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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the most valuable rewards cards available today. Its lineup of benefits set a new standard when it launched back in 2016, and many of the competitors are still trying to catch up.
The Sapphire Reserve is not for everyone. With an annual cost of $550, it only makes sense if you understand and use the perks. Here's our review to help you decide it's right for you.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
- Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® 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 Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- 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 Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
- 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
- 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase
- 10X points on Chase Dining (including prepaid reservations and prepaid takeout purchased through Chase)
- 5X points on airfare purchased through Chase
- 3X points on all other travel
- 3X points on dining at restaurants
- 1X points on all other purchases
Summary of Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
The Sapphire Reserve is a feature-rich card that should have you considering if the current card you're using is the most rewarding. Here are the standout benefits that come with the Sapphire Reserve:
- Earn 50,000 bonus points – Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Depending on how you choose to redeem these points you could have two nights at an all-inclusive luxury resort, a round-trip business class ticket to Europe, and many other options — check out 20 different ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards. Remember, always check award availability before transferring your points.
- $300 Annual Travel Credit – While this isn't free money, it can colloquially be thought of as such. The Sapphire Reserve carries a $550 annual fee, but the $300 travel credit helps offset a significant portion of that cost. Some cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express offer a $200 travel credit (against a $695 annual fee - Rates & Fees) but come with more restrictions on its use. This $300 credit can be used to cover most travel expenses, including the cost of airfare. If you're spending more than $300 per year on travel, this is an excellent way to help offset the annual fee. Keep in mind; this benefit refreshes each cardmember year.
- 3x Points on Travel & Dining – There are no limits to how much you earn at 3x in either category. At that earning rate, you'd be hard-pressed to find a card better well suited to be the #1 out of your wallet with such a return. Sure, there may be cards that earn more than 3x on some travel expenses, such as the Citi Prestige® Card, but this was a first for an Ultimate Rewards earning card before the latest round of updates. You can also earn 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase, 5X points on airfare purchased through Chase, and 10X points on Chase Dining (including prepaid reservations and takeout purchased through Ultimate Rewards).
- $100 Global Entry Statement Credit – This benefit has become a standard across high-end travel rewards cards but nonetheless has tangible value. Remember, when approved for Global Entry, you're also eligible for the benefits associated with TSA Pre✓ — hopefully no more waiting in any lines. If you're current on your Global Entry membership, you can pay for someone else's Global Entry application fee and be reimbursed. The name on the application does not need to be yours; an excellent way to help out a spouse or family member!
- Makes Ultimate Rewards More Valuable – With a Sapphire Preferred, if you choose to redeem your Ultimate Rewards directly through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal you'll receive a cash-equivalent value of 1.25 cents per point. Instead, with the Sapphire Reserve, those Ultimate Rewards will get you 1.5¢ per point. Better yet, if you have another Ultimate Rewards-earning card, including the Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, or Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you can combine points between your Ultimate Rewards earning accounts. By combining your points to a Sapphire Reserve, they instantly become worth 1.5¢ per point towards travel when booked through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
- Visa Infinite Benefits – Perhaps the most underrated benefits of any credit card are those associated with the class of card within the payment processing network. For example, the Chase Slate® credit card is a Visa Platinum card, whereas the Sapphire Preferred is a Visa Signature and the Sapphire Reserve carries the Visa Infinite logo. Each class of card brings increasingly impressive benefits, some of which can generate significant savings!
Can I Have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?
As an authorized user, yes. However, if you are already the primary cardmember of a Sapphire card, or have received a signup bonus on a Sapphire card in the previous 48 months, you will not be approved for another card in the Sapphire family.
Chase has updated the rules for the Sapphire family of cards to state that you cannot receive a new Sapphire card if you already hold one, or if you've received a Sapphire card welcome bonus in the previous 4 years. For example, if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you will not be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You can read the details of Chase's new policy in our updated credit card application post.
Are Ultimate Rewards more valuable with the Sapphire Reserve?
Yes! Ultimate Rewards associated with a Sapphire Reserve offer the same transferability as those earned with the Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Preferred, but when booking travel directly through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, you'll get increased value from each point. With the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Preferred you'll get 1.25¢ per point. However, with the Sapphire Reserve, you'll receive 1.5¢ per point when booking directly through the Travel Portal. Note: When leveraging travel partners by transferring Ultimate Rewards to programs such as United or Hyatt, points transfer at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments.
How Does the $300 Travel Credit Work?
Use your card, and wait for a statement credit. It is that easy. You simply pay for qualified travel expense, such as a plane ticket, using your Sapphire Reserve, and you'll receive a statement credit of up to $300 per cardmember year. The plane ticket doesn't even need to be for you! Authorized users do not receive their own $300 credit; all users on the same card account share the $300 credit.
What Sort of Lounge Access Do I Get?
Lounge access is provided through a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. You are not required to be flying any particular airline to gain access to Priority Pass lounges. Unlimited guests are complimentary, and authorized cardholders receive their own complimentary membership with Priority Pass.
Why Should I Care About Visa Infinite?
Because you like not having to pay for useful benefits! Rental car protection, purchase protection, trip delay protection, baggage delay protection, and several different types of travel insurance, including medical and dental insurance (check out page 49 of the guide). Here's a full write-up comparing Sapphire card benefits.
Why Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® the Right Card for Me?
The card and its benefits speak for itself. This card hits all the key factors of what makes a perfect travel rewards credit card. It has a fantastic signup bonus, great earning potential (3x points on travel and dining), highly flexible rewards (Ultimate Rewards with 13 travel partners), complimentary lounge access (Priority Pass Select) and many other benefits through the Visa Infinite program.
This card and its benefits are game-changing. It fits all the categories of what a traveler should look for in a travel rewards credit card. We're thrilled that Chase has stepped up its offering and provided a card with so many benefits.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)
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