In general, I'm good with my money. I keep track of my purchases in a spreadsheet, set aside a generous chunk of my paycheck and refuse to spend money on things I don't truly need, like cable, Uber and Seamless.
I do, however, pay $450 a year for the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. And before you make any snap judgments, hear me out.
To me, and others, the steep annual fee is completely worth it. Here's why.
1. The travel credit slices the annual fee by more than half
For starters, the Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 annual travel credit reimbursement each calendar year. That essentially bumps the annual fee down to $150 a year if I spend at least $300 on travel related expenses a year, which I do anyways by flying home to North Carolina several times.
2. I haven't paid for a flight since October, thanks to the sign-up bonus
Spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months as a card holder earned me 100,000 bonus points, which is worth $1,500 if I redeem them for travel. That covers the $150 annual fee for 10 years — and that's if I never even swipe the card and therefore don't accumulate any more points.
Since signing up for the card last October, I haven't paid for a flight and still have points to redeem. So far, the bonus has covered a handful of trips home to Charlotte, plus flights to Jamaica, New Orleans, San Francisco and Chicago.
I will say that $4,000 in three months is more than I would typically spend, and any financial advisor will warn against overspending just to lock in a credit card signup bonus. I worked around this by putting big group tabs on the card when my friends and I went out and asking my family to use it for bigger expenses, like flights. After I picked up the bill, friends and family simply paid me back via Venmo.
This way, I earned the sign up bonus without altering my monthly expenditure.
Note that the sign up bonus for the Sapphire Reserve has since changed and Chase now offers 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
3. The perks align with my main expense
Besides rent, my biggest expense is travel, specifically airfare. This particular card rewards travelers by doling out an unmatched three times points on travel and dining. Plus, the card comes with access to airport lounges, waives the $100 application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check and has no foreign transaction fees.
Travel is important to me. It's one of my short- and long-term savings goals, and since it will likely continue to play a major role in my life, I want to take full advantage of the rewards available.
Sure, this card isn't for everyone. If you don't travel a lot and aren't a big spender, you won't necessarily reap the card's benefits and offset the fee. But, for me, it's worth it.
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