Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Benefits & Review
Despite its $550 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is among the most popular travel-focused credit cards. The card features a multitude of benefits, including a $300 annual travel credit, airport lounge access, a $100 reimbursement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, complimentary Lyft Pink membership (plus 10x points), and primary rental car insurance.
It earns 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining with all other purchases earning 1x points. Each point is worth 1.5 cents per point when booking travel through the Chase portal. Points are worth as much as 2 cents per point when transferring to partner hotels and airlines.
While there is a lot to like about the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it is not the right credit card for everyone. The card originally came with a 100,000 point new account bonus, which has been decreased to a still-solid 50,000 points (minimum $500 value). You must spend $4,000 within the first three months of being approved for the card to earn the bonus. Additionally, Chase increased the annual fee from $450 to $550 in January of 2020.
Regardless of the annual fee increase and a smaller bonus, the Sapphire Reserve may be the perfect card for you.
Who is the Chase Sapphire Reserve For?
The ideal Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder is someone who travels and eats out enough to justify the $550 annual fee. As discussed above, cardholders earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining, which can be redeemed for as much as 2 cents per point. Additionally, the card includes a variety of travel protections, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance and trip delay insurance.
While the $550 annual fee may seem steep, it is offset by a few credits. The first is the $300 annual travel credit. The second is the $60 DoorDash credit (available in 2020 and 2021). Both credits are easy to use and usually appear instantly in your account. Using both credits essentially drops the annual fee down to $190 ($550 – $300 – $60 = $190). The 50,000 point bonus is also worth a minimum of $500, which wipes out the annual fee entirely for the first year when using the other credits.
The Vacationer Tip
If you have opened more than five credit cards in the past 24 months, you are unlikely to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This is because of Chase’s unofficial, but widely reported, 5/24 rule.
Featured Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
While the Chase Sapphire Reserve includes a ton of benefits, here are our top picks.
$300 Annual Travel Credit
The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s most important benefit is its $300 annual travel credit. The credit reimburses cardholders for the first $300 spent on travel every single year. You do not have to opt-in to receive the credit, and it usually appears on your online statement after a travel transaction posts. Please note, the first $300 spent on travel in a year will not receive Chase Ultimate Rewards points. After the first $300 is spent, cardholders will then receive 3x points.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery store and gas purchases also count towards the $300 credit through December 31, 2020. Simply make a purchase at an eligible grocery store or gas station and you will see a credit for the exact amount when the transaction posts. Grocery store and gas purchases that qualify for the $300 travel credit will also receive 1x Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
See our full tutorial on How to Use The Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Annual Travel Credit.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck $100 Application Fee Reimbursement
One of our favorite features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. The credit can be used once every four years, and it instantly appears in your online account after paying the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Those applying for Global Entry will receive a $100 credit. Those applying for TSA PreCheck will receive an $85 credit. For comparison purposes, here is a list of other credit cards offering reimbursement for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.
We value this benefit at $25 per year since it can only be used once every four years.
Free Airport Lounge Access via Priority Pass
While the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down many airport lounges, some are beginning to reopen. All Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders receive a free Priority Pass membership. Upon activation, members and up to two guests (this is the advertised number of allowed guests, but we have seen higher numbers) have access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world.
Lounges vary by location, with some looking like traditional lounges while others are restaurants or bars. Amenities may include free Wi-Fi, daybed sofas with pillows, televisions, air conditioning, food, and drinks. Additional guests ($27 per guest) and additional time in the lounge will be billed to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Some lounges provide free food and drink credits for you and your guests.
If you want to take advantage of Priority Pass and its many lounges, you must enroll within your Chase account. Enrollment is simple and you will receive your physical Priority Pass card within a few weeks. We recommend downloading the Priority Pass app so you can search for lounges and benefits as well as gain access to a digital membership card.
For the average traveler, we value this benefit at $200 per year, but it can be worth much more for the frequent traveler.
