What To Do When You Receive Your Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards
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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has become a really popular premium credit card, even for those who wouldn’t otherwise consider premium credit cards. There are many great benefits to the card, including:

  • A welcome bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months
  • 3x points on dining and travel
  • A $300 annual travel credit, which can be applied towards any purchase coded as travel
  • A Priority Pass membership with the ability to guest two people into lounges
  • Great travel and car rental coverage
  • A Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit
  • Visa Infinite perks, including 30% off Silvercar rentals of two days or more

In this post I wanted to look at what you should do once you’ve applied for the card, received it, and activated it.

The good news is that there’s not a huge learning curve in terms of maximizing the benefits of the card, as Chase makes most of these benefits really easy to use.

So in no particular order, here’s what you should do once you’ve been approved for and have activated the Chase Sapphire Reserve:

Request your Priority Pass membership

One of the great perks of the Sapphire Reserve is that it comes with a Priority Pass membership, which gets you access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the world. This is something you have to activate, though.

To do this go to the Ultimate Rewards website and click the “See More” section along the top of the page. Then click on the “Card Benefits” section, where you’ll see the option to activate your Priority Pass membership listed. Your card should arrive in the mail within 2-3 weeks, though usually even faster than that.

When you visit lounges you’ll be able to bring in two guests each time.

Use your Global Entry fee credit

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit of up to $100. Global Entry gets you expedited immigration when entering the US, while TSA Pre-Check gets you expedited security in the US when flying select airlines.

I always recommend applying for Global Entry over TSA Pre-Check, since Global Entry automatically gets you access to Pre-Check, while the inverse isn’t true.

You only receive this benefit once every four years. In the event that you already have Global Entry, note that you can use this benefit for someone else. All that matters is that your card is charged for the fee. There’s no registration required on Chase’s end. Just use your card for the purchase and it will automatically be reimbursed, typically within a few days.

Use your $300 travel statement credit

One of the best perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is that it offers a $300 travel credit every cardmember year. This is automatic, so there’s no registration required. Just start spending money on travel, and any spend up to $300 for a purchase categorized as travel (which includes Uber, subway tickets, flights, hotels, etc.) will be reimbursed.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter at what point in a given year you use this, though I know many people prefer to recoup as much of their $550 annual fee as quickly as possible, so this is one way to do that.

Update the card on file for travel & dining purchases

One of the best aspects of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is that it offers triple points on dining and travel purchases. Travel has a very broad definition and includes things like subway tickets, Ubers, etc.

Once you have this card, make sure you update the card you have on file with Uber and other services that would qualify for bonus points, so that you can be sure you’re maximizing the points you can earn.

Transfer your existing Chase points to maximize their value

Having the Chase Sapphire Reserve allows you to redeem all your Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase. Meanwhile points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card can only be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards a travel purchase.

So if you have either of those cards, or the Chase Freedom Unlimited®Chase Freedom FlexSMInk Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card, or Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, I recommend transferring all your points to the Sapphire Reserve. You can do this by logging into the Ultimate Rewards website and clicking on the “Combine Points” section.

This allows you to not only transfer points to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners, but also to redeem all the points you currently have on any of those cards at the rate of 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase.

Decide if you want to add authorized users

You can add authorized users to the Chase Sapphire Reserve for $75 each. Authorized users earn triple points on dining and travel (which credit to your account), receive excellent travel and car rental coverage, and receive a Priority Pass membership. This can be worth it for the Priority Pass membership alone, since you can easily get way more than $75 of value out of that.

Adding authorized users won’t make sense for everyone, but it’s at least worth considering.

Take advantage of your car rental perks

Just for having the Chase Sapphire Reserve you can receive complimentary Emerald Club Executive and Avis Preferred membership, and you can also receive 20% on the cost of Silvercar rentals. All of these perks are facilitated by Visa Infinite.

Decide if you want a card to complement the Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is valuable for the fact that it offers 3x points on dining and travel. However, you can really supercharge your points earning by complementing the card with another card that can potentially earn Ultimate Rewards points:

  • Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card offer 1.5x points on all purchases, so are great complements; since you’ll be able to redeem points for 1.5 cents each, that’s like earning a return of at least 2.25% on all your purchases in conjunction with the Sapphire Reserve
  • The Chase Freedom FlexSM offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 of spend per quarter
  • The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers 3x points on the first $150,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
  • The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offers 5x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines, and 2x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stations

At a minimum, I think the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great complement, as I consider that to be the best credit card duo out there.

Bottom line

All things considered, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a fairly limited learning curve once you receive it. Chase wants the card to be rewarding without much effort, and I really find that to be the case. However, there are a few things to be aware of, so hopefully the above is a good starting point for anyone just getting the card.

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  1. Is it just me, or is anyone else noting that recently many clearly travel or dining expenses are NOT being properly credited by Chase. It also appears there is a new format on the website when you click on the expense — sometimes it will indicate the spending category and show points earned, sometimes not. What’s strange is that some of these purchases earn 3x one month, but 0 the next month (in my case a recurring EZPass toll renewal that previously was credited as a travel expense). What’s strangest is that I thought all purchases credit at at least 1x — so how can 0 earned even be an option? Time to call Chase I suppose, but I wondered if others were seeing this glitch.

  2. Ben, is there an easy way to verify that you’ve used your $300 airline credit. I’ve charged several airlines purchases to my Sapphire card, but can’t see any obvious credit applied to my account.

  3. HI Lucky,
    My husband is an AU on my CSP. If I upgrade my CSP to a CSR will he automatically be added as an AU (and charged $75) or would I have to go in an manually add him? And if I don’t add him or drop him as an AU will his credit score take a hit? We usually travel together so I don’t see a reason to have him as a AU. Other than he usually drives when we rent a car so would he need to be an AU on my card in order for us to be covered if he is the driver on the rental agreement? Thanks!

  4. With the recent upgrades that AmEx has made to its portfolio such as 4x dining on the Gold and new transfer partners while Chase loses partners, I am having trouble justifying keeping Chase. Currently have CSR and CSP, will definitely be getting rid of one if not both before the AF hits again.

  5. @Matt: Amex travel coverages are so bad that I simply can’t switch my spending over. I mean, if they at least have luggage delay insurance, I would consider. But nothing! (I don’t know why, somehow Chase’s insurances paid me more than the annual fees for the last 2 years).

    Citi Prestige really intrigues me these days (excellent coverages, 5x airfare, etc.). Maybe time to switch soon?

  6. @walester My travel credit just posted and in my Ultimate Rewards history shows a line item with the credit and says ‘statement credit’ in bold.
    Unfortunately I can’t make sense of many of my other transactions and point calculations.

  7. Does the annual fee and travel credit apply to the minimum spending requirement when it’s paid for in that time frame? I just got the Sapphire Reserve and paid the $450 annual fee in the first month. Also, earned the $300 travel credit on my statement but can’t find any where on the site where it says whether or not those charges will apply to the $3,000 spending requirement.

  8. @Cliff Parker – You used to earn points on the $300 travel spend that returned to you as a credit, but they changed that recently and you no longer earn points. I would assume that also means it doesn’t count toward achieving minimum spend for a sign-up bonus.

    On the AF, as far as I am aware no AFs for any cards earn rewards or count toward minimum spend.

  9. Thanks. That was what I suspected but wanted to make sure. I would hate to fall short because I was counting something I shouldn’t have.

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