On my mind (Goodbye Sapphire Reserve?)

I’m struggling with the question of whether or not to say goodbye to my Sapphire Reserve card.  Now that my Citi Prestige card offers 5X for dining, airfare, and travel agencies, the Sapphire Reserve has lost its coveted spot in my wallet (see: Prestige rocks my wallet for 2019).  I’ve temporarily moved the card to my travel wallet, but I’m not at all sure it should stay there.  The logical thing to do is to downgrade it to a no-fee card.  And if I ever need it again, I believe I could product change it back to the Sapphire Reserve.  But, let’s face it, I’ve somehow developed an emotional attachment to this card and so it’s hard to see it go.

In my last “on my mind” post, I struggled with the question of whether I should sign up for the Amex Business Platinum card before the annual fee increases from $450 to $595 in February.  Thanks to the process of putting my thoughts into writing, I decided not to get one for myself, but to have my son sign up.  He would get lounge access and other perks, and I would get the Gogo internet passes, airline fee reimbursements, and use of his points in exchange for meeting minimum spend requirements.  He signed up and we’re well on our way.  In fact, he was able to use his Hilton Gold status granted by this card to get free breakfast at a Hilton in Chicago earlier this week when visiting a friend.

Since the last “on my mind” post was so successful (thanks for being there for me!), I figured that it made sense to attack the Sapphire Reserve question here.  I actually covered this question in detail fairly recently in the post “Should I ditch my Sapphire Reserve?” but I didn’t reach a final conclusion.  In that post I wrote “I thought that writing this post would clarify the decision for me, but it hasn’t. I honestly haven’t yet decided whether to keep or downgrade the card, but I’m leaning towards downgrading it.”  In other words, I punted the decision to January when the Prestige’s new 5X rewards structure would kick in.  Now, it’s decision time.

Sapphire Reserve Benefits

In my prior post on the subject, I pointed out that even though the Sapphire Reserve has excellent benefits, I get the same or better benefits from other cards that I have (I have lots of cards!).  I listed two major exceptions: the Sapphire Reserve’s best in-class travel insurance, and the ability to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each.

Regarding the Sapphire Reserve’s travel insurance, a reader pointed out that I would get the exact same insurance if I paid for travel, at least in part, with my Ritz Carlton card (see: Ritz matches best-in-class Sapphire Reserve travel protections).  That is true.  And I plan to keep my Ritz card for its annual 50K free night certificate and $300 in airline fee reimbursements.

That leaves just one good reason for me to keep the Sapphire Reserve: the ability to redeem points at 1.5 cents each towards travel.  That’s a killer feature if you use it, but I rarely do.  I usually transfer points to airline programs or to Hyatt. My old Ink Business Plus card gives me the power to do that.

Emotional Attachment

When Chase introduced the Sapphire Reserve, I fell in love.  My wife and I travel a lot and we eat out a lot.  Finally, here was one card that offered huge rewards for both. And I loved the simplicity of it.  I kept this one card in the front of my wallet and used it for all dining and travel.  I never had to think about which card to use for these things — it was obvious.  Yes, Chase charges $450 per year, but they also rebate $300 per year in travel spend.  The extra points earned from the Sapphire Reserve over other options available at the time made the card worth far more than its net $150 fee (after $300 rebate).

Fast forward to today.  Citi has now rejiggered their Prestige card to match up very well against the Sapphire Reserve.  I still think that many people would be better off with the Sapphire Reserve if they had to pick one or the other (see: 6 reasons the Citi Prestige is not a Sapphire Reserve killer), but  I think that the Prestige is the better card for me (given that I have other cards that fill in the holes).

Due to my emotional attachment, though, I find myself making excuses to keep the card:

  • “It’s only $150”
  • “I don’t want to upset Chase”
  • “I have a huge balance of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. I should start booking travel through Chase at 1.5 cents per point”

Fleshing out the pay with points argument

That last emotional excuse, above, is actually a reasonable one.  I should start booking travel through Chase.  Specifically, I should book airfare this way.  My wife and I have millions of Chase points that we rarely use.  That’s crazy.

