The Chase Sapphire Reserve has long been one of the best travel rewards credit cards, and one of our favorites. While it comes with a hefty price tag with an annual fee of $550, the points, perks, and credits you get from this card can easily offset that fee. And none goes further than the $300 Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit.
This annual travel credit is one of the most lucrative benefits on any travel credit card, and it’s one of the easiest to use. With that $300 travel credit, you can essentially think of the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee as being $250 a year. It’s one of the biggest reasons why we urge readers not to rule out cards with big annual fees.
But how does this travel credit really work? What purchases qualify to use it, and which don’t? When will you get it? Let’s break it down.
Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card!
- When Do You Earn the Credit?
- What Purchases Trigger the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Credit?
- How to Check Your Remaining Travel Credit Balance
- All of the Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
When Do You Earn the Credit?
The $300 Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit is applied to your account each year after you pay you open your card (or renew it) and pay your annual fee. The annual fee is charged after your first statement with the Chase Sapphire Reserve closes. This means that you will have the travel credit available to use about one month after opening the card.
So you’ll get this credit every year at the same time, right after you pay your annual fee. That’s drastically different than other similar credits like with the Platinum Card from American Express, which redeposit based on the calendar year on Jan. 1. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it’s based on when you were approved for the card.
For example, my annual fee is due each year in January. My new $300 travel credit loads to my account as soon as my December statement closes.
What Purchases Trigger the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Credit?
Any purchase that Chase considers travel will qualify for the $300 annual travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. And that covers a lot of ground, including many expenses you might not normally consider “travel.”
While this isn’t exhaustive, here’s a list of some charges that will trigger the Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit:
- Airline (airfare, baggage fees, seat selection, etc.)
- Airbnb and Vrbo
- Car rentals
- Cruise lines
- Parking (ramps, lots, meters)
- Public transport
- Taxis or rideshare (Uber & Lyft)
- Travel Agency services
Thrifty Tip: Are you a Thrifty Traveler Premium member? Since our service codes as travel, it will trigger your Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit!
For a full list of purchases that Chase will code as travel, visit the FAQs on Chase’s credit cards rewards page.
It is also important to note that while you will typically earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel, purchases that are reimbursed as a part of the $300 credit will only earn 1x point per dollar spent. You won’t start earning 3x on travel until after you have exhausted your annual travel credit.
What Doesn’t Qualify for the Travel Credit?
Any purchase that doesn’t code as travel (unless it’s one of the new temporary categories – more on that soon) will not qualify for your $300 credit. That includes money orders, foreign currency exchanges, travelers’ checks, or any other similar cash charges.
New Temporary Categories for Your Credit During COVID-19
As travel screeched to a halt due to the pandemic, many travel rewards cards added or changed existing benefits. And the Chase Sapphire Reserve was no exception.
Through April 30, 2021, Sapphire Reserve cardholders will earn 3x points for every dollar spent on grocery store purchases up to $1,000 per month. This is up from the standard 1x point per dollar spent this card earns on groceries normally.
In addition to the new grocery multiplier, Chase has made updates to the $300 Sapphire Reserve travel credit the card provides each year. Through June of 2021, the $300 credit can be used towards purchases at grocery stores and gas stations.
Do You Get to Choose What You Use the Credit on?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit is automatically applied to any charges that code as travel. You do not get to pick and choose which transactions you apply the credit to as it happens automatically until you meet the $300 threshold each year.
And through June of 2021, the $300 Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit can be used at both gas stations and grocery stores. And once again, any purchases you make at gas stations and grocery stores will automatically trigger your travel credit – if you haven’t used it already.
While that may be a pain if you want to strategically use your travel credits each year, this provides a ton of flexibility. It’s infinitely easier to use than the airline credits offered by American Express, and most cardholders should have no issue using it up each and every year.
No matter how you slice it, it’s $300 off your purchases – and essentially $300 off your annual fee.
How to Check Your Remaining Travel Credit Balance
To check the remaining balance of your $300 travel credit (or to see when you will get a new $300 to spend, simply log in to your online Chase account and head to the Chase Ultimate Rewards home page.
Once you are here, look for the box on the right-hand side of the page indicating your travel credit balance. Since I have already used mine this year, it shows mine I’ve already received it. But if you have any unused amount, you’ll see it here.
All of the Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
The $300 travel credit is just one of the great benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
After you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months, you will earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, the points will be worth a minimum of $750.