Primary Rental Car Insurance
One of the most underrated benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the free Primary Rental Car Insurance. Also known as Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), this insurance protects you for up to $75,000 if your rental car is damaged or stolen. To activate coverage, simply pay for your rental car with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver.
Unlike many other credit cards, which simply offer secondary coverage, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s primary coverage can save you thousands of dollars in the event of theft or damage to your rental car. With primary coverage, you file a claim with Chase before your own insurance company. With secondary coverage, you still always have to file a claim with your own insurance company. Coverage is valid for car rentals 31 days or shorter.
While this coverage will cover your rental car, you still have to use your personal liability insurance in the event you get into an accident with another driver. Coverage is valid for the cardholder and any additional drivers on the rental agreement.
Many car rental companies charge up to $40 per day for Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). The fact that Chase provides this for free to Sapphire Reserve cardholders is a huge benefit for those who frequently rent cars. We value this benefit at $250 per year for the average traveler. Those traveling more can potentially save thousands if they would otherwise buy CDW from the car rental company.
The Vacationer Tip
When renting a car with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, always be sure to decline the rental company’s CDW. This will save you a ton of money and ensure your Chase Primary Rental Car Insurance kicks in.
50,000 Point New Account Bonus
The Sapphire Reserve’s current welcome bonus is a solid 50,000 points. You can earn this bonus by spending $4,000 in the first three months after your approval date. You can keep track of how close you are to reaching the bonus in the Rewards Activity section within your Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Here is how much this bonus may be worth depending on how you redeem it.
- Cash – $500
- Pay Your Self Back Program – $750
- Travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal – $750
- Transfer to a Chase Partner Hotel or Airline – Up to $1,000
As you can see, we never recommend taking the cash redemption. You should aim to redeem for at least a $750 value. To earn a $1,000 value, you will likely have to transfer to one of Chase’s top partners, such as Hyatt.
Pay Yourself Back Program (Points Are Worth 50% More)
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to slow travel, Chase recently introduced a new way to redeem points. The Pay Yourself Back program allows cardholders to redeem Ultimate Rewards Points for 1.5 cents per point for purchases made at restaurants, grocery stores, and home improvement stores in the past 90 days. For example, a $40 purchase would only require 2,666 points instead of 4,000 points.
Chase recently extended this feature through April 30, 2021. The 1.5 cents per point redemption is the same you would get booking travel through the Chase portal, so this is a great way to redeem points. After redeeming, you will receive a statement credit within a few business days for the full amount.
The Vacationer Tip
While it is possible to earn more points transferring to travel partners, the Pay Yourself Back program is a great way to redeem points until travel goes back to normal. We highly recommend redeeming your points this way.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Benefits
In addition to the benefits discussed above, here are more Chase Sapphire Reserve travel benefits
3X Points on Travel Purchases
Cardholders earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases that code as travel. As previously mentioned, you will not earn 3x rewards points on your first $300 spent on travel. This is because the first $300 goes directly towards your annual travel credit.
After spending $300 on travel, you can expect to earn 3x points on the following purchases.
- Hotels & Motels
- Airlines (tickets, seat upgrades, bags)
- Car Rental Agencies
- Travel Agencies & Discount Travel Sites
- Parking Lots & Parking Garages
- Toll Bridges, Highways, & Tunnels
- Car Services (including Buses, Taxis, Lyft, and Uber)
The good news is Chase has a very broad definition of what counts as travel. The bad news is sometimes merchants do not code purchases correctly. For example, Vrbo generally codes its transactions as Real Estate or Professional Services. If this happens to you, you will not receive a travel credit or 3x rewards points. We recommend contacting Chase for a points adjustment, but they will not always agree to it.
Points Are Worth 50% More (or 1.5 cents per point) When Redeeming Through Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal
One of the best things about the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the ability to redeem travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Points are worth 50% more (or 1.5 cents) when booking flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises directly with Chase. For example, if you have 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you will have $1,500 in value when booking travel. There are no blackout dates or restrictions.
