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Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?

chrisw1968uk
Frequent Contributor

Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?

Hi Everyone

I'm considering applying for either of these cards - The $325 credit for dining will go a long way towards wiping off the fee for the Altitude and I am just getting into mobile wallets (I know, I'm late lol) so the 3% back on that would be useful too.

 

I don't do a whole bunch of flying - but any perks there would be nice, when I do

 

Any preferences?

 

Thanks Smiley Wink 

Message 1 of 9
8 REPLIES 8
longtimelurker
Epic Contributor

Re: Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?


@chrisw1968uk wrote:

Hi Everyone

I'm considering applying for either of these cards - The $325 credit for dining will go a long way towards wiping off the fee for the Altitude and I am just getting into mobile wallets (I know, I'm late lol) so the 3% back on that would be useful too.

 

I don't do a whole bunch of flying - but any perks there would be nice, when I do

 

Any preferences?

 

Thanks Smiley Wink 


I have both and they are really quite different cards.   Sapphire Reserve is a true travel card, with the ability to transfer points to airline/hotel partners, which can give good value on higher end travel.   It also has (currently) a lot of insurance protections and a good Priority Pass program.   It also can enhance the value of points earned on other UR cards such as Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited (through Pay Yourself Back) and points earned on those cards can also be transferred to partners via the CSR.   CSR definition of travel (to earn the 3x) is MUCH broader than the Altitude Reserve

 

Altitude Reserve really shines on Mobile Wallet, and the utility of that depends on its availability where you shop!   While lots of supermarkets, for example, may take it, that's not all that exciting as many cards give high multiples there.   I am able to use mine at places like the dentist, car repair, some non-food retail stores etc, with less frequent but high dollar charges and this makes it very useful to me.   Then you can redeem for travel at 1.5cpp via the portal or, better, Real Time Rewards.   Insurance and priority pass program is much less good than CSR, but it has a much lower effective AF.

 

So both can give an effective 4.5% on the higher category (travel/dining for CSR, travel/mobilewallet for AR) when redeemed for travel through their portals.  AR also allows the same redemption outside the portal for RTR, CSR allows point transfer.

Message 2 of 9
chrisw1968uk
Frequent Contributor

Re: Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?

Thank You - I appreciate the guidance Smiley Wink

Message 3 of 9
IntegerIntrovert
Regular Contributor

Re: Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?

If you rent cars the AR is a primary coverage insurance for rentals. I don't know about the Chase.  Mobile Wallet 3% is the best.



EQ - 768 / TU - 777 / EX - 772
Message 4 of 9
coldfusion
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?


@IntegerIntrovert wrote:

If you rent cars the AR is a primary coverage insurance for rentals. I don't know about the Chase.  Mobile Wallet 3% is the best.


The CSR (and the CSP) includes primary CDW.  I believe primary coverage also extends to an AU when they use their card.  

One important thing to note is that the Chase and USB cards have restrictions tied to the duration of the rental and the value of the vehicle and they do not provide liability coverage.

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Artist formerly known as the_old_curmudgeon who was formerly known as coldfusion
Message 5 of 9
imaximous
Valued Contributor

Re: Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?


@chrisw1968uk wrote:

Hi Everyone

I'm considering applying for either of these cards - The $325 credit for dining will go a long way towards wiping off the fee for the Altitude and I am just getting into mobile wallets (I know, I'm late lol) so the 3% back on that would be useful too.

 

I don't do a whole bunch of flying - but any perks there would be nice, when I do

 

Any preferences?

 

Thanks Smiley Wink 


I'm biased because AR is my most used card. I can buy almost everything using mobile wallet, and the stuff I can't, I usually have a card that has a high multiplier to cover those purchases. You'd probably need to figure out where you spend the most and if those places take any type of mobile wallet, whether online or in-store.

Favorite feature is being able to reedem points with RTR for an additional 50% value.

 

DW & I used to have the CSR, but we downgraded it after making AR the primary card. Thing is, other than travel and dining, you only get 1UR on all other purchases, and I spend a whole lot more on other stuff than just those 2 categories. Chase UR is still our main travel ecosystem, but mostly because of Hyatt. That's really the only partner I transfer URs to. So, I have a CSP that I use for dining & streaming services, and to be able to transfer points. We also have another 5 UR earning cards to fill all gaps.

 

CSR doesn't really offer any perks when flying. It's not like you can get free checked bags, priority boarding, etc. You can get club access through Priority Pass, but again, you'd need to see if it's worth the additional cost if you don't fly often, as you say. Also, you'd need to make sure PP has a decent lounge at the airports you fly to or from. For me, that's a hit or miss -- more of a miss.

IMO, CSR needs a little revamp to really set it apart, but some people are happy with it.

 

 

Message 6 of 9
practical1
Regular Contributor

Re: Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?

I can't really contribute to the comparison discussion, only that the AR is one of my most beloved cards.

 

As the others mentioned, the Mobile Wallet yield is really exceptional and the $325 credit is immediately useful and nearly offsets the annual fee.  Plus, the initial bonus points more than cover this first-year's fee.

 

One other factor (if important to you) -- US Bank has now made authorized user cards available at no charge; they used to be $75 additional -- if this is another consideration for you.

 

Message 7 of 9
iced
Valued Contributor

Re: Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?


@chrisw1968uk wrote:

Hi Everyone

I'm considering applying for either of these cards - The $325 credit for dining will go a long way towards wiping off the fee for the Altitude and I am just getting into mobile wallets (I know, I'm late lol) so the 3% back on that would be useful too.

 

I don't do a whole bunch of flying - but any perks there would be nice, when I do

 

Any preferences?

 

Thanks Smiley Wink 


If you don't do a bunch of flying, the CSR doesn't seem to make sense. Its perks are tailored to frequent travelers.

 


@imaximous wrote:

 

CSR doesn't really offer any perks when flying. It's not like you can get free checked bags, priority boarding, etc. You can get club access through Priority Pass, but again, you'd need to see if it's worth the additional cost if you don't fly often, as you say. Also, you'd need to make sure PP has a decent lounge at the airports you fly to or from. For me, that's a hit or miss -- more of a miss.

IMO, CSR needs a little revamp to really set it apart, but some people are happy with it.

 


The people happy with it are typically frequent flyers with aligned partners. Benefits like free checked bags and priority boarding are only meaningful to infrequent flyers who don't get those via airline status. The appeal of the CSR for frequent travelers is that it's focused on benefits and reward earnings not typically attainable via travel alone.

 

Back to the OP, the perks on the CSR aren't great for the occasional flyer. If you want such perks, you're better off with a different card.

Message 8 of 9
summerterrace
Regular Contributor

Re: Sapphire Reserve or Altitude Reserve?

I love my Altitude Reserve, after the travel/dining credits the effective annual fee is low and it has Visa infinite benefits, which are really strong.

 

The only downside for me has been the fact that my most shopped stores don't accept mobile wallets:  Kroger, Lowes,  WalMart, and most gas stations by house (using pay at the pump).  So I can't take as much advantage of the 3% as I was hoping but I still use it a lot of places.  I have had good experience with their customer service as well.  We considered the Sapphire Reserve since we have a Chase Freedom and Flex, but we don't really need the more expensive lounge access and I much prefer booking direct with the hotels/airlines and then using AR's Rapid Rewards to redeem for travel at 1.5 cpp.  YMMV.  

US Bank Altitude Reserve, Delta Gold Am Ex, PenFed Power Cash Rewards, PenFed Pathfinder, Navy Federal Flagship, Chase Freedom, IHG Rewards Club Premier, Marriott Bonvoy Premier
Message 9 of 9
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