Best card for diplomats/expats, pt. 2

Do you want to have access to the first class/priority pass lounge for you and your entire family every time you fly? This is one of my favorite perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This card is seriously amazing. It has paid for trips to Amsterdam, London, Harry Potter World, and for family to come visit us at post.

(Note: this post has been edited to correct the $300 travel credit from calendar to anniversary year)

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Waiting for your flight in a first class lounge beats searching for seats by the gate.

What You Get

  • 50,000 bonus points for signing up, worth at least $750 in travel.
  • $300 credit in free travel per anniversary year (hotel, Uber, plane tickets, taxi fares, AirBNB all count). Note that this is different than it used to be (calendar year).
  • Access to over 1,000 airport lounges for you and your entire family/party.
    • These almost always include breakfast/lunch/dinner, alcohol/soda, wifi, and a quiet place to rest. One in Orlando even had a machine that made pancakes for you and a children’s playroom with video games and toys.
  • The ability to transfer points to United, Korean Air, Marriott, British Air, Hyatt, etc. and use the points AS THOUGH you earned them in those programs.
    • Instead of using the points as cash at 1.5 cents per point, you can spend it within the rewards program. This allows you to get some seriously good value, sometimes allowing you to book a $1,000 ticket for $300-400 worth of points (we did this to Panama from Jamaica).
  • 3 points earned per dollar spent on travel/dining, resulting in 4.5% back for every dollar spent (3 points/dollar redeemed at 1.5 cents on travel).
  • FREE GLOBAL ENTRY. You pay for it with your card and they refund you $100 for the fee.
  • Trip cancellation insurance (up to $10,000), auto rental collision damage waiver ($75,000 worth of PRIMARY coverage!), travel accident insurance (up to $1,000,000), lost luggage reimbursement up to $3,000 per person, trip delay reimbursement ($500/person), and emergency evacuation/transportation insurance (up to $100,000).
    • We had to use the trip cancellation insurance, unfortunately, but our entire cruise, hotel, and airfare costs were reimbursed by Chase. It saved us thousands of dollars.
  • And of course no foreign transaction fees and no phone trees to get through when you call customer service.
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I tell all of my friends/family that this is the best card for travel.

The Downsides

  • The card costs $450/year. I believe this is more than made up for by the $300 worth of travel credit available, the free Global Entry, the $750+ worth of points for signing up, and the lounge access alone (ignoring all the points I earn spending on dining/travel).
    • If you spend more than $3,333 a year on dining/travel, you will earn more value in points than the cost of the fee.
  • There is a $75 fee for your spouse/household member to have a card. However, this comes with a priority pass lounge pass for them as well when they are traveling without you. That alone usually costs over $200.
  • If you currently have the Sapphire Preferred, you likely cannot get approved for this card (to avoid this, Jen and I switch back and forth who has which card every year).
  • You need good credit to get approved.

So there you have it. If you are considering getting this card, please use our referral link found here. You will get the same bonus, and Jen and I will get a small bonus for helping you find the card!

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