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4 things to do once you get your Chase Sapphire Reserve

April 07, 2021
8 min read
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Editor's Note

This post has been updated with new information. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has consistently been one of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market. In fact, it's been named the Best Premium Travel Credit Card at the 2020 TPG awards. Although it comes with a $550 annual fee, you'll enjoy stellar perks such as a $300 annual travel credit, 50% point redemption boost when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, Priority Pass airport lounge access and so much more.

Related: Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review

And now, you can apply for the Reserve with a bonus of 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Based on TPG's valuation of 2 cents per Chase Ultimate Rewards point, this offer is worth a whopping $1,600 -- covering the card's annual fee.

If you've just applied and gotten approved for the Sapphire Reserve (congrats!), here are four "to-do" items that you'll want to make a priority within the first few days of being a cardholder.

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Add your Sapphire Reserve to all your travel, rideshare and food delivery accounts

With both a $300 annual travel credit and the ability to earn 3x points in a broad travel category (after using your $300 travel credit) and a solid dining category, the Chase Sapphire Reserve should be your top card for booking travel. Have it handy not only when on a hotel or airline website, but also when you are booking via online travel agencies such as Expedia and Orbitz, since these purchases count in the travel category. Homesharing services, such as Airbnb or VRBO, also earn sometimes code as travel and earn 3x points.

Then you may also want to set up the Reserve as your default card on ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft, since these also count as travel. To make the deal even sweeter, Chase has partnered with Lyft to offer Reserve cardholders a year of free Lyft Pink membership to help save even more on rides. You can also earn 10x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft charges with your Sapphire Reserve until March 2025.

And if you have a monthly bill for a commuter train pass or parking at work, you might as well earn 3x for those expenses, too. Be sure to make the Reserve your default card for these regular travel charges as well.

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Make sure you're earning 3x on ride-shares (and taking advantage of your free year of Lyft Pink) by connecting your CSR to your accounts. (Photo by Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Although the 3x dining definitions are more straightforward than the eligible travel items, don't forget to add your card to your account at your favorite restaurant delivery services. In most cases, you'll earn 3x points for these purchases.

Additionally, Reserve cardholders get one year of complimentary DashPass membership with DoorDash, (if activated by December 31, 2024) offering free delivery at eligible restaurants and discounted service fees on orders more than $12. Make sure to activate your offer online or through your DoorDash app, adding in your Reserve card as your default payment method.

Related: How to earn 10x on select dining reservations and takeout with Chase Sapphire

Activate Priority Pass and rental car benefits

The Priority Pass lounge in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

You don't need to wait until your card arrives to activate these perks, but you definitely shouldn't wait any longer than that.

To get started with these particular Reserve benefits — Priority Pass airport lounge access and Avis, National and Silvercar discounts — you'll need to log into your Chase account, select Ultimate Rewards, choose the account associated with your Reserve card, then select Card Benefits under the "Use Points" dropdown menu. From there, you'll register for each of the benefits you wish to receive.

Related: How valuable is a Priority Pass lounge membership?

Sign up for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck (or, gift it to a friend)

Getting through U.S. Customs or airport security is one of the most dreaded parts of modern-day air travel, so use your Chase Sapphire Reserve to apply for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and make your trek a little easier. You'll get the application fee waived up to $100 when using the Reserve to pay for either program.

Global Entry can help you pass through U.S. Customs much faster. (Photo by Katherine Frey / The Washington Post / Getty Images)

What if you've already got Global Entry or PreCheck? You can let a friend or family member benefit from your Chase Sapphire Reserve. Use your card to pay for their application, and the fee will be offset via a statement credit by Chase so long as you haven't already used it on yourself or someone else in the last TK years.

Related: Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck: Which is better?

Set your earning and redemption goals

Now that you've got the Sapphire Reserve basics down, it's time for a little long-term planning.

Where do you want to go with your Ultimate Rewards points? How do you want to fly there — in a first- or business-class cabin? Or would a great Hyatt property such as the Park Hyatt St. Kitts be an exciting use of points for you? Do you think you'll need to find award availability and transfer points, or can you book the airfare or hotel directly through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal and stick with getting 1.5 cents per point in value?

Park Hyatt St. Kitts (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Related: How I used Chase Ultimate Rewards to book my trip to Croatia

Once you've figured out your goals, you can formulate your plan for earning points. Is the Reserve going to be the primary card in your wallet, or should you use it exclusively for the 3x bonus categories and put your general spend on a different card? Planning ahead will allow you to make better choices so your points balances will be adequate when you're ready to start booking.

You can also start considering ramping up your Ultimate Rewards earnings even more by getting a supporting card, such as the Chase Freedom Flex℠ that awards up to 5x points per dollar. After you have the basics of using the Sapphire Reserve down, it can be worth your time to explore what we call the Chase Trifecta.

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is considered one of the best travel credit cards out there — and with good reason. Although the annual fee is $550, the benefits you get out of the card makes it well worth it for frequent travelers. Just make sure you're checking off the items on this to-do list to maximize your Reserve benefits and earning structure.

And if you decide that you aren't quite ready for the $550 annual fee with the Reserve, it can be worth your time to instead consider it's sister, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with just a $95 annual fee and welcome bonus of 60,000 points with $4,000 in spending in the first three months of account opening.

Apply link: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card available for a 80,000 bonus points.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon

Featured image by WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more