Posted by William Charles on August 29, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on August 29th, 2016 | by William Charles

100

Maximizing The Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit For Cash

One of the better Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits is that you get $300 in credit towards travel purchases, we’ve talked about how this benefit works before here. As Freequent Flyer Book likes to point out, travel credits aren’t as good as cash. Reader JT wanted to know their best option for turning this benefit into cash and I thought that would make an interesting post so here we are.

In this post, we’re going to assume you have no purchases that would normally code as travel (and Chase’s definition is quite generous). So instead, what you’ll want to do is purchase a gift card for something that will code as travel and then resell that gift card. I’m not going to account for your time in doing this or any other risk factors (e.g rates dropping), but that is something you should account for.

Your Options

Below are a list of your options, along with their highest resale rates according to GiftCardWiki (no link result if GCW doesn’t display it but still sellable), please double check these rates and also look at the merchants that are paying the top rate (and the next few rates) as rates can drop. I’ll also bold entries when we have confirmation from people that these purchases triggered the credit. If they don’t trigger the credit, I’ll use strikeout instead.

Airlines

  • American: 81.3%
  • Delta: 78.25% (ABC)
  • Southwest: 81%
  • United: 71% (ABC or Cardpool)

N/A airlines:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeroflot
  • AirAsia
  • Air Berlin
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • Alaska
  • Alitalia
  • Asiana
  • Alaska
  • ANA
  • Atlantic Southeast Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines Group
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Cebu Pacific
  • China
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • easyJet
  • ExpressJet Airlines
  • Etihad
  • Japan Group
  • Jet Airways
  • ExpressJet Airlines
  • JetStar
  • Garuda
  • Gol Linhas Aereas
  • Hainan
  • Kingfisher Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LAN Airlines
  • Lion Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Norwegian
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Mesa Airlines
  • Pinnacle Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Ryanair
  • Saudi Arabian
  • SAS
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • SkyWest Airlines
  • Swiss
  • Spirit
  • TAM Linhas Aereas
  • Thai Airways International
  • Thomson Airways
  • Turkish Airways
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Virgin Blue Airlines
  • Vueling Airlines
  • WestJet

Hotels

  • Best Western: 74%
  • Choice: 75% (ABC Gift Cards)
  • Hyatt: 75%
  • Marriott: 85% (88% on Cardpool)

N/A:

  • AccorHotels
  • Aman Resorts
  • AmericInn
  • Ascott Limited
  • Banyan Tree
  • Boscolo Hotels
  • Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
  • Drury Hotels
  • Dusit Thani Group
  • FIH Regent Group
  • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
  • Hilton
  • Home Inns
  • Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels
  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
  • InTown Suites
  • Jin Jiang International
  • Kempinski
  • La Quinta Inns & Suites
  • Loews Hotels
  • Lotte Hotels & Resorts
  • Jumeirah
  • Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
  • Millennium Hotels
  • Minor Hotels
  • The Oberoi Group
  • Okura Nikko Hotel Management
  • Omni Hotels & Resorts
  • Premier Inn
  • Rosewood Hotel Group
  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
  • Shilo Inns
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
  • Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
  • Vantage Hospitality
  • Wyndham Worldwide
  • Whitbread plc

Car Rentals

  • Avis: 60% (SaveYa)
  • Budget: 56% (ABC)
  • Hertz: 70.5% (ABC)

N/A:

  • Dollar
  • E-Z
  • Fox
  • Payless
  • Thrifty

Cruiseliners

  • Carnival: 80% (ABC)

N/A:

  • P&O
  • Royal Carribean

MileagePlus X

This doesn’t code as travel on the Visa payment network, so purchases through here won’t work.

Our Verdict

I would think that most people will have some charges that code as a travel purchase (especially when it includes things like tolls and parking) if you don’t have any then at minimum you should be able to get 80% of value back or $240 in cash. Also remember this benefit is per calendar year, so you should be able to easily get this credit twice and only pay one annual fee (once now and then again in January 2017 onwards).

