JP Morgan Select Card Review

Posted by CreditCardGuru

In 2011, Chase launched a couple high-end cards under the JP Morgan label. The most famous being the Palladium card, however for those seeking something modest with more lax requirements, there is the Select card.

Update for 2013

When I first wrote this review a year ago, I mentioned the rumor about this card being phased out because it’s too similar to the Sapphire Preferred. Well lo and behold it’s came true. You can no longer apply for it.

As a good alternative, I highly recommend the Sapphire Preferred. It also uses Ultimate Rewards points which can be transferred to partner airlines on a 1:1 basis. And with this current signup offer, it’s too good to pass up…

Everything below is about JP Morgan Select and I’m only leaving it up for legacy purposes. Remember the Select card is no longer available.

Putting it into perspective

JP Morgan Select credit cardWith a $95 annual fee, the JP Morgan Select credit card is comparable to perhaps an AmEx Gold or Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature.

The requirements are nothing out of the ordinary. If you are upper middle-class with good income and credit history, then approval shouldn’t be too hard.

This card has its pros but also a few cons. Let’s review them all…

No fee on foreign transactions - As I’m sure you’ve noticed, more travel-oriented cards (even mid-level ones) are adding the benefits of having no foreign transaction fees. Surprisingly the $175 Premier Rewards Gold still charges the fee… so this JP Morgan card clearly beats that card for this category.

On the other hand, the Sapphire Preferred also waives foreign transaction fees and has the same annual fee as the Select.

No late or overlimit fees – You see this benefit on a couple entry-level credit cards like the Citi Simplicity and AmEx Clear, but not on many higher end cards. So this is a fairly unique feature.

Double points on [some] travel categories – With this card you will get 2x points on hotels, airlines, and car rentals (excluding RVs, trucks, and trailers).

Ironically, the Sapphire Preferred also gives 2x points on travel, but more travel categories are included. So between the two, JP Morgan Select card loses.

Single point on regular purchases – This is pretty standard across all cards, so no surprise here. However rather than being concerned with the number of points per dollar, you should be paying more attention to the value of your points when converting them to travel (will discuss in a moment).

Security chip for using abroad – Still stuck on the ol’ magnetic strip, the credit card technology in the United States is terribly outdated compared to the rest of the world, who have already transitioned to chip based credit cards.

In fact, if you’re traveling by rail in say, France, and get your ticket from an automated machine, there’s a good chance you won’t even be able to pay using a card that only has a magnetic strip.

The JP Morgan cards were among the first in the US to include the chip. So as of right now that is still a unique benefit but other issuers are following.

Partner airlines – With American Express Membership Rewards Points, this is the best way to get the most bang for your buck because you can convert points to miles on over 15 airlines at an exchange of one for one.

The JP Morgan Select application mentions there are partner airlines but it didn’t list them. So I called up customer service and found out who they are:

  • United/Continental
  • British Airways
  • Southwest Airlines

So with this card you only get 3 airlines. Definitely not up to par with AmEx but I predict this list will grow over time, as Chase has been aggressively advancing into the travel card territory the past few years (as if you can’t tell from all their travel card commercials).

Furthermore, United is the largest carrier so if you can only have one… not a bad one to have, right? Meanwhile if you want to go the discount route, Southwest is probably the most popular discount carrier, so another good one.

These are the same partner airlines you also get with the Sapphire Preferred.

Travel benefits – You get the Visa Signature benefits such as insurance for lost luggage, common carrier travel accident for death or dismemberment, etc. but in addition, J.P. Morgan also throws in some unique benefits…

The biggest one that stands out from the crowd is that it gives primary auto rental coverage, instead of secondary. That means if a claim is made, you get to go straight through the credit card instead of first hitting up your personal auto insurance.

There’s also sickness coverage and emergency evacuation and repatriation (the latter two are unlikely to be needed, but either way still great to have).

So when you take a full look at these benefits, it’s a pretty good deal considering the $95 price tag.

Should you get this or the Sapphire?

While I was on the phone with customer service asking about the partner airlines, I also brought up the striking similarities between the Select and Sapphire Preferred. Why does Chase have two cards with the same annual fee and extremely similar rewards/benefits?

The rep told me that she thinks the Select credit card under the JP Morgan label will be transitioned to the Sapphire label eventually. That would make sense given how much marketing is put behind Sapphire and how little behind Select.

As to which one you should get? If you can’t wait for the chip to come to the Sapphire, then the Select is probably the way to go. That said, right now I think the Sapphire Preferred and its huge promotion is too good to pass up.

Written or last updated for Jan 2013

10 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. Bruce D Ranger October 19, 2013 at 3:06AM

    My Sapphire Preferred card is made of metal, while my Sapphire card is made of plastic.

  2. Pablo March 9, 2013 at 9:55AM

    Select also allows you to transfer points earned at Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, Ritz, some airlines. Is this flexibility continued with Sapphire?

    Gracias~

    • Michael March 11, 2013 at 12:19PM

      That’s correct, the Sapphire Preferred can do the same thing.

      And also now you can no longer apply for the JP Morgan Select as they discontinued it (though existing cardholders still have it, my guess is they will be converted to Sapphire sometime down the road).

      • Steve April 15, 2013 at 7:57AM

        You must be a private banking client in order to apply for the JPMorgan Select now, it is not discontinued.

  3. ES March 17, 2012 at 9:39AM

    The difference between JPMorgan Select and Chase Sapphire?

    Those are two separate legal entities and two companies with different business models; both owned by same investors. I don’t think a Select Card will ever become Sapphire. Working for JPMorgan Chase made me realized that, the reason why JPMorgan Select is promoted very little is because it is suppose to be very exclusive and cross-sold to JPMorgan Chase Private Bank Clients, while Sapphire is made available to the general public. For your information, JPMorgan Chase Private Client is an exclusive program for individuals with high net worth. The enrollment starts at $250k and once a Chase Private Client you will have access to certain Bank privileges. Please consider that this program is created as a hybrid program between Chase Bank and J.P.Morgan to capture a certain middle class market (if that still exists). I hope you find this information helpful.

  4. Alec January 12, 2012 at 6:46PM

    is it made out of the same material that the shapphire preferred is made out of?

    • Alec January 20, 2012 at 4:42PM

      no

      • DG February 19, 2012 at 4:25PM

        What is it made out of? Lame plastic?

  5. G G January 9, 2012 at 2:17PM

    I applied to the then-new MileagePlus Explorer and got accepted, but I also wanted a card that wouldn’t get sucked into an ATM or kiosk if I use it overseas. I was looking *really* hard at this card for a while for the zero FT fees and chip-signature design. However, if this chip-signature card is going to be thrown under the Sapphire label, I will wait this out. That will give me more time to get my D-to-C ratio in order :^)

  6. Stosel November 21, 2011 at 6:04AM

    As the chip and PIN becomes more common, this attractiveness of this card will go down big time. Other than that I see no reason to apply for the JP Morgan Select instead of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

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