Chase Sapphire Reserve card review: One of the best premium travel cards, with unbeatable bonus rewards

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Even if you’re not traveling right now, the Sapphire Reserve is worth considering. Through December 31, 2021, the travel statement credit also applies to gas and groceries, and you can use the Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn with the card toward lots of non-travel redemptions, including cash back, gift cards, and merchandise.

You’ve also got options to use points at a higher rate for everyday purchases through the Chase Pay Yourself Back program. Until April 30, 2021, your points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when you redeem toward grocery, dining, home improvement store, and eligible charity purchases.

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Bottom line: If you’re new to rewards credit cards you may want to start elsewhere, but if you know you want to earn Chase points and you spend a lot on travel and dining, the Sapphire Reserve is one of the most rewarding options. 

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Comparison: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs other Chase credit cards

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Annual fee

$550

$95

$0

Rewards rate

10x points on up to $500 total in Chase Dining purchases through June 30, 2021

10x points on Lyft rides through March 2022

3x points on travel (after earning the $300 travel credit) and dining

3x points on up to $1,000 per month at grocery stores (then 1x) through April 30, 2021

1 point per dollar on everything else

10x points on up to $500 total in Chase Dining purchases through June 30, 2021

5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022

2x points on travel and dining

2x points on up to $1,000 per month in grocery purchases (then 1x) through April 30, 2021

1 point per dollar on everything else

5% cash back (5x points) on Lyft rides through March 2022

5% cash back (5x points) on travel booked through Ultimate Rewards

3% back (3x points) on dining and drugstore purchases

1.5% back (1.5x points) on everything else

Welcome bonus

60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery store purchases in the first year

$200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening

Card benefits

Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

Primary car rental insurance

Complimentary elite status with Avis, National, and Silvercar car rental agencies

Trip interruption/cancellation

Trip delay insurance

Baggage delay insurance

Lost luggage reimbursement

Extended warranty

Purchase protection

Primary car rental insurance

Trip interruption/cancellation

Trip delay insurance

Baggage delay insurance

Lost luggage reimbursement

Extended warranty

Purchase protection

Secondary car rental insurance

Trip interruption/cancellation

Extended warranty

Purchase protection

Statement credits

Up to $300 in statement credits each cardmember year toward travel purchases (through June 30, gas and grocery purchases also qualify)

Up to $120 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through December 31, 2021

Complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership when you activate by March 31, 2022

Complimentary year of DoorDash DashPass membership (activation required by December 31, 2021)

Up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through December 31, 2021

Complimentary year of DoorDash DashPass membership (activation required by December 31, 2021)

Complimentary three months of DoorDash DashPass membership, then a 50% discount on your DashPass membership for the next nine months (activation is required by December 31, 2021)

Foreign transaction fee

No

No

Yes

Review

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred card review

Chase Freedom Unlimited card review

Comparison: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs other premium cards

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Citi Prestige® Card

Annual fee

$550

$550 (See Rates)

$495 for the primary cardmember

Rewards rate

10x points on up to $500 total in Chase Dining purchases through June 30, 2021

10x points on Lyft rides through March 2022

3x points on travel (after earning the $300 travel credit) and dining

3x points on up to $1,000 per month at grocery stores (then 1x) through April 30, 2021

1 point per dollar on everything else

5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)

5x points on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel

1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases*

5x points on air travel and hotels

3x points on hotels and cruise lines

1 point per dollar on everything else

Welcome bonus

60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

75,000 points after you spend at least $5,000 in your first 6 months of card membership

50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Card benefits

Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership

Primary car rental insurance

Complimentary elite status with Avis, National, and Silvercar car rental agencies

Trip interruption/cancellation

Trip delay insurance

Baggage delay insurance

Lost luggage reimbursement

Extended warranty

Purchase protection

Gold elite status with Hilton and Marriott

Airport lounge access (Priority Pass, Centurion lounges, and more)

Perks through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program

Secondary car rental insurance

Trip interruption/cancellation 

Trip delay insurance

Extended warranty 

Purchase protection

 

