The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) is a popular premium travel rewards card that lots of people find to be worthwhile. There are many great benefits to the card, including:
- A big welcome bonus
- 3x points on dining and travel
- A $300 annual travel credit, which can be applied toward any purchase coded as travel
- A Priority Pass membership with the ability to guest two people into lounges
- Valuable travel and rental car coverage
- A Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck credit
- Visa Infinite perks, including rental car and hotel benefits
In this post I wanted to look at what you should do once you’ve applied for the card, received it, and activated it. The good news is that there’s not a huge learning curve in terms of maximizing the benefits of the card, as Chase intentionally makes most of them pretty easy to use.
In no particular order, below are some of the things that you should do once you’ve been approved for and have activated the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Activate your Priority Pass membership
One of the great perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is that it comes with a Priority Pass membership, which gets you access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world, including many airport restaurants. You can even bring two guests with you into the lounge at no extra cost.
This is something you have to activate, though. To do this, go to the “Card Benefits” section of the Ultimate Rewards website. Once there, just scroll down until you see the section for “Complimentary Airport Lounge Access.”
There you’ll see an option to activate your membership. Once you select that option, the card should be mailed to you within two to three weeks at your address on file (though often it comes even faster than that).
Use your $300 travel statement credit
One of the perks that makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee easiest to justify is the $300 travel credit every cardmember year. This is automatic, so there’s no registration required. Just start spending money on travel, and any spending up to $300 for a purchase categorized as travel (which includes Uber, subway tickets, flights, hotels, etc.) will be reimbursed.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter at what point in a given year you use this, though I know many people prefer to recoup as much of their $550 annual fee as quickly as possible, so this is one way to do that.
If you’re curious about how much of your credit you’ve used, just go to your card dashboard on the Ultimate Rewards website, and it will show you, along with when your next cardmember year starts.
Use your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck credit of up to $100 once every four years. Global Entry gets you expedited immigration when entering the United States, while TSA PreCheck gets you expedited security when flying select airlines. NEXUS is particularly useful if you make regular land crossings between the US and Canada.
I always recommend applying for Global Entry over TSA PreCheck, since Global Entry automatically gets you access to PreCheck, while the inverse isn’t true.
In the event that you already have Global Entry, note that you can use this benefit for someone else. All that matters is that your card is charged for the fee. There’s no registration required on Chase’s end. Just use your card for the purchase and it will automatically be reimbursed, typically within a few days.
Decide if you want to add authorized users
You can add authorized users to the Chase Sapphire Reserve for $75 each. Authorized users receive their own Priority Pass membership, plus some protection, like travel and rental car coverage, when making purchases with the card.
Adding authorized users to the card can be a great deal, especially if you know people who would value lounge access. This is something to seriously think about when you pick up the card.
Update your card for travel & dining purchases
One of the best aspects of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the bonus categories that it offers, including:
- 3x points on dining globally
- 3x points on travel globally
- 5x points on airfare booked through the Chase Travel portal
- 10x points on hotels and rental cars booked through the Chase Travel portal
- 10x points on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025)
Once you have this card, make sure you update the card you have on file for travel purchases, including with airlines, ride sharing services, hotels, parking apps, and more, so that you can be sure you’re maximizing your points.
Transfer existing Chase points to maximize value
Having the Chase Sapphire Reserve allows you to redeem all your Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each toward the cost of a travel purchase, in addition to being able to transfer them to Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners.
As a point of comparison, points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) can only be redeemed for 1.25 cents each toward a travel purchase.
In addition to that, there are other cards potentially earning Ultimate Rewards points, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review), Chase Freedom FlexSM (review), Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (review), and Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review).
Regardless of which of those cards you’ve racked up points on, I’d recommend transferring all your points to the Sapphire Reserve. You can do this by logging into the Ultimate Rewards website and clicking on the “Combine Points” section.
This allows you to not only transfer points to Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners, but also to redeem all the points you currently have on any of those cards at the rate of 1.5 cents each toward a travel purchase.
Take advantage of your rental car perks
Just for having the Chase Sapphire Reserve you can receive rental car perks with National, Avis, and Silvercar. These perks include:
- Complimentary National Emerald Club Executive status
- An Avis Preferred membership, with the opportunity to save up to 30% on qualifying rentals by using an Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) code
- Savings of up to 30% with Silvercar
Use your DoorDash DashPass & credits
Chase and DoorDash have a partnership, offering perks for cardmembers. For those with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, this includes:
- A $5 monthly DoorDash credit all the way through December 31, 2024; the credit expires after three months, so you can “bank” them and could use a single $15 credit every three months, if you wanted to
- A complimentary 12 month DoorDash DashPass (must activate by December 31, 2024), offering $0 delivery fees on eligible restaurant and grocery store deliveries (generally you need to spend at least $12 with a restaurant or $25 with a grocery store)
See this post for details on how to activate these benefits.
Decide if you want a card to complement the Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is valuable for the fact that it offers 3x points on dining and travel. However, you can really supercharge your points earning by complementing the card with another card that can potentially earn Ultimate Rewards points:
- Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card offer 1.5x points on all purchases, so are great complements; since you’ll be able to redeem points for 1.5 cents each, that’s like earning a return of at least 2.25% on all your purchases in conjunction with the Sapphire Reserve, making these some of the best cards for everyday spending
- The Chase Freedom FlexSM offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 of spending per quarter, plus 3x points at drugstores
- The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers 3x points on the first $150,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
- The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card offers 5x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines, and 2x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stations
At a minimum, I think the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Freedom Unlimited are one of the best card duos out there — you earn a lot more points, and you’re only paying one annual fee.
All things considered, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a fairly limited learning curve once you receive it. Chase wants the card to be rewarding without much effort, and I really find that to be the case. However, there are a few things to be aware of, so hopefully the above is a good starting point for anyone just getting the card.