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cv91915

Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits - A Running Tally

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On 12/27/2018 at 7:56 PM, cv91915 said:

The rendezvous worked out as planned.  We spent about 2 hours together at the Admirals Club in G at ORD, and then left to board our respective flights.  It's amazing what speaking only Turkish for two weeks does to a person's English.  :swoon: 

 

Thanks to a delay on my flight, I'm just now taxiing to the runway at ORD to take off -- and TAD is standing at baggage claim at MUD.  So much for arriving 3 minutes apart.  

 

There's a 70ish year old guy in front of me who must be insane.  He keeps yelling "Hey" to the FA, and then he asks for a tissue or some water, which he clearly needs because he keeps coughing violently, then he pauses and says, "Oh my god."  

 

He reassigned a different seat for himself and then demanded that the FA go get his bag and move it up to his new row, where the bins are full.  He also keeps yelling, "Let's go."

I wonder how I ended up sick.

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On 12/29/2018 at 9:14 AM, cv91915 said:

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Chase Sapphire Preferred)

 

$   750 - Signup bonus (50,000 URs x $0.015*)
     300 - 2018 travel credit
$1,050 (233% of the $450 AF)

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Amex Platinum):

 

$   600 - Signup bonus (60,000 MRs x $0.01*)
     200 - 2018 airline incidentals credit  
     125 - Uber ride credits (6 x $15; 1 x $35)
       56 - Uber Eats credits after booking fees [(3 * $10) + (1 x 14) + (1 x 12)]

       50 - Saks credit ($50 x 1)
$1,031  (187% of the $550 AF)
 

* There are more lucrative redemption options for URs and MRs than the way I choose to use mine. You should value all credit card benefits based on their worth to you.

REMINDER: One day left to use 2018 card benefits, such as:

  • $200 travel credit on Amex Platinum
  • $50 Saks credit on Amex Platinum
  • $300 travel credit on Sapphire Reserve
  • Anything else on these two cards?

The AFs are much harder to justify (impossible for some) if you are leaving money in the table.

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I had a 2.5-hour layover at DFW today, so I made the time to take the required two train rides so I could use the new/expanded Centurion Lounge for the first time.

 

Even with the capacity restrictions it was seriously overcrowded and extremly noisy.  The food on the buffet was decimated.  

 

I didn't bother waiting in line at the bar for a beverage so I helped myself to some tap water that had orange slices floating in it.

 

It was so unpleasant I left in under 10 minutes and went to the Admirals Club near my departure gate in Terminal A.  It was a lot more relaxing there.

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Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Chase Sapphire Preferred)

 

$   750 - Signup bonus (50,000 URs x $0.015*)
     300 - 2018 travel credit
$1,050 (233% of the $450 AF)

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Amex Platinum):

 

$   600 - Signup bonus (60,000 MRs x $0.01*)
     200 - 2018 airline incidentals credit  

     100 - Global Entry renewal application fee
     125 - Uber ride credits (6 x $15; 1 x $35)
       56 - Uber Eats credits after booking fees [(3 * $10) + (1 x 14) + (1 x 12)]

       50 - Saks credit ($50 x 1)
$1,131  (
206% of the $550 AF)
 

* There are more lucrative redemption options for URs and MRs than the way I choose to use mine. You should value all credit card benefits based on their worth to you.

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Notes to self: 

 

$300 Chase and $200 Amex travel credits for 2019 will be realized before the annual fee posts and will still be included in the final analysis.  

 

I also have some trailing spending and lounge usage data to post.

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Here is the final 2018 lounge usage recap.

 

Instinctively I knew that I wasn't getting much value out of Priority Pass or the Centurion Lounge, but having a year's worth of data allows me to quantify it.

 

If I had to decide on just one card with a $400+ AF for lounge access the choice is obvious... Citi AA Executive.  The Admirals Club network is by far the most useful for my travel needs, plus my three AUs also get access to these lounges when they travel.  

 

If my only "lounge card" was with Citi, the $450 AF and 50 Admirals Club uses would have made the average cost just $9/visit, and that doesn't include what my AUs did.

