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Chase Sapphire

From people that predominantly fly Delta, I’m interested in feedback/opinions/comments regarding using the Chase Sapphire card over the Delta AMEX. I’m finding miles accumulating slower and the benefit of having the card is decreasing. I travel a lot for a nonbusiness traveler. We rarely check bags. We seem to be getting lower on the priority list for boarding. However, it doesn’t sound to me like the Chase card works well for people accumulating and wanting to use Delta miles. Right now, I have over 230,000 miles and my husband 130,000. These accumulated over COVID partly because of cancelled trips. At the very least, I think we will drop my husband’s AMEX card. Occasionally when I visit the kids, I like to check a bag. My Nordstrom VISA used to have excellent travel benefits but they have eliminated some, however, it is a no annual fee card.

Posted by
146 posts

I have both the Chase Sapphire and the Delta Gold Amex.

I go back and forth between the two cards. I rarely fly anything but Delta and partners, because I live in Atlanta (well, occasionally I fly Southwest). I have Silver medallion status, which means that I earn miles with my Delta purchases at a slightly higher rate than someone without status. I also like the option for a checked bag - I don't often check, but my husband usually does and that saves sixty bucks a flight. I also like the $100 flight credit I get for spending $10,000 in a year. I've already earned mine and put it toward a flight. My husband does not have his own Delta Amex, so I book all our travel on it, and the miles add up fairly quickly for us. As far as boarding, if you have the Delta Amex, even with a basic economy flight you get to board with main cabin. Otherwise, boarding depends on medallion status or cabin your seat is in.

Regarding Chase, I have been hearing horror stories about the Chase travel portal, which is now run by Expedia. I am hearing about poor customer service and trouble getting refunds. One thing I have used my Chase points for is the "pay yourself back" function, which right now has Air BnB as an option. I wiped out two Air BnB stays on my statement with a stash of Chase points. Once AirBnB isnt a "pay yourself back" option anymore, I will probably use my Chase card a lot less.

I follow Thrifty Traveler and The Points Guy and from reading their newsletters I think there are ways to transfer your Chase points to a Delta partner and book Delta flights. You could do some googling and find out how to do that.

It does sound like you and your husband both don't need a Delta Amex.

Posted by
5157 posts

There are two different Chase Sapphire Cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. These are two different products and you need to differentiate which one you are talking about.

I've attached a link to the benefit booklet regarding travel insurance for Chase Sapphire Reserve for your information

Posted by
2580 posts

The online comments and pundits I've seeing lately are saying, use your points as soon as you can and stop accruing them. There are too many points flying around and the airlines are making it very easy to acquire them and very hard to use them.

There are also outfits that you pay that will help you maximize what you have and run all the various permutations. As noted, the preferred game at the moment is to acquire points however and then transfer them to certain airlines with generous policies and fly codeshare.

But if you have a life, this is a lot of effort. Which may or may not be worth it to you.

One final option is to convert them to cash and be done with it.

Posted by
4250 posts

I am not concerned about the miles and if it weren’t for COVID we wouldn’t have them. We also believe that points/miles should be used as soon as possible.

For many reasons, we feel we are getting little out of our Delta AMEX and are looking at other options. Many seem to like Chase sapphire at whatever level, but it seems to not be a great choice for Delta travelers, especially those who no longer travel for business.

I do agree that I don’t want to be spending a lot of time messing with miles/points. My plate is full, as they say.

Posted by
1658 posts

FWIW I have the Delta AmEx and will be giving it up after my upcoming trip in June. I used miles to purchase two RT direct flights to Amsterdam, but the process to accumulate miles was a challenge (plus the twice-rescheduled trip due to COVID was a mess ). The benefits of the card (free checked bags primarily, used to have lounge access but no more) don't actually help me much since I don't live near a Delta hub and don't check bags. I've switched my primary card to a cash back card and am just putting that into a savings account for travel purposes. Once I retire next year I might have more energy to figure out a miles/points scheme that might work better but for now my energy is on just surviving to retirement! :)

Posted by
740 posts

I had the Sapphire prior to upgrading to Reserve, which I keep and use regularly. I only use those points by transferring them out to Chase's airline partners and booking award tickets. (Booking via the Chase Portal, whether paid with cash or points, is a little problematic, as alluded to above.)

