The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the premium travel credit card with the most—and most valuable—travel benefits, making it easily our top pick if you’re flying this summer. Users earn flexible and valuable points and hugely useful perks. This card has a steep $550 annual fee, but its excellent returns quickly make it worthwhile for jet-setters.
Points: The Sapphire Reserve card offers 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3 Ultimate Rewards points on dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Ultimate Rewards points can then be used to book hotels, cruises, car rentals, vacation rentals, and tourist activities directly through Chase’s travel portal where they’re worth 1.5 cents each ($0.015).
So, a cross country flight that would cost you $500 on an airline’s website would only cost 37,500 points (worth $375 if redeemed for cash) if you bought it through Chase’s travel portal. For additional flexibility, points can also be transferred to partners like United Airlines, if you want to combine it with your frequent flyer miles.
Perks: The Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees for purchases made abroad. This perk is an absolute must if you plan to travel internationally because foreign transaction fees can be as much as 3% on cards that charge them. That adds a significant amount to the cost of a trip.
The Sapphire Reserve also offers primary car rental insurance coverage up to $75,000 in physical damages or theft, meaning you don’t have to pay extra for the car rental company’s insurance and if something happens to your rental car, you won’t have to make a claim to your own insurance policy first.
You’ll also benefit from trip delay coverage, trip cancellation coverage, and lost and damaged baggage coverage which means that you may be able to get away without purchasing additional travel insurance. What’s more, the Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 travel credit each year, where the first $300 in travel purchases (from taxi fares to hotels to flights) made on your card will be refunded via a statement credit, effectively reducing the annual fee to $250.
You’ll also receive an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years, and a Priority Pass Select Membership, giving you access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world. These travel benefits can save you time and hassle, and maybe keep you a little saner, when you're dealing with the madness of an airport.