Chase Sapphire Reserve – The Best Travel Rewards Credit Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card officially came out August 22, 2016. It has since been dubbed by many travel hacking gurus as the best travel rewards credit card, and I completely agree. I applied for the CSR late on 8/22 after getting back from New York. To my disappointment, I didn’t get instant approval as Chase needed more time to consider my application. I called Chase’s reconsideration line on 8/23 and after speaking to the customer service representative, I was approved. He mentioned that I would’ve gotten instant approval but my address wasn’t recognized by their system. Anyways, this leads into a major travel hacking key: Just because you get denied for a card or the credit card company needs more time to review your application doesn’t mean you can’t get approved for the card. Putting a call into reconsideration lines can do wonders. Even if you initially were denied you could still get approved, it just takes a little perseverance, which is definitely worth it when the reward is thousands of dollars in free travel.
Back to the CSR. I received my card 7 calendar days after getting approved. For me, the most important perks of this card are:
- 100k Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus (after spending $4k in the first 3 months)
- 3x rewards on travel and dining (my two largest expenses other than my car)
- $300 annual travel credit
- No foreign transaction fees
The 100k UR sign-up bonus alone is valued at $1,500 in travel (1.5 cents per point). I’ve heard some rumblings that people won’t be signing up for the CSR because there is a $450 annual fee that comes with it. I would seriously caution against this way of thinking. When you take into account the $300 annual travel credit, the effective annual fee is only $150 as long as you spend at least $300 on travel in a given year. Compared to other cards, the CSR’s annual fee is a drop in the bucket. Moral of the story is don’t get hung up the annual fee because this card is definitely worth it.
And I’m not the only FIGUY taking advantage of the CSR. Mrs. FIGUY1 got the instant approval for the CSR 2 days ago and FIGUY1 will be applying for his own CSR after they hit the minimum spend on hers. I have to say, I’m pretty jealous of FIGUY1 and Mrs. FIGUY1 and their travel hacking journey because they can double up their rewards! So for the CSR they will be getting a combined sign-up bonus of 200k UR points and combined annual travel credit of $600. That’s $3,600 in free travel right there, and that’s not even counting points earned on purchases! As you can see, travel hacking can be a pretty lucrative hobby.
Chase, in addition to having the best travel rewards credit card (in my opinion), also has the second best travel rewards card: Chase Sapphire Preferred. The CSR is basically the CSP on steroids. I’ll have a post coming out soon on the CSP, but now just think of it like the CSR is the CSP’s older, smarter, and more well-rounded brother.