CC upgrade v. travel + lounge access

Automatik Senior Member
15,737 posts 98 reps Joined Nov 2009
Wed, Mar 27, 2024 11:39 AM

All signs point to Chase Sapphire Reserve. I'm coming from Chase Sapphire Preferred, which I love.

I travel a decent amount, various airlines, really want lounge access.


I've researched Amex Platinum, doesn't really scream better than the Reserve for my use case.

Any others worth looking into? Or should I just fucking do it an not overthink?


33,369 posts 132 reps Joined Nov 2009
Wed, Mar 27, 2024 12:46 PM

I have the Delta Amex Reserve. It is even better now ever since Delta changed their status thresholds and its built on dollars spent -- so less people qualifying and clogging up the skyclubs. Plus gets me access to the Centurian Club. I also only fly Delta for work, and since it is not a cost to me, I do not have to worry about it being pricier and shop around for the best price. That may not be the case for you, and if you are not loyal to a specific airline, you should not go with an airline tied card (obviously). But if you are travelling enough, I am not sure why you wouldnt pick an airline and go with them exclusively. Over time, the benefits far outweigh the potential cost increase, even if you use them for pleasure and not business at some point.

Automatik Senior Member
15,737 posts 98 reps Joined Nov 2009
Wed, Mar 27, 2024 1:12 PM

My sister has that Delta Amex, which kinda sparked this convo. She travels frequently for work, I do not. Maybe 3-5 times a year, but it's still TBD. 

like_that 1st Team All-PWN
29,228 posts 321 reps Joined Apr 2010
Wed, Mar 27, 2024 2:37 PM

TL;DR: I have found great value with the CSR, and continue to find it.  If you're into dining out and traveling, it's almost a no brainer. 

I got the CSR when they offered the 100K bonus (bought my wife's engagement ring as soon as I got the card).  Although I am annoyed with the increase of their service fee, I still think it's a great card. The priority pass lounge access is awesome, and travel $300 travel credit essentially reduces the price of the card's service fee.  Also, having your travel insured is a big plus.  I have had to use the insurance a couple times, and they never failed me.   The points are also worth 1.5X more if you book flights via the chase portal.   If you purchase flights via the chase portal by dollars, it's worth 10X per dollar.  Same applies for hotels, and car rentals are 5x points.  

They are also starting to build CSR lounges at airports, which will be huge if you happen to be at any of those airports. 

gut Senior Member
18,369 posts 115 reps Joined Nov 2009
Wed, Mar 27, 2024 8:18 PM

I travel a lot for work, and don't always have a lot of flexibility which airline I can fly.  So I aim to get the first tier of status on United, American and Delta.

I have an AA Visa (or mastercard?) that can give me status on American after charging like $45k to my credit card (with no actual flying).  So when I'm traveling and charging to that card, I get status fairly easily on American.  If I'm traveling enough, I'll also hit it on whatever airline I'm flying to the client site.

Again, it's a convenience thing.  Don't really care about get the max rewards/cash back/points.  Priority boarding, so I can have space for my carry on, and choosing my seat at check in is worth way more to me.  

But otherwise, you don't get a whole lot with status unless you make the top tier in most cases (which is like 100k miles or 75 flights in most cases).  I don't spend enough time in airports to care about access to lounges - if I don't miss a couple of flights per year I'm doing it wrong.

Automatik Senior Member
15,737 posts 98 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 12:18 PM
posted by like_that

TL;DR: I have found great value with the CSR, and continue to find it.  If you're into dining out and traveling, it's almost a no brainer. 

I got the CSR when they offered the 100K bonus (bought my wife's engagement ring as soon as I got the card).  Although I am annoyed with the increase of their service fee, I still think it's a great card. The priority pass lounge access is awesome, and travel $300 travel credit essentially reduces the price of the card's service fee.  Also, having your travel insured is a big plus.  I have had to use the insurance a couple times, and they never failed me.   The points are also worth 1.5X more if you book flights via the chase portal.   If you purchase flights via the chase portal by dollars, it's worth 10X per dollar.  Same applies for hotels, and car rentals are 5x points.  

They are also starting to build CSR lounges at airports, which will be huge if you happen to be at any of those airports. 

Yeah, I think I'm going with this. 

