Updated Jan 21, 2021 | Published Oct 13, 2020 • 16 min read
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The Chase Sapphire Reserve features top-tier benefits and perks designed to make your traveling experiences a bit better all around. There’s a high annual fee, but you’ll get an annual travel credit, airport lounge access, and perks to help your stays away from home feel more comfortable.
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Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
We gave the Chase Sapphire Reserve®5 out of 5 Stars because it’s one of the most rewarding travel credit cards that’s not tied to a particular airline or hotel.
Why We Like It
Earns points for all kinds of travel purchases, as well as dining
A large signup bonus
50% point bonus for redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Point transfers to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
A large annual travel credit that covers just about every kind of travel expense
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a high-end metal travel rewards credit card, designed for frequent travelers with excellent credit. It could be a great way to save some money and have a better time overall while away from home.
This is a general-purpose travel card, meaning it’s not associated with a single airline or hotel chain. Instead, it provides 3X points per dollar for travel expenses and dining at restaurants. You’ll get a 50% point bonus when redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards, or you can transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to a variety of travel partners, where they might be worth even more.
There’s a $550 annual fee to pay, but you’ll get a number of great benefits and perks to make this card worthwhile. Those include a $300 annual travel credit, unlimited access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, and complimentary services at certain hotels and resorts.
Limit your high-end travel cards: You probably don’t need more than one travel card with a high annual fee in your wallet, whether it’s this card or one of its top competitors, because they tend to have similar benefits.
This card earns the equivalent of 1% to 4.5% cash back on most purchases with the normal redemption methods, depending how you earn and redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you transfer points you can find better deals, which could give a 6% cash back equivalent or more.
For Lyft rides, however, you could see a cash back equivalent of up to 20% or more!
10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
Lyft rides (through 3/31/22)
3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
Travel (after the full travel credit is used)
1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
Since this card has a $300 travel credit, you won’t earn any Ultimate Rewards points on the first $300 in travel purchases. But you’ll immediately start earning 3X points on travel purchases after you’ve used up the full $300 travel credit.
The Sapphire Reserve provides its rewards for general travel expenses, so you can earn points for any related purchases. That covers your initial reservations, plus any other eligible purchases you make while traveling. Some other cards are more limited, like The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review), which has reward categories that are only useful for booking travel in certain ways.
There are several options for redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points:
Ultimate Rewards travel portal: Chase gives a 50% point bonus when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, giving you a value of 1.5 cents per point.
Transfer to travel partners: You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 rate to a number of travel partners, where their value will vary (this can be your best option).
Statement credit: Redemptions for statement credits will provide a value of 1 cent per point.
Gift cards: Gift cards will provide different values for your points, usually 1 cent per point or less.
Pay with Points with Chase Pay: You can use your points to pay for purchases at certain merchants, like Amazon, but you’ll only get 0.8 cents per point.
The easiest way to redeem your points will probably be through Chase Ultimate Rewards, getting that 50% point bonus. You can use them to pay for:
There are no blackout dates or travel restrictions when booking through Ultimate Rewards, although you may find blackout dates with some travel partners.
Redeeming through Ultimate Rewards can provide a good value, but you can find an even better deal through a point transfer. Below, we go through an example showing how you can get a cash back equivalent of 6.8%. But the value you get will vary depending on the way you use your points after transferring.
We do not recommend redeeming for statement credits, gift cards, or by paying with points, because you can get more for your points elsewhere.
Aer Lingus AerClub
British Airways Executive Club
Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
IHG Rewards Club
World of Hyatt
Point Transfer Example
Let’s say you want to fly from Burbank, California, to San Antonio, Texas. We can fly United, and can take a MileagePlus Saver Award flight to get an even better deal than usual.
We’ll take a one-way economy-class flight, on Monday, March 26th. This trip would normally cost $289. Or, you can take a Saver Award flight for 12,500 miles, plus $80.60.
So how much do you need to spend to earn this flight? Since the transfer rate is 1:1, you need to earn 12,500 points with your card. It will take $4,167 in spending to earn that many points at the 3X rate (it will take more spending if you earn at a lower rate).
Once you earn the points, you can convert them to United MileagePlus miles and then book your flight.
In this example you spend $4,167 to earn the points, and then an extra $80.60 for the flight. That’s a total of $4,247.60.
That gets you a flight valued at $289, which means you’re getting a cash back equivalent of 6.8%. That’s quite good, and its even better than the 4.5% you can get through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Your points are worth about 1.6 cents each in this particular transfer example. But keep in mind that different transfers will provide different values, and you may end up with a better or worse deal. United is typically one of the better redemption options, with its Saver Award flight routes, but you can find similar deals with other airlines.