 

Note that the American Express Global Lounge Collection includes Airspace Lounges (there are two in the world; one in Cleveland and one in San Diego, the latter of which is one of my home airports).  The one at SAN doubles as an Admirals Club, so nearly all of the cells in the Amex columns that are shaded in green in the detail below are for SAN Airspace visits that were also possible with the Citi card.  

 

The Platinum does offer a $10 food/beverage credit per Airspace visit, so I got some additional value from that, however on all but the shortest of flights I get a meal on the plane (in First Class, or comped from the food cart in Economy).

 

2018 Travel/Lounge Usage Summary

  • 80 departures (78 on American Airlines, 1 on Japan Airlines and 1 on Jetstar)
     
  • 20 unique departure airports in 3 countries (USA, Japan, UK)
     
  • 50 visits/viable opportunities to use Admirals Club (63% of departures)
     
  • 3 Priority Pass uses where Priority Pass was the best option (4% of the departures)
     
    • 7 total viable opportunities to use Priority Pass (9% of the departures)
       
  • 2 Centurion Lounge visits (3% of departures, both at DFW)

 

Detail:

 

RIOnsvj.png

 

 


 

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Here is the final 2018 spending tally and corresponding rewards that would have been earned with the Sapphire Reserve or the Amex Platinum.

 

These summaries compare the value of the rewards if all of the Sapphire + Platinum spending was put on one card or the other.  

 

Neither card saw much routine spending after the SUBs were earned.  In a separate exercise I may try to reinterpret the rewards potential using a bigger sample of my spending data (from other cards), but for now this is the best measure I have.

 

Dy5BgUU.png

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Note that the purpose of this thread was to document a year's worth of benefits on the Reserve and the Platinum, and then compare the relative value of the two cards.  

 

Each card was open separately after 1/1/18, so in order to summarize one year of having each card there will be some data trailing in for early-2019 activity.

 

Updates included below:

  • Recent airfare and hotel purchases used up the 2019 Sapphire Reserve travel credit
  • Recent airline purchases used up the Platinum's airline incidental credit for 2019
  • Another Uber Eats order to use the monthly $15 Uber credit from the Platinum
  • Ordered a new electric skillet from Saks to use the second semiannual $50 Saks credit from the Platinum

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Chase Sapphire Preferred)

 

$   750 - Signup bonus (50,000 URs x $0.015*)
     
600 - Annual travel credit ($300 x 2)
$1,350 (300% of the $450 AF)

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Amex Platinum):

 

$   600 - Signup bonus (60,000 MRs x $0.01*)
     400 - 2018 airline incidentals credit ($200 x 2)

     100 - Global Entry renewal application fee

     100 - Saks credit ($50 x 2)
     125 - Uber ride credits (6 x $15; 1 x $35)
      68 - Uber Eats credits after booking fees [(3 * $10) + (1 x 14) + (2 x 12)]


$1,393  (253% of the $550 AF)

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On 1/24/2019 at 7:51 AM, cv91915 said:

Note that the purpose of this thread was to document a year's worth of benefits on the Reserve and the Platinum, and then compare the relative value of the two cards.  

 

Each card was open separately after 1/1/18, so in order to summarize one year of having each card there will be some data trailing in for early-2019 activity.

 

Updates included below:

  • Recent airfare and hotel purchases used up the 2019 Sapphire Reserve travel credit
  • Recent airline purchases used up the Platinum's airline incidental credit for 2019
  • Another Uber Eats order to use the monthly $15 Uber credit from the Platinum
  • Ordered a new electric skillet from Saks to use the second semiannual $50 Saks credit from the Platinum

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Chase Sapphire Preferred)

 

$   750 - Signup bonus (50,000 URs x $0.015*)
     
300 - Annual travel credit ($300 x 1)
$1,050 (233% of the $450 AF)

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Amex Platinum):

 

$   600 - Signup bonus (60,000 MRs x $0.01*)
     400 - 2018 airline incidentals credit ($200 x 2)

     100 - Global Entry renewal application fee

     100 - Saks credit ($50 x 2)
     125 - Uber ride credits (6 x $15; 1 x $35)
      68 - Uber Eats credits after booking fees [(3 * $10) + (1 x 14) + (2 x 12)]


$1,393  (253% of the $550 AF)

I've been watching some travel charges and waiting for the $300 credit for 2019 to post.