That means 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned on travel and dining are worth 4.5 cents if you decide to redeem them via the portal. Compared to the Chase Sapphire Preferred (points are worth 25% more or 1.25 cents per point), the Sapphire Reserve provides the highest value out of all of the Chase personal credit cards.
1:1 Point Transfer to 10 Airlines and 3 Hotels
Chase allows you to potentially get even more out of your points by offering a 1:1 point transfer to 10 airlines and 3 hotels. Depending on the transfer partner, this may be a better option than booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. For example, Hyatt points may be worth as much as 2 cents per point depending on the time of year, the location, and the room.
Transferring directly to airlines and hotels also allows you to gain status for even more benefits. Please note, you must have a minimum of 1,000 points to transfer. Here are Chase’s current transfer partners
Chase Airline & Hotel Transfer Partners
|AerClub (Aer Lingus)||IHG® Rewards Club|
|British Airways Executive Club||Marriott Bonvoy™|
|Emirates Skywards®||World of Hyatt®|
|Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
To transfer points to a Chase partner, you must register for the airline or hotel’s loyalty or rewards program. Remember, transferring to a partner allows you to gain status and special benefits at the airline or hotel in question. If you book through the Chase portal, you will not receive the same benefits.
Special Hotel Benefits
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders enjoy special benefits at a variety of different hotels. To receive the benefits, you must book with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Since it is a luxury brand, you will only find sbe hotels in a few cities. Regardless, here are the benefits you will receive as a Sapphire Reserve cardholder.
- Free Upgrades – One level room upgrade
- Food Voucher – $30 credit per room
- Free Breakfast – Two people per room
- Free Room – 4th night is free when booking at least four nights
- Late Check-out – When available
See the sbe hotels portal to find eligible locations. Brands include SLS, Delano, Mondrian, The House of Originals, Hyde, and The Redbury.
Relais & Châteaux Hotels
As another luxury brand, you will not find Relais & Châteaux hotels everywhere. While it is a smaller chain, there are locations in over 60 countries. Here are a few benefits Sapphire Reserve cardholders enjoy.
- VIP Welcome
- Complimentary Breakfast
For details on locations, see the official website.
The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
Sapphire Reserve cardholders can enjoy special benefits at over 1,000 luxury hotels as a part of the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. All of the properties are reservation-only, and you must use your Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card as payment upon check-out. Points are not accepted as payment. Here are some of the benefits for cardholders only.
- Free Room Upgrade – When available
- Free Breakfast – Two people per room
- Complimentary WiFi
- Early Check-In and Late Check-Out – When available
- Special Unique Benefit – Different for each property
Examples of special unique benefits include spa treatment credits, resort credits, and free bottles of wine.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Dining Benefits
In addition to the benefits discussed above, here are more Chase Sapphire Reserve dining benefits
3X Points on Dining Purchases
Cardholders earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases that code as Food & Drink. Chase has a very broad definition of dining, so anything from fine dining establishments to fast-food restaurants usually counts.
Some restaurants do not properly code their transactions, so you should regularly check your statement. Moe’s Southwest Grill, for example, recently coded as “Caterers” for me. While Moe’s does catering, it is also a fast-casual restaurant. After contacting Chase, I was awarded the full 3x rewards points.
Free DoorDash DashPass Subscription
Cardholders have until December 31, 2021, to activate a complimentary one-year DashPass subscription. This provides free delivery (for orders of $12 or more) when using DoorDash or Caviar, and it is valued at over $100 per year. The subscription period begins the day you activate the membership, and it is valid for you and any authorized users. To activate, simply add your Chase Sapphire Reserve card information in the app for either DoorDash or Caviar. You will then be prompted to begin your free subscription.