Options of award tickets open up when you consider the possibilities of airline alliances. I almost never fly United, but have used United's miles program as a destination for my Chase points to fly on Austrian, Swiss, Air Canada, and Turkish. You can access the OneWorld alliance through 5 different transfer partners. I've never done this, but I imagine you could transfer to the AF/KLM or Air Canada programs to book Delta flights, along with other SkyTeam airlines. Remember too that award flights don't charge extra for one-ways, so you can find the round trip on the same airline. ]

Admittedly, it can be a wormhole. But it doesn't necessarily have to be.

Posted by
146 posts

@jules m If you're just trying to offload your Chase points, go into the Rewards portal and buy gift cards or something, or a statement credit. If you don't need to use them for travel, it''s certainly easy enough to do that.

But if you'd like to use them for future trips, it's probably worth looking into a transfer partner, one of which is Flying Blue/Air France/KLM. That's the one I'd choose, since Delta partners with them for non-stops to Paris or Amsterdam.

Here's an article about their travel partners:

Posted by
3657 posts

I have experience with both out of MSP. I think the Sapphire card is a lot more useful. For example the Chase Ultimate points can be transferred to Virgin Atlantic which can be redeemed MSP to Europe on SkyTeam nonstops for as little as 19,000 points one way. So with a good card bonus offer (80,000) a person can get 2 round trips or a one way lie flat with a single sign up bonus, usually on KLM but Delta and Air France nonstops show up too. The Delta sign up bonus is likely just enough for 1 domestic round trip.

Chase Ultimate rewards transfer to Virgin Atlantic 1:1, but there are specials like now where they add a 30% bonus. They also transfer to Delta, SW, and United at 1:1.

The Sapphire car rental insurance is very generous and globally comprehensive, any type of damage in any country.

I am currently churning both cards for the sign up bonuses and am not considering keeping the Delta one after the free year expires. The Chase Sapphire car insurance is so great I may keep that card and pay the $95/year, foregoing CDW insurance would pay for it.

I suggest you open a Virgin Atlantic account and browse fare possibilities from MSP. You can’t browse points redemptions without having an account.

As an aside, Chase Ultimate points can be transferred to British Airways also. The reason why a person @ MSP might want to do that is because it is possible to book American Airlines nonstops on that are under 1000 miles for 7000 British Airways Avios. From MSP that means flights to NY LaGuardia, Philadelphia, and Washington National.

Posted by
226 posts

I had all cards in the past.- currently Amex Platinum. if you have Chase Sapphire Preferred, there is no reason to keep it. one of you should get/or keep the Delta AMEX and switch with the other person every year (or is it 4 now?) to get the introductory bonus points.

an option is to consider Sapphire Reserve or Amex Platinum or Capital One Venture X. they have huge fees but also lounge access and bonus points on specific items

Posted by
4250 posts

I'm loving all the helpful information. To be more clear, presently, my husband and I both currently have Delta AMEX. We added his to "beef up" his mile balance. I like to book our tickets from one account so they are linked. At this point, we should probably drop his card.

We retired slightly earlier than most. No longer having the business travel really cuts back on the miles! For leisure travelers, we travel a lot. In a former life, I was an economist/analyst and what occurred to me a few years ago is that obviously, the perks and status goes to the business travel which makes a lot of sense. However, the business traveler has a more inelastic demand. They pretty much have to travel. The leisure traveler has a more elastic demand, they can delay or reduce their travel. So IMHO, I think me and other leisure travelers should be treated better in terms of perks from travel, though I can't complain too much about Delta, they've treated me pretty well, especially during COVID.

Posted by
5573 posts

There is some good information here, but it's mixed in with some misinformation.

I have played this game for a long, long time, and I have gotten incredible value from it. Yes, it's a deep rabbit-hole and there are plenty of landmines down there. I'll offer some advice/opinions based on what's posted above and my own experiences. I have strong opinions on these things, ignore them if you wish, I'm not going to argue.

