Previously, I’ve written about how my travel credit card of choice is the Southwest Rapid Rewards card. In May of 2019, I decided to finally graduate and switch to a “big girl” travel credit card. Here’s why I decided to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve card instead, canceling my Southwest card.
Please note that I’m not selling this card, I make no money if you sign up for it. I’m not a banker, doctor, lawyer, or scientist and you should always be smart when applying for scary powerful credit cards.
Which Sapphire Card?
There’s two versions of the Chase Sapphire card at this time – the Preferred and the Reserve. I got the Reserve card. The Preferred has a lower annual fee ($99 vs. $450), but keep reading before you reject the idea of a $450 annual fee card. You can read about the differences here.
The Chase Sapphire cards give the flexibility to use your earned points on multiple airlines. This was a huge factor in my decision, as I’ve been traveling more and more with my partner in crime and anyone who has flown Southwest knows the struggle of open seating, especially when traveling with other people!
Current list of airlines you can use your points on:
- Aer Lingus, AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
- United MileagePlus®
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG® Rewards Club
- Marriott BonvoyTM
- World of Hyatt®
My Southwest card didn’t really seem to come with any perks other than earning extra miles on Southwest flights. Unfortunately, Southwest doesn’t fly to some destinations especially when traveling internationally. Also, I’ve noticed in the last year that Southwest really doesn’t have the cheapest flights anymore.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a whole laundry list of perks but here are a couple that stood out to me.
The Good & Bad of Chase Sapphire
Chase Sapphire Reserve – the Good
- Free airport lounge access at larger, international airports like LAX, for you and 2 friends. You can pay for extra people in some places. This program, called Priority Pass, came with an app so you don’t have to carry a card around.
- Money off certain restaurants inside airports, seems like 1-2 per airport. For example, one restaurant offered $30 off per person for our meal.
- $100 off Global Entry/TSA Precheck – covering the cost of this AMAZING PERK. If you already have it, you can use the credit for a friend.
- No foreign transaction fees (Southwest also offers this)
- $300 travel credit once you buy $300 worth of travel – basically you get $300 of free travel credit (flights, hotels, etc.)
- 3x points on travel worldwide once you spend $300
- 3x points on dining at restaurants worldwide
- 1 point=$1 spent on all other non-travel purchases
- Auto rental collision damage waiver – that means you don’t have to buy the collision insurance when you rent a car
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance – they will pay you for your inconvenience
- Emergency assistance services – should you find yourself in a bad situation when traveling
- Purchase protection – for stuff you buy with the card, like a warranty
Chase Sapphire Reserve – the Bad
Okay, so let’s get real. What are the bad things about this card?
- The annual fee is $450 – when you subtract the $300 they give you every year, it’s really only $150. That’s $51 more than my Southwest card, so I consider this a good trade-off.
- You must have good credit – because duh
- It offers some perks I’ll probably never use – like hotels at the “Signature” collection, which appear to all be $400+ a night. I’m not that boujee at this point in my life.
- Their current offer (which is ever-changing) is that you get 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months of having the card – this is for current cardmembers only. For many people, this is quite a large chunk of change.
There’s a reason the Points Guy, master of all things travel credit cards, recommends this card. If you travel often and don’t mind paying $150 a year for the privilege of having the card and its perks, this is a great option.