Plus ça change, but nonetheless Chase introduced a snazzy new card, the Sapphire Reserve, that makes their old previously top-drawer card look like so much meh.
What I thought I had figured out, as the answer to the great questions of our times, is that any sane, reasonable, and decent person should get a Chase Sapphire Preferred and a Chase Freedom Unlimited in order to get the most, and most useful, travel rewards. I was right, but I’m not any more.
Well, that combo was already pretty asskickful, but shit just got a lot better. The Sapphire Reserve is inteded to compete with the Amex Platinum and the Citi Prestige. Unlike those cards, this one focuses on points rather than perks,
except for its unusual blow job benefit. (When someone does actually come out with that card feature, they’ll sign up a lot of people.) Anyway, the Sapphire Reserve does the following, over and above what the Sapphire Preferred already does:
- 100,000 bonus miles for signup. THAT IS SOME SERIOUS SIGNUPBONUSAGE. Nothing else is even close. That’s either $1,500 in airline or rental car bookings; or $1,000 in cash; or, if you transfer to an airline, four domestic round trips, or two domestic business or international economy round trips, or one international business round trip. The Sapphire Preferred offers an already excellent 50,000 points, but….these go to 100,000.
- 3X points for dining, travel, transportation and lodging (instead of 2X on the Sapphire Preferred).
- When you book airfare (on any airline) or rent a car through the Chase web site, it’s only 67 points per ticket price dollar (instead of 80 points with the Sapphire Preferred). Better still, if you already have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, they now become usable at this truly excellent rate.
- Access to the Priority Pass Select network of independent (and mostly overseas) airport lounges, which apparently are inconsistent in quality and usable times. Max says these are worthless in his experience; the internet says your mileage may vary.
- Free Global Entry or TSA Pre application.
- Emergency medical evacuation, up to $100,000.
- Various and sundry ther stuff. Why don’t you read about it all here?
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? If you get the Sapphire Reserve, It means that if you have a Freedom Unlimited, now you get 2.25% travel back, even for points you already earned. That’s the mininum. That’s better than what you get on a dedicated “Double Miles” travel back card like Capital One Venture and BarclayCard Arrival Plus, so those cards can suck it; there is absolutely no reason to get them if you can get the Reserve/Unlimited combo.
And If you use the Sapphire Reserve for dining, travel, transportation and lodging, you get 4.5% travel back, which is fan-fucking-tastic. Or you can use those 50% extra points (relative to the Sapphire Preferred) earned for travel, transportation, lodging, and dining to transfer into airline programs, or to claim as cash back.
This is such tremendously well-earning card combo that you would be a sorry-ass sucker to not get it.
Of course, nothing good comes for free. Unlike the Sapphire Preferred, which is $95 per year with the first year waived, with free additional users, the cost of the Reserve is ostensibly $450/year without the first year waived, but in practice it’s $150 a year. That’s because the card automatically credits you up to $300 per year for travel, transportation, and lodging. I spend way more than that on my Metrocards alone. Gotta keep the economy moving. Also, that $300 is on the calendar year, not your anniversary year, so if you get the card midyear, you can actually use it twice and if you decide you don’t want to pay up any more, you at least got $600 for your $450, on top of the minimum $1,000 signup bonus. Additional users are $75.
So the new combo of joy, happiness and bliss is the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Freedom Unlimited. For $55 more per year over the Sapphire Preferred, you win like Flynn.