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Both of these Chase cards waive the annual fee for military servicemembers and civilian spouses of active duty troops with the MLA law.
Amex also recently added some outstanding benefits to their cards due to reduced travel opportunities during COVID-19. Check out the Amex cell phone and streaming credits, worth up to $40 per month per card.
Temporary Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
Pay Yourself Back
From May 31 to September 30, 2020, you can redeem Ultimate Reward points for 1.5 cents for a statement credit towards purchases at dining, grocery stores, and home improvement stores such as Home Depot of Lowe's (Lowes military discount info here).
Chase is calling this the “Pay Yourself Back” tool. This is in addition to redeeming the points for 1.5 cents on travel.
This is an easy way to cash out Ultimate Reward points. You can consolidate UR points from cards like the Chase Freedom to your CSR to get even more value out of the points earned with the Freedom.
Normally UR points cash out at 1 cent per point. But with Pay Yourself Back, you can use your 50,000 point welcome bonus and buy $750 worth of groceries or gas. That's a great benefit!
$300 Chase Travel Credit Now Groceries and Gas
Between 1 June and 31 Dec 2020, the $300 annual travel credit will include purchases at gas stations and grocery stores. Since military servicemembers pay no annual fees, this is essentially a free $300 to spend on gas or groceries until the end of the year.
With the annual travel credit so easy to use now, the CSR is the clear winner for now in the eternal Chase Sapphire Reserve versus Amex Platinum battle. All military servicemembers should definitely add a CSR to their collection this year. It's $300 of free gas or groceries for the rest of 2020!
- Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve
- $550 annual fee and $75 authorized user fee waived for US military + spouses
- Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points after $4000 of spend in the first 3 months ($750 minimum value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- $300 annual travel credit
- 3x Points on Travel (airfare, hotels) and Dining (restaurants) after earning the $300 travel credit
- Ultimate Reward Points redeemed through the Chase travel portal are worth 1.5 cents, a 50% bonus
- Priority Pass lounge and restaurant access
- Primary car rental auto insurance
- No foreign transaction fees
Temporary Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits
Between 31 May and 30 September 2020, you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for 1.25 cents each towards a statement credit that offsets purchases at dining (restaurants, takeout, and delivery), grocery stores, and home improvement.
This benefit obviously is not as good as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, so I recommend all military servicemembers and their civilian spouses pick up a CSR. You can compare the Sapphire Reserve versus Sapphire Preferred in this article.
- Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred
- $95 annual fee waived for military and spouses
- Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate after spending $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership
- 2x points on travel and dining
- No foreign transaction fees
- Primary rental car insurance coverage
Summary of Temporary Chase Benefits
Credit card companies are adapting to the decreased travel opportunities available.
Personally I do not plan to cash out my Ultimate Reward points at 1.5 cents each as I am confident I can get more value from the points by saving them for a transfer to a travel partner like Singapore Airlines, Hyatt, or Emirates. Usually I try to get at least 3 cents per point when I redeem UR points for travel.