I usually avoid booking hotels through Chase since I can get better deals in other ways. Airfare is different. Most of the time, at least with major carriers, airfare found through Chase is the same as booked elsewhere.  Plus, unlike hotels, you can get airline rewards when flying on a ticket purchased with points.

Let’s arbitrarily say that I could book $2,100 worth of airfare each year through Chase if I wanted to.  With the Sapphire Reserve at 1.5 cents per point, I would spend 140,000 points for those flights.  If, instead, I paid with points through my Ink Business Plus card at 1.25 cents per point, I would spend 168,000 points.  In other words, keeping the Sapphire Reserve would save me 28,000 points which would be worth $420 in airfare (or $280 in cash).  The Sapphire Reserve’s 1.5 cents per point advantage would easily save me more than the card’s net annual fee.  More importantly, I would save cash and start to spend down my points balance at a good value.

The Decision

I started writing this post with the intention of convincing myself to dump my Sapphire Reserve card.  Instead, I talked myself into keeping it.  I really should start spending down my Ultimate Rewards fortune, and paying for flights at 1.5 cents per point value is a good way to do so.  So, that’s what I’ll do.  Thanks for listening, and thanks for your help!

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Steve
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Steve

I was in the same boat. The sapphire reserve was so convienient for travelling. Just one card to rule them all. Then I downgraded to a Freedom, which just confuses my wife, who spends the most in the categories. But then I reupgraded back to a sapphire reserve, which I mistakenly though I needed for sapphire checking and a 60k bonus. I’m actually happy now with my sapphire reserve for the convenience factor, My current plan is get it every other year so as to use the travel credit twice per annual fee.

Audrey
Guest
Audrey

I thought you can no longer do that, that it’s once per membership rather than calendar year now.

Also a question for you Greg – back when the Prestige changes first came out, I recall you saying the fee would go up after all (no more grandfathering to CitiGold pricing) which tipped the balance away from Prestige. In your post the other day re launch of Prestige changes, you showed the grandfathered fee in the table.

I too have that fee. Did your information change regarding it continuing?

Steve
Guest
Steve

Hard for me to tell if I’m grandfathered in re the once per cardmember vs calendar year thing, as my renewal is in November. In any event, I should be a lemon to sneak another travel credit in before the annual fee cash comes due.

FreeIsGood
Guest
FreeIsGood

Travel Credit is once per cardmember year. But you can downgrade to the CSP or Freedom mid year and get a prorated annual fee refund on the CSR after the travel credit hits. If it’s in the first 30 days after the annual fee hits I think a complete refund is possible.

Edward
Guest
Edward

I thought you did need a reserve or preferred card for the checking and 60k bonus?

Ben
Guest
Ben

Ts & Cs from the Chase Sapphire Banking new account page:

1) Customers must have a Chase Sapphire® or Chase Freedom® credit card that is open and not in default at the time of enrollment and at points fulfillment, and be the primary cardmember on the account.

Clara
Guest
Clara

I thought you need a Sapphire card for the 60k bonus points – that would be CSR or CSP. I remembered asking the banker about this when opening the sapphire checking acct last month, and she said Freedom doesn’t count

TheOtherCarl
Guest
TheOtherCarl

I put a lot of travel spend on my CSR and use hundreds of thousands of points to book flights each year. I appreciate the ability to book the exact flights I want, without looking for hard-to-find award space. CSR has been a keeper from Day One, though I’ll admit the relaunched Prestige, with its 5x categories, might make me reconsider – especially with the 1.25 uplift from the Premier…. Decisions, decisions!

N8onUA
Guest
N8onUA

Perfect timing on the post. My Reserve annual travel credits have just posted and my annual fee is due in the next 30 days. With the Citi Prestige I am thinking of downgrading my Reserve to Freedom Unlimited (currently only have 5x Freedom).

Unlike Greg, I do *not* have millions in Chase UR points and have rarely, if ever, used them for 1.5 cents towards travel. My wife also has the Sapphire Preferred and I can be added as an authorized user for $0 extra. Sure, we lose out on possibly 1 point per $ (though most categories are covered by other cards like the Prestige now) and we never use the 1.5 cent per point redemption so no real loss there. And my wife has the Ritz Carlton card if we do want best-in-class travel protections.