DoorDash $60 Statement Credit
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are eligible for a total of $120 ($60 in 2020 and $60 in 2021) in DoorDash statement credits through December 31, 2021. The credit is easy to use, and it can be redeemed on a DoorDash delivery order or a pickup order. Simply make a DoorDash order with your Sapphire Reserve card as the payment method, and you will receive a credit when the transaction posts.
The Vacationer Tip
Even if you do not want to use DoorDash for delivery, you should at least use the $60 credit for pickup.
Free Grubhub+ Membership via Lyft Pink
Lyft Pink members are now eligible for a complimentary Grubhub+ or Seamless+ membership. Since Lyft Pink comes free for a year with the Sapphire Reserve, all cardholders can activate their free Grubhub+ or Seamless+ membership. Here are a few benefits of Grubhub+.
- Unlimited Free Delivery ($12 minimum order)
- Special Perks: Discounts and Free Food
- Donation Matching
Points Are Worth 50% More (or 1.5 cents per point) When Redeeming Through Chase Dining
Through April 30, 2021, cardholders can earn 50% more (or 1.5 cents per point) when redeeming through Chase dining. This feature, powered by Tock, allows cardholders to book reservations at over 4,000 restaurants and wineries as well as attend virtual events. With travel halted in many locations, this is another great way to redeem your points until things get back to normal.
Learn more at the Chase Sapphire Dining Hub.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Rideshare & Car Rental Benefits
Car rentals and rideshare services are an essential part of travel these days. The Chase Sapphire Reserve shines in this area and offers an assortment of benefits and ways to save.
Complimentary Lyft Pink Membership
Through March 31, 202w, Sapphire Reserve cardholders can activate a free Lyft Pink membership for one year. Valued at a minimum of $200 (usually $19.99 per month), this is an important benefit for those who regularly use rideshare services. Here are some of the benefits of Lyft Pink.
- Ride Discounts – 15% off rides
- Priority Airport Pickups – Less waiting
- Relaxed Cancellations – No cancellation fees if rebooked within 15 minutes (3 per month)
- Free Bike and Scooter Rides – Up to three 30-minute rides per month
- Free Grubhub+ or Seamless+ Membership
If you do plan on taking advantage of your free Lyft Pink membership, we recommend waiting to sign up until you take your first ride. This will allow you to maximize your 12-month membership. To sign up, simply enter your Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card information in your Lyft account. Follow the prompt to activate your membership.
10X Points on Lyft Rides
With the free Lyft Pink membership and 10x Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft rides through March of 2022, Chase is making it difficult for Sapphire Reserve cardholders to use Uber. Usually, cardholders earn 3x points on Lyft rides since it codes as travel. Cardholders continue to earn 3x points on Uber and other rideshare services, but Lyft is the clear winner here.
The value of this benefit is going to depend on how often you use rideshare services. Those living in urban areas should see a much greater benefit than those living in more rural areas.
The Vacationer Tip
If possible, we highly recommend using Lyft Pink over Uber if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Not only will you get better prices with Lyft Pink, but you will also earn 10x points instead of 3x with Uber.
Car Rental Discounts and Status
In addition to primary rental car insurance, the Sapphire Reserve provides discounts and status for a few major car rental companies.
National Car Rental
Cardholders enjoy savings of 25% on qualifying rentals with code 5030849. Additionally, you can enroll in a complimentary Emerald Club Executive Level membership to enjoy free upgrades and other perks.
While the status and discounts are great, we find National usually still has higher prices than competitors. Regardless, National is a reliable rental car company, so we recommend enrolling in the Emerald Club Executive Level membership and checking the rates before each rental.
Avis Car Rental
Cardholders enjoy savings of 30% on qualifying rentals with Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) Number S107100. Additionally, cardholders can enroll in a complimentary Avis Preferred membership for special benefits and upgrades. Qualifying vehicles are also eligible for a complimentary two-day weekend rental.
Compared to National, Avis usually has lower prices on similar vehicles.
