Why pay for a credit card when there are so many free ones out there? That was my mindset for the longest time. I did not understand why anyone would pay hundreds of dollars for a card when you don’t have to. A credit card with an annual fee used to seem like such a waste of money to me.
That was until one of my friends opened her Chase Sapphire Reserve card and I saw all of the perks she was getting. It did not take much to convince me that it was a great investment, and that the perks outweigh the money you’re initially paying.
Yes, I pay a $450 annual fee for my card.
And yes, it’s a lot. But here’s the thing. The card comes with an insane amount of perks that not only offset the cost of the fee, but actually improve the quality of my life.
Here’s why I love my credit card with an annual fee*:
1. A $300 travel credit.
I get reimbursed up to $300 on any travel purchases. That’s right — all of my Uber, Lyft, and GroundLink rides, all of my train tickets, all of my flights are reimbursed until I hit $300. Now hitting that amount is quite easy for me in a year, and it seems to be easy for a lot of people.
This in itself brings the card down to $150 a year, which is still a decent chunk of change, but much more manageable than $450.
2. Free TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
In addition to the reimbursement on $300 worth of travel, you additionally get reimbursed if you choose to apply for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. (You can also be reimbursed for Nexus and Sentri, if those appeal to you more.)
I had both of these already prior to opening my card so I did not need to utilize this feature, but I will when I need to renew. With TSA PreCheck, you’ll be reimbursed the $85 membership fee, and with Global Entry you’ll be reimbursed the $100.
Editor’s note: I also have this card and did utilize the reimbursement for Global Entry. You simply make an appointment and pay with your Reserve Card. Chase automatically recognizes the transaction and credits you back.
Break it down:
Now bear with me as it’s time for some math! Assuming you do hit the $300 reimbursement, and assuming you do decide to apply for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry – $300 + $85 + 100 = $485. And, since $485 > $450, in your first year of having this card, you’re actually making more money than you are paying.
3. 3x the points.
And on top of all of this? I get 3x the points back whenever I use my card to pay for dining or travel, and 1x the points on all other purchase. As you can imagine, I make sure my card always goes down when I’m out to dinner with my friends or the one who always starts a tab at the bar (the beauty of Venmo!).
Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most flexible rewards programs out there. There are many ways to use your Chase points
Editor’s note: I redeemed my Chase points last fall for a week-long trip to Japan. They covered two round-trip flights flights and five nights in hotels (including one $1,000 night at the Shangri-La Tokyo). Using my Chase points saved me around $4,000.
4. Travel insurance.
Travel insurance is also included when you book a vacation on this card. Have I sold you yet into applying for the card? If not, let me get into my personal perks from this past year of having the card.
In the past year alone, I flew from New York City roundtrip to Madrid, Boston, Orlando, and Cancun for free. I had accrued so many points, that I did not have to pay a dollar of my own money for those flights — they were all included in my points.
So basically, I flew roundtrip to four different places for the $150 credit card fee (since I had reached my $300 travel reimbursement). And you cannot deny that that’s a lot of places to fly for just $150!
5. Priority Pass.
If you travel a lot, this card is for you. In addition to the above, you also receive a priority pass which gets you into countless airport lounges across the world. Let me tell you, there is no better way to spend an obnoxious flight delay than in one of these lounges with food and wine/beer included. It almost makes flight delays bearable — almost.
It’s Worth It
Investing in this card has been one of the best purchases of my 20s, if not the best purchase of my 20s so far. I am lucky that I am financially able to shell out the $450 at once, to then be reimbursed the $300. If you travel to more than one destination a year, I highly encourage you to look into purchasing this card — as you can see, it pays for itself, at least it has so far for me!
If you are still weary about paying a fee for a credit card when there are so many free ones out there, I entirely understand. But if you are someone who travels a lot (or honestly even eats out a lot), I urge you to look into this card. The points can be used for things other than travel (such as cash back), but you do get the biggest bang for your buck if you book flights or hotel stays through the Chase Portal with your points. And whereas many other rewards programs do not let you combine points and actually money (i.e. you either need to pay with one or the other, not both), you can combine them here — and you’ll still get 3x points on whatever amount you put on your credit card.
Let’s also not forget the incentive bonus — right now it’s when you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your card, you get 50,000 points, which is a lot!
There are so, so many perks of this card that I can go on forever. But I think I have given you a pretty good glimpse at the value you get for the fee that you are paying. Do your research, be financially smart, and a card with a fee may be the best purchase of your 20s as well.
To learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve, please click here. I was not endorsed to write this. I just really, really love this card.