My only reservation is how “broad” Citi defines restaurants/dining. The Reserve tends to be pretty generous as to what it counts as both travel and dining. I’m concerned Citi will lean more like Amex and not accurately track “dining”. Time will tell.

As long as I can “re-apply” or “upgrade” one of my Freedom cards when needed, I think it would be interesting to try life without the CSR and see how it goes. Plus, it would also restart the clock on the ability to possibly apply directly for one of the Sapphire cards again (though waiting 48 months now is an eon in the travel hacking world).

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Me too not Millions for me please transfer 100k to my account .
I did say Please and I’m Thanking you in Advance ..

HaHa

CHEERs

Blue
Guest
Blue

I downgraded my CSR then got caught in a situation where the travel insurance would have been very useful (wife got sick in Mexico City and had to miss the flight home). With no Prestige (and really no plan to get one since my Premier is only 14 months old) I’m keeping it.

Alli
Guest
Alli

I just got hit with my annual fee and thought about canceling the card. But I have some upcoming trips (including one as far out as Jan 2020) booked on the card and I want to keep the insurance on those. Since the net cost is $150 after travel credits, this card is a keeper for me. (I also don’t currently have the Prestige or any other card that has similar points earning possibilities for travel)

Hood
Guest
Hood

Funny, I was planning to drop my prestige and keep my Sapphire Reserve. The new Prestige booking changes, reduced hotel benefit, reduce points value, etc, really turned it into a loser for me. I notice lots of bloggers still pushing the Prestige so the commission from Citi must be pretty good.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

It’s still a Great card for me and I can reup for $450 too. .I can Book 100 nites before 9/1 and stay anytime after then get 2 more free nites booked before 12/31 and stay anytime..1/2020 not so good but phone deal may work out for me and the $250 travel rebate .Then the P restaurants for 3 not the lounges to Far away.BUT one was 5* as in Priceless on foreign travel and a meal saver too.
CHEERs.

Lancelot
Guest
Lancelot

@Greg – I would love to see an article on how you plan to maximize all these TY points. I have about 30K of them, but they just kind of sit there while my UR and MR are constantly used. As you noted, the transfer partners are a little thin compared to it’s 2 competitors, so with that in mind, how do you plan to ensure you’re getting equal to (or better) redemptions with TY points (compared to UR/MR)?

Rob
Guest
Rob

I’ve been through this logic myself recently and the first 2 things on my list were the same as yours…the travel insurance (which I rely heavily on) and the 1.5 cents. I also don’t use the 1.5 cents very often and have questioned it’s real value to me. But I realized that travelling with our 10 year old child often means that in order to get 3 business class tickets internationally, it is pretty important to have the option of buying the last ticket at the cash price using Chase points at 1.5 cents since many times there are only 1 or 2 award tickets available on the flights we want. I also prefer charging most travel expenses to the CSR versus the Prestige because while they are similar in the insurance coverage, the Prestige makes me guess whether non-Air and non-hotel charges will earn bonus points like travel agents, trains, park/museum tickets etc. For example, taking a helicopter tour of Niagara? Will that be airfare or travel agent or tour? I’d rather the certainty of my 3x Chase points and know it is covered if someone gets sick and we have to miss it.

Frage
Guest
Frage

I think it’s pretty unfair that you’re using your son’s points, despite having this agreement, given the Amex lifetime language. You shouldn’t spoil this great card for him. Instead, let him use the points and learn the game; otherwise, you’re taking advantage of him as he doesn’t know what he’ll be missing down the road.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Good idea but I wonder who paid for his college,car,travel,books ect as in Greg I bet .,My sister plays with 6 SSN by husband & kids . I think travel points are worthless if u don’t know how to use them .Met a bus.man with a Million points clueless .
CHEERs

Derek
Guest
Derek

Why transfer points to airlines and hotels rather than book with 1.5x UR value? Are people finding consistently better redemption values booking direct, and enough to offset the miles/points you earn on an airline when you book with UR pts?

