Waiting on Data Points
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has been a hot topic in the travel hacking community over the past few weeks. When the Chase Sapphire Reserve was released on August 22nd, I waited for a bit to see data points regarding the Chase Sapphire Reserve applications. Much to my dismay, it was clear that the 5/24 rule was being applied to online applications. Unfortunately, I have more than 5 new credit cards account in the past 24 months so I would likely get denied. Sad day. There were data points that people over 5/24 were getting approved by having pre-approval when visiting a Chase branch. I went into a local Chase branch to see if I was pre-approved, but no luck there either. So where did that leave us?
Well luckily my wife is at 3 cards in the past 24 months (thanks to the fact that I was able to remove her AU on my Chase Sapphire Preferred). My wife doesn’t have many credit cards yet and doesn’t like having too many open in her name. However, she’s definitely warmed up to the idea after seeing all the money we have saved on our travels over the past year.
My wife applied for the card on August 27th and she was approved! This didn’t come as too much of a surprise to me since she has a good credit score and our household income is above average.
Now this card does come with a kind of hefty annual fee of $450. It also costs $75 for each additional authorized user card. I decided to add myself as an authorized user to help my wife meet minimum spend. It also means I will be able to have priority pass lounge access as well as take advantage of many of the other travel benefits, which I’ll discuss later.
Total cost for us: $525
Update 9/30: I was able to “cancel” my AU card and receive $75 back. However, because the cards have the same exact card number, I can still use my AU card for purchases. I haven’t tried using the Priority Pass yet, but I will test that later on.
Now what makes this card worth $525 to us? I’ll primarily highlight the benefits that I know we’ll take advantage of:
Annual Travel Credit – Value: $300
Based on all the early data points, it looks like the credit applies to a variety of different travel expenses (i.e. hotels, flights, etc). This is basically as good as cashback to us.
Ultimate Rewards Portal – Value: $100
I wasn’t really sure how to assign value to this benefit, but with the Chase Sapphire Reserve you can redeem Ultimate Rewards at 1.5 cents per point. This means if we wanted to book a hotel that costs $100/night, it would cost us roughly 6,667 Ultimate Rewards. If you only have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can get 1.25 cents per point. That means the same $100 hotel would cost 8,000 Ultimate Rewards. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but these savings can add up. I’m not sure how often I’ll use the portal, but it is useful when booking paid stays or flights deals.
3x UR on Travel/Dining – Value: $105
Since we would normally get 2 UR/$1 if we used the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the extra 1 UR/$1 spent probably will get us an extra ~7,000 UR over the course of a year. This is based on the fact that we spend roughly ~$7k per year on travel and dining. This obviously can fluctuate, but it’s my best estimate. An additional 7,000 UR is worth roughly $105 (based on the Ultimate Rewards Portal mentioned above) or more.
Primary Car Rental Insurance – $100
We have this feature on my wife’s Chase Sapphire Preferred, but we’ll downgrade that card as soon as the annual fee hits next March. I’ve never actually had to file a claim, but it allows us to decline coverage provided by the car rental companies.
Global Entry or TSA Pre Fee Credit – $25
My wife and I have the NEXUS already, which includes Global Entry. I’ll probably offer this credit to a friend or something. Therefore, we won’t get the full $100 value.
Priority Pass Lounge Access – $150
My wife and I got our first taste of airport lounge access from my AMEX Platinum card. It makes the airport experience significantly better. Free food/drinks, comfortable seating, and wi-fi. What more could you ask for? The lounge access that comes with this credit card provides access for the main account holder and authorized users. It also allows for guest access.
100,000 Ultimate Rewards – Value: $1,500
I love Chase Ultimate Rewards. At a base level, 100k UR is worth roughly $1.5k due to portal redemptions.
If you do the math, we will have approximately $2,180 in estimated benefits compared to $525 in costs. Not a bad profit. Of course we’ll only benefit from the sign up bonus for this first year. We’ll definitely have to re-evaluate whether this card is worth keeping for the second year. However, I have a feeling that this card is going to be a long-term keeper for us.