The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card made headlines last year by launching with the most features and benefits from a credit card released to date. The amount of benefits is staggering! I wanted to write a guide to help you get the most from your Chase Sapphire Reserve.
[I will now refer to the Chase Sapphire Reserve as the CSR]
The first benefit lauded on the CSR website is a $300 annual travel credit. This is the official description of the benefit from Chase:
A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to $300 in statement credits annually (“annually” means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and each 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date). Purchases are when you, or an authorized user, use a card to make purchases of products and services, minus returns or refunds. Buying products and services with your card, in most cases, will count as a purchase; however, the following types of transactions won’t count: balance transfers, cash advances, travelers checks, foreign currency, money orders, wire transfers or similar cash-like transactions, lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, race track wagers or similar betting transactions, any checks that access your account, overdraft advances, interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges, and fees of any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable. We do not determine whether merchants correctly identify and bill transactions as being of a certain type. For more information about Chase rewards categories, see www.Chase.com/RewardsCategoryFAQs. Statement credit(s) will post to your account the same day your travel category purchase posts to your account and will appear on your monthly credit card billing statement within 1-2 billing cycles. Qualifying purchases made by authorized users on your account will be included in the $300 Annual Travel Credit. Maximum statement credit accumulation for the Annual Travel Credit is $300 annually. The Annual Travel Credit will be issued for the year in which the transaction posts to your account, through your December statement date. For example, if you pay for baggage fees, but the airline does not post the transaction until after your December statement date, the cost of the baggage fees will be allocated towards the following year’s Annual Travel Credit maximum of $300.
Here's how the description can be interpreted in plain terms. You will receive upon being approved for the CSR $300 in travel credits. This credit will expire at the first December statement date after approval. For example, if you sign up for the CSR in October you will have to use the $300 statement credit by your December statement date. After the first December statement your $300 annual travel credit will be based on the upcoming 12 consecutive billing cycles (December to December) to redeem. To redeem your travel credit you or any authorized user must charge on purchases coded as travel. These are the purchases that qualify as travel by Chase:
Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages. Please note that some merchants that provide transportation and travel-related services are not included in this category; for example, real estate agents, in-flight goods and services, on-board cruise line goods and services, sightseeing activities, excursions, tourist attractions, merchants within hotels and airports, and merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling. In addition, the purchasing of points or miles does not qualify in this category.
To clarify, gambling and theme park admission will not qualify as "travel".
Now you don't have to spend your $300 all at once. You will receive statement credit for whatever amount you use. I used my entire $300 on one purchase. I was credited my entire $300 annual travel credit on the statement that my travel posted to my credit card. You are credited on the statement in which your travel credit posts which is not necessarily the statement in which you book your travel.
This was the first post in my deep dive of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I really believe that the CSR is the BEST credit card for travelers. I will continue reviewing each of the benefits of this credit card so you can get the most out of it! If you have any additional questions please leave a comment.
(I am not compensated for this review.)