With some effort (and patience) you can probably find deals giving you 2 cents per point or more!
The extra perks and protections you’ll get with this card are pretty comprehensive, and are comparable to other high-end travel cards. These are just some of the most interesting features, so check your Guide to Benefits for more details when you get your card, or delve into our favorite Sapphire Reserve benefits to learn how they help make this card worth the premium price tag.
$300 annual travel credit: You’ll get a $300 travel credit every year that will be automatically applied to any travel-related expenses you charge to your card.
Priority Pass Select membership: Cardholders get complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges and restaurants worldwide. You must manually activate this benefit, and you’ll receive a Priority Pass Select member card in the mail.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Every four years you’ll get up to a $100 credit towards the application fee for either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85).
Elite hotel benefits at Relais & Châteaux: Cardholders get accelerated progress towards Club 5C member status with Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel and resort properties; just stay two nights at qualifying properties in a 12-month period. Club 5C status provides benefits like a VIP welcome, room upgrades, access to a unique experience at each property, and invitations to exclusive events. You must book using the Visa Infinite Concierge.
$120 Peloton credit: Enroll to get up to $120 back for an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership (through 2021). No fitness equipment is required.
Visa Infinite Concierge: Call 1-877-660-0905 for non-emergency help of all kinds, like making dinner reservations or finding good tickets to a show. You can also ask for travel recommendations, for flights, tourist attractions, the best shopping spots, restaurants, night clubs, etc. This benefit is probably most useful when visiting a new city.
Special car rental privileges: You can access your special car rental privileges by logging in to Chase Ultimate Rewards and following the instructions to enroll. You’ll get perks at Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental like rental upgrades, discounts, and occasional promotional offers.
Lyft Pink membership: One-year exclusive saving opportunities with Lyft Pink membership, providing 15% off rides, relaxed cancellation fees, priority dispatch at airports, and more
DoorDash membership, $60 annual DoorDash credit: Chase will pay for a DoorDash subscription for two years (a DashPass). You’ll also get $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020, and $60 in 2021 (learn more about Chase DoorDash benefits).
Shopping protections: Purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and return protection
Travel protections:Primary auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside assistance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, trip delay reimbursement, lost luggage reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance, and emergency evacuation & transportation
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
Foreign Transaction Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the most impressive general-purpose travel rewards credit cards, with a very enticing offer.
The annual fee is pretty high, but if you travel enough you’ll be able to offset it with the perks and points you’ll earn. The 3X category is very broad, so you can use it to earn points both while booking travel and for extra expenses as you go.
You should redeem those points through Chase Ultimate Rewards or for point transfers to get the best value, but that shouldn’t be hard for frequent travelers.
Make use of as many benefits as you can, especially the travel credit. The airport lounge access should make your trips more comfortable, and having expedited security screening could save you a headache or two. Don’t forget about the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, to make your stays a bit more pleasant as well, and the host of protections that cover you in case something goes wrong.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a valuable set of rewards and benefits, but it’s not the only premium travel credit card on the market. Check out some of those other cards below, one of which might be a better fit.
How Do I Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card?
Want to apply now for this card? Just click the link below to apply securely on Chase’s website.
This card is made of metal, and you won’t need to request that when you apply. There is no plastic version.
Many applicants will get an instant response, but in some cases it could take longer. Chase may request more information from you.
If you have a different Chase Sapphire card you may be able to request a product change to the Sapphire Reserve. Call the number on the back of your card to make this request, although there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved. Currently, the only other Sapphire card you can apply for is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review).
What Credit Scores Do You Need for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
If you have a minimum score of 740 for FICO (the “very good” level) and you’re in the range of 750–850 for VantageScore, you’ll have a good shot at being approved.
However, if you have lower credit scores than what are recommended you may still be approved. Or, even if you have high enough credit scores, you might not be accepted. Approval relies on more than just credit scores, including factors like income.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number
Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
Financial information: Total annual income, type of residence, monthly mortgage or rent payment
What are the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a number of strong benefits attached. These include a $300 travel credit, Priority Pass Select membership, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, a one-year Lyft Pink membership, a DoorDash membership with $60 annual credits, and a good selection of travel protections. These protections include primary rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation/delay insurance, baggage delay insurance, and more.
Review a more detailed explanation of all the benefits you can expect with your card.
What does the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel credit cover?
The annual $300 travel credit can be applied to any travel-related expenses. This means hotel stays, transit, airline tickets, airline fees, or anything else related to your trips.
What rewards does the Chase Sapphire Reserve earn?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s rewards include 10X Ultimate Rewards points for Lyft rides (through 3/31/22), 3X points per dollar for travel and dining, and 1X point for all other purchases.
But you’ll need to use the full $300 travel credit before you start earning 3X for travel.
