Why the Chase Sapphire Reserve is Perfect for Family Travel

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How can you earn enough points to travel as a family? The release of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® in August means now is the perfect time to talk about how Ultimate Rewards can facilitate family travel. There are several features of the Sapphire Reserve that make it the ideal card for traveling as a family.

What is it that makes Ultimate Rewards so valuable for family travel? The same thing that makes them a favorite of all travelers in the points and miles community, flexibility. If you focus on building a significant balance of Ultimate Rewards points, it opens up all of Chase’s transfer partners as potential travel options.

Additionally, Ultimate Rewards are known to transfer into destination accounts faster than other transferable points currencies, placing you in a better position to take advantage of award availability as soon as it opens up (one of the hardest factors of family travel using points and miles is finding sufficient award space).

Using Ultimate Rewards for family travel
Using Ultimate Rewards for family travel offers a host of benefits outside of simple points redemptions.

Fantastic Signup Bonus with The Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® currently offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The value of those Ultimate Rewards can be extended by transferring them to one of Chase's transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio.

To give you an example, converting 50K Ultimate Rewards points to Avios points, you can book award flights from select cities on the US West Coast to Hawaii on American or Alaska for just 25,000 miles round-trip in economy class. That could get a couple round-trip flying LA to Hawaii, for free.

Complimentary Priority Pass Lounge Access

The Sapphire Reserve grants complimentary access for the primary cardholder and up to 2 guests, similar to its two primary rivals, the Citi Prestige® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. Additional guests cost $27 each.

Having complimentary access to lounges where you can relax in comfort before a flight and during layovers is one of the easiest methods of reducing the anxiety and tension of travel, and is a fantastic perk of premium travel credit cards.

Auto Rental CDW, Trip Delay, Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

Some of the least known benefits of the Sapphire Reserve are, in my books, the most valuable. The highlights being:

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver – Primary rental insurance up to the value of $75,000 for “damage due to collision or theft” if the rental is paid for with the Sapphire Reserve.
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance – Will reimburse you up to $10,000 for each Covered Trip, up to $20,000 per occurrence, and up to $40,000 per year. Trip Cancellation covers you BEFORE you leave, and Trip Interruption covers you from the moment you start traveling.

Tip: Immediate family members are covered if travel is charged to the Sapphire Reserve, even if the primary account holder is not present.

  • Trip Delay Insurance – This benefit for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders takes effect if your flight is delayed for 6 hours or more by a covered delay. The coverage is up to $500 for each purchased ticket.

“Costs will be covered up to a maximum of $500.00 for each purchased ticket, on a one-time basis if a covered hazard delays your trip.”

Additionally, the Sapphire Reserve covers you for Lost Baggage, Baggage Delay, Travel Accident, and an Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit. The terms and conditions for all the perks on the Sapphire Reserve are complex and require a careful study to ensure you understand exactly how they work. For details, see our recent post comparing the benefits on Chase's two Sapphire cards, or view the Sapphire Reserve Guide to Benefits.

Ultimate Rewards Points Transfer Fast

Of the four transferable points currencies (the others being Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Rewards), Ultimate Rewards points typically transfer to travel partners the fastest. There is a great thread on FlyerTalk listing transfer times based on real member experiences, and while there is no guarantees or hard and fast rules, transfers to the majority of Ultimate Rewards partners are instant, or within 24 hours.

Why is the transfer time such a big deal? While some programs will hold awards for members, giving you time if the transfer takes longer, it is not a policy adhered to by many rewards programs. There is nothing worse than finally having the award space you're chasing open up, only to see it booked out from underneath you while your points are mid-transfer. Especially when most points transfers are final with no chance of a refund.

Combining Ultimate Rewards points with a household member

Chase's rules for transferring Ultimate Rewards points are strict and not to be ignored. If you do, you risk having your credit card shut down, and you'll lose your points.

If we suspect that you’ve engaged in fraudulent activity related to your credit card account or Ultimate Rewards, or that you’ve misused Ultimate Rewards in any way (for example by buying or selling points, moving or transferring points with or to an ineligible third party or account, or repeatedly opening or otherwise maintaining credit card accounts for the sole purpose of generating rewards) we may temporarily prohibit you from earning points or using points you’ve already earned. If we believe you’ve engaged in any of these acts, we’ll close your credit card account and you’ll lose all your points.

You can, however, transfer Ultimate Rewards points to a household member that resides at your current address. The language is sufficiently vague that this can be a spouse, immediate or extended family member, or partner. If you are in doubt, call Chase and clarify the matter, the consequences of getting it wrong and losing your points is a bad scenario to comprehend.

Final Thoughts

While that may feel like a lot to digest, we haven't covered the $300 Annual Travel Credit, 3x Points on Travel & Dining, or $100 Global Entry Statement Credit, all of which Howie touched on in his initial review of the card.

It's worth noting that this card is subject to Chase's 5/24 policy, and you may have trouble getting approved if you've opened up more than 5 new personal credit cards in the previous 24 months.

Trying to plan a trip for your family using points and miles can be a daunting task, but focusing on a highly transferrable currency like Ultimate Rewards opens up an entire toolbox of options and perks that aren't available through other programs.

With its massive signup bonus and fantastic benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the ideal card to facilitate family travel.

Why the Chase Sapphire Reserve is Perfect for Family Travel
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Comments

  • At the encouragement of AW, we applied for the new Sapphire card.

    With a FICO of 788 or thereabouts showing on the free reporting by Amex and other cards, we felt confident he’d get the card.

    We received a letter stating that the card was declined for “too many credit cards opened in the past 2 years.”

    After threes layers of transfers up the cain, and a frankly unhelpful phone tree, we were told they could NOT tell us how many cards he could have opened in the past 2 years and remained acceptable. That was trademarked or some other nonsense.
    She said they counted against us the Citi Card that was automatically issued without application by Citi and Costco’s new relationship.
    After much pushing and little help, she gave me a future date when we’d be down to only 4 cards in the past 2 years.
    She wouldn’t say that we’d then be acceptable–again pointing out that the couldn’t tell us that–but that was implied.

    As Award Wallet is likely working with clients such as us, who are trying to maximize their cards, it is clear this is not a card someone should apply for without realizing that is their criteria.

    I’d also point out that my husband has had checking with Chase for over 16 years, has several other Chase cards in good standing, and offered to take a lower spend on one of the existing cards.

    We gave it our all, but they refused to budge.

    Thus, we are recommending people NOT apply for this card and risk a wasted hard pull unless they are not active credit card users.

  • Robert Stuart says:

    I love this card! I got it while it had the 100k signup bonus which I’ve combined with my other Chase points so now I’ve got over 200k. I’m planning to go to the U.K. Soon and would love some tips on where to transfer these points so I can fly first or business class?

    • I’d look at Korean — 80k miles R/T in business. Yes, you’ll have to cover taxes/fees which’ll be about $500 but at 80k miles it is a pretty sweet deal. Find award space on Delta and you’re good to go.

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