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Even if you’re still not traveling much at the moment, you might want to get a rewards credit card to rack up points and miles for flights and hotel stays when you do hit the road again.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve remains one of the best travel cards for both casual vacationers and hardcore road warriors alike. Right now, the card is offering a higher-than-normal welcome offer of 60,000 bonus points. Its more affordable sister card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, is also currently offering a massive 80,000-point welcome bonus, too—a value of up to $1,000 when redeemed through Chase’s travel portal.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are some of the most flexible and valuable travel rewards on the market. They can be redeemed at a 1:1 ratio to more than a dozen top airline and hotel partners (more on that below).
Both cards are positively packed with valuable perks. Depending on the card, those benefits can range from a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, access to airport lounges, and statement credits toward travel and grocery purchases. Both the Reserve and the Preferred also offer comprehensive protections for travel reservations purchased on the cards, such as trip cancellation, interruption, and delay insurance, car rental insurance, as well as coverage for lost and delayed luggage.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred rewards and benefits, and how to make the most of them.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
New Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Those points are worth $1,000 when redeemed through Chase’s online travel portal.
This year, Chase has added a host of new statement credits for Preferred cardholders to cash in, meaning this card has even more benefits than usual. For starters, those with the Preferred can now enroll in a free DashPass membership from DoorDash, which means $0 delivery fees and reduced service charges on orders of $12 or more. Through the end of year, the Preferred is offering $60 back on certain exercise memberships with Peloton. Chase has also added the ability to earn up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery store purchases within the first year of account opening.
Preferred cardholders can get 25 percent more value from their points with Chase’s temporary Pay Yourself Back feature, which allows you to redeem points for statement credits against existing purchases in rotating categories.
It’s easy to accrue plenty of points with the Preferred: It earns two points per dollar on travel purchases; two points per dollar on dining, including select takeout and delivery services; and one point per dollar on all other purchases.
Annual fee: $95
Learn more about applying here.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is currently offering new applicants a welcome bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Those points are worth $900 toward travel when redeemed directly through the Chase travel portal.
Every account year, Reserve cardholders receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel charges made to their card, including flight, hotel, and car rental bookings, which can take some of the sting out of the card’s annual fee. Through December 31, 2021, cardholders will be able to put the $300 travel credit toward purchases at gas stations and grocery stores, too. Chase has also launched a temporary Pay Yourself Back feature that allows cardholders to redeem points for statement credits against existing purchases in rotating categories. (Ultimate Rewards points are worth 50 percent more when redeemed that way.)
Travelers with the Reserve get a $100 statement credit toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership every four years. The card also comes with a Priority Pass select membership, which gives Reserve holders and up to two guests access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.
On a day-to-day basis, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns three points per dollar on a broad range of travel purchases, including airline tickets and hotels, but also Airbnbs, taxis, ride-shares, cruises, and even tolls and parking meters. The card racks up three points per dollar on dining, including many takeout and delivery services. If travel and dining are normally two of your largest expense areas, this card can really help you rack up the points quickly. It earns one point per dollar on all other purchases
Annual fee: $550
Learn more about applying here.
How can you use those points?
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem the Ultimate Rewards points they earn with their card in a number of ways. Points are worth 1.5 cents apiece toward travel booked directly through Chase’s own travel portal, which is powered by Expedia. For a point of comparison, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has a $95 annual fee, your per-point value is just 1.25 cents. Put another way, let’s say you found a $200 airline ticket and wanted to book it using your points. With the Reserve, you’d need just 13,334 of them to do so.
However, Ultimate Rewards points are also transferable to 13 different airline and hotel loyalty programs at a ratio of one Chase point to one airline or hotel point. Those transfer partners are:
Airline Partner Programs
· Aer Lingus AerClub
· Air France/KLM Flying Blue
· British Airways Executive Club
· Emirates Skywards
· Iberia Plus
· JetBlue TrueBlue
· Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
· Southwest Rapid Rewards
· United MileagePlus
· Virgin Atlantic
Hotel Partner Programs
· World of Hyatt
· IHG Rewards Club
· Marriott Bonvoy
Transferring points can make a lot of sense for high-value redemptions like international business or first-class fares, or for suites at luxury hotels. The flexibility cardmembers have to transfer points and book travel when needed rather than having to commit to a single airline or hotel chain and spend years earning miles or points can be extremely useful.
Learn more about applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred here.
Learn more about applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve here.
Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
This story was last published in August 2020. It has since been updated with new information. Additional reporting by Jessica Puckett.
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