How can I redeem my Chase Sapphire Reserve points?
There are several different avenues you can take when it comes time to redeem your points.
Redeem for statement credits or gift cards
Redeem for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Transfer them to Chase’s airline and hotel partners
Use them to pay at certain merchants like Amazon
The simplest method would be to redeem for statement credits at 1 cent per point, but if you choose to redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll get a 50% point bonus.
However, you could potentially find an even better value by transferring your points to one of Chase’s travel partners.
Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve have an annual fee?
Yes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of $550. However, it’s somewhat mitigated by the $300 annual travel credit, and the value you’d get from the other benefits like the Priority Pass Select membership and shopping and travel protections.
How do I log in to my Chase Sapphire Reserve account?
Just head over to Chase.com and input your account information in the login box. From there, you can navigate to your account page and keep an eye on all things card-related. You can pay your bill, see your statement, and take advantage of your card features.
These cards differ quite a bit in their annual credits. The $200 airline credit you get with the Platinum can only be used for incidental fees at one airline you have to choose ahead of time (through 2021), unlike the $300 credit you’ll get with the Reserve. The latter can be used for anything travel related.
There’s also $200 in annual Uber credits with the Platinum, compared to the Reserve’s Lyft Pink membership. The Lyft membership could be worth around $240, but it’s hard to say the true value someone may get out of it, based on how often they’ll use Lyft.
When you take those various credits into account, and subtract them from the annual fees, they effectively drop to about $150 for the Platinum and $250 for the Reserve. Keep in mind there are plenty of other benefits to factor in, so your valuation may be different.
The airport lounge access you’ll get with the Platinum is considerably better than what you would get with the Reserve, providing a Priority Pass Select membership along with entry to Delta Sky Clubs and exclusive Centurion Lounges, among others.
The elite hotel statuses provided by the Platinum are likely to be more valuable too, as they include a wider collection of affordable hotels: Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton, rather than the fancy Relais & Châteaux.
5X Membership Rewards points per dollar (starting 1/1/21, on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year) on:
Flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel
Eligible hotels booked with Amex Travel
2X Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on other eligible purchases from Amex Travel
1X Membership Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
75,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, in the first 6 months
Although the Platinum card is a bit more limited, it can end up being more rewarding overall. You can earn the equivalent of 5% cash back through the normal redemption methods, when earning at the 5X rate. And point transfers could provide even more than that, up to 10% cash back or more.
The Amex Platinum only provides these 5X rates when booking travel. If you have any incidental charges by airlines or hotels, like food while traveling, it won’t be included in the bonus categories. The Sapphire Reserve’s 3X category will cover all of those purchases.
Global Lounge Collection: Provides access to a wide variety of lounge brands, such as Centurion, Priority Pass, and Delta Sky Club
$200 airline fee credit: Get a $200 airline fee credit for incidental fees at one airline of your choice every year (through 2021).
Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: Receive $100 as a statement credit to pay for the application fee for Global Entry every four years, or $85 for TSA PreCheck every four-and-a-half years.
Fine Hotels & Resorts Program: You’ll get room upgrades when available, daily breakfasts for two, complimentary WiFi, and more.
The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit for every eligible two-night stay
Hilton Honors Gold status: Stay at hotels within the Hilton portfolio and get benefits like room upgrades, your 5th night free, and an 80% bonus on base points earned.
Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: Receive perks like room upgrades, late checkout, and a 25% bonus on base points earned.
$200 in Uber credits each year: A statement credit for up to $15 in Uber rides (or Uber Eats) each month, except for December, which has a $35 credit
$100 annual Saks credit: Get statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue every year: up to $50 from January to June, and up to $50 from July to December.
Platinum Dining program: Snag coveted reservations by calling your concierge service and selecting “Dining” from the menu.
Amex Offers: Receive discounts and extra point offers from dozens of participating merchants.
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $550
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
$550 annual fee.
American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
The rewards program here offers 5X points on dining and air travel, better than the Reserve. And hotels get 3X points, the same rate.
There are a few differences in their benefits, however. The Prestige offers a 4th free night at any hotel, when you book four consecutive nights. That’s a pretty valuable, and versatile, perk, potentially worth over $1,000 per year if you stay somewhere fancy.
The annual travel credit the Prestige provides ($250) is slightly less than the credit offered by the Reserve, though it is equally as flexible. When you subtract the Prestige’s credit from its annual fee, it effectively drops to $245.
That’s just about even with the offset fee of $250 for the Reserve after its $300 credit. But the Reserve’s effective annual fee could be considered to be even lower, depending on how often you take advantage of its Lyft membership, and the Prestige’s may change based on how you value its perks.