  1. In general, Delta's program sucks -- at least for the things that interest me (eg: I'm looking for a nice, business-class seat on a long international flight; I do not care about last-minute coach seats to Orlando). Delta has de-valued their program so deeply that it's just not worth bothering with (go look at how many points it would cost for a flight you would want when you want to go...hint: you'll see numbers that would make Carl Sagan wince). I dumped my multiple Delta Amex cards and left the Delta program behind years ago and have not missed it. To correct some misinformation posted above: you can't just re-apply for Amex cards every 2 years alternating with your spouse and get the bonus. Amex cards have language limiting the bonus to "once in a lifetime" (although it appears they only look back 7 years). You can play the "long game' with Amex but with Delta's extreme devaluation, I just don't think it's worth the trouble (and I'm willing to put up with a lot of trouble!).

  2. The Chase Sapphire card is a good choice for many people (I have had the Sapphire Preferred for many years). I keep it primarily for the complimentary auto insurance, which I have used on dozens of trips to countries all across Europe and beyond; that coverage alone has saved me many hundreds (many thousands?) of dollars over the years, and it pays for the card's annual fee many times over. A great bargain IMHO. But aside form that benefit, the points earned by this card (and any other cards issued by Chase) are the most valuable of all: "Chase Ultimate Rewards" points are by far and away the most valuable miles/points out there. They are flexible, can be used on dozens of different airlines, hotels, and lots more.
    FWIW, I could not disagree more with what's written above about using the Chase Ultimate rewards portal. I've never had any trouble using it, and I have used it extensively to book some utterly spectacular places in far-flung, fairly obscure/exotic stays in recent trips (as recently as last summer and last month). I've cancelled a half-dozen stays, instantly with zero hiccups, and always received instant refunds; I've tweaked bookings to change dates/number of rooms/other specifics, and ended up with exactly what I wanted at a bargain price. I've used their points to book sleek 5-star hotels in European cities, gorgeous tiny boutique hotels in exotic places you've probably never heard of, flights on quirky, obscure little airlines, and everything has been smooth.

  3. There is a vast cottage industry of credit-card shills, bloggers and other scammers/charlatans who will push "advice", "help", "tricks", half-truths, and dishonest nonsense that primarily benefits themselves (two of these bloggers are cited above -- take any of their "help" with a huge grain of salt, knowing that their agenda is to monetize YOU above all else, they do not provide unbiased information -- it's essentially paid-for advertising). NEVER pay these scammers to "help you" use your points. Caveat emptor.

  4. This is a difficult game to "win." Like in any casino, the house almost always wins. It IS possible to get great benefits from playing the game, but it takes more effort (and more care) than most people are willing to invest.

  5. I generally agree with most of what Tom_MN says above (I can tell you have deep experience with this game). 😎

That's enough from me on this. Good luck.

Posted by
4250 posts

David, thanks for your input. A question on the car insurance--We just rented in Italy. We were told we were required to purchase the car insurance. I think perhaps, we could have opted out of personal liability. I never checked to be certain. One thing that I know, at least with my VISA card, if I pay for the insurance from the car rental company, it invalidates any insurance from the credit card company. Sicily was the first time that we've purchased the insurance. Domestically and in France and Spain we have opted out of any insurance.

I do agree that the Delta skymiles are becoming much less valuable. I also agree that the value of having the Delta AMEX and perhaps other cards is declining. At least, I feel I break even because of the $100 credit on the AMEX when we reach the spending threshhold.

Honestly, for the amount of time I spend on a plane and pay for tickets, I should get something, even if its gin and tonics.

Posted by
5573 posts

I've used the insurance provided by my sapphire card on several trips to Italy. Never a problem.

Italy requires liability insurance as part of your rental; it's not optional, it's always baked in to every rental. You can't waive that insurance, so it doesn't invalidate the coverage from the credit card. However, you must waive all (non-mandatory) OTHER insurance that's offered, or else (as you correctly point out), it would invalidate your coverage from the card. All you need to do is say no thanks. I always ask the Chase insurance folks to email me a letter I can present to the car agency staff informing them that I have coverage through Chase, if there's ever an issue (I've never had to pull out that letter, but it's good to have along). There's a dedicated Chase auto insurance group with helpful staff, reachable by phone or email. It's a great benefit.

