Just a few short weeks ago Chase released one of the best all around travel rewards credit cards on the market; the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Despite the $450 annual fee the card was in such high demand that the issuer ran out of metal cards. Many cardholders received plastic cards and were notified that they would receive metal cards once available. If you were approved for the card, below is a short checklist of things that need to be done to receive maximum value from the card.

Expedited Shipping

Once you receive the good news that you have been approved for the card, call Chase customer service and request expedited shipping for your new card. The signup bonus clock starts on the day you are approved for the card, not the day you activate it. Everyday counts when trying to spend the required $4,000 as you do not want to miss out on the insane 100,000 point sign up bonus! The Chase Sapphire Reserve card should ship to your door within 1-2 business days from the day you call.

Card Activation

To activate your Chase Sapphire Reserve card you have to call the customer service number on the back of the card. Typically credit cards come with a small sticker instructing you to call an activation line, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve does not come with activation instructions. If it did, I failed to notice them. Calling Chase Sapphire customer service is always a pleasant experience and my card was ready to use after just a few moments.

Priority Pass Membership Activation

While on the phone with Chase Sapphire customer service, take a few seconds to activate your Priority Pass membership. Many who open the card will never use a Priority Pass lounge, but it is a nice thing to have if you ever find yourself in an airport that offers it. The Priority Pass benefit from the Chase Sapphire Reserve grants access to Priority Pass lounges for you and guests unlike the benefit offered from the American Express Platinum card. Even if you already have a priority pass membership, it is still worth signing up through the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Signup for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a statement credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck signup fees. If you already have one TSA PreCheck or Global Entry you can still use your card to pay for someone else to signup and you will receive the statement credit.

Visit Chase Sapphire Reserves Ultimate Rewards Portal

By visiting the Ultimate Rewards Card Benefits page you will see other benefits offered through the Sapphire Reserve card. As a cardholder you will receive National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive Level status, Avis Preferred, and SilverCar discounts. The Ultimate Rewards portal also offers a nice account snapshot and will show you exactly when you qualify for the 100,000 point signup bonus.

Link the Card to a Dining Rewards Program

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns 3x points on dining, but by linking your card to the AAdvantage Dining program (as I did) you can earn up to 8x points on dining! You can link your card to any of the various dining programs offered from Airlines, Hotels, or others, but by forgetting to link your card to a program you are missing out on some serious points earning potential.

Spend $4,000 and Earn 100,000 Points

Some may find this incredibly easy to do, but make sure you spend $4,000 in the first three months to earn the 100,000 signup bonus. This is an incredible offer that is worth at least $1,500 in value! Just make sure to spend within your means and to pay off your balance in full each month. Sure 100,000 points is great, but it is never worth overextending yourself and going into debt. Also, make sure to factor in the automatic $300 travel credit and $450 annual fee; neither count toward your signup bonus spend.

Downgrade Redundant Credit Cards

A few months ago I caved and applied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to earn the 50,000 point signup bonus. The card is a fantastic travel rewards card, but only offers 2x points on Travel & Dining and the other benefits are identical or not as good as the Sapphire Reserve. Instead of paying the annual fee ($95) or canceling the card (hurts your credit score), it may be best to downgrade the card to either the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited card. By downgrading to the Chase Freedom Unlimited you will earn 1.5x ‘points’ on all purchases and Freedom Unlimited ‘points’ can be converted directly to your Ultimate Rewards account.

In Closing

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has some incredible benefits, many of which must be activated upon being approved for your card. For those lucky enough to get past the dreaded 5/24 rule, make sure to get maximum value out of the card and spend the required $4,000 in qualified spending to earn the 100,000 point signup bonus.