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How does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit work?

How does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit work?

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Cardholders will automatically get up to $300 in statement credits each year as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to the card.

Many premium travel credit cards offer statement credits of some sort for purchases such as dining, incidentals during flying and ride-sharing services. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers one of the most valuable, flexible travel credits in the travel card industry. Unlike many of its competitors, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card's $300 travel credit applies to a broad range of categories, making it very easy to use and recoup more than half of the $550 annual fee each year.

For the annual fee's remaining $250, you are also entitled to benefits like airport lounge access, comprehensive travel insurance and a fee credit for TSA PreCheck®, Global Entry or NEXUS.

If you are a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder, it is important to understand how the travel credit works and how to make the most of it.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

$550

19.24% - 26.24% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

How does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit work?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit is automatically applied to your credit card statement each year.

You will get up to a $300 reimbursement for any purchases made on your card that fall under Chase's travel category. These include standard travel purchases, such as:

  • Airfare
  • Car rentals
  • Hotel stays
  • Bridge and highway tolls

Your statement credit will automatically post to your account the same day your travel purchases post, and it will appear on your monthly billing statement within one to two billing cycles. This $300 statement credit will renew annually, based on your personal account opening date.

It is important to note that the purchases within the $300 travel credit do not earn the 3X per dollar points bonus. Once the travel credit is exhausted, qualifying travel purchases will earn 3X per dollar.

Purchases that qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit

The categories of purchases that qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card's travel credit are extremely broad compared to other travel credit cards. Qualifying purchases range from airfare to public transit to parking garage and toll fees:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Timeshares
  • Car rental agencies
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies
  • Discount travel sites
  • Campgrounds
  • Operators of passenger trains
  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Limousines
  • Ferries
  • Toll bridges and highways
  • Parking lots
  • Parking garages

Purchases that do not qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit

While Chase does offer a broad range of categories that fall under its definition of "travel," there are still several things that are not included as "travel purchases." Here is a list of purchase categories that do NOT qualify for the Chase travel credit.

Transportation and travel-related services for:

  • Real estate agents
  • Educational merchants arranging travel
  • In-flight goods and services
  • On-board cruise line goods and services
  • Sightseeing activities
  • Excursions
  • Tourist attractions
  • RV and boat rentals
  • Merchants within hotels and airports
  • Public campgrounds
  • Merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling
  • Purchases from gift card merchants
  • Merchants that sell points or miles

If you aren’t sure if a purchase qualifies for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit, you can refer to the business's merchant category code to see if it falls into one of the categories listed above. You can also check your previous credit card statements to see if similar purchases have been coded under the travel category.

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How to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit is automatically applied to qualifying purchases. If you are a new cardholder, you will be able to use the travel credit immediately. There is no activation required.

As you make purchases that qualify for the travel credit, they will be labeled as "Travel Credit" on your billing statement and zeroed out. Once you reach the $300 limit, you will no longer see any deductions, but will instead earn 3X points per dollar on your subsequent travel purchases.

How to track your credit use

Annual Travel Credit

To view how much of your travel credit you've used, log in to your Chase account and navigate to your Ultimate Rewards® dashboard. There you'll find a progress indicator showing how much of the credit you've used, as well as the deadline for using your remaining credit.

When does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit reset?

Your Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit will begin on the date you open your account and will last through the first statement date after your account open date anniversary. From then on, it will continue to renew after 12 billing cycles each year.

If you submitted your Chase Sapphire Reserve® application before May 21, 2017, however, your travel credit will run from the date of opening through the first December statement date of the year you opened your account and will renew 12 billing cycles after that December statement each year.

Travel cards with similar travel credits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® isn’t the only travel card that offers travel credits. Each of the cards below offers travel credits, though what their credits apply to differs by card.

For the American Express cards listed, the credit only applies to airline incidental fees (and only applies to one airline that you designate at the beginning of each year). Before applying for these cards, be sure to investigate the restrictions on their travel credits.

Card
Travel credit
Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
On Chase's Secure Website

  • $300 travel credit
  • $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit
$550
Show All Rows

Why get a Chase travel credit card?

The Chase travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® are great options for regular travelers who want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Keep in mind that Chase credit cards are some of the most sought after because of their benefits.

Before applying, be sure to consider the Chase 5/24 rule and your financial needs. While earning credit card rewards is exciting, the value of those points can be nullified if you are overspending or paying interest.

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Frequently asked questions

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit automatic?

Yes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit gets applied automatically as a statement credit when you make travel purchases.

How much is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit is $300, and renews annually.

Does gas count as travel for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

Unfortunately, gas does not count as a travel category for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. For more details on which purchases fall into which Chase reward categories, click here.

What credit score do I need for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card requires an 720 - 850 credit score for approval. Be sure to check your score ahead of time to improve your chances of acceptance.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

The information related to Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).