Nick Reyes
Editor

Well, you would transfer points when that is a better value.

For example, a Category 1 Hyatt property costs 5,000 points per night. A Cat 1 Hyatt Place will often cost $100-$150 per night in many markets. If you booked through Chase, that would cost you more points (somewhere between 6,666 and 10,000 depending on the cash rate) and you would not qualify for free breakfast (you would if you transferred the 5,000 points to Hyatt and booked directly).

On hotel stays, you also give up elite benefits and credit and the opportunity to earn hotel points when you book through the Chase portal. For example, let’s say you could book the Andaz Maui for $375. In that case, it would cost the same 25,000 points whether booking through the Chase portal or transferring to Hyatt. But if you book it through Chase, you’ll have to pay ~$40 per day in resort fees at the hotel (you don’t pay that fee on an award stay booked with Hyatt points). If you’re a Gloablist (or you transfer your Hyatt points to someone else who is a Globalist and get them to book a Guest of Honor stay for you), you also pay $0 for parking when you book directly through Hyatt (i.e. transfer to Hyatt instead of booking through Chase) vs paying $50 per night for parking if you book through Chase. If you’re a Hyatt Globalist, you also get free breakfast, which is something like $45 per person per day. Even though the room itself costs the same 25K points either way, you save something in the neighborhood of $140 per night by booking with Hyatt points rather than through the Chase portal.

As for airlines, it again just depends on your redemptions. For example, I recently booked a one-way business class flight from Madrid to New York for 34K Iberia Avios (a transfer partner) and about $150. That’s significantly better than cash price even with any miles earning figured in.

On the other hand, I used points when I booked several family members on a domestic flight a couple of months ago. The cash cost was around $120 round trip, so paying 8,000 Ultimate Rewards points round trip sure beat the mileage being charged by the airlines.

To answer your question “Are people finding consistently better redemption values booking direct, and enough to offset the miles/points you earn on an airline when you book with UR pts?”, the answer is yes. Transfer partners can unlock tremendous value. Transfer 120K to Virgin Atlantic and fly round trip first class from NY to Tokyo on ANA — a trip that would ordinarily cost north of $10K. Transfer to Hyatt and book the Park Hyatt New York for 30K points per night — a hotel that often runs north of $1K per night. The possibilities are endless to get great value.

However, if you earn a lot of Ultimate Rewards points and/or you’re mostly looking to book things where the Chase portal provides better value, by all means use the Chase portal. Like I said, I use it quite a bit — enough that it has been the leading reason why we’ve kept a CSR in my household. But there are lots of other possibilities that can provide better value.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Has Thank You Points ever had a Bonus transfer to Singapore Airlines ?? CHEERs

Miles Ahead
Guest
Miles Ahead

Perhaps not, but they’ve had one recently to a Star Alliance partner of there’s

Lancelot
Guest
Lancelot

Agree completely! I can say that for me, I’ve consistently used the 1.5 redemption for hotels where I have no ambition of joining their rewards program (if they even have one at all). My daughter plays weekend travel softball, and we’ve frequently encountered no Marriott or Hilton branded hotels in the smaller towns we’re playing in. Rockmart, Georgia comes to mind. The 1.5 point redemption works really well for that, especially considering that many of these hotels are typically less than $100 per night. I feel very good about dropping ~6500 points for a one night stay.

trackback

[…] Greg’s post “On My Mind (Goodbye Sapphire Reserve?)” I got hung up on something he said when talking about the 1.5 cent Ultimate Rewards travel […]

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

If it works for anyone Do It .I’m booked till 1/2020 enough points till 1/2022 or longer by then with just 2 cards I’ll have enough Air points till 2023 or longer . U need different points IF and When they devalue ..
Thanks Blogs !!

CHEERs

Pam
Guest
Pam

Chase also often offers discounted fares/rates available only when booking thru their travel portal (v Expedia direct). Extra savings….