There are of course other things that would trigger this credit that could be refunded, but I’d do that at your own peril. If I missed anything, please let me know in the comments.



100 Responses to Maximizing The Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit For Cash

  1. HC says:

    I’ve already gotten 3 travel credits – 2 Zipcar trips and 1 coffee purchase at a hotel that codes as a hotel. I’ve got an upcoming hotel stay that will take care of the rest. This feels incredibly easy (to me at least) that no real scheming is necessary to capture it at face value.

  2. David B says:

    Helpful post, thanks. I’m planning to use it for parking & bus passes but I’ll probably need do a GC resale to make up the difference this year.

  3. JT says:

    Hey thanks for following up on my post! Great information here.

  4. MH says:

    Terms seem generous enough to erase real travel expenses.

    Cash and points at Starwood or Hyatt to name one.

  5. Jun says:

    Do Hotel.com, expedia.com and priceline.com code as travel expense? Thanks.

    • James Carson says:

      According to Chase, “Merchants in the travel category include … travel agencies, discount travel sites,” so as long as a site actually codes itself as one of those things, it should apply. I don’t have specific experience here, though.

      • petermaui says:

        I rented a car recently in Germany with check24.de, which is a portal for everything from rental cars to hotels and even household goods and cheap telephone rates, and Chase counted it as ‘travel’, I got my double miles for ‘travel’.

  6. Gary says:

    The last line of the post has already been proven N/A, unless the DP is an outlier.

  7. Jason d says:

    Great post for people that want the $300 back right away to offset the AF

  8. om145 says:

    AirBNB
    Amtrak
    Megabus/Boltbus/ Greyhound etc
    commuter rail

  9. sonia says:

    Is the CSR credit supposed to show up immediately after the purchase or until the purchase clears/posts? I tried southwest for a $25 and no credit posted so far.

  10. Charles William says:

    Hello,
    Thanks for you excellent blog!I have a question about getting pre-approved in branch. Do I just go to the counter and ask to be pre-approved ? Seems a little strange to me!
    Second, it is more risky to apply online and then go to branch if there are issues (get the 7-10 day notice)?
    Thank you!

  11. JK says:

    Chase banker in branch said subway passes (NYC MetroCard) would trigger.

  12. Chucks says:

    Or there’s always the “oh hey let me book a flight for you good friend I’ll give you $20 off”.

  13. Zach says:

    I’d assume a person would not get this card if they did not expect to hit the $300 travel credit. And since they’d at least expect to hopefully in the years they cannot spend $300 they can at least buy a GC to a an airline or hotel where they know they’ll use it in the future and get 100% value.

    • It’s worth getting even if you can’t do the $300 travel credit naturally in the first year. Minimum $1,000 sign up bonus /w $450 annual fee and then resell GCs for more profit.

  14. Avi says:

    Will it work of make a Tickit and cancel.it ?

  15. faffing says:

    MTA in NY 🙂

  16. lawrence lane says:

    According to the guy at chase, rewards must be booked by ultimaterewards.com

  17. David says:

    will refundable tickets work?

  18. Ryan says:

    DP: I was given the $300 credit for my recent AirBnB reservation I booked. Charge appeared on 8/28/16 and $300 credit was issued on 8/28/16.

  19. Chris says:

    Is there a particular reason you don’t list Marriott GC redemption on CardPool? It is the highest ($88 for 100) and the original question from JT refereed to it…

  20. Ryan Todd says:

    Full $300 travel credit applied to a SWA flight and $100 credit applied to my global entry application fee. #feelsgoodman

    • Awesome, thanks for DP!

      • marc says:

        yes but its not annual like you say William…

        A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to $300 in statement credits annually (“annually” means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and each 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date).

        • Lily says:

          I read that language too, would like to see William’s response. Also, I’m still not fully understanding this gift card list. Are you saying to buy these gift card and then resell them? If so, where should i go to buy the gift cards? I’m not in the gift card hobby so have no idea if the airline or hotel websites sell their gift cards. TIA

  21. DogsOfWar says:

    If you get reimbursed for travel through work and Chase also reimburses you then you can effectively double the $300.

