10 benefits that make Chase Sapphire Reserve a must-have for frequent travelers
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers valuable insurance and benefits that are useful for people who travel frequently.
- While it has a $550 annual fee, a $300 annual travel credit makes the cost much more palatable.
- Newly added benefits include memberships to Lyft Pink and DoorDash DashPass, worth a combined $30 per month.
- See Business Insider's list of the best rewards credit cards »
One of the biggest reasons I prefer to use my credit card when shopping and traveling is that I get insurance and protections. For frequent travel, a credit card with good trip insurance is essential. For situations from delayed flights to lost bags to car rentals, a quality travel rewards card offers huge value and helps justify a high annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best elite credit cards for travel rewards enthusiasts. Not only does it earn you valuable points, but it also comes with several insurance and protection benefits that can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over time. Here's a look at the top features that make the Chase Sapphire Reserve a must-have for frequent travelers.
Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.
1. Airport lounge access
My favorite Chase Sapphire Reserve benefit is a complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select. This membership gets you access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world. I was just in a lounge in Baltimore and enjoyed a free drink, snacks, fast internet, and clean bathrooms just a short walk from my gate.
A comparable plan would cost $429 per year if purchased directly from Priority Pass. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, membership is included.
2. Up to $300 in travel credit each year
There's no denying that a $550 annual fee is a lot. But if you'd have spent at least $300 per year on travel anyway, it feels like a lot less. The Sapphire Reserve card reimburses the first $300 you spend per year on travel.
On my recent Baltimore trip, the credit covered my hotel and airport parking completely. This credit makes the card's annual fee effectively $250 per year.
3. TSA Trusted Traveler program credit
Every time I walk into an airport in the US, I look out for the expedited TSA PreCheck line. PreCheck is an awesome program for regular flyers. You can buy it on its own for $85 every five years or get the higher-level Global Entry, which also helps you skip lines at customs on the way back into the US, for $100 every five years.
With Chase Sapphire Reserve, pay for your application fee and the card will credit you back the cost up to $100 every four years.
4. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
In late 2018, I took my dad on an amazing trip to Israel. I used points to cover the flights, but I did make some hotel reservations with my credit card. Flying my dad out of Denver and having him change planes at Newark in December is always a weather risk. If something went wrong and he couldn't make it on time, trip cancellation and interruption insurance would kick in to cover the cost.
The Sapphire Reserve card has one of the best travel insurance packages around. If you ever have to cancel or stop a trip due to weather, for medical reasons, or other covered situations, you'll be very glad to have made the reservation with the Sapphire Reserve.
5. Auto rental collision damage waiver
When renting a car, the rental companies almost always try to upsell me with $10 to $20 per day insurance on the car. When you make the reservation with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, however, that insurance is a hard pass.
The card's coverage will pay for collision damage or theft up to the value of the vehicle. While that doesn't include rare things like hail damage or flood damage, it covers most common situations.
6. Lost luggage reimbursement
In college, I took an amazing trip to Israel. The only problem was that my bags didn't make it there with me. It took over a week for my late bags to make their way from Dallas to Tel Aviv. At least my bags made it. But if they hadn't, this card would have paid for my lost stuff.
The card includes lost luggage reimbursement coverage. If you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is lost or damaged by the airline, you get coverage of up to $3,000 per passenger.
7. Trip delay reimbursement
Delays can mess up reservations and add new costs to any travel. If you have travel booked with a common carrier and are delayed by six hours or more, or require an overnight stay, you are covered for a hotel and meals up to $500 per ticket if you paid for the reservation with the Sapphire Reserve.
8. No foreign transaction fees
Using your credit card around the US is a given with any card, but what happens when you want to travel somewhere else? Some cards charge fees of around 3% on top of every foreign transaction. But with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can use the card anywhere in the world that Visa is accepted and you won't pay anything extra.
9. Some of the best points around
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable travel currencies available. You'll earn 3 points per dollar on dining and travel, 10 points per dollar with Lyft, and 1x everywhere else. New cardholders can earn a 50,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
Points are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel when booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. You can get even more value in many cases transferring points to travel partners like United, Southwest, and Marriott.
10. Savings with Lyft and DoorDash
The annual fee for the Sapphire Reserve went up by $100 around the start of 2020, but the card also picked up some new benefits at the same time. The card now includes a complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership that regularly costs $19.99 per month and includes a handful of benefits like 15% off rides. The card also gives you a DoorDash DashPass subscription that normally costs $9.99 per month and features discounts when ordering on DoorDash.
Those two benefits are worth about $360 per year for the base cost and even more if you're a regular user.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a powerhouse travel credit card
When it comes to luxury travel benefits and protections, few cards are in the same league as the Chase Sapphire Reserve. While the $550 annual fee is substantial, it's well worth it for many people who regularly fly, stay in hotels, cruise, and explore the world. For me, it's a no brainer.
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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.