Chase Sapphire Reserve® review: Best luxury credit card winner
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- The introductory offer of 50,000 points is worth $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Cardholders can receive a reimbursement of up to $300 in statement credit each account anniversary to cover a variety of travel expenses including airfare and hotel charges. They also enjoy free airport lounge access at more than 1,000 lounges worldwide.
- Our 2020 Editor's Choice winner in the Best Luxury Credit Card category.
- The annual fee is quite high at $550 ($75 for each additional authorized user). If you want similar rewards opportunities and some travel perks, you might consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which has a much lower annual fee.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® bonus
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® COVID-19 perks
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® benefits
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel benefits
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit score
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® annual fee
- How Chase Sapphire Reserve® compares to other cards
- Is Chase Sapphire Reserve® worth it?
What if we told you that there’s a credit card out there that is offering the rewards equivalent of $750 in travel dollars as an introductory offer?
Well, start dreaming about your next vacation. With Chase Sapphire Reserve® that introductory offer isn’t a dream; in fact, it's just one of several reasons why this card is a 2020 Editor's Choice Best Credit Card winner in the best luxury credit card category. And, this card was named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" in 2018 by MONEY® Magazine. New cardholders earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on their card in the first three months; those points, when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, are worth $750.
That's not all though. For anyone who loves to travel, this card is certainly worth consideration. From solid ongoing rewards to excellent travel benefits, there's much that this card offers that easily offsets its annual fee.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- Redeem on travel-including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve® rewards are plentiful, including generous points earned on everyday purchases, excellent point redemption opportunities and a $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to the card each account anniversary year.
Cardholders can look forward to 10 points per $1 on Chase Dining through Ultimate Rewards®, 10 points per $1 on hotels and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards® (after earning your travel reimbursement), five points per $1 on air travel through Ultimate Rewards® (after earning the annual reimbursement), three points on other travel (after earning the $300 travel credit), three points at restaurants worldwide, and one point per $1 for all other purchases.
Points are only as good as their redemption options and luckily those options are numerous with this card. Points earned can be redeemed for travel through the Chase travel portal for a 50% bonus making every point worth 1.5 cents, transferred to a leading airline or hotel loyalty program at a 1:1 rate, redeemed for a wide selection of gift cards, or redeemed for statement credits for purchases. With a variety of high value options, the Sapphire Reserve® card offers excellent flexibility when it comes to making most out your rewards.
Annual statement credits for travel purchases aren’t unheard of in the luxury travel card market, but having those credits extend beyond just airline fees is unique. Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers cardholders up to $300 in automatic statement credit each year to cover everything from airline tickets to hotel stays. Additionally, card members can sign up for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® and receive up to $100 for the application fee when using the Sapphire Reserve® card.
But the money-saving perks don't end there. Cardholders receive one complimentary year of Lyft Pink (a value of at least $199), the ridershare service's membership program that offers members discounts on each ride as well as additional comfort perks. Additionally, activate by Dec. 31, 2021, and enjoy a complimentary DashPass subscription, a membership that saves you delivery fees on your DoorDash orders with eligible restaurants.
Take full advantage of just the travel fee credit ($300) and the complimentary Lyft Pink membership (at least $199) and you will have almost completely offset your annual fee; and we haven't even talk about the airport lounge access, rewards opportunities and so much more.
In addition to the card's regular perks and rewards, Chase has announced a number of perks and updates to the Sapphire Reserve® card rewards structure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They include:
- The annual $300 travel credit has been expanded to include purchases at gas stations and grocery stores through the end of 2021. Your remaining credit balance will be automatically applied to those purchases.
- Similar to the "Purchase Eraser" option with a number of Capital One cards, Sapphire Reserve® cardholders through Dec. 31, 2021 are able to redeem points to "erase" Airbnb purchases, away through awaytravel.com purchases, dining purchases (including takeout and delivery) and, through Dec. 31, 2022, donations to eligible charities via the Chase Pay Yourself Back program at a rate of 1.5 cents per $1 spent (the same as the redemption rate for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal). For more on this redemption option, see our Guide to Chase Pay Yourself Back.
The Pay Yourself Back option is certainly a viable way to use your Ultimate Rewards® points since they are worth 1.5 cents each, which means you won't be losing any value redeeming this way over what you would have redeeming for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal.
As one of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market today, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers world class perks including travel insurance, car rental insurance and lounge access.
CHASE SAPPHIRE RESERVE® TRAVEL INSURANCE
No one wants to be caught off guard while they are traveling. Should things go wrong, it is good to have travel insurance in place to make sure that you are protected from unforeseen events. The travel insurance coverage provided by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is extensive and it comes automatically with owning the card. The Sapphire Reserve® card’s travel insurance coverages can provide peace of mind and incredible value in the event that your trip doesn’t go according to plan. Some of these top benefits include:
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.
- Trip delay reimbursement up to $500 per ticket if you're delayed more than six hours or require an overnight stay.
- Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage up to $100,000.
- Emergency medical and dental reimbursement up to $2,500 for medical expenses if you or your immediate family member becomes sick or injured more than 100 miles away from your home.
- Baggage delay insurance up to $100 a day for five days for baggage delays over six hours.
- Lost luggage reimbursement up to $3,000 per passenger.
CHASE SAPPHIRE RESERVE® CAR RENTAL INSURANCE
One of the specific insurance coverages provided by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is car rental insurance coverage. The auto rental collision damage coverage included with the Sapphire Reserve® provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for rental cars in the U.S. and abroad when booked using the Sapphire Reserve®. This is one of the highest and most extensive coverages offered in the industry and it comes included with the card.
CHASE SAPPHIRE RESERVE® PRIORITY PASS™
Another excellent benefit of the card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® lounge access. Cardholders receive complimentary access to more than 1,000 VIP airport lounges in over 500 cities worldwide after a one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select.
CHASE SAPPHIRE RESERVE® FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE
Not only does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® reward you for travel and dining purchases worldwide, but it doesn't charge you any foreign transaction fees while doing so. Think about it this way: If you take an international trip and spend $4,000 with your Sapphire Reserve® card, you'll save yourself $120 in fees over using a card that charges a typical 3% foreign transaction fee on each purchase. That's $120 that you could spend on another meal out (and earn yourself a few more rewards points), for one last tour or excursion, on souvenirs, etc. This card is really designed with the traveler in mind– including the international travel.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® requires good to excellent credit to get approval but other factors are certainly considered in the application process including payment history of revolving credit, your total open cards, and the average age of accounts open. If you have limited credit history or are currently building your credit, it may be difficult to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card.
With a sizable $550 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card isn’t for everyone. If you are someone who does not frequently travel or eat out often, it may be a lot harder to justify the cost of having this card in your wallet. However, for those that can take full advantage of the $300 annual travel credit, the statement credit offered for TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® lounge access provided through Priority Pass™, the Lyft Pink membership and more, the Sapphire Reserve® card provides a tremendous amount of value for the cost.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred®
With a lower annual fee, excellent Chase Ultimate Rewards® earning potential, and varied redemption options, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great alternative to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. The Sapphire Preferred® card is currently offering 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Because the Sapphire Preferred® card allows you to redeem points for 1.25 cents per point through the Chase Travel portal, this bonus is worth $750 when redeemed for travel. The 50,000-point bonus offered by the Sapphire Reserve® card is also worth $750 when redeemed through the travel portal, as the points are valued at 1.5 cents.
Because of the ability to earn five points on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®; three points on dining, select streaming services and online grocery store purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); two points on travel; one one point on other purchases, Chase Sapphire Preferred® definitely justifies its $95 annual fee, especially when compared to the $550 charged by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. The Sapphire Preferred® card doesn’t have the $300 annual travel credit though, or the $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. To learn more about how these cards line up side-by-side, see our full Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® comparison.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is another strong contender in the luxury card market. It comes with a higher annual fee of $695 vs. the $550 fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser
The Amex Platinum Card® earns five points for flights booked directly with airlines or through the Amex travel portal (on up to $500,000 spent on these purchases per calendar year) as well as five points for hotels bookings made through the portal. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. during your first six months of card membership (up ot $25,000 in combined spending). Otherwise, its perks are similar to the Reserve® card and include airport lounge access, airline fee reimbursement up to $200 in statement credit annually for fees charged by a pre-selected airline, and Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® fee reimbursement. That said, the Platinum Card® does offer a plethora of additional credit opportunities – a value of more than $1,400 during your first year as a cardholder.Enrollment required for select benefits.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Capital One Venture
With straightforward travel rewards earned on every purchase and a lower annual fee, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent alternative to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. The Venture card earns two miles per $1 spent on every purchase. The earnings rate is not limited to travel purchases; you earn two miles regardless of what you are using the card for. Compared to the tiered rewards earned by the Sapphire Reserve® card, the Venture card’s flat earnings rate gets the edge in simplicity.
The Venture’s $95 annual fee is also attractive in comparison to the $550 annual fee of the Sapphire Reserve® card. However, the Sapphire Reserve® card offers many features common to the best premium travel credit cards, including a $300 annual travel credit and lounge access, that the Venture card does not have.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is raising the bar in the luxury credit card world with its stellar introductory offer and top-of-the-line rewards-earning and redemption possibilities. If you are a frequent traveler and can take advantage of the numerous travel perks, rewards earning potential, and travel credits offered by the card then the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is absolutely worth it.
That being said, with a $550 annual fee as well as additional fees for adding on authorized users, the Sapphire Reserve® card is not for everyone. If you are more of a casual traveler or want a simpler cash back earning card, the Sapphire Reserve® may not be the best fit for you.
To see the rates and fee for The Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit the following link: See Rates and Fees; terms apply