Our Favorite Travel Rewards Credit Card
For frequent travelers, having a good rewards credit card is essential—especially when it comes to earing free flights, upgrades, and hotels. When Anne and I were looking for the right card, initial bonuses were a key element in our decision, but not the only one. Ultimately, we decided to go with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. At the time, Chase had the semi-famous promotion of 100,000 bonus points for the initial sign-up, which is an almost-unheard of amount. Currently that promotion is “only” 50,000 points (when spending $4,000 with the initial 3-month period), which is still excellent, but beyond that one-time bonus the card is laden with perks that not only make accumulating travel points easier (3x the points for money spent on travel and dining), but make you feel a bit like a baller.
The card does have an annual fee $450, which certainly isn’t cheap but hear me out: The card has an annual travel credit of $300 that can be used on plane tickets, car rentals etc., this immediately makes up for well over half of the annual fee. The card also includes annual membership in Priority Pass Select ($249 annually), which allows airport lounge access at over 1,000 airport lounges around the world. We love this feature as it allows you to escape the masses during layovers and even pre-flight. The lounges have outlets for charging devices, complimentary snacks and often full meals, free booze, and occasionally even showers. For us this is a huge perk and we use it often. Additionally, the card pays for membership in Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check, also a huge perk, particularly on international travel, which costs $100 for 5 years.
Finally, a perk that isn’t as commonly touted but is really important when you need it, is the customer service. When calling to book travel, or for anything you need, a real live person answers the phone number. No menus or pressing 3, then 6, then…oh hell just press 0 and let me talk to someone. The representatives are attentive and very helpful any time we’ve had to call. It’s telling that we originally got this card for the sign-up points, and 3 years later we’re still booking flights with points, skipping the TSA, lines and drinking free wine at airports all over the world.