year, and each claim cannot exceed $10,000 in value.
9. VIP Lounge access
This benefit is largely for frequent travelers, as there is nothing like a calm place to relax while awaiting boarding your flight than an airport lounge. This is the “Lounge Access” part of the card benefit, and the value lies in the fact that other types of cards require you to pay an “admissions fee” for entry to the best airport lounges. Here, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has you covered and comfortable.
10. Low balance transfer fee
If you have already decided that this is the card that best fits your needs, you can make a smooth transition by taking advantage of the card’s $5 maximum balance transfer fee. The default is 5 percent, and there are few cards that have a lower balance transfer fee.