 

Unfortunately, for applications submitted after 5/21/17 the "$300 Annual Travel Credit" is tied to the card's anniversary date and not to the calendar year. 

 

See the footnotes.  https://www.chase.com/card-benefits/sapphirereserve/travel

 

 

$300 Annual Travel Credit: A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $300. Annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first statement date after your account open date anniversary, and the 12 monthly billing cycles after that each year. (For applications submitted before May 21, 2017, annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and the 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date each year.) Call the number on the back of your card to see when you are eligible for your next $300 Annual Travel Credit. Purchases are when you, or an authorized user, use a card to make purchases of products and services. Buying products and services with your card, in most cases, will count as a purchase; however, the following types of transactions won't count: balance transfers, cash advances, travelers checks, foreign currency, money orders, wire transfers or similar cash-like transactions, lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, race track wagers or similar betting transactions, any checks that access your account, interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges, and fees of any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable. We do not determine whether merchants correctly identify and bill transactions as being of a certain type. For more information about Chase rewards categories, see chase.com/RewardsCategoryFAQs. Statement credit(s) will post to your account the same day your travel category purchase posts to your account and will appear on your monthly credit card billing statement within 1-2 billing cycles. The Annual Travel Credit will be issued for the year in which the transaction posts to your account. For example, if you pay for baggage fees, but the airline does not post the transaction until after the current annual period ends, the cost of the baggage fees will be allocated towards the following year's Annual Travel Credit maximum of $300.

 

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VERDICT:  Chase Sapphire Reserve

 

By most people's measures I am a frequent traveler, so this is the perfect credit card for me. 

 

Right?

 

Well, the AF just posted, and this card will not deliver enough value in 2019 to justify the AF for another year.

 

Logic:

 

The $300 annual travel credit is a dubious, zero-value gimmick.

 

Let’s get this out of the way right now.

 

I can't think of a single example where I would cherish the idea of handing a bank $300 a year that I could otherwise spend on anything, receive no interest in return, and then if I wanted it back I'd have to remember to spend it on a specific card on travel by a certain deadline or forfeit my money

 

STUPID.  The maximum value of this "benefit" is literally $0.

 

I will still be getting 3x (4.5% back) on travel.

 

I already have the US Bank Altitude Reserve, which also pays 3x (4.5% back) on travel.

 

True, I'll be giving up 3x (4.5% back) on dining, but the Altitude Reserve also pays 3x (4.5% back) on all mobile wallet purchases, a benefit I use often at grocery stores.

 

I also have the new Amex Gold card, which pays nearly as much (4x/4% back) as the Sapphire on dining.

 

The points transfer benefit went completely unused for the entire year.

 

I encountered only one attractive transfer opportunity during the first year, and that was on a one-night Hyatt stay. 

 

By that point in the year I didn’t have enough URs to transfer in order to make the reservation, which wasn't even for me,  Mom has plenty of money to pay for her own hotel stays.

 

I also did zero MR transfers during the same time frame.  Actually, I've never done a points transfer with URs or MRs in my life.  I have lots of airline miles and hotel points from other escapades.   

 

As a result it would be highly speculative to assume any value from points transfers in the next 12 months, and therefore I value this benefit at $0.

 

I have three other concurrent Priority Pass memberships from other credit cards.

Also, in 2018 Priority Pass was useful on less than 4% of my 80 departures. 

 

I don’t need the Global Entry application fee credit.

 

I’ve lost count of how many of our cards also offer this benefit, and Global Entry only requires renewal every five years.

 

I will (ever so slightly) miss having primary rental car coverage for the occasional personal auto rental.

 

However... with more hotels charging nightly for parking, combined with the hassle of shuttling from the airport terminal to the car rental counter, I now prefer to take Lyft, Uber or a cab whenever practical. 

 

I can purchase primary coverage for ~$20 per rental on any of my Amices if I want this type of coverage for our ~2 personal car rentals per year.

 

What about the elite hotel benefits at Relais & Chateaux?

