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The Chase Sapphire Reserve Is Our Readers' Favorite Travel Rewards Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Photo: The Points Guy
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Note: the offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.

While most of our recent credit card Co-Ops sparked healthy debates, our travel rewards card poll was thoroughly dominated by the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

We at The Inventory wholeheartedly agree, but read on for a secondary pick that offers a ton of value, even if you already have the Sapphire Reserve.

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Chase Sapphire Reserve

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The Basics:

  • $450 annual fee, offset by a $300 annual credit applied towards travel purchases made with the card.
  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in your first three months.
  • Earn three points per dollar on travel and dining purchases (excluding purchases covered by the $300 travel credit).
  • Points are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to several airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide with included Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓.
  • Can be combined with Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5 points per dollar on all purchases) and Chase Freedom card (5 points per dollar on quarterly rotating categories) to earn more points.
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What you had to say: 

$450 annual fee....YET, you receive $300 reimbursement for your first travel-coded purchases for the year (which includes Uber and Lyft), $100 reimbursement for Global Entry fee, AND free membership in the Priority Pass airport lounge program (worth $100, annually). Oh, and comprehensive travel and rental auto insurance are thrown in, too.

AND... it’s made of METAL. :) - kunundrum

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Another vote for the Sapphire Reserve, especially when paired with the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited.

Between me and my wife, we’ve redeemed over $10,000 in travel rewards in the past 18 months.

In reference to the other poster asking how much you need to spend to earn rewards, don’t just focus on just spending. About half of my earning was a result of sign on or referral bonuses. If you share a residence with someone (like a spouse or significant other), you can pool points between you. You can also get referral bonuses when you refer them to a card you already have, double the sign on bonus by getting the cards twice (editor’s note: one credit line for each person) and get around the 5/24 rule. - MechE31

Chase Sapphire Reserve for the win. I’ve had it for 2.5 years. In that time, I’ve gotten 4 round trip airline tickets for free (DC to L.A. and DC to PEI, Canada), Global Entry for free, and Priority Pass lounge access at multiple domestic and international airports. I’ve also booked two nights at a hotel for free.

All of this is due to Chase Sapphire Reserve’s generous point system. Triple points on travel and travel includes parking garages and subway tickets. Also, triple points on dining. - JustPassingThrough

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

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The Basics:

  • $550 annual fee
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in your first three months (or potentially up to 100,000 points with the CardMatch tool, though those offers are subject to change at any time)
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December (up to $200 total annually).
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline of your choice.
  • Up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • Priority Pass Select lounge access and access to American Express’s own Centurion Lounges. Also access Delta Sky Club lounges with a same-day Delta boarding pass.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit (up to $100 every five years).
  • Automatic Gold Status with Marriott and Hilton.
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The Amex Platinum requires a bit more “work,” than the Sapphire Reserve—the partitioned Uber credit and airline fee credit aren’t as appealing as Chase’s simple $300 automatic annual travel credit—but its perks are even stronger.

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You still get Priority Pass lounge access, but you also get access to Amex’s excellent Centurion lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs with a Delta boarding pass. Hilton and Marriott Gold status can make your hotel stays immensely more enjoyable. And earning 5x points on airfare and hotel stays is as good as it gets.

Really, you should probably decide based on your home airport and airline of choice. If you fly Southwest or United a lot, you probably want to get the Reserve, since those are both Chase transfer partners. If you’re a Delta flyer, and especially if you have a Centurion lounge in your home airport, the Platinum will probably make more sense for you. They’re both excellent cards, and if you’re willing to put in the mental effort, it’s not that crazy to have both of them in your wallet.

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G/O Media Commerce has partnered with The Points Guy Affiliate Network for our coverage of credit products. Gizmodo Media Group and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Shep McAllister

Senior Director of Commerce | Send deal submissions to deals@gizmodomedia.com