So, you’ve probably heard me talk about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card a few times already and you may think I’m promoting them as a crazy fanboy. I can assure you, my recommendation comes from my experience with the ownership of this premium credit card and the value in terms of benefits I have derived from it.
Do take this with a grain of salt as I travel once almost every month and fly internationally once every three months so your mileage may vary (ymmv).
What’s the $450 for?
That is the annual fee of the card.
It includes a $300 travel credit which is automatically redeemed when making any travel related purchases such as – guided tours, parking, air/land/sea tickets, etc… .
Thus cost of ownership drops to $150 effectively.
In the first year of ownership, meeting the minimum spend of $4000 in three months gives you 50,000 UR points which can be redeemed in different ways. Read here to find out more.
You also get $100 towards global entry or TSA Pre✓. This basically means if approved, you can skip the long immigration lines when entering the US.
So year one cost is effectively $50.
The benefits – why am I crazy about it?
1. Lounge access: Priority Pass.
This alone has been the highest value benefit I have obtained. In three months, I’ve visited over 12 airports and used 10 lounges to have free food/drinks.
Fact is if you were to have an equivalent deal at the airport, expect to shell out at least $15-20 per person. With priority pass I can take up to three guests with me.
I recently flew into Doha just after having climbed Kilimanjaro. I needed a shower, a desperate shave and the lounge access here enabled me to get both without having to spend a penny out of pocket. Personally, I value this a lot and knowing I have access to this benefit is a great relief for me.
Amex platinum also offers this benefit plus access to Centurion Lounges (albeit limited in locations – but damn amazing).
2. Baggage Claim in terms of delay.
One leg of my flights, my bags did not arrive so in addition to the $100/day from the airline, I received an additional allowance from Chase as I am protected under it’s benefits guide. It is a lengthy paperwork process to document and provide but worth the effort especially since you can effectively buy stuff like shirts/jeans you were maybe on the fence for.
Admittedly, I always carry an extra set of clothes in hand luggage but why not make good of an opportunity to shop for clothes when it takes 2-3 days for your bags to arrive.
3. Travel insurance covers family members
This is a big one as booking my parent’s tickets on my card enables them to have almost all privileges as I would even if I am not traveling with them. They also get lounge access without me present using the Priority Pass App (in locations that accept digital entry).
4. Primary Collision Damage Waiver
If and when you’re renting a car, no matter if you have personal vehicle insurance or not, Chase will cover up to $75,000 in damages to the rental – a great benefit to have.
Admittedly there are more benefits that make this card a great choice and a must have worth it card for year one of ownership. The fact that I’ve been able to amass over 150,000 points in three months of spending on family/friends (with them paying me back) gives me the flexibility to transfer these points out to transfer partners for bookings making them worth well more than $2800 in value.
Possibilities after year one of ownership
The Amex platinum is a very well matched card but the biggest downside to it is that it is a charge card and second, there is no downgrade option. The CSR can be downgraded after year one to the Freedom cards ( free to own) and the time period of ownership of the card remains the same.
If you’re interested in getting the card, be prepared to –
1. Pay it off on time,
2. Not keep a balance to avoid the high interest rates,
3. Have payments equalling $4000 in the first three months to get the sign-up bonus.