On the previous post, I shared my 11 reasons why the Chase Sapphire Reserve is my favorite card ever. I think I failed to convey how much smoother using the Reserve over the competition really is. For instance, it’s so much easier getting your $300 travel credit than getting your $200 airline fee credit from Amex.

Let’s look at how the Reserve travel credit works. Every year, you get $300 credit that gets applied to a very long list of items under the travel umbrella.

This is how Chase explains what is considered a valid travel expense:

Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds 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, educational merchants arranging travel, in-flight goods and services, on-board cruise line goods and services, sightseeing activities, excursions, tourist attractions, merchants within hotels and airports, and merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling. In addition, the purchasing of gift cards, points or miles does not qualify in this category unless the merchant has set up such purchases to be classified in the travel category.

Amex on the other hand has this to offer:

Citi describes its travel (airline, really) credit as follows:

While Citi’s airline credit is broader than Amex’s, and you don’t need to select a single airline, it simply can’t compete with the Reserve superior (and true) travel credit.

In all cases, I calculate these credits as a discount from the annual fee. While Chase includes about 18 categories under travel, Amex includes one airline which you must preselect on a yearly basis. The Citi Prestige equates travel with flying only.

On a couple of upcoming posts, we will look at where the Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige shine. For most of us who travel with certain regularity having one of these cards can make a lot of sense since the benefits can easily outweigh the annual fees.

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