  22. Andy Shuman says:

    Airbnb is a very interesting tidbit. Vacation Rentals are excluded from the Chase travel provider list.

  23. Elan says:

    E-Z Pass? Can I prepay $300 to E-Z Pass and, since I don’t really use it, close my account and get the $ back with a check or EFT?

    • Nicole says:

      I’m looking for the same answer. My CSP categorizes ez pass charges as travel (rewarding w bonus mileage), so I’m assuming CSR will do the same.

      Anyone know if funds on the ez pass tags expire? Read the T&C on their site but expiration of funds wasn’t mentioned.

  24. chris says:

    Does anyone have a best answer for this yet? So far, it seems that buying a Marriott gift card and reselling it on Cardpool is the best option. Are there any other or newer ideas?

  25. Mariana says:

    Another data point for the travel credit, Airbnb works. I spent more than $300 and as soon as the charge posted, chase credited the account, up to $300.

  26. Hatem Saleh says:

    Where should I buy the gift cards from? I believe I should buy it from the website of the airlines itself? never tried before.

  27. Tommyvdp says:

    American Airlines cards from their website work, just got my credit from Chase. Resold for $248. Make sure the website you are reselling to accepts the denomination you pick. I did 3x $100 cards.

    • LynJ says:

      Where did U sell your gift cards? I’ve been reading bad reviews about giftcard buyers such as Cardpool, any reliable place to sell them. Thanks

  28. chad says:

    Can the authorized user also get a $300 travel credit separate from the primary $300?

    (As a side note, my wife was at 5/24 which included her being an AU on my Hyatt card which she no longer is…We were able to have Chase reconsider app, through secure message, and get her approved by having that removed)

  29. sam says:

    “There are of course other things that would trigger this credit that could be refunded, but I’d do that at your own peril.” hey, can you elaborate about it a bit? )

  30. J.B says:

    Hi William, Thanks for this site. If I receive my Chase Sapphire Reserve in mid-December 2016 and make a immediate airfare purchase, will the travel credit count towards my allotted 2016 credit or will it be counted as a 2017 credit since that is when my first full statement with Chase will end.

    I have read conflicting theories about this which is why I choose to ask you directly.

    Thanks.

    • My understanding is that it will count as 2017 as that’s when the statement will close with that purchase. That’s what the fine print states (from my understanding at least) but I guess we will not really know until somebody tries it.

      • J.B says:

        Ah, too bad, but thank you for your response.

        • Mike says:

          I wanted to add that you can move your credit card statement date to later in the month, as late the 28th of the month. I actually did that with my Reserve card and they let me do it. So what that means is instead of the 2016 travel credit year ending on the original December 1st date that I was given, I have all the way until December 28th, from what they told me. I also read the terms and conditions and believe that this is the correct interpretation. There were a couple of Chase credit card agents but also indicated that’s how it works. Of course a different Chase agent told me that it doesn’t end until January first no matter what. But I don’t think the verbiage even agrees with what that agent said so I think they are incorrect. I hope this helps!

      • J.B says:

        Hi DOC, some news! I tweeted Chase the same question and received the following response “Great question! Purchases through December 31 will count towards 2016 travel credit. Let us know if you have more questions. ^AG” This sounds promising!

        • Interesting, that’s good to know. At the very least the transaction will need to post before December 31st I imagine.

          • J.B says:

            Just thought I should post this to be responsible: Numerous sources are suggesting that what the Chase rep told me (and what many other Chase Reps seems to have told others) might not, in fact, be correct. The statement might actually have to close in December in order to qualify for the 2016 travel credit (at least that’s what some others including you have suggested and that seems in line with the terms of agreement). General consensus seems to be that “nobody knows for sure”, and that it’s going to be a waiting game to find out which is true.