Overall, the Sapphire Reserve probably has the better set of extra benefits. But if you book a lot of long hotel stays of four nights or more, the Prestige card could save you quite a bit of money.
1X ThankYou pointper dollar for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus Offer
50,000 ThankYou points for spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
The value you get for your ThankYou points will vary depending on how you redeem them. If you consider points to be worth about 1.25 cents each via point transfers, a reasonable value, you’ll be getting an equivalent of 6.25% cash back in the 5X category. The 3X category will provide an equivalent of 3.75% cash back.
This isn’t as much as what you can get through the normal redemption methods with the Sapphire Reserve. But, like the Sapphire Reserve, the value you get will depend on how you use your points.
Point transfer: To a variety of transfer partners, including Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Annual $250 travel credit: Good for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, and other travel expenses
Complimentary 4th Night Stay: Get your fourth night free when booking four nights in a row through ThankYou.com and paying with your card, ThankYou points, or a combination of both. Capped at twice per year.
Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership: Access to over 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants around the world
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every five years
Citi Prestige Concierge: Call for non-emergency help any time you need it.
World Elite Car Rental Program: Elite memberships at Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 16.99%–23.99% Variable
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $495
5X ThankYou points on Air travel and Restaurants
3X ThankYou points on Hotels and Cruise Lines
No limit to the amount of points you can earn
Rewards never expire
$250 travel credit
Complimentary 4th night free on eligible hotel stays, capped at twice per year
The travel credit you’ll get here is $200 less than what the Reserve offers, at just $100, and can only be used for incidental fees at a single airline you choose ahead of time (through 2021).
The Gold Card is a bit more food-focused than the Reserve, offering a $120 dining credit and earning 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent per year).
The Gold Card has a lower annual fee than the Reserve, and after you take the credits into account, they effectively drop the Gold Card’s fee to just $30.
There are no hotel memberships included with the Gold Card. Instead, you’ll get access to The Hotel Collection, which provides a $100 credit per stay and room upgrades (when available) at a larger swath of hotels than the more narrow-focused hotel membership the Reserve features.
The Gold Card could still save you some money compared to the Reserve if you don’t expect to spend a lot on hotels while traveling, focusing instead on groceries and dining out.
$100 annual airline credit: A $100 credit for incidental fees when you fly, like airline meals or checked baggage fees. You must select a qualifying airline ahead of time to use the credit (through 2021).
$120 annual dining credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express Gold Card at participating restaurants and merchants, including Grubhub, Seamless, and Boxed.
The Hotel Collection: Get a $100 credit for qualifying charges per stay, and room upgrades when available.
Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee: If you find your room being advertised for a lesser price you can be reimbursed for the difference.
Gold Card Destinations: Get a $100 credit on eligible new bookings of vacation packages and cruises that cost at least $3,000.
Entertainment Access: You’ll be eligible for exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events.
American Express Preferred Seating: You can get premium seats for concerts, sporting events, and more.
Complimentary ShopRunner membership: Enroll in ShopRunner to get free two-day shipping and returns with select retailers.
Shopping protections: Extended warranty and purchase protection
Travel protections: Personalized travel service, baggage insurance plan, global assist hotline, rental car insurance, and more
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $250
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
$120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
No Foreign Transaction Fees.
Annual Fee is $250.
American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
Whereas the other cards provide a good deal of value for their annual fees, the Black Card stands apart. Despite its $495 annual fee, it doesn’t provide much in the way of rewards.
It does offer a few useful perks, like a $100 annual travel credit and Priority Pass membership, but the credit is far less than what the Reserve offers. Unfortunately, there’s little value to the Black Card’s perks behind that.
$100 airline credit: This annual $100 airline credit can be applied to travel expenses like airfare, baggage fees, and in-flight purchases.
Global Entry credit: A $100 Global Entry application fee credit; Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that provides expedited entry to the U.S. (it can include TSA PreCheck)
Priority Pass Select membership: Get unlimited visits and free guests at Priority Pass airport lounges, with no need to call in advance (unlimited free guests is a rare gem; you’re typically limited to only two).
Luxury Card Concierge: Personal 24/7 concierge service; you can call or chat live through the Luxury Card app
VIP Hotel & Travel benefits: Access to numerous discounts and amenities at a variety of different properties
Mastercard Priceless Program: Exclusive access to invitation-only events
Purchase APR: 14.99% Variable
Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% Variable
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $495
Patented black-PVD-coated metal card—weighing 22 grams.
2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.
24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Around-the-clock service to help you save time and manage tasks big and small.
Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties.
Annual Airline Credit—up to $100 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry.
Enrollment in Priority PassTM Select with access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with no guest limit. Includes credits at select airport restaurants for cardholder and one guest.
Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply.
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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