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In November 2017, Barclays and Uber launched the rideshare’s first credit card: the Uber Visa Card. If you are on the fence about getting this card and using it over the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve®, consider the following:
- If you want travel rewards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can be the better bet if you spend $1,000 or more on travel and dining each month. $1,000 a month in travel / dining spending and $1,000 a month on other spending nets you $570 a year in travel rewards with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (after factoring the annual fee of $450 and credits). The Uber Visa Card would net you $540 in rewards based on the same spending.
- If you don’t want travel rewards, go for the Uber Visa Card. It offers cash back with no fee, and you can pair it with another good $0* annual fee card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer.
- If you want travel rewards, but aren’t a big spender, it’s a tougher call, but the Uber Visa Card might come out ahead with 4% on dining and 3% on airlines and hotels. The downside is there’s no option to turn your rewards into real airline miles. We’ll help you sort out the pros and cons in this article.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Pros and Cons
Transfer Ultimate Rewards® points into airline miles or hotel points
Ultimate Rewards are arguably the most flexible points program available through a bank. In addition to receiving a 50% bonus through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal by holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can also transfer your points to 7 airline programs and 4 hotel programs:
- British Airways Executive Club (Avios)
- Air France–KLM Flying Blue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- United Airlines MileagePlus®
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Korean Air SkyPass
- World of Hyatt
- IHG® Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards®/Ritz-Carlton Rewards
We estimate 54,000 Ultimate Rewards points through the new cardholder promotion (4,000 points from spending $4,000 on everyday spending not including travel or dining the first three months, and the 50,000 point bonus) are worth around $810 in travel when considering the 50% bonus if you redeem points with Ultimate Rewards Travel – but you could get even better value through transferring to a partner program.
$300 annual travel credit
Another popular feature of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is the $300 annual travel credit, earned annually based on when you opened your card. Unlike other cards, the $300 annual travel credit is available for all travel purchases, from airfare and hotel rooms to extra fees, like checked baggage. Even better, statement credits post the same day and appear on your monthly statement within 1-2 billing cycles.
Travel insurance benefits when paying with your card or Ultimate Rewards
A unique benefit of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® are their travel insurance benefits when paying for a trip with your card, or with Ultimate Rewards points. There are four key trip insurance bonuses that are built into your card:
- Baggage delay: Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 5 days.
- Baggage loss: If your luggage is damaged or permanently lost by an airline, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
- Trip delay: When a common carrier is delayed by 6 hours or more, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
- Travel accident insurance: When you pay for your air, bus, train or cruise transportation with your card, you are eligible to receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $1,000,000.
$450 Annual Fee
Although you can receive many benefits from the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the biggest downside is the $450 annual fee that comes with the card. While the fee is in line with other high-end cards, it is considerably high every year. If you can’t get value equivalent to the fee through earning and using Ultimate Rewards points and the $300 annual travel credit, this may not be the best card for you.
Only two bonus categories
Another overall con is that it only offers two bonus categories: 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. While the categories cover a broad range of restaurants (fine dining to fast food) and travel options (flights, cruise lines, hotels, car rentals, trains and taxis), having only two bonus earnings are very limiting for earning points.
Fewer booking options on the Chase website
Finally, while holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gets you 50% more value in travel rewards when redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, your booking options may be limited. With the sole exception of Southwest, Chase Ultimate Rewards restricts the number of low-cost carriers you can book with around the world. Common discount airlines in other parts of the world, including Air Asia, easyJet and Ryanair, are all off the table.
> Read our full Chase Sapphire Reserve® review
Uber Visa Card Pros and Cons
No Annual Fee
It’s very rare that we see a rewards card come with no annual fee. The Uber Visa Card is the first of its kind in the reward card arena, and one of only a few with no yearly fee. For the high bonus categories alone, this card already puts you ahead from your first purchase.
High bonus categories for dining and travel
The 4% back on dining bonus (or 4 points per dollar) on all dining, including UberEATS, is the biggest bonus we have seen in the category. Plus, earning 3% back on travel and 2% back for online shopping are generous, and are sometimes excluded from other programs. If Uber and Barclays offer more opportunities to use points, this could become the card of choice for diners.
$50 online subscription service credit
Although there are no travel or monthly Uber credits offered by the Uber Visa Card (travel credits are offered on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, while both a travel credit and Uber credits are offered on The Platinum Card® from American Express – up to $200 annually), the card makes up for it by offering up to a $50 credit for online subscription services after you spend $5,000 or more on your card per year. Eligible online subscriptions include:
- Apple Music
- Amazon Music
- Google Music
- Sirius XM
- HBO NOW
- DirecTV NOW
- The membership fee for Amazon Prime
For spending $5,000 every year alone, this no annual fee card can cover nearly half of the annual fees for services like Hulu and HBO NOW, and over half the fee for Amazon Prime. For the comparatively-high minimum spend every year, this is a very good deal.
No airline or hotel transfer options
for Uber credits can only be used in the U.S. starting at 500 points for a $5 credit, and have strict limitations. Credits can’t be used when paying with a family profile, and only the primary cardholder can redeem points for Uber credits. For gift cards and cash back, the minimum is 2,500 points for $25.
No travel insurance options
While the card offers up to $600 in coverage for stolen and damaged cell phones as well as involuntary and accidental parting of your cell phone, the card does not come with any other travel insurance options. While you get 3% back on hotel and airfare, including vacation home rentals, you would not be reimbursed for a trip delay or baggage loss.
Limited categories for online purchases
A big upside of the card is the 2% back on online purchases from retailers, including Amazon – but not all transactions qualify. If you make an online purchase through a third-party service, including PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, it will only count at 1%, even if it’s an online purchase. Plus, online payments for utilities, contracted services, government services, or professional services will not count for a 2% return in the online purchase category.
Should I hold both credit cards?
If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® already, adding the Uber Visa Card is an easy way to earn cash back in categories other than travel and dining. With no annual fee, having this card will add no costs to your reward strategy and offer bonuses not available with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, like the up to $50 yearly streaming service credit.
What credit card combination is right for you?
If your goal is to get cash back only, the Uber Visa Card pairs perfectly with the Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer. Both cards offer no annual fee, using the Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer for spending in categories not covered by the Uber Visa Card could earn Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay in full or over time. If you spend $500 in travel and dining with the Uber Visa Card and $1,000 of spending on the Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer monthly, you could earn a total of $780 in rewards every year: $240 of rewards from the 4% return and $180 from the 3% return on the Uber Visa Card, and $240 from all other spending on the Citi® Double Cash Card – $150 Cash Back Offer.
But if you would rather earn travel rewards for flights and hotel rooms, a better combination would be the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Freedom®. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve® only has two bonus categories, the Chase Freedom® offers quarterly rotating categories; Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. – and the cash back can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points. By spending $1,500 in each 5X category quarterly on the Chase Freedom® and spend $500 in dining and travel on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® monthly, you could earn 66,000 Ultimate Rewards points yearly, valued at a minimum of $1,320 in travel rewards (valuing points at 2 cents each).