Fourth Night Free on hotel stays of four or more nights booked through Citi (2x per year)

Priority Pass airport lounge access

Cell phone protection

Extended warranty

Purchase protection

Statement credits

Up to $300 in statement credits each cardmember year toward travel purchases (through June 30, gas and grocery purchases also qualify)

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

Up to $120 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through December 31, 2021

Complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership when you activate by March 31, 2022

Complimentary year of DoorDash DashPass membership (activation required by December 31, 2021)

Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits

Up to $100 in annual shopping credits at Saks

Up to $200 in annual Uber credits

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

Up to $250 in annual travel credits

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

 

Foreign transaction fee

No

No

No

Review

 

Amex Platinum card review

Citi Prestige review

*(Note: New Platinum Card® cardmembers can earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership)

How to use Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can redeem for cash back, gift cards, or statement credits, with each point worth 1 cent.

You can also use them to purchase travel through the Chase Travel Portal, which works just like any other online travel agency. When you use points that way, you get a 50% bonus — in other words, each point will be worth 1.5 cents instead.

Chase has introduced a new, pandemic-friendly option for redeeming points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It’s called Pay Yourself Back, and it lets you cash in Ultimate Rewards to cover dining, grocery, home improvement, and charity purchases made with your card through April 30, 2021. You get a 50% bonus in value with the Chase Sapphire Reserve — so, 1.5 cents per point — and a 25% bonus if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This can be a great way to save money during periods where you’re not doing much traveling.

Finally, you can also transfer points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners to book award travel — transferring points is generally the most valuable way to use them. 

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air France-KLM
  • British Airways
  • Iberia
  • Emirates
  • Hyatt (World of Hyatt)
  • IHG Rewards
  • JetBlue
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United
  • Virgin AtlanticWorld of Hyatt

In addition, Chase will add Air Canada Aeroplan as a partner in 2021, which opens up more award travel possibilities with the carrier and its Star Alliance partners.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve 60,000 points sign-up bonus is worth$600 as cash back, $900 for travel purchased through Chase, or potentially more if you transfer the points to an airline or hotel program.

Insider’s points and miles valuations peg Chase Ultimate Rewards points as worth, on average, 1.8 cents apiece. This is in large part due to the ability to transfer points to partners and get outsized value on flight and hotel redemptions.

It’s also worth noting if you have other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, you can transfer points from those cards into your Chase Sapphire Reserve account — then all of your points will be worth 1.5 cents toward travel booked through Chase and Pay Yourself Back. This includes the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and Chase Freedom Flex℠.

Plus, you’ll unlock the ability to transfer those points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners — an option that’s not available if you only have a no-annual-fee Ultimate Rewards card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits and features

Up to $300 travel credit

Each cardmember year (meaning every 12 months starting the month you open the card), the Sapphire Reserve offers up to $300 in credit toward travel purchases. The credit will be applied to the first $300 worth of purchases you make that year in the travel category, including things like subways, taxis, ridesharing, and parking, as well as hotels, airfare, and cruises.

However, because of the pandemic, the travel credit will also apply to grocery and gas purchases through December 31, 2021.

When you subtract the travel credit, the Sapphire Reserve annual fee is effectively $250.

Up to $60 in statement credits for DoorDash food delivery

Chase was clearly feeling the pressure from updates to American Express cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card , and American Express® Green Card  — which have all added benefits including statement credits over the last few years.

Chase has added DoorDash benefits for Sapphire Reserve cardholders. In addition to a complimentary year of DashPass membership (for waived delivery fees on qualifying orders — activation is required by December 31, 2021), the card comes with up to $60 in statement credits with food delivery service DoorDash in credits in 2021. 

If you already use food delivery services and DoorDash is available in your town, this credit can be taken at face value: up to $60 in credit. This would bring the card’s effective annual fee down to $190 per year ($550 minus the $300 travel credit minus $60 in DoorDash credit). However, if you’re not interested in this perk, it could be harder to justify the annual fee.