Silvercar by Audi
Silvercar is a car rental service featuring premium Audi vehicles. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders receive up to 30% off on select rentals. This is a great deal if you are in the market for a premium rental. Otherwise, stick with Avis or National for the best possible deal.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Insurance Benefits
Traveling is financially risky, and there is always a chance your flight is canceled or your airline loses a bag. Additionally, accidents happen, and it is always better to be covered before departing for your trip. One of the best features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the assortment of travel insurance benefits and other protections.
The following is just an outline of all of the various trip protections and insurance options. You should read Chase’s Guide to Benefits for complete information before filing any claim. In many cases, these benefits will only kick in after any travel insurance that you have purchased provides payment. We recommend charging your entire trip to your Sapphire Reserve card so you can take advantage of the following benefits.
Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
Cardholders can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person or up to $20,000 for the entire trip in the event it is canceled or interrupted for covered reasons. The maximum benefit amount for 12 months is $40,000. A few covered reasons include illness, terrorism, jury duty, and a natural disaster, such as a hurricane.
As the name implies, trip cancellation insurance comes into play when a covered event prevents the trip from happening. Trip interruption insurance comes into play when a covered event happens on the way to departure or after departure has taken place. It may also cover fees incurred if a trip is postponed.
Benefits are paid for non-refundable and pre-paid travel expenses, and only the cardholder and immediate family members are covered. Benefits are in excess of any travel insurance purchased. Since you are unlikely to use this benefit often, we value it between $0 and $1,000.
Trip Delay Reimbursement
Trip delay reimbursement kicks in for essential costs like meals, clothing, lodging, toiletries, and medicine in the event travel is delayed longer than six hours or requires an overnight stay. The cardholder, cardholder’s spouse, and dependent children under 22 are covered for $500 per ticket.
Publicly known delays and prepaid expenses are not covered. Eligible carriers include airlines, trains, buses, and cruise ships. Coverage kicks in after any purchased travel insurance has paid benefits.
Lost Luggage Reimbursement
While it is fairly rare, airlines and other carriers sometimes lose luggage. Lost luggage reimbursement provides cardholders and immediate family members up to $3,000 per person in coverage. This includes checked and/or carry-on baggage as well as up to $500 for electronics, jewelry, and watches inside the bags.
To be eligible, you must use your Sapphire Reserve card when paying for the transportation carrier. Additionally, reimbursement comes after any travel insurance payments that you may receive.
Baggage Delay Insurance
Baggage delay insurance kicks in for clothing, toiletries, cell phone charging cables, and other essential items purchased when luggage is delayed for longer than six hours. This insurance covers the cardholder, the cardholder’s spouse, and immediate family.
Your ticket for the transportation must be purchased with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and $100 in coverage is available for up to five days. Eligible carriers include airlines, trains, buses, and cruise ships.
Travel and Emergency Assistance
This offers cardholders free referrals in the event you require travel and/or emergency assistance. To receive the advice and referral, you must call the number provided in your Guide to Benefits. While the referral is free, you are responsible for any medical costs and transportation. The cardholder, cardholder’s spouse, and dependent children under 22 are covered for the following services.
- Medical Referral Assistance
- Legal Referral Assistance
- Pre-Trip Assistance
- Emergency Message Service
- Emergency Transportation Assistance
- Emergency Ticket Replacement
- Lost Luggage Locator Service
- Emergency Translation Service
- Prescription Assistance and Valuable Document Delivery Arrangements
This service is available 24/7, so do not hesitate to call in the event of an emergency.
Travel Accident Insurance
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers the following two types of travel accident insurance for cardholders and immediate family members of the cardholders. Please note, only one of them can be used for the same accident.
- 24 Hour Travel Accident Insurance – This provides a maximum of $100,000 payout beginning on the departure date on the ticket and ending on the return date on the ticket.
- Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance – This provides a maximum of $1,000,000 payout when entering, riding on, or exiting airplanes, trains, buses, and cruise ships.
Both coverages provide for accidental death or dismemberment as well as the loss of hearing, sight, and speech. While you are unlikely and hopefully never need to use this coverage, it is available if you use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to pay for your trip.
Emergency Evacuation and Transportation
While rare, there is a chance you or a family member may need to be evacuated on a trip because of illness or injury. This benefit provides the cardholder, the cardholder’s spouse, and children under 18 (or 25 if a full-time student) $100,000 in coverage for an emergency evacuation.
Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit
Falling sick on a vacation is no fun, but it does happen. This benefit provides the cardholder, the cardholder’s spouse, and children under 18 (or 25 if a full-time student) a $2,500 reimbursement ($50 deductible) for medical expenses.
To qualify, the cardholder and family members must be at least 100 miles away from home, and only expenses not covered by medical insurance will be reimbursed. Additionally, it provides $75 per day for a hotel if a physician says you should not travel.
The Vacationer Tip
Before relying on any of the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel insurance and protection options, we highly recommend reading your complete Guide to Benefits.
Other Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
While most of the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s benefits are related to travel and dining, it does offer a few other things that further enhance the card’s value.
Exclusive Events & Experiences
Cardholders can take advantage of a variety of exclusive events and experiences. This includes sporting events, concerts, festivals, and dining. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, experiences have been limited, but we have seen a few virtual ones. As the pandemic eventually wanes, expect Chase to add more experiences and events.
Emergency Roadside Assistance
Whether you are driving your own car or a lease, your Chase Sapphire Card offers complimentary emergency roadside assistance. Available 24 hours per day and 365 days per year, this benefit provides up to $50 in reimbursement per incident four times per year. Here is what is covered.
- Flat Tire Service
- Battery Boost
- Lockout Assistance
All additional fees will be charged to your Sapphire Reserve card.
For cardholders and recipients of gifts purchased by cardholders, the Sapphire Reserve offers purchase protection of up to $10,000 per claim for 120 days against damage or theft. This coverage is in excess of any homeowner’s insurance, and the maximum is $50,000 per account. For stolen items, you must report it to the police within 48 hours to be eligible for a claim.
For cardholders only, the Sapphire Reserve provides reimbursement for up to $500 for items a store will not take back within 90 days of purchase. The item must still be in good condition, and various items are not covered. Here a few examples.
- Motorized Vehicles
- Living Plants
Extended Warranty Protection
For cardholders and recipients of gifts purchased by cardholders, the Sapphire Reserve provides a one-year extension for manufacture’s warranties of three years or less. As usual, the purchase must be made with your Sapphire Reserve card, and a maximum of $10,000 per claim is available.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Compared to Other Similar Cards
Despite being a great travel-focused credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve does fall short in a few areas compared to competing cards. Ultimately, it is going to depend on how much you travel and go out to eat, the annual fee you feel comfortable spending, and how much the other benefits are worth to you.
Chase Sapphire Preferred – The biggest difference is the Sapphire Preferred only has a $95 annual fee compared to the Reserve’s $550 annual fee. The Sapphire Preferred also has an 80,000 point welcome bonus compared to the Reserve’s 50,000 point bonus. For the additional annual fee, the Reserve offers 3x on dining and travel compared to only 2x for the Preferred.
The Reserve also offers a $300 dining credit, a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement credit, and a $120 DoorDash credit spread over two years. Finally, the Reserve offers lounge access, better roadside assistance, and 1.5 cents per point when redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal compared to 1.25 points for the Preferred.
The Platinum Card from American Express – Both the American Express Platinum Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve have $550 annual fees. The Amex Platinum offers 5x points on airfare compared to 3x for the Reserve. Prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel also earn 5x points. For more general travel purchases and dining, the Amex Platinum only earns 1x points compared to 3x points for the Reserve.
