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Labeling any card the ‘ultimate card’ for a specific use is a tough call. But when it comes to traveling with a family, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® stands out as a firm favorite.
You get Priority Pass lounge access allowing you to guest two additional people or immediate family members into the lounge, plus the card offers an unrestricted $300 travel credit to help lower the cost of travel. It lets family combine points between household members and send points into family members airline and hotel partner accounts, and provides a slew of top travel protection perks that cover the entire family when you’re on the road.
Today we’re digging into the Sapphire Reserve perks and benefits and unpacking the top five reasons we think this card is the ultimate family travel rewards card.
1. Priority Pass Membership for Cardholder and Authorized Users
There are plenty of travel rewards cards offering Priority Pass Select memberships as a feature card perk. The Priority Pass provided with the Sapphire Reserve lets you guest two additional people or immediate family members into the lounge. That’s 1,000+ airline lounges you can access free of charge when out exploring the world with those closest to you, regardless of your fare class or the airline you fly.
Lounges are the easiest way of retaining your sanity while traveling long-haul, providing a quiet space to enjoy a bite to eat and a glass of wine, free Wi-Fi to download that next Netflix series before your flight, or a quiet corner to catch some shut-eye. Remember, you can also take advantage of Priority Pass credits at airport bars and restaurants in locations where there is no lounge access. Each guest receives $28 to spend on food and drinks, and you can even grab snacks to take with you on the plane!
A standout lounge feature on the Sapphire Reserve is that authorized user accounts also receive a full Priority Pass Select membership, with the same guesting policies as the primary account, for the grand sum of $75 per year (AU annual fee).
2. A $300 Travel Credit Covering Any Travel Expense
The $300 travel credit attached to the Sapphire Reserve is without a doubt a ‘best in class’ benefit, providing a statement credit for up to $300 every year towards travel purchases. Chase offers the broadest definitions of travel of any card, including:
“…airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.”
The credit is applied automatically when Chase detects a charge from the list above but is dependent on the merchant coding the purchase correctly for the system to pick it up.
Other cards provide similar benefits, but none offer the same value and ease of redemption as the Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit.
3. Primary Auto Insurance Covers Cardholder plus Any Driver on the Rental Agreement
Chase offers primary auto rental insurance (Auto Rental CDW) on the Sapphire Reserve, both here in the U.S. and when you are abroad traveling overseas. There are no specific country exclusions.
The Auto Rental CDW covers you for damage due to collision or theft for most rental vehicles, up to the value of $75,000. To ensure this benefit covers you when renting, you need to pay for the rental using your Sapphire Reserve, or a combination of Ultimate Rewards and the Sapphire Reserve to cover fees and taxes and refuse the rental company’s third party CDW or LDW. The coverage does not include liability insurance, so you're still responsible for damage to other people's property or if anyone is injured and you’re at fault. We recommend taking out liability coverage when renting a vehicle if you don't have coverage through your personal auto insurance or an umbrella policy.
The policy covers the primary cardholder (name embossed on the front of the card), and any additional drivers included in the rental agreement. As long as your spouse, partner, kids, parents, etc., are legally permitted to operate the car under the T&C’s, they are covered driving the vehicle.
Authorized user accounts are also entitled to the full Auto Rental CDW benefit, as they receive a credit card with their name embossed on the front; another significant reason to add Authorized User accounts for $75.
4. Travel Insurance Covers Cardholder Spouse, and Immediate Family Members
- Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance
- Lost Luggage Cover
- Trip Delay Reimbursement
- Baggage Delay Insurance
- Travel Accident Insurance
- Emergency Evacuation Insurance
- Emergency Medical and Dental Cover
Reading the Sapphire Reserve Guide to Benefits, one section jumped out that confirmed how well the coverage applies to family travel:
“If I charge multiple travel arrangements for myself and Immediate Family Members, do the benefits apply to each person? Yes, each traveler is eligible to receive the primary benefit up to the Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Maximum Limit of Insurance per Occurrence.”
For the record, the maximum limit of insurance per occurrence is $20K for both trip interruption and trip cancellation. Chase defines immediate family members as:
- “…your Spouse or Domestic Partner and their children, including adopted children or step-children; legal guardians or wards; siblings or siblings-in-law; parents or parents-in-law; grandparents or grandchildren; aunts or uncles; nieces or nephews.”
A broad definition of family, and each family member entitled to $20,000 coverage when the trip is paid for with your Sapphire Reserve or a combination of Ultimate Rewards and the fees and taxes paid on the card.
5. Transfer Ultimate Rewards to Household Members plus Their Airline and Hotel Programs
“…only to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards belonging to you, or one member of your household.”
This rule strictly enforced and Chase keeps an eye on points transfers between accounts; if you violate the policy, you risk forfeiture of your rewards and Chase may close your credit card account(s). Keep everything above board with your Chase accounts.
Chase also lets you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to a family member’s airline or hotel transfer partner account, provided they are a member of your household and an authorized user on your Sapphire Reserve account. This means you can transfer points directly from your Ultimate Rewards account to your partners United MileagePlus, Korean SKYPASS, or World of Hyatt account, fantastic if you want to top off their account to reach a redemption.
There are plenty of cards in the marketplace offering big signup bonuses and flashy perks, but the best cards for family travel provide a robust mix of travel perks, purchase protections, and travel insurance, in addition to their high points earning potential.
The Sapphire Reserve delivers all of these and more, a potent mix of best-in-class travel benefits, insurance policies covering the entire family, and the ability to rack up plenty of points via bonus points on travel and dining.
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