A few months ago, I wrote about my fantastic experience with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. My card has helped me book more than $800 worth of air travel, essentially for free, in the past seven months, thanks to a hefty new member bonus and double points on dining and travel.
In late August, JPMorgan Chase revealed its newest rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and it’s packed with even more benefits. Its arrival is making waves among consumers — specifically young people with a penchant for travel — despite its steep $450 annual fee (by comparison, the Sapphire Preferred costs just $95 annually after a first-year waived fee).
But sticker shock hasn’t been a deterrent. Already, the bank has signed up “tens of thousands” of customers, a spokeswoman for Chase told The New York Times. She said the card has been an unexpected hit, especially among millennials, the generation with the lowest levels of credit card ownership. And interestingly, the bank hasn’t spent a dime on advertising for the heavy-metal card.
Travel and money bloggers are calling it “one of the best deals in a long time” and “a great choice for pretty much anyone who travels.” One Money writer claims “the perks are just too rich” to pass up.
Among its bevy of benefits, the Reserve card comes with a $300 travel credit reimbursement awarded each calendar year. That credit alone reduces the card’s annual fee to $150.
Still, it’s not hard to see why 20- and 30-somethings are jumping at the chance to own a Reserve card. Its extensive benefits include:
- $300 annual travel credit reimbursement each calendar year
- 100,000 point new-member bonus after you spend $4,000 on the card in the first three months (that’s $1,500 in travel credit)
- 1 point earned for every $1 spent
- 2 additional points earned for every $1 spent on travel (includes airfare, hotels, Airbnb, taxis, Ubers, etc.)
- 2 additional points earned for every $1 spent on dining (includes Seamless, bars, cafés, restaurants, etc.)
Beyond the points, the Reserve offers some perks that are truly unparalleled, including a suite of “elite travel benefits”:
- $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check
- Transfer points 1:1 to frequent flyer and hotel loyalty partners
- Access to over 900 VIP airport lounges worldwide
- No foreign transaction fees
- Special benefits during a stay at Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection (including room upgrades, free breakfast, and early or late check-in/check-out)
But according to The Times’ Stacy Cowley, the general trend among points and loyalty programs is that credit card companies eventually throw out any rewards and benefits that hinder profits. But Chase assures consumers there are no plans to make changes.
And as the Motley Fool points out, although the benefits of the Reserve may make you feel rich, you don’t have to be a millionaire to become a cardholder. Almost anyone will be considered by Chase, as long as they haven’t applied for more than five credit cards in the past 24 months.
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