$300 Annual Travel Credit
Chase automatically reimburses you for up to $300 in purchases that code as travel. Whether that is a taxi, uber, hotel, plane ticket, a cruise, etc, this is $300 right back in your pocket, effectively reducing the annual fee to $250. You don’t need to file a claim or jump through hoops to receive your money. Just spend on travel and Chase will reimburse you.
Through June 30, 2021, you can also use the $300 Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit at both gas stations and grocery stores.
Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points For 1.5 Cents Per Point
One of the best benefits of this card – Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals, etc. through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. The 50,000 points you receive after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of card membership are worth at least $750 toward travel.
Transfer Points to Travel Partners
If you want to get even more value out of your points, look into transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to one of 13 airlines and hotel chains. This is the key to booking amazing travel, including business and first-class flights. See our top 6 redemptions for Ultimate Rewards Points.
Here’s the full list Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners:
Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
|Program||Type||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Singapore Air||Airline||1:1||12-24 hours|
|World of Hyatt||Hotel||1:1||Instant|
|Marriott Rewards||Hotel||1:1||2 days|
Earn 3x Points On Travel And Restaurants Worldwide
You will earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar you spend on all travel and dining at restaurants worldwide. You will also earn 1 point per dollar on all other spending.
And through April 30, 2021, Sapphire Reserve cardholders will also earn 3x points for every dollar spent on grocery store purchases up to $1,000 per month. This is up from the standard 1x point per dollar spent this card earns on groceries normally.
10x Points On Lyft Rides
Earn 10x points per dollar spent on rides with Lyft.
Cardholders will also receive a complimentary Lyft pink membership. Lyft Pink allows users to get 15% off every Lyft ride, gives you priority airport pickups, relaxed ride cancelations, and more. Lyft normally charges $19.99 a month for this membership. This benefit is good through March of 2022.
$60 Annual DoorDash Food Delivery Credit
DashPass will waive delivery fees on DoorDash orders and lower platform fees. DashPass typically costs $9.99 per month and DoorDash claims it will save you an average of $4 to $5 on every order. All you have to do is use the card when you checkout at DoorDash and Chase will automatically reimburse you.
$100 Application Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
If you apply for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and pay with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the application cost will be reimbursed ($100 for Global Entry and $85 for TSA PreCheck).
You are eligible to receive this credit once every four years and membership in both programs lasts for five years.
Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership
Receive complimentary Priority Pass Select membership which gets you free access to thousands of airport lounges around the world. You can also bring up to two guests into the lounges with you for free.
But perhaps the best benefit of this Priority Pass membership is that you can dine for free at a number of airport restaurants across the country.
Primary Car Rental Insurance
When you charge your car rental to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can simply decline the insurance from the rental company and be covered up to $75,000 for theft and/or collision damage.
Receive 24-hour towing assistance (up to $50), 24-hour lockout assistance (up to $50), up to two gallons of fuel delivery, and flat tire changing service all included with your card membership.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement
If you check your bags and they’re delayed more than six hours, the card will reimburse you up to $100 per day for up to five days. This coverage is meant to provide reimbursement for essential items like toiletries, clothing, and cell phone charging cables, for example.
Trip Delay & Cancelation Coverage
The card will reimburse you for any delay lasting six hours or more. Cardholders will be covered along with their spouse or domestic partner and any dependent children under the age of 22 for up to $500 for each purchased ticket.
Medical Evacuation & Travel Accident Coverage
The card provides coverage up to $1,000,000 for accidental death or dismemberment, or a combined loss of speech, sight, or hearing, experienced on a covered trip. Benefits are available when some portion of a trip has been purchased with the card or with Ultimate Rewards points earned on the card.
The card will also provide coverage for a medical evacuation. If you or a member of your immediate family are injured or become sick during a trip far from home that results in an emergency evacuation, you can be covered for medical services and transportation up to $100,000.
Visa Infinite Concierge Service
Receive access to a dedicated line that can help you track down reservations at restaurants, purchase tickets on your behalf, or even buy flowers for a significant other.
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit of $300 is incredibly easy to use. And even with most travel on pause, it’s even more valuable now that you can use it on groceries, and gas station purchases through June 2021.
Using up this travel credit each and every year helps justify the high annual fee, and makes it more reasonable for many. Benefits like these are a big part of the reason we always encourage readers to do the math before ruling out cards with big annual fees.