Everyone calls Delta points "SkyPesos". It's not a compliment. I still have some SkyPesos but I may never get a chance to use them, since I would need north of half a million points to book one flight, and I'm not going out of my way to rack up any more of them. There are better opportunities in other systems. And yes, you should enjoy the beverage of your choice while riding in relative comfort, when you can manage it. Personally, I'm perfectly happy sitting in coach on domestic/short flights, but I've crossed my last ocean sitting in the back. 😎

Posted by
2173 posts

I also have the Chase Sapphire and never had a problem using their travel portal. I mostly use it for hotel stays and car rentals.

Posted by
3657 posts

I did get a Chase Sapphire last year specifically to pay my property taxes to get the bonus.

Yes, I have done this, or homeowners insurance, or a large medical bill.

Posted by
3657 posts

Giving a personal update: My wife and I have both churned the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in the past year, and with two $95 annual fees and a fairly high (but normal) spend threshold for the sign up bonuses including two auto insurance and two homeowner's insurance payments we will get two RT tickets to Europe on KLM and 2 RT tickets to Cape Town on KLM and 2 RT tickets on Delta to visit Yosemite, coach of course but still, it's amazing to me what some credit card churning will get you, about $6000 in tickets. For the naysayers who don't think it's worth it.

I tried to talk a neighbor with the Delta Amex card into trying Sapphire but she was fixed on meeting the $20,000 annual spend to get a free companion Delta ticket, kind of missing the boat IMO.

Posted by
4250 posts

We used to cancel cards and then wait a bit or chose a new card or have the other one of us get the card. It seems like most cards are strongly discouraging that with a waiting period of like 6 years to acquire a new card and get the perks.

I think I'd get the next level of Delta AMEX except the companion ticket would likely not be used. Domestically, we rarely fly together with the exception of Hawaii which is excluded.

Our REI card just went to CapitolOne and I need to review what that does for us, if anything.

We will be in France/Spain in a few months, so I will be reviewing the coverage on our cards for rental cars. My Nordstrom VISA used to have great coverage and I've recently found out that it no longer has that feature. A good reason to review all your cards before travel.

Posted by
1071 posts

I will share my experience.

I absolutely understand that I am not efficiently playing the game. It is too complicated for me.
I have a Delta Skymiles Platinum Amex card with an annual fee.
I charge over $50k per year on the card. This gets me Gold medallion status. (sky priority)
Using the miles I accrue I can get 2 free (plus airport fees) tickets in economy plus seats to visit my son in Portland and I use the rest to bring down the cost of an International flight. Using miles I paid $1400 for Delta One ticket CLE-CDG RT.
Delta treated me very well during COVID and we received an upgrade to front of plane on our trip to Iceland.
I have twice gained access to a lounge for free for companion and myself even when not flying first class.

I am satisfied with the perks, given how little I have to pay attention

Posted by
2173 posts

Tom_MN-Wouldn't you lose the points that you had already accrued on the Chase Sapphire card if you close it out and then later get a new one? How do you keep the points that you have already accrued?

Posted by
3657 posts

Wouldn't you lose the points that you had already accrued on the Chase Sapphire card if you close it out

That's an excellent question. In my wife's case we are getting ready to close it as the first year is ending (and I have the card so can get the great car rental insurance coverage). So I just transferred all her points to Virgin Atlantic. It's Virgin Atlantic that offers the great SkyTeam redemptions from my home airport (esp KLM and Air France, but I like the KLM seating better with the pairs of seats on the side in coach like Delta has). Coincidentally a 6 week period just elapsed where there was a 30% bonus added to Chase points transferred to Virgin Atlantic. The odd thing is the VA doesn't even serve my home airport but I learned about doing this I think from the Points Guy website. I think points could also be transferred to Flying Blue (KLM, AF) and conceivably could have been a better deal, but I was not willing to put in more time to verify that.

