How Obtaining a Chase Sapphire Reserve Made It Possible For Us to Go to Canada

In mid-December, I ultimately decided to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. While the $450 fee did not sound like a pleasant hit for my wallet, I knew the $300 travel credit per year would easily make up the difference, at least in the first year of holding it. Plus, who doesn't wand 3% back on dining and travel? That's pretty much all we do! If our financial update for 2016 is any bit accurate, we have cut back on 90% of our "other" expenses including clothing, entertainment, and gifts. Instead, we treat friends and family to meals and take them places to give them experiences. After all, which is more meaningful? Giving someone a new TV or spending time with them?

While visiting Canada has been on my "bucket list", a term I use loosely, for a while, we just weren't sure we had the money to afford it.

So, I applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

It's not a cheap card by any means, but it definitely provides in ways that many other cards don't. We began with the 3% on food and travel, but the $300 per year (once in 2016, once in 2017) didn't hurt either. We've already taken full advantage getting a total of $600 credited toward our bill just in the month that we've had the card. Then, there are other advantages too. A trip concierge to help make your dreams come true, travel insurance for plane tickets and rental cars purchased completely with the card, and, after spending $4,000 in the first three months, you receive 100,000 Ultimate Reward points which can be used toward gift cards, future travel bookings, and cash back on your card. Basically, in the first year, for spending $4,450 (including card cost), you are getting "free" money. How much "free" money is totally dependent on you and your interests. As for me, I like spending my points on hotel rooms – 10,000 points for a $200 Hyatt hotel room equating my points to around $2,000 in credit. And considering we were about to spend that $4,000 on Hawaii anyway, why not get some benefit from the spend?

So far, Justin and I have:
+ booked a one-way flight for two passengers with 30,000 Ultimate Reward points for the flight from Atlanta to NYC on the day after Christmas (bought two days before the holiday when prices were skyrocketing!).
+ booked a hotel night in Montreal for 12,000 ultimate reward points (a $160 cost).
+ received $600 in travel credit from the CSR.
+ learned how to transfer points from Justin's Chase Sapphire Preferred to my Chase Sapphire Reserve to get .25% more value from the points.
+ not been charged an exchange rate fee when purchasing products with our CSR while out of the country.

The reason I tell you all of this?

In three days, two if you don't count today, the 100,000 point reward credit will be reduced down to 50,000 points for the same $4,000 spend.


That's the difference of approximately $1,000 worth of ultimate reward points. And you've already missed the opportunity to get your $300 credit for the year 2016 (but you still have time for your 2017 credit!)

There are also benefits like:

+ $100 to be used toward Global Entry
+ rental car and travel insurance automatically applied when you make full purchases for these types of things with your card
+ use of Priority Lounges in airports
+ status with a number of rental car companies
+ and discounts plus recognition for purchasing hotel nights with your CSR (like food credits, room upgrades, etc…)

Now, I'm not saying to get this card if you can't control your spending. And you will probably have a hard time obtaining it if you are from a different country. But, if you are from the US and you'd like to enjoy $2300 toward travel expenses in 2017, it might be worth it.

The decision is yours.

What do you think about the miles and points "game"? Are you a fan … or not? What do you do to reduce travel costs? Or, if you don't travel, is there a bank that just "works" in your favor, helping you to conquer your spending and save money?

No affiliate links have been used in this post. Get the card if you enjoy travel, want it, are from the US, and have a handle on your credit. Otherwise, I will see you tomorrow. :)

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