Now just trying to figure out if I upgrade directly from the Preferred which means no bonus points. 

Or close the Preferred (or downgrade) and apply to the Reserve. I could risk getting a lower CC limit, not a huge deal, but my credit score likes my current limit of 60k.

gut Senior Member
18,369 posts 115 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 12:34 PM
posted by Automatik

but my credit score likes my current limit of 60k.

It's fairly inconsequential, as banks (for mortgages) calculate their own scores.  But what I've read is your credit score likes to see an average balance of like 10-20% per card, and in total.  Which seems dumb when the card is paid off every month.  I can about max out my travel card when I'm traveling every week.  But, generally, I try to keep my limits relatively low on individual cards because I'm paranoid about theft.  I've never had an issue disputing fraudulent charges, but they've also never been more than a few grands when my CC info got hacked.  But it's nice to know I've limited my exposure by keeping my limits lower (I've had my CC stolen about 4-5 times).
gut Senior Member
18,369 posts 115 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 12:38 PM

LOL, when I started traveling again my CC score dropped about 6%.  Recovered about 80% of that over several months, and then dropped back down again after I opened a new CC to get some free hotel points.

I wonder what it actually takes to achieve a perfect credit score?  Absolutely no debt, $100k in CC you never use, and an annual income over $500k?

Automatik Senior Member
15,737 posts 98 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 12:39 PM

After finally getting out of CC debt, I pay the full balance off monthly. I only have one active card. The rest just sit. 

My score is at an all time high now due to this and aggressively paying off student loans. I'm assuming that will take a hit once I deal with this upgrade bullshit. I don't really care though. I'm not buying a house anytime soon. 

I've been going into a black hole regarding CCs, churning, points transfers. It's wild. I don't have the bandwidth to deal with most of the shit I'm reading.

sportchampps Senior Member
7,527 posts 36 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 12:58 PM
posted by gut

LOL, when I started traveling again my CC score dropped about 6%.  Recovered about 80% of that over several months, and then dropped back down again after I opened a new CC to get some free hotel points.

I wonder what it actually takes to achieve a perfect credit score?  Absolutely no debt, $100k in CC you never use, and an annual income over $500k?

I was with my dad one time when he went to purchase a new car. He was one point from perfect. He owned a used car dealership that constantly had a revolving credit line. I think to achieve that perfect score it’s more about how much and how long have you been borrowing without any negative marks. 


Automatik Senior Member
15,737 posts 98 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 1:05 PM

Perfect score, on the 900 scale? I've never heard of anyone with it. 

I just want to be in the exeptional range and avoid a nose dive. Like when I bought a car and they ran 5 credit checks for various lenders.

MontyBrunswick Senior Member
1,065 posts 17 reps Joined Mar 2015
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 1:27 PM
posted by gut

It's fairly inconsequential, as banks (for mortgages) calculate their own scores.  But what I've read is your credit score likes to see an average balance of like 10-20% per card, and in total.

I don't think the percentages matter so much as you're actually using some of the credit they've extended to you.


MontyBrunswick Senior Member
1,065 posts 17 reps Joined Mar 2015
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 1:34 PM
posted by Automatik

Perfect score, on the 900 scale? I've never heard of anyone with it. 

I just want to be in the exeptional range and avoid a nose dive. Like when I bought a car and they ran 5 credit checks for various lenders.

most of them are 850 max. I also had my credit run by a dealer and the number of hits temporarily dinged my score. It recovered quickly if I'm remembering right, even though they ran it like 4 times


As long as you regularly use some credit and make regular payments your score will go up. I dont think the total usage matters, just that you use it. Mine has been in the 800-820 range for most of my adult life with very little work on my part.