A year of complimentary Lyft Pink membership

This is another recent benefit that took effect in 2020, and activation is required by March 31, 2022. Lyft Pink membership gets you perks such as:

  • 15% off Lyft rides
  • Priority airport pickups
  • Relaxed cancellation policies
  • Up to three 30-minute bike or scooter rides per month

The last benefit is only available in select metropolitan areas, so not everyone will be able to use it. If you’re a frequent Lyft user, this perk could be a great way to save money.

Airport lounge access

Having access to airport lounges is one of my favorite perks of the Sapphire Reserve. Lounges are comfortable, relaxing, and exclusive areas where you can enjoy comfortable seats, an internet connection, food and drinks — often complimentary — and sometimes other amenities.

The Sapphire Reserve comes with a Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is a network of more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world, any of which you and two travel companions can access for free when you have your membership card.

With the Priority Pass membership provided by the Sapphire Reserve, you can bring in two guests. So whether you’re traveling alone or with your family, you can enjoy free snacks, drinks, newspapers and magazines, showers, and more, all separate from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry (which comes with PreCheck) are absolute musts for just about any traveler. Once you enroll, you can use special lanes to breeze through airport security — you won’t have to remove shoes and light coats, and you can leave your laptop in your bag.

With Global Entry, you can use a fast lane when you return to the US from abroad, which makes clearing immigration and customs easy and quick. The programs cost $85 (TSA PreCheck) or $100 (Global Entry), and Chase will provide a credit for that fee every four years (memberships are valid for five years).

Primary car rental insurance and rental elite status

The Sapphire Reserve offers a primary auto rental collision damage waiver, or free loss and damage coverage when you use the card to pay for a rental car. Just decline the collision/damage/loss coverage offered by the rental agency and use the card to pay for the rental. Keep in mind you may still want to opt for the rental company’s liability insurance.

When you have the Sapphire Reserve, you can also get complimentary elite status with Avis, National, and Silvercar rental agencies. The benefits vary a bit between the companies but generally include a car class upgrade, easy pick-up/drop-off, and more.

Travel insurance and purchase protection

The Sapphire Reserve comes with valuable travel and purchase protections that you hopefully won’t have to use — but if you do, it can translate to significant savings and peace of mind.

One of the most useful is trip and baggage delay insurance. When you’re traveling and you’re delayed for at least six hours, or overnight, you’re covered for up to $500 of incidentals per person traveling with you whose ticket was purchased with the card. That covers things like hotel accommodations, meals, toiletries, and a change of clothing — really, anything that can be considered a “reasonable” expense.

Similarly, if your baggage is delayed, things like clothing and toiletries are covered up to a certain amount until your bag is delivered.

Other protections include emergency travel medical/dental coverage, emergency medical evacuation/transportation insurance, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, extended warranty, and return protection.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Annual Fee
Regular APR
Credit Score
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • 4.65 out of 5 Stars
    Editor’s Rating

    Our editor’s ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value.Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria – relative to other products we’ve reviewed.A tooltipOur editor’s ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value.Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria – relative to other products we’ve reviewed.Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Annual Fee

    $550

    Regular APR

    16.99%-23.99% Variable

    Credit Score

    Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.A tooltipRecommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.ExcellentA five pointed star

  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
  • 4.65 out of 5 Stars
    Editor’s Rating

    Our editor’s ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value.Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria – relative to other products we’ve reviewed.A tooltipOur editor’s ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value.Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria – relative to other products we’ve reviewed.

    Featured Reward

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account openingA tooltipEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening60,000 pointsChevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details
  • Pros
    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify
    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 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
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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, 60,000 points are worth $900 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

    Chase Sapphire Reserve fees and costs

    The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium credit card, and the $550 annual fee reflects that. It’s worth it if you can take advantage of the $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, and other benefits. Like virtually every other premium travel card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. 

    You’ll want to make sure you can pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges. As with most other cards, there are fees for balance transfers, cash advances, and late or returned payments.

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