Chase Sapphire Reserve — My One Year Anniversary and Thoughts on Lounge Access

Today is an important anniversary in my travel — one year since I applied and was accepted for the iconic Chase Sapphire Reserve. As you remember, Chase knocked down the 100,000 mile bonus to 50,000 a little over a year ago, which caused a rush to apply before the deadline. I jumped on board that bad boy, because I’m flushed with miles from my main card, the Virgin Atlantic Visa.

Since then, I easily passed the $4,000 charge threshold to get the 100K by charging my rent on Plastiq. Then, I detailed ways you get earn triple miles by charging at coffee houses, breweries, parking, public transport, tolls and ordering food online. With my maneuvering, I earned 155,149 miles in one year. Holla!

With my flights to Vancouver and Denver for a quick trip, I’ve used some of the other travel perks from the card and ways to earn more miles.

For the 3X miles, it’s obvious, but charging your baggage fees will get you triple miles. Normally, with airline credit cards, your bag is checked for free. It’s a good thing if you travel frequently, which offsets the $95 annual fees of something like the the Delta travel card. I had that at one point, but canceled because I wasn’t flying Delta enough and cashed in my bonus miles for a free round trip to Miami.

Then just like in the U.S., some places in Vancouver that you would think would earn 3x miles does not. Two coffee places and a brewery were just a normal mile. It depends how the business registers to the credit card company (restaurant vs. retail store).

While the card comes with some amazing perks like Global Entry and Pre-TSA (which I had before I got the card), the only perk I’ve taken advantage of is the Complimentary Airport Lounge Access via Priority Pass Select. It’s more like “taking advantage of” in air quotes. While it seems like a cool perk, it’s nothing to go out of your way to use.

With my trip through six airports, only Vancouver International terminal I was able to use the lounge. The others (Denver, Newark, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Minneapolis), the lounges that were part of Priority Pass Select were in other terminals.

The lounge in Vancouver could be accessed by anybody willing to pay $25 an hour. When I arrived, it was way crowded with tourist yahoos clamoring over free cans of soda, cheap wine, rice pilaf and orange chicken. On top of that, one bathroom for both sexes. When I got an open seat, I had everybody and their mother rolling their luggage over my feat. After 30 minutes, I determined being out in the terminal was a better use of my time.

The others perks, like travel, late baggage and trip delay insurance, I hope not to use.


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