I’m sure we’d all agree that credit card companies have a lot of rules. And I have some rules, too. My number one rule in this credit card and miles/points hobby is my Cousins Rule. It’s my C.O.C. No, not code of conduct, but rather code of cousins. You see, we’re a big clan of cousins and they look to me to keep things easy and simple for them on the credit card front.
Recently one of my cousins got the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. I knew the next question she’d ask me would be about the travel reimbursement benefits of $300. The card gets up to $300 credit each account anniversary year for travel purchases. And in general she needed to know which purchases would count as travel for her card. Given a few of the recent changes in card benefits, I was glad to review these with her. This review also served to remind me, and now I’m reminding all of you, too.
I’ve been using my Chase Sapphire Reserve for years now. The 3x points it earns on all travel and dining purchases has helped me accrue a healthy stash of Ultimate Reward points which I turn into great award travel trips. It’s great that Chase has a very broad definition of what counts as travel, not only for reimbursement purposes, but for earning Ultimate Reward points all year long.
Let’s take a closer look at how Chase defines travel on their website.
“Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.”
As I mentioned, it’s a pretty broad definition of travel which also includes Uber and Airbnb.
It’s also good to note what does not apply to the 3x bonus categories. Here’s what Chase’s website says about this:
“Please note that some merchants that provide transportation and travel-related services are not included in this category; for example, real estate agents, websites or owners that rent vacation properties, in-flight goods and services, on-board cruise line goods and services, sightseeing activities, tourist attractions, merchants within airports, and merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling. In addition, the purchasing of points or miles does not qualify in this category.”
Sometimes when you’re not certain about whether or not a charge would qualify, you can always make a small purchase and then check your account to see if you got the bonus points. In the world of credit cards and bonus points, how businesses get coded and how our spend gets coded can be tricky.
Here is the list I sent my cousin outlining which purchases Chase counts as travel:
• Airlines (including tickets, baggage fees, change fees, etc.)
• Car rental agencies
• Cruise lines
• Travel agencies
• Discount travel sites
• Passenger trains
• Toll bridges and highways
• Parking lots and garages
And here are travel-related purchases that Chase DOES NOT count as travel:
• Real estate agents
• Websites or owners that rent vacation properties
• In-flight goods and services
• On-board cruise line goods and services
• Sightseeing activities
• Tourist attractions
• Merchants within airports
• Merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling
• The purchasing of points or miles
I know that sometimes people do get some of these NOT charges credited for travel and receive 3x points. But that’s more YMMV, so I’m going with the rules here as Chase lays them out. Don’t want my cousin to be disappointed in my advice 🙂
One other piece of information I wanted my cousin to understand was actually one of my favorite features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The $300 travel reimbursement charges are automatically credited. I like this because it requires no effort on our part except to enjoy traveling the first few months of the year and know when we use our card, Chase does its part! Now all that’s left is for my cousin to find a few fun uses for her Ultimate Reward points, and that’s not something I’m at all worried about!
Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to PointMeToThePlane, you can find her at Joy in Movement