There is a new player in town. For those of you that are into churning, if you travel significantly for work or pleasure, OR you are planning a big trip soon there’s a new credit card available that might be too good to pass up.
The card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Here are the perks:
- 100,000 point sign-up bonus
- $300 annual travel credit
- 3x points on travel and dining, 1x point everything else
- Points are worth 1.5x when spent on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Free GlobalEntry application
- Access to premier airport lounges all over the world
- and plenty more…
Sounds great right? Here’s the fine print. In order to get that 100,000 point sign on bonus, you need to spent $4,000 in the first 3 months. Not an impossible task, and definitely do-able with some artificial spending, if required. If you pay for everything with this card, you should be able to hit that without too much issue.
Oh yeah, did I mention the $450 annual fee? Ouch*.
Lets look at that, though. While yes, there is a $450/yr fee, you automatically get $300/yr in travel credit (automatically reimbursed on your statement), free application for GlobalEntry ($100), plus when used for travel, those 100,000 points are worth $1,500! Additionally, the $300/yr is per calendar year, and the annual fee is based on when you receive the card. That means if you get the card at the end of the year, say November, you can get that credit for this year, and the next, and if you cancel the card before the next November, you won’t pay another annual fee.
So let’s add all that up. $1,500 (travel points bonus), $100 (GlobalEntry), $600 (travel credit). $2,200 – $450 = $1,750 in benefits if you keep the card for just one year! If you keep the card longer, the travel credit reimbursement effectively reduces the annual fee to $150.
$150/year. That’s still CRAZY! Get rid of that thing before you hit 12 months. But wait, what if I actually DO travel a significant amount, like a person who this card is designed for? How much would I need to travel to actually offset the annual fee?
Well each $1 spent on travel is 3 points earned and if I spend those points on travel they’re worth 50% more on the portal. Therefore, I need 10,000 points to get the equivalent of $150 worth of redemption. 10,000/3 = $3,333 spent on travel in a year. Now, I don’t travel nearly that much, but there are definitely some people who do, for fun or for business. So for those people, this card might actually make some sense.
So why do I bring this up? I think I’m going to get it. But why, you say? Because I’m planning a big trip next year, and could pay for our flights and more just with the bonus points. By paying $450 to chase, I will save more than twice that on our trip.
* I’ve always vehemently opposed paying any sort of fee for a credit card, but I just can’t beat the math on this one.
** There are no referral codes or any financial incentive for me to push this card. I just think it’s a great opportunity!