Chase to Unveil New Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase to Unveil New Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase has unveiled the best card for earning its valuable Ultimate Rewards Points.

Chase has already become the most prolific credit card issuer, and BestCashCow ranks the Ultimate Rewards points as being more valuable than Citibank and Amex flexible travel points.  While all points are transferrable to Singapore Airlines and Citibank points are also transferrable to British Airways, Chase offers the additional options on transferring to United and Hyatt.

The new Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers the most effective way to rack up these valuable points.  Even though it has a $450 annual fee, it comes with 100,000 points after spending $4,000 in three months.  The 100,000 points when redeemed, for example, through Hyatt for three nights at the Park Hyatt in New York or Paris (at 30,000/night) more than covers the $450 annual fee.  The annual fee is also covered through a $300 travel credit that is applied per calendar year directly to cover airline and hotel charges (if you hold the card from the middle of 2016 into 2017, you could get the credit twice, or $600 in credits over your first year of card membership).

Additionally, the card produces 3 points per dollar spent on travel and at restaurants (compared with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card that only generates 2).   Since we value these points as high as 3 cents per point, it effectively means that you can receive 9% back in value for your spend in these categories.  This article explains how the card can be paired with other Chase cards to receive large blocks of valuable points for telecom spend and spend in rotating categories.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card also comes with primary rental car insurance coverage, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

This card is designed to compete with the Citibank ThankYou Prestige card and the Amex Platinum card.  We think that it compares very favorably as it produces high volumes of Chase points, which are the most valuable transferrable points.  However, those cards - especially the Prestige card - still offer significant benefits and should be considered as well, especially for those who do not value United and Hyatt as transfer partners.

See the most valuable travel rewards credit card sign-up bonuses here.

 

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.


Chase Offers Tons of Way to Boost Your Ultimate Rewards Balance

Chase Offers Tons of Way to Boost Your Ultimate Rewards Balance

The Chase Freedom and the Freedom Unlimited cards can both be used very effectively to boost your ultimate reward balance and accumulate tons of points for travel with one of Chase's great travel partners.

BestCashCow routinely ranks the Sapphire Preferred Card, a personal credit card offered by Chase, and the Ink Plus Card, its sister for business use, among the top three cards for both the value of the sign up bonus and the value of the points you can accumulate through regular spend.  The former comes with a 40,000, or sometimes 50,000, point sign up bonus after spending  $4,000 in your first 3 months, and the latter comes with a 60,000, or sometimes 70,000, point bonus after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months.   Since the Sapphire also gives you 2x points on restaurants and travel, and the Ink gives you 5x points at office supply stores and on telecommunications spend, the most savvy point gurus routinely advise their readers to get both (by providing their social security number as a business EIN in the Ink Plus application).

We rank the Chase points much higher than other points because Chase offers 1-to-1 transfer with more valuable travel partners than Citibank or Amex do through their comparable programs.  Whereas all offer transfer to Singapore Krisflyer (which today is among the most valuable programs in the travel universe for those seeking the rewards outlined in this article), Chase also offers transfers to British Airways, United and Hyatt.  You can also redeem your points directly for travel through Chase at 1.25 cents per point.

Those seasoned at accumulating Chase points often hold the Chase Freedom card in addition to their Sapphire and Ink cards.  The Freedom card is designed as a cash back card to compete with the Citi Double Cash and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards cards, and offers 5x points per dollar spent on a rotating category.  In 2016, the categories are gas from January to March, groceries stores from April to June, and restaurants from July to September.   The October to December category hasn’t been announced, but in 2014 and 2015, Chase offered 10x points for spend on Amazon.  Since it is a cash back card, your Chase Freedom points cannot be transferred directly to Singapore, United, British or Hyatt, but if you have a Sapphire or an Ink card, you can transfer the full balance to that card and then on to your travel partner of choice.

Chase, in a further effort to compete in the cash back market, has now unveiled its Chase Freedom Unlimited card.  This card gives 1.5x points on all spend.  This card is also designed as a cash back card, and at 1.5% falls short of the 2% cash back you can get in the Citi Double Cash card or the 2.625% you can get if you are a Merrill Lynch account holder with the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card.   Yet, if you use it for your ordinary spend in conjunction with a Sapphire or Ink card, and transfer your point balance through those cards on to one of Chase's partners, you can achieve substantially more value from your ordinary spend than through any other credit cards rewards program.

