Update: Due to the lack of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chase has extended the ability to apply the travel credit to purchases at grocery stores and gas stations through June 30, 2021.
The annual $300 Travel Credit is easily the most lucrative benefit of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Questions about what it covers and when it resets have been plentiful. It’s important to understand the benefit to know if and/or when you should apply.
Fully monetizing the credit each year will effectively reduce the annual fee of the Sapphire Reserve from $550 to a net $250. You can receive this benefit twice in the first year of holding the card.
Get the card now and use your initial $300 credit. And in a year you’ll have a fresh $300 credit to make use of before the due date of your second annual fee.
What is Covered
According to the Offer Details, a statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to $300 in statement credits annually. The Chase Rewards Category FAQ states the following:
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.
Chase’s travel category is extremely broad–much more so than its competitors–allowing card holders many ways to cash in on this credit. Less obvious items that qualify are gift cards sold directly by some (but not all) airlines and hotels, commuter bus and train fares, and UberEats!
When does the credit reset?
The biggest source of confusion surrounding this annual benefit revolves around its reset date. When does one year end and next year start?
According to Chase, “annually” is defined as:
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.
So if you opened your card on January 15, your travel credit will reset on the first statement date after January 15 each year.
However, if you applied for your Sapphire Reserve prior to May 21, 2017, “annually” is defined as:
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.
That’s confusing to read but in reality, it’s even easier. Your travel credit resets after your December statement date each year.
As you can see, your “statement date” is the key piece of information, but when is that? Your monthly “statement date” (sometimes referred to as a closing date) is not clearly shown in your online account, but is easy to figure out based on your due date.
Figuring out your Statement Date
Chase has a primer about billing periods, statement dates and payment due dates here. What they don’t mention is that, for consistency, Chase assumes each month has 28 days. There are no due dates or statement dates on the 29th, 30th, or 31st of any month.
Your monthly statement date is the date that falls 3 days after your payment due date, which is clearly displayed on your bill and online account. So, if your next payment due date is on the 13th, your monthly closing date is on the 16th of every month. Same day every month. Because of the 28-day month, there are 3 exceptions:
- If your due date is the 26th, your statement date is the 1st
- If your due date is the 27th, your statement date is the 2nd
- If your due date is the 28th, your statement date is the 3rd
Any travel charges that post on or BEFORE your key “reset” statement date will count for the current year’ travel credit. Any travel charges that post AFTER that statement date will count towards the following year’s credit. Keep in mind that charges will take at least 1 or 2 days to post after your transaction date.
Always make sure you have a plan to use the travel credit. This is particularly true when it comes time for you to close or downgrade your Sapphire Reserve. You’ll want to ensure you’ve used the entire benefit before doing so.