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Last week I wrote about a brand new credit card with an awesome sign up bonus called the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. While I have detailed out many of the benefits of the card in that prior post, I really wanted to highlight probably the most lucrative perk of the card, the $300 travel credit.
What Exactly is the $300 Travel Credit?
As a regular benefit of this card, every calendar year you’ll receive a statement credit up to $300 towards travel purchases. Travel purchases is ANYTHING coded as “travel” on your Chase statement. This includes airfare, hotels, taxis, trains, subways, parking, tolls, airbnb, etc. As long as you pay for your purchase with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you will automatically be credited. You do not even need to call Chase to receive the credit!
Chase specifically says the following are included in the travel credit: “Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages. Please note that some merchants that provide transportation and travel-related services are not included in this category; for example, real estate agents, websites or owners that rent vacation properties, in-flight goods and services, on-board cruise line goods and services, sightseeing activities, tourist attractions, merchants within airports, and merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling. In addition, the purchasing of points or miles does not qualify in this category.
Maximizing the $300 Credit
My assumption is most people will easily hit $300 in the “travel” category per year without even trying. However, if you have zero use for it, here are some options to still take advantage:
- Purchase a travel gift card to use at a future time. I am still waiting on reports to see which airline and hotels work, so will update this post as reports come through. Please comment below if purchasing a specific gift card has worked for you!
- Make a prepaid travel purchase. For example, if you know you are going to stay at a hotel next year, go ahead and book the hotel now at a prepaid rate. Just keep in mind that sometimes those rates have extremely inflexible cancelation policies.
- If you have a friend or family member who is about to make a flight or prepaid hotel, pay for their flight/stay and have them pay you back.
Making Money Off the Annual Fee
Remember, this is $300 per year. While it is advertised as calendar year it is really through your December close date. So if your close date is on the 3rd, for example, of every month, you’ll only have until December 3rd to receive the $300 statement credit for that calendar year. Any purchases after this date will count towards the following calendar year. Since you receive $300 per year, this means you can really get up to $600 in statement credits in just the first year of having the card. While the card comes with a $450 annual fee, you can get $600 worth of statement credits within that year. That means you are ahead $150 in addition. That is on top of the 100,000 point sign up bonus.