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My Favorite Travel Credit Card – Chase Sapphire Reserve

Disclosure: I am not employed by Chase Bank, but his post contains links that could result in Mr. and Mrs. Excitement acquiring additional “Chase” points which they would use to support their travel habit with their travel credit card. Notwithstanding this touch of enlightened self interest, the opinions expressed below are based on my own experience.

Thanks to our travel credit card, I am writing this in the International VIP Lounge in the Quito, Ecuador Airport, waiting for our flight to Bogota, Colombia. Downstairs in the general waiting area, children are running amok, people are yakking loudly on their cell phones, there is no free food, no made to order coffee beverages and no showers.

International vip lounge Quito Airport

The International VIP Lounge at the Quito, Ecuador Airport is an oasis.

I assure you, I have no frequent flyer status with Avianca Airlines. What I have is a Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card which gives us a Priority Pass Lounge membership.

I still remember when I applied for my first credit card, definitely not a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It was from the now defunct Strawbridges department store in Philadelphia. I was a newly minted lawyer and needed to purchase a lawyerly winter coat. I was still using the one I had from the frozen tundra of Williams College in the Berkshire Mountains of northwestern Massachusetts. This was fine for law school, but I didn’t think I should show up at court looking like Nanook of the North. As a newly minted, 26 year old “girl” lawyer in 1980, I figured I needed all the gravitas I could muster.

 Hopkins Memorial Chapel.

Williams College before the first snow of winter.

The coat I had my eye on cost $60.00, a not inconsequential amount when one’s yearly salary was $16,000. I had the money, but I didn’t want to walk around Philadelphia with $60 of cash in my wallet. I filled out the store credit card application and was rejected!! Although I had dutifully paid off a college loan of $500 at $25 per month, the reason for the rejection was that I didn’t have a credit history.

That was then. Now I receive entreaties to apply for credit cards every day—by snail mail, by email, by social media and by cell phone despite supposedly being on the “do not call” list . Now we even receive travel credit card advice from our 30 year old travel blogger son. We’ve been very happy with his latest suggestion, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

If you don’t do a fair amount of travel every year, you should stop reading here (but you might enjoy reading about how we adopted our dog, Dino ) and how we travel without him.) If you could use a travel credit card, enjoy the cute photo and then scroll down.


Gratuitous photo of my loves, Dino and Mr. Excitement. (Not necessarily in that order).

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has a hefty annual fee of $450.00 for the primary card holder and $75 for an authorized associate card holder. I admit, my first reaction was — no thanks. But, after getting more into the weeds, I realized the card was perfect for us for the following reasons:

  • If you use the card to spend $4,000 in the first three months (on any type of purchases), 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are credited to your account. 50,000 points are worth $750 for travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel services.
  • Each year, you receive a credit of $300 as reimbursement for travel related expenses.
  • You will be reimbursed for the $100 Global Entry application fee or $85 for the TSA Precheck application fee.
  • You earn 3x as many points as the dollar amount spent on travel or dining expenses. Even something like parking is considered a “travel” expense.
  • Chase points are transferable one to one for various travel loyalty programs. Our son has done this and reports it was seamless.
  • For travel purchased using the card, there is decent travel cancellation and interruption insurance.
  • Coverage for car rental collision damage waiver.
  • You get a Priority Pass membership card which grants you and a guest entry to lounges in over 1,000 airports. (We have already happily used this perk in airports in Mexico City, Miami, and now Quito).
  • No conversion or transaction fees for purchases in international currencies.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services.
  • Extended Warranty coverage for purchases.
  • Purchase Protection in cases where services or products are not received or are deficient.

So, why am I giving a megabank like Chase, free “ink”? First, I can recommend this product from personal experience. Second, enlightened personal interest. If you apply for, are approved for, and open a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card account using our link, Mr. and Mrs. Excitement are credited with 10,000 Chase reward points which will prove to Mr. Excitement that I can help earn my keep.

Note: At the risk of sounding parental, IMHO credit cards should be treated as convenience cards and paid off each month.

Any questions? What has been your experience with “travel” credit cards?

Suzanne Fluhr, Travel Editor

Suzanne Fluhr, Midlife Boulevard's travel editor, is a recovering Philadelphia lawyer, empty nester, wanderer, dog person and Zentangle® enthusiast. She also writes about Baby Boomer travels for the body and mind on her personal blog, Boomeresque. Instagram: Boomeresque2

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