Chase Sapphire Reserve — Ways to Maximize the Benefits

Here’s an update on my first three months using the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Cadillac of travel credit cards. As you remember, Chase introduced the card with a 100,000 bonus sign-up that became too popular, so they reduced it 50,000. I got in on the deal before the reduction.

To get the 100,000, I had to spend $4000 in the first three months. I got it at the two months mark. I used to pay my monthly bills like phone, cable, internet, car insurance, NY Times subscription and Netlix.

Then using Plastiq, I paid my rent. Depending on your amount, they charge you a small fee. Mine was about $44. When you think of the miles you get out of it, the fee is worth it. You can also use it to pay your mortgage or your taxes.

A few things you might not realize about the card. Yes, the $450 is pretty steep for a travel card. My Virgin Atlantic and Barclay Card are both $95 a year, but free for the first year. Not the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you get hit with the fee up front.

That is offset by the $300 travel refund. The good news is that public transportation, tolls and parking counts as travel. I changed my automatic top-up for New York/New Jersey transport and EZPass and got the credit on it.

Then there’s the shopping portal when you earn extra miles on online shopping if you click through their site. Basically, a cookie and tracking URL is embedded in your browser and when you check out, the retailer can see where you came from and credit you with the miles.

I used it to buy sneakers via Shoebuy for 6 miles per dollar. So $52.99 x 6 is 474 miles, with 52 miles on my card equals 526 added miles to my balance. My total miles balance after two months is 107,489.

Thus, the card is worth it, even with the now 50,000 redemption. I haven’t used it book travel yet or the other  perks like TSA pre-check (which I already have) and Global Pass (which I already have), or the lounge access.

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