I also question just how long Citi will keep up 5x considering they are notorious for slashing/eliminating their best product features without much notice. Chase is loads more reliable.

frugalman
Guest
frugalman

Greg, my suggestion is to keep CSR and cancel Prestige instead. I hold both for years. Here is why:

Let’s ignore the common parts, such s those travel credits, priority pass:

Why Keep CSR:
1. UR Transfer
2. 1.5c/pt use
(the above two are essentially the “gate” of my UR points. If you cancel CSR, you are essentially closing the door of your UR to go anywhere. FYI, I don’t have Ink Biz card)
3. Primary Rental Car LDW coverage

Why Cancel Prestige:
1. I don’t have that many TYP to use 1.25ct/pt and can’t ramp up much as well (vs. Ink, Freedom 5%). Needless to say, this feature is disappearing on 9/1/19
2. TYP can’t be transferred to United, my primary destination if I transfer (nowadays with paid tickets being cheap yet availability of saver tickets is near zero, I rarely transfer UR points at all).
3. I rarely use “stay 3 and get 1 free”(S3G1) benefits. I don’t mind they reduce the use time to twice annually, but the problem is that I just don’t have chances to travel two “4-day” trips every year. Even if I do, I prefer to use my free night certificates (HH, Marriott, IHG) first. So S3G1 is more a burden for me rather than giving me a “universal 25% off hotel deal”.
4. The last straw that breaks the camel: annual fee. So far I still enjoy $395 AF, but, with the upcoming $100 annual fee increase, it would be either this year or next year that I will cancel it.
(BTW, prestige used to have a good flight delay protection, kind of comparable to primary car rental, but that feature was gone or say watered down)

Because I don’t see I am using the S3G1 feature this year. I am going to close my prestige in my next renewal. Meanwhile, I heard that it would be hard to get CSR sign up bonus quickly(48months), I opt to keep it. Of course, different people have different travel and shopping patterns. My advise might not be suitable for you. But just share my two cents.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Transfer ur TYP’s to Singapore Airlines IF they have a Flt. u can use with United .At least u can get rid of them .If u need more top off the Singapore with UR like I will use my Ink points. My flts on United are the same points cost so I will use Ink on United less hassle and more flts.
CHEERs

frugalman
Guest
frugalman

Multiple comment writers suggest they value the cash back of the premium cards. It is not the case for mine. They are drawer cards for me, and I don’t shop with these cards to earn bonus as I feel everyday shopping itself can not make a big difference on my point accumulation. For example, for shopping, I just use my BOA premium rewards and Amex Blue Biz Plus no-brain cards unless I have some sign up spending tasks to meet. I more value the benefits these cards can bring to me (even if I don’t spend a penny on it). These may explain why people have different feelings.

Marshall D Davis
Guest
Marshall D Davis

Greg:

I noticed your statement regading your son’s Amex points that you would “use of his points in exchange for meeting minimum spend requirements.” I thought that Amex points could not be transferered to another person, so wondering how you will do that. TIA

Sam
Guest
Sam

Greg, you left out a response to: “I don’t want to upset Chase.” This merits analysis in itself. Can we hurt the feelings of large banks???

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

They can see ur credit report (10 years) which shows Everything , When I called Chase u applied for and got a Zillion cards all over Now u want a New One From Chase ? Didn’t go well HaHa will BE A LONG time before Chase gives me a New Card. So I want to get along with Citi just to ” Get Their Money ” so I will think about canceling their cards as in 4.

CHEERs

WR2
Guest
WR2

So you are going to prepay $150, and give Chase a $300, interest free and reward free loan (no 3x on that $300), just for the opportunity to later use the Chase travel portal over the next year? To me that’s insane. First off, the travel portal is pretty much useless for major hotels, as you lose all your elite benefits. Second, premium cabin travel is much better value transferring points. Third, you probably have a lot of airline gift cards you can use for domestic travel. There’s a reason your UR have been building up if you are holding out for travel portal redemptions. Finally, I’m fairly certain all the other ancillary benefits have zero value to you as they are duplicated with many other cards you probably have. PP, GE, 3x, etc…all useless.

My plan, that might be good for you as well, is to transfer as many points you know you will use this year to partners, such as Hyatt. Downgrade, then upgrade a year later when you need to do it again, so you can double dip the travel credit and make it a net $150 money maker, as opposed to a net $150 loss.