Experian says my score is currently 835/850 but it fluctuates depending on how much I'm actually hitting my cards. I floated some larger purchases when I moved a few months back and it shaved about 20 points off but it's since recovered. I typically don't carry a balance month to month.


tldr be responsible with it and your credit score will be go up and then eventually plateau around 800

Also I've mulled getting a travel card myself but I cannot justify paying an annual fee to spend money. I'll take my no-annual-fee cards and just deal with the lack of status


33,369 posts 132 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 1:49 PM
posted by MontyBrunswick

Also I've mulled getting a travel card myself but I cannot justify paying an annual fee to spend money. I'll take my no-annual-fee cards and just deal with the lack of status


You have to travel a lot to make it worth it. I probably pay off the $650 for the AmEx Delta Reserve in about 6 trips (~20 flights, and ~16-20 SkyClub visits). The free drinks and food easily outweighs it for me vs buying 1-2 airport meals, plus it's usually better food. The comfort and quietness of the club certainly is a benefit, though I wouldnt pay for just that. Its the breakfasts before the 6am flights and the lunches during the layovers. 

MontyBrunswick Senior Member
1,065 posts 17 reps Joined Mar 2015
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 2:52 PM
posted by Laley23

You have to travel a lot to make it worth it. I probably pay off the $650 for the AmEx Delta Reserve in about 6 trips (~20 flights, and ~16-20 SkyClub visits). The free drinks and food easily outweighs it for me vs buying 1-2 airport meals, plus it's usually better food. The comfort and quietness of the club certainly is a benefit, though I wouldnt pay for just that. Its the breakfasts before the 6am flights and the lunches during the layovers. 

My company provides a card for me to use so everything goes on that. Meals, travel, whatever. The only thing I'd get out of having one of the airline cards is the status, which makes it an even tougher pill to swallow

iclfan2 Reppin' the 330/216/843
9,465 posts 98 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 2:56 PM

$60k credit limit is wild to me. My credit score is in the 800s and I’ve had the card for 20 years, and my limit is $11k. I don’t travel for work so I accept my measly 1% credit on my usaa card. Probly leaving money on the table.

33,369 posts 132 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 2:58 PM
posted by MontyBrunswick

My company provides a card for me to use so everything goes on that. Meals, travel, whatever. The only thing I'd get out of having one of the airline cards is the status, which makes it an even tougher pill to swallow

Can you petition for reimbursement and have it all go on personal cards? I hate when companies use a business card, but I get it. Just sucks as the person travelling to not reap the small benefits.

Automatik Senior Member
15,737 posts 98 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 3:09 PM
posted by iclfan2

$60k credit limit is wild to me. My credit score is in the 800s and I’ve had the card for 20 years, and my limit is $11k. I don’t travel for work so I accept my measly 1% credit on my usaa card. Probly leaving money on the table.

Yeah it’s dumb. I had a 30k limit card in college over 15 years ago. If only I could go back in time. 


MontyBrunswick Senior Member
1,065 posts 17 reps Joined Mar 2015
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 5:07 PM
posted by iclfan2

$60k credit limit is wild to me. My credit score is in the 800s and I’ve had the card for 20 years, and my limit is $11k. I don’t travel for work so I accept my measly 1% credit on my usaa card. Probly leaving money on the table.

You could probably just request a higher limit. Discover offers a thing on their website where you can click it and it'll yay/nay you immediately. Theirs doesn't even do a credit pull. I did one the other day for the hell of it and they bumped me from 14k to 17k, despite me never coming close to using half of the 14k I originally had.

MontyBrunswick Senior Member
1,065 posts 17 reps Joined Mar 2015
Thu, Mar 28, 2024 5:08 PM
posted by Laley23

Can you petition for reimbursement and have it all go on personal cards? I hate when companies use a business card, but I get it. Just sucks as the person travelling to not reap the small benefits.

I dont think so, but I get a fair amount of leeway when it comes to booking my own travel so that's beneficial in itself.


I can basically choose whatever flights/meals I want as long as it's within reason. I usually travel Monday to Thursday. Its not uncommon for me to have zero personal expenses during that four day window. Everything goes on the company card while I'm on my trip

Automatik Senior Member
15,737 posts 98 reps Joined Nov 2009
Fri, May 3, 2024 1:15 PM

UPDATE:

Got the Reserve. I should have done this years ago. 

Work expenses are 100% on personal cards so I'm piling the points already. The perks decreased the annual feel almost immediately. Global Entry appointment is set.

4k bonus spend was quick with 3 upcoming trips and some car maintenance.

I'm now tracking Hyatt prices in NYC for July. You can get some crazy deals when you transfer points.

I don't think I'll ever be one of those "churning" people, but definitely turning into a points nerd.

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