Posted by
8401 posts

When Delta went to 480,000 miles for a biz rt, I booked Air France and Virgin. So, I dumped my Delta Gold, got a Chase to try, but most important got a Citi cash back that gives cash back for my purchases in France, too. These miles and points can be time consuming, I've had lots of good free flights but I want simplicity now. But...
Anyone have a cash back card to recommend? I'm getting 1.5¢ per dollar now and would like 2¢.

Posted by
2173 posts

ok, still a bit confused Tom. So you can transfer the points on the Chase Sapphire card to VA? Is it one point and you get one mile? Which airlines can you do this with?

Posted by
4250 posts

Ok vandabrud, you just made me mad. ;) (Not really, life is short)

I thought Delta was treating ME well. I"m retired. In the last 10 months, I've flown to Hawaii 3 times and Seattle twice. I flew to Poland and Sicily. I was also flying to Hawaii all thru COVID. (My daughter moved there for school at the start of COVID) I have the impression that the amount of travel I do is a lot for a leisure traveler, yes?

My miles aren't accruing that fast, because in the last four years, I've been finding really good deals for my trips and Delta miles now accrue based on ticket price and not miles flown. Also, in the last 5 years or so, the amount of miles needed for any trip has gone up quite a bit. And, relative to other cities, flying out of Minneapolis is pricey since DELTA is the dominant airline.

Yes, they've been flexible during COVID and airfares were low. But, what have I been getting for any extra perks beyond miles for my loyalty? I've been getting my choice of seat in Main cabin even when I fly Basic Economy. For whatever reason, I'm at the top of the list when they start assigning seats. Even though I'm in the SKYMILES program (isn't everyone?) and have a DELTA AMEX, I usually board with steerage. No drink coupons, no lounge, no upgrades, no extra help resolving trip issues.

I will say DELTA staff is almost always quite pleasant.

So, this is why I've been looking at other credit card options.

Posted by
3657 posts


I can't find the official list but this one seems to be good. Transferring to the various Avios programs like British Airways or Iberia can certainly work out too, as I mentioned above BA avios give good value on AA domestic flights.

(link deleted, see David's post below)

Not to complicate things but Chase Sapphire also has periodic bonuses on the sign up bonuses, one ended in early June, so if you can wait for the next one that would be best, about every 6 months. My wife got 100,000 points last fall, and I will get 80,000 next month. The standard offer is 60,000.

Posted by
3657 posts

flying out of Minneapolis is pricey since DELTA is the dominant airline

If you are willing to explore the discount airlines like Icelandair, Condor, Aer Lingus, even Sun Country (not for Europe) you can do all right, and Delta often matches those fares, The folks in places like Atlanta, Cleveland, St. Louis, Phoenix are in rougher shape.

Posted by
4250 posts

I have used Icelandair. Much more often in the past than in the last few years. In fact, I've used the Icelandair layover. I always check Icelandair. I do look at Southwest, Alaskan and Hawaiian occasionally. When booking tickets I always look at the other options for a particular trip. I usually do not have the flexibility to be making multiple connectings and in the last ten years or so I've never found Sun Country cheaper. I also feel Sun Country is very risky. They have far fewer flights so if a flight is canceled, good luck finding another without losing a few vacation days or more.

I also purchase the tickets for my Hawaii daughter to come home twice a year, once at December holiday times which I pay through the nose for.

Posted by
5573 posts

Here's the official list, from the Chase Ultimate rewards website:

You can transfer points at a full 1:1 value – that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equals 1,000 travel partner miles/points – to these participating frequent travel programs:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards®
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott BonvoyTM
  • World of Hyatt®
    "Note: Participating frequent travel programs are subject to change."

    A few things worth noting:

  • You can also "pay" for hotels and even flights on obscure little airlines (that are not on the transfer partner list above), with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That may or may not be a good value (whether or not it is, that's a complicated question).

  • Points in most airline programs can be used to book awards on many of that airline's partners -- so for example, with points in United's program, you can also book flights on partners Air Canada, Lufthansa, Thai, Turkish, etc. and many more partners. All the major airline alliances work this way. This can provide a wide variety of options -- but there are many tricks, limitations and "gotchas" one needs to navigate.