 

ell-owe-ell

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11 hours ago, cv91915 said:

VERDICT:  Chase Sapphire Reserve

 

Well, the AF just posted, and this card will not deliver enough value in 2019 to justify the AF for another year.

Will you be closing the card or downgrading to another Chase product?

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28 minutes ago, Allkindabroke said:

Will you be closing the card or downgrading to another Chase product?

I am going to downgrade to a Freedom Unlimited (I already have the Freedom).  

 

I have zero ongoing use for the FU but it's an upgrade path back to one of the Sapphire products in case I want one again later.  

 

Chances of dipping under 5/24 again are nil... unless the entire game changes.

 

 

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On 2/3/2019 at 7:10 PM, cv91915 said:

I am going to downgrade to a Freedom Unlimited (I already have the Freedom).  

 

I have zero ongoing use for the FU but it's an upgrade path back to one of the Sapphire products in case I want one again later.  

 

Chances of dipping under 5/24 again are nil... unless the entire game changes.

Downgrade from Sapphire Reserve to Freedom Unlimited is complete.

 

Edited by cv91915

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Final Uber credits for Amex Platinum membership year included below.

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Chase Sapphire Preferred)

 

$   750 - Signup bonus (50,000 URs x $0.015*)
     600 - Annual travel credit ($300 x 2)
$1,350 (300% of the $450 AF)

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Amex Platinum):

 

$   600 - Signup bonus (60,000 MRs x $0.01*)
     400 - 2018 airline incidentals credit ($200 x 2)

     100 - Global Entry renewal application fee

     100 - Saks credit ($50 x 2)
     125 - Uber ride credits (6 x $15; 1 x $35)
      90 - Uber Eats credits after booking fees [(3 * $10) + (1 x 14) + (2 x 12) + (2 x 11)]


$1,415  (257% of the $550 AF)

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On 3/8/2019 at 7:56 AM, cv91915 said:

Final Uber credits for Amex Platinum membership year included below.

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Chase Sapphire Preferred)

 

$   750 - Signup bonus (50,000 URs x $0.015*)
     600 - Annual travel credit ($300 x 2)
$1,350 (300% of the $450 AF)

 

Other 2018 Benefits Used - Non Lounge/Spending (Amex Platinum):

 

$   600 - Signup bonus (60,000 MRs x $0.01*)
     400 - 2018 airline incidentals credit ($200 x 2)

     100 - Global Entry renewal application fee

     100 - Saks credit ($50 x 2)
     125 - Uber ride credits (6 x $15; 1 x $35)
      90 - Uber Eats credits after booking fees [(3 * $10) + (1 x 14) + (2 x 12) + (2 x 11)]


$1,415  (257% of the $550 AF)

Thank for your detail and diligence on compiling and reporting this the CB community.  Super. Helpful. 

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11 hours ago, Midwestgardener said:

Thank for your detail and diligence on compiling and reporting this the CB community.  Super. Helpful. 

Glad you found it useful.  Happy travels!

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Posted (edited)

VERDICT: American Express Platinum

 

I just closed this account. 

 

I mentioned in my post about downgrading the Sapphire Reserve how silly I find the idea of calling it a card benefit when you hand money over to a bank, earn no interest, and then only get the money back when you buy certain types of things within a specific timeframe. 

 

The Platinum card is unrivaled in this category of gimmick, which I will address below.

 

When I called to cancel I was offered a $200 credit or 20,000 MRs (after spending $3,000 in 3 months) if I wanted to keep the card, but I let it go.  I don’t want to spend another year keeping track of how much of my own money I’ve clawed back.

 

Annual Airline Incidental Credit

 

This benefit reclaims $200 of the $550 AF, but only on airline incidental purchases.  Most years I only fly on American, and with Executive Platinum status there really are no incidental charges, even for same-day flight changes.  Even when upgrades don’t go through and I’m sitting in Economy, I get complimentary food from the big silver cart.

 

In the past I’ve been able to use this credit for AA gift cards, which eventually get used.  Recent reports are that this may no longer be an option, since AA apparently changed how the transactions are coded earlier this year.  

 

I was able to “cash out” the $200 in gift cards for 2019 before this change, but it’s just going to be too hard to recoup this $200 going forward.  I have almost $1,100 in AA gift cards in stock at the moment...