Pam
Guest
Pam

I have booked at least 20 hotel stays thru the portal. I call the hotel (if I have status with them), & they add my number to the res. The hotel still gives me upgrades/breakfast. I guess they aren’t required to but yet they also sure do!

Mostly I like trying boutique, non-chain properties on the portal at a nice discount from their own website. Four Seasons can also be a nice buy.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

5 nites South Beach Four Seasons (40th street) Top Floor (10th) Free with points unreal view of Miami not Ocean . I can’t spend that amount so it was twice in a lifetime for Me..
CHEERs

globetrotter
Guest
globetrotter

@Nick: How do you get free breakfast at Hyatt when transferring UR to Hyatt account and book a room? I have no status with Hyatt or its credit card. When I transferred UR to Hyatt account to book rooms in HK and Nepal, the hotel staff emphasized that breakfast was not included with the reservation. Did I miss something?

AlexL
Guest
AlexL

Hyatt Globalist got free breakfast or if someone with that status books your stay as their guest of honor, you can get free breakfast

FreeIsGood
Guest
FreeIsGood

CSR is still a really good card, but I just downgraded mine after getting the annual travel credit. I’m changing my focus and lookin to ditch about $1000 of annual fee cost on reward cards this year. Might go back in the future when I’m eligible for a new CSR signup bonus (if I can time getting under 5/24 briefly before going a bit nuts again). CSR is great for the one card quiver, which should appeal to people who don’t want to be bothered, but there are ways to do better (or almost as good with a no fee card.)

I’m sure everyone is now aware there are a few good cards that offer restaurant cashback/points worth 4+% now that were not available previously. No fees or waived annual first year w/ signup bonus. I’ll probably sign up for the propel and downgrade the Amex Plat to Gold.

For hotels, a co-branded hotel card offers better returning most cases (at least to me). Some technicalities are up for discussion, but free nights offset the annual fees pretty well.

For airfare, I’m either getting that book through work, or using points/credits to do it for free.

Beyond that not much else left to use the CSR for.

When I’m not working on a signup bonus, I had used the Freedom Unlimited a lot before in conjunction with the CSR for uncategorized spend, but now use the citi double cash for straight 2% cashback. Problem with the UR portal is not getting an extra 10% off on hotels (many common 10% off coupons floating around) or not getting points/benefits when staying at a chain that looks down on third party bookings. I do get great value at Hyatt and topping off United every now and then, but my base calculation of value came from 1.5 pt/ $ spent x 1.5 cent/UR point x .9 for no discount/rewards in the UR portal. That equal 2.025 cents per $ spent… not worth it over the double cash. Same for restaurant spend 1.5 x 3 x .9 = 4.1%, which is nominally the same as 4%.

5150d
Guest
5150d

Chase definition of TRAVEL is way better than “airlines and travel agencies”.

Seth
Guest
Seth

Thanks for this well-thought-out post. My fee comes up in August, so I have some time. This was my #1 card until last Friday — nearly all my spend is on dining, so the Prestige is now tops, and I’m finally under 5/24 and can get the Ink Business Preferred, so I won’t need the triple travel points from the CSR. I frequent Asia, so losing transfers to Korean was terrible. With Citi and Amex transfer bonuses I now find myself spending through those points quickly, and while Chase to United is still useful, the value from Ultimate Rewards isn’t as outsized as it was. For two years I’d thought of CSR dining and travel spend as having a 5%-to-7% rebate, and I now have to come to terms with the fact that I should revalue the rebate in hindsight at 4.5% and start spending down the points on flights.

Joseph
Guest
Joseph

The argument of “between 3x points and 5x points, 5x points clearly wins,” is first-grade level thinking. The kind of marketing that makes people fall for garbage and think they are getting a deal.

All of the other stuff matters too. Like what the points are worth. What options you have for redeeming the points. What categories actually qualify for reward multiplier bonuses. What other perks add value.

Individual needs will vary from person to person. When I first heard of these changes, I thought the same thing. Prestige is going to be way better. Then, actually looking between the two cards, the CSR is still a better card, for me at least.