The Amex Platinum offers a yearly $200 travel credit, but it is much more restrictive than the Reserve’s $300 travel credit. Both cards offer a $100 reimbursement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Finally, the Amex Platinum offers a 60,000 point bonus after spending $5,000 in the first three months compared to a 50,000 point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months for the Reserve.
The annual fee is $550 for new applicants. Those renewing through the end of 2020 will only be subject to a $450 annual fee.
For new users, the annual fee appears on your first or second statement. After that, it will appear yearly on your account anniversary.
Cardholders earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points for purchases that code as travel.
Cardholders earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points for purchases that code as food & drink.
The annual travel credit is worth $300. Through the end of 2020, grocery store and gas purchases go towards the credit.
The following transactions code as travel for Chase credit cards.
– Hotels & Motels
– Airlines (tickets, seat upgrades, bags)
– Car Rental Agencies
– Travel Agencies & Discount Travel Sites
– Parking Lots & Parking Garages
– Toll Bridges, Highways, & Tunnels
– Car Services (including Buses, Taxis, Lyft, and Uber)
There are many ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but some are better than others.
Cash – This is the worst way to redeem Chase points. Each point is worth 1 cent, so you receive no additional value.
Booking Travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal – Points are worth 1.5 cents per point. This is a solid way to redeem points.
Chase Pay Yourself Back Feature – Points are worth 1.5 cents per point via a statement credit. This is a solid way to redeem points.
Chase Dining – Points are worth 1.5 cents per point. This is a solid way to redeem points.
Transferring to Chase Airline and Hotel Partners – Points may be worth as much as 2 cents per point. Depending on the situation, this can be the best way to redeem points.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points do not expire.
The following statement credits are currently available.
– $300 travel credit
– $120 DoorDash credit ($60 in 2020 and $60 in 2021)
– $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement (every four years)
The current bonus is 50,000 points. You earn the bonus by spending at least $4,000 in the first three months after approval. Its value depends on how you redeem the points. Here are a few examples.
– Cash – $500
– Pay Your Self Back Program – $750
– Travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal – $750
– Transfer to a Chase Partner Hotel or Airline – Up to $1,000
No, the first $300 spent on travel earns 0 points.
At the minimum, you will likely need a 700 credit score. For better odds, your credit score should be at least in the 720-750 range.
Think of the Chase Sapphire Preferred as a cheaper and stripped-down version of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Here are a few of the main differences between the cards.
Bonus – The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a 50,000 point bonus. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has an 80,000 point bonus.
Annual Fee – Sapphire Reserve: $550. Sapphire Preferred: $95
Travel Credit – Sapphire Reserve: $300. Sapphire Preferred: $0
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Reimbursement – Sapphire Reserve: $100. Sapphire Preferred: $0.
Points on Travel and Dining – Sapphire Reserve: 3x Points. Sapphire Preferred: 2x Points
Lyft Earning Rates – Sapphire Reserve: 10x Points. Sapphire Preferred: 5x Points
Point Redemption Value in Chase Rewards Portal – Sapphire Reserve: 1.5 Cents. Sapphire Preferred: 1.25 Cents
Lounge Access – The Sapphire Preferred does not offer lounge access
Authorized User Fee – Sapphire Reserve: $75. Sapphire Preferred: $0
It may, but no one knows at the moment. Chase says it has no immediate plans to offer the 100,000 point bonus again, but that can change.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great credit card for those who like a lot of benefits and are willing to pay for them. Despite the pandemic slowing travel, Chase has added a ton of benefits to make the $550 annual fee worth it. Taking advantage of the $300 travel credit, the $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement, and the $60 per year DoorDash credit brings the annual fee down to only $90. Add in the 50,000 point bonus, and you are easily coming out ahead in the first year.
The Vacationer’s Phil Dengler and Eric Jones both regularly use the Sapphire Reserve and will continue to do so as travel resumes.
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