Your Sapphire Reserve Card arrived. Here’s what to do next…

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Sapphire Reserve Card arrivedThanks to its generous signup bonus, excellent perks, and $300 in annual travel credits, the $550 Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is a great card for almost anyone who can get it.  Whether or not its worth keeping after the first 12 months depends upon how much you value its perks (3X points for travel & dining, airport lounge access, primary rental car coverage, $300 in annual travel credits, etc.).

Whether you decide to keep the card for just one year or for many, the only way to get value from the card is to take advantage of its perks.  Here’s how…

#1 Meet minimum spend requirements

In order to earn the card’s 100,000 point signup bonus, you have to complete $4K of spend in 3 months.  And, keep in mind that the card’s $550 annual fee does not count towards that spend threshold.  $300 in travel reimbursements do count.

See also:

#2 Spend at least $300 this year on travel

In order to get the full $300 in travel credits for this year, you have to spent at least $300 on travel before your December statement closes.  If your travel begins after that date, you still have options:

  1. Purchase travel (hotels, flights, etc.) in advance.  If booking a hotel, most online travel agencies charge the full amount in advance even if the booking is fully refundable.  In this case, that’s a good thing.
  2. Buy gift cards directly from travel providers such as hotels or airlines.  If buying online, make sure that you are not directed to a non-travel URL (like Cashstar) when checking out.  If buying in person at a hotel, make sure to buy at the front desk.
  3. Buy miles or points directly from travel providers when those points are on sale.  Be careful: many points purchases are handled by points.com.  If so, the purchase won’t count as travel.

#3 Use card for all travel & dining purchases

One of the best benefits of the card, in my opinion, is the ability to earn 3 valuable Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for all travel & dining purchases.  Make this card the card you use for these purchases.

#4 Enroll card in dining rewards programs

5.1) Enroll in Restaurants Plus and link your Sapphire Reserve card in order to earn automatic cash back, in addition to the Sapphire Reserve’s 3X rewards, at many restaurants across the country.  Even though the Restaurants Plus website only lists a few eligible cities, I’ve found that it works in all restaurants covered by a similar program called Mogl (click here to search your location).  Note that if you use my Restaurants Plus link to sign up, you’ll earn 100% cashback on your first meal (up to $20) and I’ll get $20 too.

5.2) Enroll in a Rewards Network dining program and link your Sapphire Reserve card in order to earn extra points or miles at many restaurants across the country.  I recommend picking the program in which you value the points or miles the most.  I’m currently signed up for the Alaska Mileage Plan program.  Free Frequent Flyer Miles (under the “Other Programs I Like” tabe) lists most of the Rewards Network programs along with any signup bonuses they may have.

rewards-network

#5 Activate your Priority Pass Select membership

Log into your Chase account, go to Ultimate Rewards, then select Use Points… Card Benefits:

chase-ultimate-rewards-card-benefits

Next, click the button to activate your Priority Pass membership.  A Priority Pass card will be sent to you in the mail.

chase-sapphire-reserve-priority-pass

#6 Sign up for Global Entry

Go to Card Benefits (see the Activate Priority Pass section, above) to find the link to sign up for Global Entry (Global Entry includes TSA Precheck so there’s no reason to sign up for TSA Precheck on its own).  Fill out the required information and pay with your Sapphire Reserve card.  Your payment should be automatically reimbursed by Chase.

chase-sapphire-reserve-global-entry

#7 Upgrade to National Car Rental Executive Status

This is seriously worth a minute or two of your time.  Go to Card Benefits (see the Activate Priority Pass section, above) to find your “Special Car Rental Privileges”:

chase-sapphire-reserve-car-benefits

Under National Car Rental, click “Get started”.  With Executive status, you can reserve a mid-size car and then pick from any car in the Executive Aisle.  This typically includes your choice of nice sedans, large SUVs, etc.

#8 Setup as primary card with rental car programs, ride-shares, etc.

To take advantage of the Sapphire Reserve Card’s primary rental coverage and 3X rewards for travel, I recommend adding it as your primary credit card in your rental car accounts (National, Hertz, Avis, etc.).  You can also earn 3X rewards with ride share services, so you may want to make it your primary card in your Uber and Lyft accounts too.

Name / LinkOfferFrequent Miler Notes:
UberYou will receive $5 towards your first ride if you use my link.Use to call up cars “on demand” from your smart phone via the Uber app. Trip is automatically charged to your credit card. If you go with UberX (default option) prices tend to be much cheaper than taxis.
LyftYou will receive $5 towards your first ride if you use my link.Very similar to Uber.
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