 

Monthly Uber Credits

 

Another $200 of the $550 back ($15 per month, extra $20 in December, unused credit doesn’t roll over).

 

I don’t use Uber for personal rides every month.  I don’t want to use the credits for business because the credits are deducted from the cost of the ride, and I can only expense the final cost.  I like my job, but I’m not subsidizing my employer’s travel budget out of my pocket. 

 

My workaround in the “off” months was to use the credit toward Uber Eats, but we don’t have a lot of meals delivered…  plus we each also have an Amex Gold with $10/month in GrubHub credits.  Getting the full Uber credit (again, basically my own money back) required too much effort to track to ensure that it didn’t go unused.

 

Biannual Saks Credit

 

$50 back in the first half of the year, and another $50 back in the second half.  

 

For my first credit I literally couldn’t find a single thing at Saks that I wanted or needed, so I bought a couple of extra Kiehl’s skin care items (which we will use -- eventually). 

 

For the second credit I bought a new electric skillet.  Ours was approaching the end of its useful life, but the purchase could have easily been deferred for a couple of years.  

 

I bought the skillet online beginning at the Ebates portal, and after the Amex credit and the Ebates cash back, I got more back than I spent.  Small victory.

 

Global Lounge Network

 

I will miss this benefit, but not because of the Centurion Lounge.

 

The last two times I tried to use the Centurion Lounge in Dallas it was so overcrowded and noisy, it wasn’t the last bit relaxing.  

 

The very last time I was there I had to stalk other patrons who looked like they might soon be leaving, so I could steal a place to sit.  And this is after the recent expansion.  The buffet was decimated on this visit.  After scavenging a few morsels of food, I left and went to the Admirals Club near my departure gate.  It was much more relaxing there.

 

DFW is the only airport I visit regularly that has a Centurion Lounge.  I ran into a CL unexpectedly in Hong Kong, but with Oneworld Emerald status I was able to use the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge, which is one of the finest airport lounges in the world.  Easy choice.

 

I will miss the $10 food/beverage credit at the SAN Airspace Lounge.  I departed from San Diego at least 15 times in 2018, and used the credit on almost every visit.  

 

There are two Airspace lounges in the US:  SAN and CLE. The SAN Airspace Lounge doubles as an Admirals Club.  We still have the Citi AA Executive card which I will use in 2019 to access the same SAN lounge, I just won’t have the $10 credit per visit.  Obviously it isn’t worth keeping the Platinum card with a $550 AF just for “free” breakfast sandwiches at one US airport.

 

Even after canceling the Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum, I still have two remaining Priority Pass memberships from other cards.   The guest policies aren’t as generous, but I almost never have the chance to use a Priority Pass location anyway, and 90% of the time I'm traveling alone.

 

Fine Hotels & Resorts

 

I found a fantastic deal at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise through FH&R, and was excited to book a room for my parents as part of an anniversary gift from TAD and me.  

 

Bad news is since my parents aren’t also Platinum card holders I couldn’t use the FH&R offer.  I was referred to a regular Amex Travel rep for price matching, but they couldn’t come anywhere close.  

 

We ended up booking this stay through the Visa Signature Hotels program at a higher (but still attractive) rate.

 

This is the third time I’ve had an Amex Platinum card for a year, and I’ve never been able to work the FH&R benefit into our travel plans.

 

Points Transfer to Airlines / Hotels

 

I use MRs sub-optimally, so I didn’t expect to use this benefit at all.  And I didn’t.  

 

Now that we are out of United miles, I did research the possibility of transferring MRs to one of Amex’ partner airlines to get TAD to Ankara and back in December, but didn’t find any palatable options.   

 

[He won’t fly through Canada (something about having to clear customs twice on the return – which I can’t fully explain), so Air Canada was out.]

Edited by cv91915

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CV,

 

I wonder how long it will take Amex to send you a Platinum pre-approval? LOL

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17 hours ago, TheVig said:

CV,

 

I wonder how long it will take Amex to send you a Platinum pre-approval? LOL

I'm expecting an upgrade offer (with MRs) on the Greenie or the Goldie in about 60 days.

 

I'll report back.

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