The most frequent question I am asked is what credit card a person should apply for. “The best one! What is it?” Granted, this answer is highly relative to the individual, greatly dependent upon one’s personal travel goals.
A Californian who doesn’t travel a ton but is partnered and likes Southwest should be seriously considering the Southwest Premier Plus right now, for example. The card is nothing special for everyday spending, but with the current Companion Pass offer, it’s a no-brainer.
I’m a big fan of the American Express Platinum Business card too, which I keep in my wallet, even though I’m not a big fan of American Express Membership Rewards points.
But if I have to nominate my choice for the single, number one card out there, in terms of perks, sign-up bonuses and ability to leverage spending to earn the most useful, versatile and valuable points, I choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve, without question.
There are lots of great points programs out there. Go back to this post to learn more about how they are all different. The one program that best-combines versatility in its points with the ability to transfer directly and immediately to a wide swath of valuable programs is Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Chase’s Program is partners with airlines in every alliance, as well as Southwest; it allows you to transfer points with ease to Hyatt. All my bases are covered by this program.
So if, for example, you like staying at Hyatt properties, a mere 15,000 points will save you as much as $500 off a night’s stay at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme. That’s more than 3 cents’ value per point!
If you have a Companion Pass on Southwest, and transfer UR Points there, you’ll maximize a redemption value hovering between 2.8 and 3.2 cents/point too!
And don’t forget, UR points transfer to Korean Air for easy access to one of the world’s best, cheapest and most easily-accessible first class products in the sky!
The Sapphire Reserve comes with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus. That’s not quite as flashy as the 100,000 point sign-up bonus that was offered last year when the card was first released, but 50,000 is still a TON of points.
If, for example, you decided not to transfer those points to another airline or hotel program but, instead, to use them to directly purchase airfare through Chase, 50,000 points represents $750 in free airfare! The sign-up bonus alone pays for the card for almost two years!
The Sapphire Reserve gives a return of 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, above and beyond almost every other card out there. Just by spending $3,000 in these categories a year, you will make up for the increased cost in the card over the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
I earn tens of thousands of points per year from this card, worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
The Sapphire Reserve comes with more perks too:
- $300 in travel reimbursement credit, applied immediately to your card each year upon purchase.
- Membership in Priority Pass, to access airport lounges around the world.
- Car rental primary insurance coverage.
- A slick looking, metal card.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “That’s all well and fine, David, but I can’t afford a $450 credit card!”
Yes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve costs $450 per year. But give me a minute to do the math for you.
The annual fee is immediately offset by the travel credit, so if you are already spending $300 or more on travel per year, the Sapphire Reserve’s out of pocket cost is dropped immediately to $150 per year.
As I already mentioned, the additional points earned from the card quickly offset the remaining cost – if you expect to spend $3,000 on travel and dining (any travel costs, and any food-related costs from coffee shops to restaurants per year), the net cost of the card is dropped to $95, the same as almost any other credit card out there. Spend more (say, $9,000) and the net cost of the card is $0.
But now, add in the sign-up bonus, and through the rewards this card gives you its annual fee is paid for from 5-15 years!
It’s a no-brainer!
So, do yourself a favor and sign up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve using this link.