ETHICS NOTE: I do not get any compensation for this post. This is NOT paid-advertising.
While I am not even remotely close to the same level as Ben (from onemileatatime.com), I do have an affinity for playing the credit card "game", so to speak. I credit this skill to watching my Dad use credit card promotions and benefits when I was younger (I'll post on that story some other time). Over the decades (I got my first credit card the summer I turned 18), I have amassed (and probably cancelled) dozens of cards, for varying benefits and perks.
And my go-to credit cards are the following: Costco, AMEX Platinum, and PenFed (more to follow on each of these). But for whatever reason...I kept holding off on getting this beauty...the Chase Sapphire Reserve!
Now...you are probably wondering why I am blogging about this card? Well, for DVC owners, I think this is hands-down the best way to pay for your annual dues.
Let me explain...
Disney lets you pay your dues with a credit card in one lump sum when they are due each January. While you can pay your dues with a debit card, or even your checking account...you are giving up rewards points if you choose to not use a credit card.
In terms of rewards, there's a few front-runners:
1) Target's REDcard (5% discount on everything you buy, to include gift cards)
2) Any of the 2% cash-back cards out there (PenFed is one of them)
3) Disney-branded credit cards (1-2% Disney cash back)
4) and this card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Now, up until this time, I had been using the REDcard, since a 5% discount off a few thousand dollars of annual dues is nothing to sneeze at. But the Disney Gift Card process is rather time-consuming. You can only buy the cards in $500 increments from Target.com, and then you have to apply them one at a time to your dues. If you have multiple contracts, you then have to remember the balance on your card, and re-type the card number AND code into the next contract. For me, that took just over an hour of my time (I needed 6 cards), from buying the cards, waiting for the emails, to paying the dues on the DVC site (and dealing with the sluggishness of the Dues page).
I wasn't happy, but I felt it was better then 2% cash back (at just over $3000 in dues, that's a difference of $90...worth an hour of my time, but still didn't like it!)
But I finally caved on getting the "CSR", and boy is it worth it (even with the $550 annual fee...but more on that later)! Here's why:
The CSR gives you 3x the points for any and all "Travel" charges...and yes, that includes DVC dues! (It also counts for DVC purchases, too!). On top of the extra points, the first $300 of travel-code charges are refunded as a card benefit!
Now, even without the first $300 being comped...3x points is worth at least 4.5 cents per dollar spent, since if you use your points to pay for travel on their website, they give you a 50% bonus...and the tickets/rooms/etc you can book on their site are the same price you get on the airline sites (much like AMEX travel). And CSR points can go even further than 4.5 cents/dollar if you use them for special rewards airfare...go to Ben's site to learn how.
Now....4.5% is a LOT closer to 5%...but without all the hassle of buying multiple gift cards, etc. For that same $3000 in dues, you're looking at a difference of only $15...that is not worth an hour of tinkering with gift cards on a computer.
In addition to the perk on DVC dues, the CSR also has it's great complement of travel perks: Priority Pass Select membership, Global Entry application fee refund, great travel insurance built-in, etc.
Oh....and about that annual fee...if you're active duty military, Chase waives the fee (thank you, Chase)! As with AMEX, both have figured out that providing Servicemembers with discounted cards will create life-long members long after we seperate/retire from military service. But it makes this card even a better deal for military members!