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11 benefits that make Chase Sapphire Reserve a must-have for frequent travelers

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with benefits that can far outweigh the annual fee.

Crystal Cox/Business Insider

  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers insurance and benefits that are useful for frequent travelers.

  • While it has a Chase Sapphire Reserve® annual fee, a $300 annual travel credit makes the cost much more palatable.

  • Newer perks include DashPass membership, DoorDash credits, and Gopuff credits, worth a combined $25 per month.

  • Read Insider's guide to the best travel rewards credit cards.

For frequent travelers, a credit card with good trip insurance is essential. For situations from delayed flights to lost bags to car rentals, a quality travel rewards card offers huge value and helps justify a high annual fee.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best premium credit cards for travel rewards enthusiasts. Not only does it earn you valuable points, but it also comes with several insurance and protection benefits that can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over time.

Here's a look at the top features that make the Chase Sapphire Reserve® a must-have for frequent travelers.

Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits

1. Airport lounge access

My favorite Chase Sapphire Reserve® benefit is a complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select. This membership gets you access to more than 1,400 airport lounges around the world, where you can enjoy free drinks, snacks, fast internet, and clean bathrooms just a short walk from your gate.

A comparable plan would cost $429 per year if purchased directly from Priority Pass. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, membership is included, and cardholders can bring up to two guests into the lounge with them for free.

Starting later this year, Chase will open its proprietary Chase Sapphire Lounges which are confirmed so far for six airports: New York (LGA), Boston (BOS), Hong Kong (HKG), San Diego (SAN), Phoenix (PHX), and Las Vegas (LAS). Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders will also receive complimentary access.

2. Up to $300 in travel credit each year

There's no denying that a $550 annual fee is a lot. But if you'd have spent at least $300 per year on travel anyway, it feels like a lot less. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® reimburses the first $300 you spend per year on travel.

The credit covers purchases you'd normally associate with travel, like airfare, hotels, and car rentals — but it also works for expenses like rideshares, buses, trains, tolls, and even parking. This credit makes the card's annual fee effectively $250 per year.

3. TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS application fee credit

Every time I walk into an airport in the US, I look out for the expedited TSA PreCheck line. PreCheck is an awesome program for regular flyers. You can buy it on its own for $85 every five years or get the higher-level Global Entry, which also helps you skip lines at customs on the way back into the US, for $100 every five years. 

A new option is using this credit to cover the $50 NEXUS application fee, which includes expedited entry into Canada plus Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. With Chase Sapphire Reserve®, pay for the application fee and the card will credit you back the cost up to $100 every four years.

4. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

A few years ago, I took my dad on an amazing trip to Israel. I used points to cover the flights, but I did make some hotel reservations with my credit card. Flying my dad out of Denver and having him change planes at Newark in December is always a weather risk. If something went wrong and he couldn't make it on time, trip cancellation and interruption insurance would kick in to cover the cost.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has one of the best travel insurance packages around. If you ever have to cancel or stop a trip due to weather, for medical reasons, or other covered situations, you'll be very glad to have made the reservation with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

5. Primary car rental insurance

When renting a car, the rental companies almost always try to upsell me with $10 to $20 per day insurance on the vehicle. When you make the reservation with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, however, that insurance is a hard pass.

The card's coverage will pay for collision damage or theft up to $75,000. While that doesn't include rare things like hail damage or flood damage, it covers most common situations. Also, note that credit cards with primary rental car insurance don't include liability insurance that would cover you for injuries to people or property. Click here to learn more about auto insurance, including policies that offer liability coverage.

6. Lost luggage reimbursement

In college, I took an amazing trip to Israel. The only problem was that my bags didn't make it there with me. It took over a week for my late bags to make their way from Dallas to Tel Aviv, but at least my bags made it. But if they hadn't, this card would have paid for my lost stuff.

The card includes lost luggage reimbursement coverage. If you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is lost or damaged by the airline, you get coverage of up to $3,000 per passenger.

7. Trip delay reimbursement

Delays can mess up reservations and add new costs to any travel. If you have travel booked with a common carrier and are delayed by six hours or more, or require an overnight stay, you are covered for a hotel and meals up to $500 per ticket if you paid for the reservation with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

8. No foreign transaction fees

Using your credit card around the US is a given with any card, but what happens when you want to travel somewhere else? Some cards charge fees of around 3% on top of every foreign transaction. But with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can use the card anywhere in the world that Visa is accepted and you won't pay anything extra.

9. Ultimate Rewards are some of the best points around

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable travel currencies available. You'll earn 5 points per dollar on air travel and 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (after earning the $300 travel credit), 3 points per dollar on dining and travel, 10 points per dollar with Lyft through March 2025, and 1x everywhere else. New cardholders can earn Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

When you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, your points are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal, or when you redeem them for eligible everyday purchases with Pay Yourself Back. You can get even more value in many cases transferring points to travel partners like United, Southwest, and Marriott.

10. Savings with DoorDash and Gopuff

Through December 31, 2024, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® includes a DoorDash DashPass subscription that normally costs $9.99 per month and features discounts when ordering on DoorDash. Cardholders also receive $5 per month in in-app DoorDash credit through December 2024.

In addition, Chase added $10 per month in Gopuff credit to many of its cards through December 2023, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Combined, these credits add up to an additional $25 in value per month, or $300 per year.

11. Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage

Many travel rewards credit cards offer some kind of travel emergency assistance program that can help you coordinate things like medical referrals, prescription refills, and passport replacement if you're far from home — but in most cases, you're responsible for the cost of any services they arrange.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has one perk that can save you tens of thousands of dollars should you ever need to use it. When you pay for an eligible trip with the card, you and your immediate family can receive up to $100,000 in coverage if you are injured or become ill during your trip and it results in a necessary emergency evacuation. 

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