            I delayed my application for the card because of what the rep said, and, if I do get approved for the card next week, I might have to ask them to move *up* my statement date, and I don’t even know if that’s possible. Either I wait it out until Jan/Feb and hope the bonus and travel credit in its current form stick around, or I bite the bullet and give it a shot now. Urgh.

  31. Sparky says:

    Just did a secure message to Chase and they said I met the singon bonus goal, so it appears that the $300 does go towards the minimum spend.

  32. Alisa says:

    -Enterprise Rental Car-reimbursed
    -Taxi in Austin-reimbursed

  33. Jacob R Lenihan says:

    Hello,

    Hello,

    Three data points regarding what Chase considers travel (worth 3x points and will reimburse for annual travel credit).

    Southwest e-gift cards bought online: Travel (reimbursement received)

    Hyatt e-gift card bought online: NOT Travel

    Hornblower dinner cruise: NOT Travel (not dining either)

  34. PD says:

    Confirming that Marriott gift cards directly from Marriott.com trigger the credit.

  35. Jim says:

    Hey Doc,

    Just to confirm do Marriott Egift Cards work as well to trigger the credit? Thnks for all the help.

  36. J.B says:

    Follow-up: I was approved for the Reserve and the (great) Chase rep clarified that the travel purchase must post before the close of your statement *in* December, and not “through Dec 31” as I was initially told. Apparently the wording on the terms is confusing enough that Chase had to clarify this with its own people. My first statement will fortunately close in the third week of December and I have a necessary travel purchase to make, so that should just about get me in for 2016. Hope this helps.

  37. Anthony says:

    I haven’t had any luck getting Cardpool to accept my Marriot eGift card – just tells me the number is invalid every time. However, I can check the balance with the same information just fine so I know its valid. Never heard back from their support – maybe they’re not accepting them

    • Mike says:

      I swear Cardpool only accepts physical gift cards as far as Marriott selling to Cardpool goes. I think the way I found this out was during a “test” sellback of a Marriott card using Cardpools old site a couple of months ago (I tested a sellback again and I think they updated their site and no longer say that).

      Also, they wrote me back after a day or two so my guess is they are very busy right now, maybe.

      Assuming I’m right, you may be able to buy a physical gift card from Marriott with your egift card credit, and then at that point could sell the physical gift card to Cardpool? Just an idea.

      Good luck!

  38. Matt says:

    If I sign up today is there anyway I can take advantage of the $300 travel credit twice before my 2nd annual fee?

  39. Pat says:

    I have a question about the CSR $300 annual travel credit. I got the card in sept 2016 and used the $300 travel credit before dec statement. One of the items I used it for was a pair of $60 train tickets good for 60 days. I was going to use them tomorrow as they expire in a couple days but the weather isn’t going to be nice. I can mail them back and get a refund to my credit card. If I do send them back and get a $60 refund to my card, what will happen since I was already given the $60 travel credit? Any idea?

    • PD says:

      I’ve read other people’s comments periodically in the same situation, and they don’t retract the travel credit. You are probably OK.

  40. stacker says:

    If selling on Raise be aware that they put a 45 day hold on travel related gcs. They said I would have to wait 45 days before my AA gcs would be listed. I have sold to them before without problems. I was only informed of the 45 day wait when I called customer service after I noticed my listings were not active after waiting a week. The 45 day wait terms were never displayed at anytime before (or after) I entered the gift card numbers nor in any email confirmation. I would have no problem had they disclosed that before I entered the numbers because I would have taken my business elsewhere. I called them out on it and they deactivated my account for no reason which pretty much means I’m banned until it gets sorted out.

  41. John says:

    I need an advice. I got the card in December, bought $300 gc and got the money back. When should/can I buy another $300 and get the travel credit back?
    Thanks

  42. zalmy says:

    Not sure if this has been mentioned, but EZ Pass codes as travel (for the 3x points and travel credit). Easiest way to burn a credit ever! Prepay if you’re closing the card soon

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