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This One Perk Makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve the Best Travel Credit Card for New Yorkers

Stella Shon's image
Stella Shon
Stella Shon's image

Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

94 Published Articles 672 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 25U.S. States Visited: 22

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...
Edited by: Michael Y. Park
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Michael Y. Park

Editor

19 Published Articles 183 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 60+U.S. States Visited: 50

Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...

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If you live in New York and travel often for work or leisure, I’d argue there’s one credit card that is a cut above the rest — and that’s the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

This card is packed with a long list of premium perks that may easily be worth the $550 annual fee, depending on your travel habits. If you’re in the market for a new card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the right choice for this reason alone.

Here’s my take on why.

Get Unlimited Access to the Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club at LaGuardia Airport

Once billed as a “Third World” airport by President Joe Biden, Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is a stunner after major renovations wrapped up in January 2022. Now a shared space for airlines including Air Canada, American, JetBlue, United, Southwest, and most recently, Frontier, LaGuardia is easily one of the best airports (if not the best) in the country.

What’s more exciting than a brand-new airport, though, is the opportunity for brand-new airport lounges to enter the landscape, replacing tired spaces made for business travel with a reimagined experience for many different passengers.

At the beginning of the year, Chase opened doors to its very first Sapphire Lounge in the New York metro area. Directly next to the competing American Express Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia, the new Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club makes the lounge experience about the journey rather than just your next destination.

Chase Sapphire Lounge Seating
This lounge helps the whole terminal ascend to a new level. Image Credit: Stella Shon

While I didn’t get the chance to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony, I finally got to visit the lounge on an early Monday evening — between waves of consultants heading home from a workday in New York and families checking out for spring break.

Stepping into the lounge nearly 3 months after the initial fanfare felt like a great time to check out the space for myself, incognito among other travelers. While there was a line forming outside the Centurion lounge next door, I walked down a quiet hallway and took the elevator 4 flights down to the baggage claim level.

Chase Sapphire Lounge LGA
The multilevel Sapphire Lounge. Image Credit: Stella Shon

The elegant Chase Sapphire lounge at LGA was tucked just behind a corner — no wait to be found.

Inside the Chase Sapphire Lounge at LGA

I had only planned to be at the lounge for an hour, just enough time to grab a bite and see the space. But after several flight delays, I found myself spending more than a few hours until it was closing time.

Beyond the delicious tapas dishes (Korean fried chicken bites and pistachio grilled cheese, anyone?), you could order made-to-order menu items from classic New York restaurants.

Chase Sapphire Lounge Food
Grilled cheese and kale salad. Image Credit: Stella Shon

The waitlist will be long on any given day, but you might be lucky enough to get a 30-minute facial appointment at the spa desk or even score time in the dedicated snooze rooms.

Chase Sapphire Lounge Spa
Quiet time in the lounge. Image Credit: Stella Shon

I found myself plenty entertained and can easily say it was the best domestic lounge I’ve been to — ranking higher above the Capital One Lounge at Dallas Fort Worth or any Amex Centurion Lounge in the country, in my opinion.

Chase Sapphire Lounge Drinks
Cocktails in LGA. Image Credit: Stella Shon

While the lounge experience was quite amazing and felt almost over the top, the major downside is that the Chase Sapphire lounge footprint is quite limited at this time:

The Chase Sapphire Terrace at Austin (AUS) is also open, but it’s mostly an outdoor terrace with drinks and grab-and-go food.

For general travelers looking for a card with lounge access, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card isn’t necessarily compelling enough just yet, although the issuer is working on plenty of lounge openings. (While the card comes with Priority Pass access, its domestic network is … just all right, and nothing worth writing home about.)

Why the Chase Sapphire Lounge Comes Out on Top for New Yorkers

Now that the Chase Sapphire lounge is open at LaGuardia — and at the biggest terminal at the airport, serving 6 different airlines — most New Yorkers pass through Terminal B on their travels. Not to mention, LaGuardia is the easiest (and quickest) airport to reach from many parts of the city via ride-share or taxi.

As it stands, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has one of the most friendly guest policies we’ve seen — cardholders can bring up to 2 guests at no extra charge.

The major exception, of course, is Delta Air Lines, which has an amazing new Sky Club at its own Terminal C and dozens more across the country. For access to any Delta Sky Club, though, you need a same-day Delta ticket and a card like the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express, or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

However, Amex has taken several steps recently to cut off lounge access and guest passes:

  • Effective February 1, 2025, Amex Platinum and Amex Business Platinum cardmembers receive 10 visits per year to the Delta Sky Club. To earn an unlimited number of visits each year starting on February 1, 2025, the total eligible purchases on the card must equal $75,000 or more between January 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Effective February 1, 2025, Delta Reserve cardmembers receive 15 visits per year to the Delta Sky Club. To earn an unlimited number of visits each year starting on February 1, 2025, the total eligible purchases on the card must equal $75,000 or more between January 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Amex Platinum card and Amex Business Platinum cardholders will be charged a $50 fee for each guest (or $30 for children aged 2 through 17, with proof of age). Amex Platinum card and Amex Business Platinum cardholders may qualify for unlimited guest access to Amex Centurion lounges for up to 2 travelers per visit after spending $75,000 or more on eligible purchases on the account in a calendar year.

But if you’re indifferent to the airline you fly, Terminal B at LaGuardia has far more to choose from — which is why many would prefer the Chase Sapphire Lounge.

Chase Sapphire Lounge Bathroom
Spotless women’s rooms. Image Credit: Stella Shon

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes out on top for New Yorkers who travel domestically often, so having this card at your disposal is a no-brainer.

Hot Tip:

While it’s certainly possible that Chase could take measures to limit lounge access in the future, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card currently has one of the most generous access policies. However, it’s worth noting that a Capital One lounge is coming to LaGuardia’s Terminal B in the near future, too, so we’ll have to see the space to compare the 2 effectively.

Other Card Benefits That Make the Annual Fee Worth It

That’s just 1 perk that I think most New Yorkers who travel frequently will find useful when traveling out of LaGuardia. I realize that’s a niche benefit, but with millions of people living in the city, I know many are looking to access to this world-class lounge.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's worth $1,125 when redeemed through Chase Travel℠.
75,000 points
$1,500
$550
22.49%-29.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros
  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
Cons
  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase TravelSM.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase TravelSM. For example, 75,000 points are worth $1125 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card certainly doesn’t come cheap, but there are certainly other rewards and benefits that luxury travelers should find worthwhile:

  • $300 annual statement credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card
  • 10x points on hotels and car rentals and 5x points on flights when purchased through Chase Travel; 3x points on other travel and dining; 1x points on all other purchases
  • Points are worth 1.5 cents apiece for flights, hotels, and more through Chase Travel. You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to more than a dozen airline and hotel loyalty programs like Southwest, United, Hyatt, Marriott, and more.
  • Up to $100 application fee credit every 4 years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck

Final Thoughts

The new Chase Sapphire Lounge at LaGuardia is worth going out of your way for on your next trip out of the city. It’s a steep price to pay but could potentially be worth it, depending on how often you frequent the airport and whether want to bring your family and friends along with you.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.

Stella Shon's image

About Stella Shon

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in The New York Times, USA Today, and more.

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