Money

Former Wall Streeter who travels the world on points says one credit card trumps them all

Brian Kelly, "The Points Guy"
Michael Buckner | Getty Images
Brian Kelly, "The Points Guy"

Brian Kelly, who used to work on Wall Street and now calls himself "The Points Guy," travels the world full-time and he does it for next to nothing, thanks to credit-card rewards and frequent-flyer miles.

When he's not jet-setting, he's running his website, which details strategies for making the most of travel.

In a recent blog post that pits six premium travel rewards credit cards against each other, the road warrior says one card stands out: the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Brian Kelly, "The Points Guy"
Bloomberg | Getty Images
Brian Kelly, "The Points Guy"

After comparing the credit cards across eight categories, from sign-up bonus to lounge access, the Sapphire Reserve is the "clear winner," Kelly reports.

In fact, "when I first heard the details of the new Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, I had to sit down, because it sounded way too good to be true," he writes. "When I evaluate new credit cards, I look at three factors: sign-up bonus, points (earning and redeeming) and perks — and this card blows me away on all three fronts."

He's not the only one enamored by Chase's new card. So many people initially signed up for it that the bank actually ran out of metal cards within days of unveiling it.

The card comes with a steep annual fee of $450, but the perks, Kelly finds, are unmatched.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in your first three months as a card holder. That's "worth at least $1,500 if you redeem them directly for travel," Kelly explains.

Point earning: Earn three times points on travel and dining, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. "Having any type of triple points category is nice by itself, but when it applies to travel and dining purchases, that's a powerful combination," Kelly notes.

Travel credit: You'll get a $300 annual travel credit reimbursement each calendar year. "The $300 rebate in travel brings [the annual fee] down to $150 a year in my eyes," says Kelly.

Additional perks: The Reserve grants you access to more than 900 airport lounges worldwide, you'll receive a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check, and there are no foreign transaction fees.

"You may think that it's crazy to pay $450 for a credit card," the travel guru writes, "but as you can see, all of these premium travel rewards cards carry a host of benefits that can easily cover that fee (and then some)."

Read Kelly's full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.