Miles Ahead
Guest
Miles Ahead

How is TYP “garbage”? Last year TYP offered increase transfer bonus percentage to Virgin Atlantic– good on Delta and sweet spot redemption to Tokyo, British Airway/Iberia– good on American (or any other One World partner) and Avianca good on United (or any other Star Alliance partner). I’d argue that TYP is waaaaaaaaaaay better for transfer to airline partners than UR. One redemtption area where UR really shines, and it’s a big one is Hyatt– Please Chase, don’t lose or devalue that one, but as for the rest, meh (I don’t find the 1.5% redemption for a $450 card that exicting, I’ll just keep my $150 and pay cash when warranted or use someone else’s points — MR, TYP, Star/Marriott, Barclay, BofA etc. rather than get excited about a 1.5% for UR). Sorry just don’t get it or think the CSR is worth having anymore when there are other more compelling options and you can get CSP cheaper and still play the Chase Freedom /Ink Plus rack up the points game. Also, regarding your comment below Abishek, it’s cool that you find value in the card, but all 4 of your points below could also be had with the Prestige and if you did just one 4 night stay, you could do this in a way where you’d $0 out of pocket. There is no way to do it $0 out of pocket with CSR, unless again you argue for the 1.5% redemption that Chase offers that I never use nor want to (you can redeem on SWA for 1.5% ALL DAY LONG if that’s the redemption level you seek…)

Abhishek Mohanty
Guest
Abhishek Mohanty

I have been in the same boat and i am now inclined to keep the card owing to the following calculations that i made for my reference :

Out of Pocket expense for keeping the card as below :
1) Net Annual fees of 150$

Out of Pocket expense for not keeping the card :
1) Lounge access for family during long layovers when we fly once a year to India – 27$ *3 = 91$ per leg. Total = 182$ for round trip
2) Primary LDW on Rental Cars during vacations (atleast 2 multi day vacations in a year where i use LDW) . Around 60-80$ per rental. Total around 150$
3) Apart from the fact that i am able to accrue more than 10K points at the minimum every year. Loss of capital valuation for 10K points with any other card = 50$ (owing to 1.5 cents per point valuation )

I would rather pay 150$ towards Annual Fees than spending 400$ more on the same things that i anyways do.

However if anyone is not able to get the 300$ back in travel reimbursement (highly unlikely ), they should not continue with the card

a$hu
Guest
a$hu

I agree with the decision. For me, this card is a funnel for all UR points that can be earned with so many cards in different ways. For the last couple of years, I have not only used it to book travel but also to book ‘activities’ which cover the other cost of vacation like airport transfer, tickets to attractions, adventure (skydiving, plane rides, scuba etc.) and so much more. It allows me and family to do so much more than we would otherwise just wish for!

Tyler
Guest
Tyler

I’ve long planned to add the csr as my next premium card to fill in a couple holes. Current Aspire, AAE, Plat as far as premium goes. I fly aa and delta, so the aae and plat are ok for now. Eventually will add the DR to get delta benefits, but it’s another Amex, so it has to wait its turn. As I looked into infinite cards available in the US, I think the Altitude actually fits my needs better. I realize it’s locked as far as points go, but the categories and spend-credit redemption with equal value instead of booking through a card portal has a ton of value. Note that this opens up stacking through airline portals, gift cards, and counts toward mqd or hotel status, so it’s actually earning more than the 4.5% redemption rate. Same primary rental as csr, best I can tell (I use the Amex $20 thing now). Infinite travel portal that csr lacks, no $100 two-ticket discount that csr has (shame), and better fee-to-credit ratio with seemingly same general travel definitions as csr. The gogo passes are what ultimately send it over, as I will use them. However, I will also use the oft-overlooked Troon benefit, which I am having trouble verifying on the Altitude. I know all infinite should have it, but the Troon site says not all do, and Altitude doesn’t mention it. Can anyone confirm that the Altitude does have this benefit? If you have one and don’t know, can you try it at the Troon infinite site and confirm? It’s free. Assuming it works with Troon, the Altitude would be a hands-down winner for me to add a top level visa.

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