  • This stuff can get complicated quickly; the airlines benefit from the fact that it's complicated; to get good value, you need to know what you are doing, as the systems are set up to limit what you can easily do and to steer you towards booking award flights that cost you tremendous numbers of points (and that is no bargain at all, it's just another way to pay too much for a flight).

  • There are a lot of people making big money off innocent noobs who follow their "help" (they make a lot of money by getting you to use the links on their websites to open credit cards, when it's often the case that there are much better options they are not telling you about....take anything you see on those websites with a big grain of salt -- the website cited above repeatedly is notorious for being "less-than-honest" - a nice way to say it). BTW, Tom_MN knows what he's doing, and is totally above board here, no aspersions cast or implied.

  • As I said above, it definitely is possible to get great benefits form these programs (plenty of people do). But it requires some dedication, some ongoing effort, and investing more-than-a-little of your time. It's not a good game for people who are inattentive or careless about tracking lots of seemingly trivial details. IME most people are simply not willing to do that.

  • To be successful, you need to not only be diligent and dedicated, you also need to be patient and flexible. It works best for people going solo or with just one travel partner (good luck if you want to bring your 4 kids), for those who have great flexibility in travel dates, those willing to drop/change plans or book a whole year ahead, and those whose employment situation or other hard commitments won't interfere. That can make it hard or not possible for many folks. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I think it's useful to go in clear-eyed.

  • The best place to get real-world info on this stuff is FlyerTalk. Here (and certainly not the credit-card-pushing blogs) is not the right place to look for all the necessary critical details.

Posted by
2173 posts

David, really appreciate your post. I am one of those who is not willing to play the churning game, but hey, if I occasionally get a perk or two by using my credit cards, then great. We can afford twice a year plane tickets to Europe. We do charge almost everything to get miles or points on our favorite airline Alaska. We were super happy to fly free to Egypt last October on Emirates on an almost empty plane!

Posted by
3657 posts

I have this info batting around my brain so putting it down, maybe of use to others.

Get a card that pays 1.5% rebate and has no annual fee, and use that as your main card. No foreign transactions fees charged is even better. Effortless.

When the big 4 airlines went to dynamic points/miles redemptions the value of these cards went out the window and the $95-$99 annual fee is not supported by the results. Airline points are never valued at the 1.5 cents per dollar spent which a basic rebate card achieves. For example Delta Skymiles are worth about 1.2 cents. Miles/points are also encumbered by restrictions (and AA still has an expiration date on its miles), whereas cash is not encumbered by anything.

caveat 1: Some foreign airlines still use award redemption tables where you could conceivably get back more than 1.5 cents if you can nab a redemption-- you do the math.

caveat 2: If you use the free checked bag feature at least 3 times you will get value from the card's annual fee, just be sure to only use the card for purchases from that airline where you get double points (e.g. buying airline tickets), netting 2-2.5 cents per dollar, and store the card the rest of the time.

As long as you keep your old statement PDFs so you know when the last sign up bonus was awarded and wait for eligibility for another sign up bonus, go ahead, your credit credit rating won't be affected. From memory but check
Delta every 7 years
American every 48 months
Southwest and United every 24 months
Chase Sapphire every 48 months
Be sure to cancel the card on time to avoid the second year's annual fee.

I don't have any personal experience with the Amex and CapitalOne travel-focused cards.

Posted by
8401 posts

Tom, I agree 100%. When Delta's miles went to 1-cent in every class of service, that's when I decided to liquidate, at least for the moment. I did manage to get 4-cents per mile from Air France and the same from Virgin Atlantic, using Delta miles. Otherwise, it's now my free Citi card with 1.5 cash back for me. But I still want to find a 2-cent cash back card.

Posted by
1071 posts

I basically use 2 credit cards. One is my Chase Amazon card where I get 5% back on all of my Amazon purchases. I know a lot of people hate Amazon, but it works for me.
My second card is the Platinum Amex. I could upgrade to the Reserve card with a big bonus, but the miles are mostly for Delta purchases, so this doesn't work for me. On the platinum card I get

3X miles on Delta Purchases
3X miles on purchases made directly at hotels
2X miles at restaurants worldwide
2X miles at U.S. supermarkets
1X miles on all other eligible purchases