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Yesterday online applications became available for the new Sapphire Reserve Card, which is offering an incredible 100,000 point sign-up bonus. That’s in addition to the long term value the card offers, like a $300 annual travel credit, plus triple points on dining and travel.
The card is a no brainer in every way, though for some people the only “catch” is that those who have opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months aren’t generally eligible to be approved for the card (though they may be able to upgrade an existing card to the new Sapphire Reserve).
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the points earned on the new Sapphire Reserve Card, so figured I’d go into a bit more detail on that.
What makes points earned on the Sapphire Reserve more valuable?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card earns Ultimate Rewards points, which can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to the following 11 airline and hotel partners:
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||IHG Rewards Club||Singapore KrisFlyer||United MileagePlus|
|British Airways Executive Club||Korean Air SkyPass||Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
|Hyatt Gold Passport||Marriott Rewards||The Ritz-Carlton Rewards|
So for the purposes of points transfers, the points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are identical.
However, Ultimate Rewards points can also be redeemed towards the cost of a cash trip through the Ultimate Rewards website.
Points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a trip, while points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a trip.
Personally I’m someone who values transferrable points currencies for the purpose of airline or hotel points transfers, and not for redeeming them as cash towards the cost of a travel experience. However, 1.5 cents per point is approaching what I value those points at, so it’s a redemption option worth considering.
Can you redeem all your Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each?
As many of you are probably aware, points earned on the Chase Freedom® Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® can be redeemed for one cent each, though can’t be transferred to Ultimate Rewards partners. The exception is if you have them in conjunction with a card that accrues Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, in which case you can transfer those as well.
The good news is that all of those points, including points earned on the Chase Freedom® Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, and Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, can be transferred to your Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. That means all of those points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase.
The new best combination of cards you could possibly have?
Ultimately we all want to maximize points, though ideally want to do so as simply as possible.
I think the new best combination of credit cards out there might just be the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. If you have both of those cards, you’ll be able to transfer the points from your Freedom to your Sapphire Reserve. Then you’ll earn:
- 3x points on dining and travel (through the Sapphire Reserve)
- 1.5x points on everyday purchases (through the Freedom Unlimited)
Each point can then be redeemed for 1.5 cents towards the cost of a travel purchase, meaning you’d be earning a 4.5% return on dining and travel purchases, and an incredible 2.25% return on everyday purchases. That’s a pretty great combination.
Keep in mind you can potentially get even more value by transferring those points to airline or hotel partners, like Korean Air SkyPass.
I value Ultimate Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so you can get even more value than the above.
The Sapphire Reserve can increase the value of your existing Chase points balance, as you’ll be able to transfer other points to this card. While it won’t get you more value if transferring points to an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, it will get you more value if booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards website, which greatly increases the flexibility of your points.
It’s tough to beat the combination of the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire Reserve, to essentially earn the equivalent of a 2.25% return on everyday purchases, and 4.5% return on travel and dining purchases.
If you already have the Sapphire Preferred and get approved for the Sapphire Reserve, it could make sense to downgrade your Sapphire Preferred to a Freedom Unlimited, so you can really maximize the points you earn.