update: some offers mentioned below are no longer available. see current offers here.
in August 2021, chase updated the chase sapphire pool to include new bonus earning categories.
now they are:
- 10 points per dollar on chase dining booked through chase ultimate rewards
- 10 points per dollar on hotel and car rental purchases through the chase ultimate rewards travel portal *annually.
- 5 points per dollar on air travel booked through the chase ultimate rewards travel portal*
- 3 points per dollar on other travel and dining
- 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases
*after spending $300 on travel purchases per year.
That second point is what we’re going to focus on today. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders already had an incentive to use this card to pay for car rentals thanks to its various travel protections. now, thanks to those win rates, they have yet another reason to use it for this purpose.
this is why chase sapphire reserve could be the best credit card for renting a car.
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chase sapphire reserve: a great option for car rental
The Chase Sapphire Reserve currently offers 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. It comes with other excellent benefits, too, such as:
- $300 annual travel credit.
- priority pass select membership, which offers access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.
- credit from Application fee for global entry or tsa pre-check (up to $100 value).
- Free at least one year of doordash dashpass if you register before March 31, 2022
But some of the best parts of the card are two special benefits that put it far ahead of any other credit card when it comes to car rentals.
primary rental car insurance
chase sapphire reserve offers primary insurance when you use it to reserve your rental car. simply decline the rental company’s internal collision damage waiver (cdw) and chase will automatically cover you for theft or damage. If you’ve bought insurance from a rental agency before, you know how expensive it can be. You could easily save $15 or more per day just by using Chase Sapphire’s reservation for your bill.
chase sapphire reserve coverage provides reimbursement for damage caused by collision or theft, up to $75,000. just keep in mind that it only covers the rental vehicle and will not cover things like personal injury or damage to other vehicles or objects. There are also many exclusions, including motorcycles and RVs, and it will make coverage questionable if you do things like drive off-road or are under the influence of an intoxicating substance. however, for normal daily driving needs, this insurance can be a real money saver.
I had a wonderful experience with this coverage in the past. Chase previously refunded my rental car damage charges in full (a $2,300 debacle), and it took them less than three weeks to write me a check.
10x points on car rental
The other reason you might want to look into Chase Sapphire Book first is that you earn 10 points per dollar on car rentals through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. tpg ratings peg chase points at 2 cents each. earning 10 points per dollar means you’re getting a 20% return on these transactions.
reserving rental cars through the chase travel portal
Since you must book car rentals through Chase’s travel portal to qualify for that 10x win rate, it’s worth seeing how rentals booked this way work out.
In my experience, I have found chase’s published rental prices to be competitive (or even lower) than other online travel agencies. here are some recent booking scenarios with the same time frame and location that demonstrate chase’s price parity with other portals.
chase travel portal
There do appear to be some cases when the Chase Travel Portal prices rental cars a bit higher than a competing website. Notably, Costco Travel generated a lower number than any other site on a few occasions.
In this situation, you have two options:
- could use chase sapphire booking to book the cheapest rate and still earn 3 points per dollar.
- could keep the higher rate through the chase travel portal and earn 10 points per dollar
It all depends on the value you receive from the chase points. if you consider them to be worth 2 cents each (as we do), earning 10 points per dollar is a solid 20% return that might be worth spending a little more.
but all things being equal, here are the prices for a compact car from each of the above sites and how many chase points you’d earn, along with the performance you could expect from them based on tpg ratings.
- chase travel portal: $490, earn 4,900 points worth $98
- priceline: $489, earn $1,467 points worth $29.34
- kayak: $487, earn 1374 points worth $27.48
Although it’s a bit more expensive to book through chase, you may want to do so given the value of the rewards you earn.
Very few other travel credit cards present the same value proposition (both in terms of earning points and comprehensive protections) that Chase Sapphire reserves when it comes to car rentals. With its ability to save you on expensive insurance while earning you 10 chase points per dollar, even an occasional renter could reap hundreds of dollars in savings each year. road warriors could even save thousands.
apply here: chase sapphire reserve
featured photo from monkeybusinessimages/getty images.