Chase Sapphire Reserve US$300 Travel Credit Used Up In The First Week, US$100 Renewal Bonus Credited

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Each year I try to re-evaluate my credit card strategy and this year I thought about whether to cancel my Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa Infinite card but ultimately decided to keep it following a renewal bonus offer.

Now within the first week of receiving both my $100 renewal credit as well as the reset of the annual $300 travel credit I was already able to use up the entire credit for various eligible purchases.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a wide portfolio of benefits as well as credits and has become one of my primary credit cards in recent years.

Early 2020 Chase announced they’d increase the annual fee by $100 from $450 to $550 but then the pandemic struck and Chase has credited existing card members with $100 to keep the old annual fee.

What kept me convinced to keep the card is that the Sapphire Reserve does come with an extremely flexible $300 travel credit that is pretty much as good as cash. It’s good for public transport, taxis, UBER/Lyft and can – as an exception during these times – also be used for grocery and gas purchases during 2021.

The flexibility of this credit is what really convinced me a long time ago that it’s probably the cards strongest argument:

While an annual fee of US$550 is on the high end of the market, in the case of this particular card I already got $400 of it back within the first ten days.

As far as the associated credits such as the DoorDash/Lyft memberships and credit as well as the Peloton Fitness membership, I usually use none of these but I do charge them to my cards because the transactions do earn a few extra points and I get the charge reimbursed. The Global Entry credit usually goes to friends and family as I can only use one of them every five years.

I’d argue that everyone needs to shop at the supermarket, get gas or use some form of transportation so these $300 Chase provides in credits take the blow off the $450 price tag. Primary rental car insurance and the Priority Pass without the limitations for airport restaurants make up for the rest, not even counting the decent point accrual rates and “Pay Yourself Back” redemption feature (1 point = 1.5 cent value) in 2020/2021. I have already used 10,5xx points for a $155 statement credit this year, pretty much making this card a zero sum game.

This makes it easier to upkeep a second personal premium card such as the American Express Platinum that I keep exclusively for air ticket purchases and Centurion Lounge / Plaza Premium Lounge access. The points earning ratio and practical use of the associated travel credits of the U.S. Platinum Card are generally horrible.

Right now banks are apparently getting desperate for new customers as we see record high sign up bonuses both at Chase and American Express. Maybe a good time to profit from this and sign up/churn the one or other card if still eligible. Also check with friends if they can refer you and double dip on the bonuses!

Conclusion

In the first 10 days after my annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card posten I already got all but $150 of it back in the form of credits on purchases I’d have otherwise paid 100% in cash. For the remainder of the fee I used Pay Yourself Back for a $150 statement credit.

Are you happy with your Sapphire Reserve Card? What are your alternatives to carry and charge your daily purchases to?

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