The Chase Sapphire Reserve card broke the Internet (read: message boards about points-redeeming credit cards) when it launched in August, earning plaudits like "single-best travel rewards card" and creating a months-long backlog.
Now? Some competition, and from an unlikely source: U.S. Bank. — not, traditionally, one of the big players in the luxury credit card game.
Whatever its history, U.S. Bank is coming to the corral with its guns blazing.
In brief: The annual fee is $400, offset by a $325 travel credit. There's a 50,000-point bonus if you spend $4,500 within three months. (Meh.) A dozen GoGo inflight wi-fi passes. (Ditto.) PreCheck reimbursement. (Like everybody else.) A metal card (honest to God, we do not get the excitement around that particular feature, but OK.)
And here, according to BoardingArea, is the big feature: 3X point earning on mobile wallet payments. Though Chase offers 3X on hotel, airline, and dining payments, the mobile wallet option could be a big deal — especially if you use it to do things like pay your rent.
For what it's worth: Greg at Frequent Miler, an expert on these issues, notes that he won't give up his Sapphire Reserve, because the Chase program facilitates transfer to partner airline and hotel programs — which the U.S Bank card doesn't. Your mileage — and points redemption — will vary.
Caveats: the U.S. Bank card hits the market on May 1. And its availability will be limited to existing U.S. Bank customers, at least for now.