If you are a military member looking to get into luxury credit card rewards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the perfect gateway drug.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers an initial sign-up bonus worth $750 in travel, a recurring $300 annual travel credit, and a 50% increased travel redemption points multiplier that makes Chase credit cards the best long-term.
Chase Sapphire Reserve 2022: Full Review
Table of Contents
Chase Sapphire Reserve Perks 
$550annual fee waived for active duty military members and their spouses
- 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points ($750 value) after spending $4,000+ in purchases in the first 3 months
- $300 in travel credit each and every year
- 50% more value in travel redemption (for all Chase Cards)
- 10X Total points on hotels and car rentals (through Chase)
- Priority Pass Select membership: Access 1,300+ lounges in 600+ cities
- 10X Total points on Chase Dining
- 10X Total points on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
- 5X Total points on flights purchased through Chase
- 3X Total points on travel
- 3X Total points on dining
- Complimentary DashPass subscription
- Trip Cancellation, Interruption Insurance, and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
The Sapphire Card’s Best Benefits
While the Chase Sapphire Reserve brings a lot to the table, the 50% increase in travel redemption, $300 annual travel credit, and 50,000+ point sign-up bonus steal the show.
50% Increase in Travel Redemption
This seemingly small card perk is the entire reason (in my opinion) to hold Chase Credit Cards altogether, with the Chase Sapphire Reserve being the key that makes the travel redemption strategy possible.
The 50% increase in travel redemption allows you to redeem Chase Ultimate Reward points earned from purchases made on your card (plus signup bonuses) for 1.5x their original value. This means that the 50,000+ points you receive from hitting the signup bonus on the Sapphire card jump from $500 -> $750 in value.
Going one step deeper, you can transfer your chase ultimate reward points from the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom card to receive more points overall. This creates updated % cashback, leading to a strategy known as holding the ‘Chase Trifecta’.
The ‘Chase Triefecta’ is accomplished by holding three different cards (Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom, and Chase Freedom Unlimited), and using them for their appropriate cashback categories, receiving massive travel credit that blows competitors out of the water.
|Credit Card||Original Cashback||Categories||New Cashback Percentage|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||1.5%||All Purchases||2.25%|
|Chase Freedom||5%||Rotating Categories||7.5%|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||10%||Hotels/Car Rentals/Chase Dining/Lyft||15%|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||5%||Flights||7.5%|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||3%||Travel/Dining||4.5%|
If using these three cards correctly, you will be earning flights faster with Chase than any other credit card provider.
$300 Annual Travel Credit
The Chase Sapphire Reserve boasts the easiest to use travel credit of any brand card.
If you have read my American Express Platinum Card review, you will know I am a critic of the Platinum card’s slightly misleading “$200 airline credit”, since you cannot redeem the credit directly towards airline tickets. However, the Sapphire card’s $300 travel credit can easily be used for flights, and much more.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit counts the following purchases as eligible for the $300 travel credit:
- Car rental agencies
- Cruise lines
- Travel agencies
- Discount travel sites
- Operators of passenger trains
- Buses, taxis, limousines
- Ferries, toll bridges and highways
- Parking lots and garages
In fact, Chase was even gracious enough to allow grocery stores to count as the ‘travel’ credit during the 2021 Covid Pandemic, covering my Walmart trip for November!
You simply won’t find an easier credit to use then the Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit.
50,000 Point Sign-up Bonus
Who can complain about receiving $750 free in travel redemption for spending money on things you already need?
While spending $4,000 in the first 3 months may prove difficult for some, it is just about essential to do in order to redeem the full value of the card. If you don’t normally spend on average $4000/3 months = $1,333/month, you should wait to apply for the card until you have big purchases coming up, or look into services like plastic that can pay your rent or other large expenses for a processing fee.
You only have one chance at redeeming the sign-up bonus for each card, so don’t waste it!
Those points are valued at $750 if you redeem them through the Chase Travel Portal, (which you definitely should), and can cover a round trip flight between pretty much anywhere in the US including traveling from coast to coast.
For civilians who apply for this card, this sign-up bonus alone will completely cover the $550 annual fee cost for the first year. For the military members out here, this is cash straight into your wallet.
Additional Card Perks
This card has some additional perks that deserve an honorable mention.
High Reward Point Spend Categories (15% Cashback)
The following spend categories will fetch you 10% back in rewards credit, or a whopping 15% if you choose to redeem for travel redemption:
- Car Rentals
- Chase Dining
- Lyft Rides (throug March 2022)
Let’s say you take a weeklong vacation to New York and decide to spend $150/night on a hotel for a total of 6 nights.
That would bring your total money spent in the high reward category to (6 nights x $150) = $900. That $900 would earn you (900 x 10X points) = 9,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points worth $90 cash back or $135 in travel credit!
It’s easy to see how over the long term this card will be earning you more free flights than you are even able to take, perfect for those who want to travel and see everything the world has to offer.
Priority Pass & Dash Pass
This card couples wonderfully with American Express cards by filling in gaps left by the centurion lounges offered with the American Express Platinum card.
While I typically prefer the Centurion lounges over the lounges available on the priority pass list, there is no doubt that the priority pass wins when it comes to the sheer quantity of lounges offered. While the Centurion lounges rock, they currently only have 13 locations state-side:
- Charlotte (CLT)
- Dallas (DFW)
- DENVER (DEN)
- Houston (IAH)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Miami (MIA)
- New York (JFK)
- New York (LGA)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- Phoenix (PHX)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Seattle (SEA)
However, the priority pass offers over 90+ lounges in the United States alone, and over 1,300+ lounges worldwide.
So if the airport you are traveling to doesn’t have a Centurion Lounge for that annoyingly long layover, there is a decent chance the priority pass can fill in the gap.
As a nice little bonus, you will get a complimentary ‘Dash Pass’ that makes ordering food to your door that much more affordable. While not the card’s greatest perk, saving money on ordering some late-night Chinese food will never be a bad thing.
In total, you will receive:
- $0 delivery fees, lower service fees on orders (over the minimum subtotal or more)
- 5% Credit Back on Pickup orders
- Members-only promos from restraunts
- Vast number of local delivery options
While your mileage may vary with this perk, foodies will see the rewards quickly stack up.
Why You Should Get This Card Before the American Express Platinum (5/24 Rule)
As discussed in the Best Credit Cards for Active Duty Military Members  Guide, the order in which you apply for credit cards does matter if you want to maximize your rewards.
The reason is pretty straightforward.
People who get credit cards specifically for the reward points to their advantage are what we refer to as “Credit Card Churners”. For credit card companies, churners have the potential to strip the companies of a portion of their profits. While some companies like American Express are more welcoming to churners, companies like Chase are more aggressive about shutting them down.
Chase has on such deterrence method in place referred to as the (5/24) rule, meaning that if you apply for more than 5 credit cards in under 2 years from any company, they will automatically deny your application for the majority of their cards. This is why it’s important to apply for Chase Credit Cards early on in your churning journey to avoid being locked out of their premium cards as you acquire the American Express Platinum, Gold, Green, Aspire, etc.
Which Credit Card to Get Next?
That being said, once you have successfully acquired the Chase Sapphire Reserve and hit the sign-up bonus, it’s time to start the American Express journey.
Applying for the American Express Platinum Card will offer you an entirely new range of benefits that stack nicely with those offered by Chase.