What’s the best credit card to book my vacation on?

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My number one favorite credit card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve and I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of people say this. You might hesitate at the steep $450 price tag, but I promise you, it’s worth the expense and here’s why.

You make up $300 of that $450 in travel credit

One of the many Chase Sapphire Reserve perks is the $300 travel credit the card provides. Unlike the AmEx platinum airline incidental credit that only applies to seat upgrades, etc, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is incredibly flexible. Every year, you have $300 that automatically is credited back to your card for any travel-related expense. “Travel related expense” can be anything from booking a flight (on any airline, on any site), uber, airbnb, parking, hotel room booking (third party or direct), bus tickets, train tickets…the list goes on.  Max and I tend to use up this credit in the first month or two of our card member year because most of our expenses are travel related so $300 is automatically recouped.

If you don’t have global entry yet, pay for it on the CSR

I know, most people have global entry and therefore don’t consider this a huge perk, but if you don’t have GE yet, the CSR pays for the $100 application fee as long as you make the payment on this card.  This also counts for renewing your GE. I find this to be a great perk that I will need to take advantage of in the next year or so when my GE expires.

Priority Pass Lounges

I used to haatteee layovers.  I could never leave an airport without spending at least $6 on water and $20 on a mediocre snack.  Waiting around a terminal on an uncomfortable chair (if you’re lucky to snag one) is no fun and Priority Pass has changed my airport experience tremendously. The Chase Reserve gives you and 2 guests (used to be unlimited, that is changing) free access to 1,000 airport lounges around the world.  In some airports, they even give you access to restaurants and you have $27 in credit that you can apply towards your bill.  I love the lounges because it’s a great place to grab water, snack (or meal depending on the lounge), a pre-flight drink and a comfortable chair.  On long layovers, I try to find lounges with shower service so I can refresh before my next flight. While, yes, many lounges in the US are very disappointing, the global lounge network is extensive and there are some incredible lounges you have access to. You have access to every lounge on this list.

3x points on travel and dining

For every dollar you spend on travel related expenses and dining, you will get 3 points. This is an amazing deal considering travel and dining are very flexible categories.  Dining counts restaurants and even Starbucks.  This means that if you spend $200 on Friday night at dinner, you will get 600 points. These points ad up fast and will get you well on your way to a free vacation in no time.  Something interesting to keep in mind as well is that all the points you accumulate can be transferred to hotel or airline partners OR they can be redeemed on Chase’s portal. If you redeem your points for travel, 1 point = 1.5 points so you are getting a better deal for using your points through Chase. You can learn a bit more about redeeming points for travel in my recent post here.

Trip Delay Protection

Have you ever been stranded at an airport after your flight gets delayed? It sucks. Therefore, I always book my ticket on the Chase Reserve because I know that if my flight is delayed more than 6 hours, they’ll cover $500 per ticket for our hotel, meals and any incidental needs.  There’s a similar protection for your luggage. If you’re luggage is delayed more than 6 hours, you’re covered for $100 a day to buy clothing, toiletries and anything else you need until you get your luggage back.

Trip Cancellation Protection

The same goes for cancelled flights. If your trip is cancelled or cut short by “sickness, severe weather and other covered situations”,  Chase will reimburse you up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels. This is huge for us because we always book non-refundable rooms rates.

These are some of my favorite Chase benefits and why I always book any trip, especially a big one, on the Chase Reserve. If you run on the assumption that you are redeeming your points through the Chase portal, you can redeem them for 1.5 times their value if spent on travel.  Therefore, you only need 10,000 points to make up the $150 cost of the card (after the $300 travel credit).  You need to spend about $3,700 roughly on dining/travel in a year to break even.  Book one vacation and that’ll get you pretty close. The protection against luggage delay, flight issues and the points I earn on each purchase are a no brainer. If you’re debating what card is right for you, I would highly recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

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