Hint: Some readers are reporting that the Sapphire, Freedom and Freedom Unlimited Cards are tougher to get, and that Chase is rejecting all applicants that Equifax reports have applied for more than 5 credit cards in your last 24 months.  If you are new to the credit card travel rewards game, you may want to consider applying for these three before any other cards. 

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.


Which is Better - Chase Sapphire Preferred or Amex Platinum?

Which is Better - Chase Sapphire Preferred or Amex Platinum?

Ideally, we think it is best to get both cards, but if you can only get one, we think the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the one to choose.

A number of readers who have visited BestCashCow’s tables on the best sign up bonuses and best overall cards have written in to ask which card is better – the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the American Express Platinum card.

The American Express Platinum card is an excellent card to consider if you can get a targeted offer.  Targeted offers through Cardmatch routinely offer 100,000 American Express points after spending $10,000 in three months.  Those who live in affluent zip codes in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles routinely get offers in the mail as high as 150,000 American Express points after spending $20,000 in three months.  (If you have a business in New York or California, you will receive multiple mailings with the 150,000 offer on the Platinum business card).

The Platinum card – in both its personal and business versions - comes with all sorts of benefits, including access to Delta lounges and Amex’s own new Centurion lounges that are already in Dallas, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, Miami and La Guardia.  The card comes with a $450 annual fee (not waived the first year), but that fee is easily offset by a $200 annual airfare credit that - if timed correctly - can be received in the year you apply for the card and the following year.  You will come out ahead if you and as many as 3 additional cardholders take advantage of the Global Entry credit (a $100 value for each person). 

We find that Amex points can have a value as high as 3 cents per point, but that is only if you transfer these points to Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer program.  Those inclined to make that transfer can extract as much as $4,500 from a 150,000 point sign up bonus (see this article on great Krisflyer redemptions).  Unfortunately, card members looking at other redemptions are likely to find Amex points less valuable, perhaps much less valuable.  While British Airways presents good value as a transfer partner, points will no longer transfer on a 1-to-1 basis after November 2015 (they will be 5-to-4), and extracting meaningful value from the Delta and Virgin Atlantic programs seems to become more difficult by the day.  Transferring points at 3-to-1 to Starwood is just silly.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card only gives you 40,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of card membership (this offer is occasionally raised to 50,000 points).  However, your usage of the card will deliver more points more quickly as the card delivers 2 points per dollar spent on restaurants and travel.   The card has no fee the first year, and is $95 per year thereafter. 

While the card itself gives fewer benefits that the Amex card, one important feature is that it provides primary insurance coverage on rental cars (something that no Amex card does any longer).  It also has great customer service and no foreign transaction fees.  However, the real shining benefit of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card when compared to the Platinum card or even to Citibank’s ThankYou cards is that Chase points offer more transfer opportunity that are more valuable than any other credit card.  In addition to Singapore which is also a 1-to-1 transfer partner of Amex and Citi, Chase points can be transferred to United, Hyatt, British Airways and Amtrak at a 1-to-1 rate.   The wealth of valuable transfer partners leads BestCashCow to put a value of Chase points as high as 3.4 cents per point (versus only 3 cents on Amex and Citibank points assuming they are transferred to Singapore only).  In turn, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card figure prominently on point our lists of the best cards for the sign up bonus and the best cards for continual spend.

These days many flip or churn credit cards in order to get multiple sign up bonuses.  Neither of these cards is particularly good for flipping.  Amex’s rules prohibit card applicants from getting a sign up bonus a second time on the same product (their rules are slightly more lax for business cards).  Chase now rejects all Sapphire Preferred applicants who have applied for more than 5 credit cards in the prior 24 months regardless of their credit scores.  Therefore, people should view either of these credit cards as a core card to use for many years, and not one to be flipped or churned.

Ideally, we think it is best to get both cards, but if you can only get one, we think the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the one to choose.

Image: scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.