What if we told you that there’s a credit card out there that is offering the rewards equivalent of $1,500 in travel dollars as an introductory offer?
Well, start dreaming about your next vacation. Chase Sapphire ReserveSM has arrived and that introductory offer isn’t a dream; in fact, it's just one of several reasons this card earned the 2017 CardRatings Editor's Choice Award for Card Most Worth an Above-Average Annual Fee. 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.
Before you make a decision based solely on the intro bonus, check out these additional features.
The best features of Chase Sapphire ReserveSM:
Paying attention yet? The Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card maximized and given a luxury polish. Sure its $450 annual fee is steep, but if you’re on the hunt for a card that will reward your travel and dining out spending and allow you to rack up points for your next business or personal trip, this one is worth your time.
Every conversation about the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card starts with the solid introductory offer – it’s a good one at 50,000 points, equal to $750 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. It’s true that the $4,000 threshold to snag the points is a bit high, but you have three months to cross that threshold. If you spend just $1,350 a month on your credit card, you’ll more than hit the mark.
Remember, too, that you’ll also earn three points for every dollar you spend on dining out and travel purchases worldwide, as well as one point per dollar on all your other purchases. If you choose to spend toward the intro offer with dining out and travel purchases, you could have as many as 12,000 additional points to go with your intro points.
But, as with any credit card, you need to look beyond the introductory offer to decide whether the card is truly right for you.
In the case of the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card, the ongoing features and perks do make it a compelling choice if you have the credit history to qualify and the credit card spending habits that will enable you to earn enough points to offset the annual fee. It’s not often that a new credit card hits the market with features and perks so special that we drop everything to find out more.
It’s not often, but it does happen and Chase Sapphire ReserveSM is currently that card.
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 ReserveSM offers cardholders up to $300 in automatic statement credit each year to cover everything from airline tickets to hotel stays.
You can effectively lower the annual fee to just $150 if you collect the full $300 in credits annually.
Enough about the awesome rewards and statement credit opportunities, though. Let’s talk about the travel perks that make this card truly one for the jetsetter who appreciates some comfort and luxury as they take to the skies.
Chase Sapphire ReserveSM cardholders receive complimentary access to more than 900 airport lounges around the world after a one-time enrollment in Priority Pass Select®. You’re also eligible for up to $100 in statement credit every four years as reimbursement for your Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee charged to your card.
Luxury credit cards like Chase Sapphire ReserveSM certainly come with a ton of perks, but they also generally come with their share of fees. In particular, the annual fee of $450 only covers the primary user of Chase Sapphire Reserve; you’ll pay an additional $75 annually for each authorized user you add.
Furthermore, this card doesn’t offer any kind of introductory zero percent interest rate on purchases or balance transfers, so you’ll want to look elsewhere if you are hoping to make a large purchase and spend a few months paying it off interest-free.
The Mastercard® Black Card™ offers similar perks and features as Chase Sapphire ReserveSM, but its annual fee is slightly higher at $495 and you'll pay $195 per year for each authorized user as compared to $75 with Chase Sapphire ReserveSM.
Mastercard® Black Card™ members have lower rewards-earning opportunities overall – one point per dollar for all purchases – but when it comes time to redeem, your point value is worth more (2 percent) for airfare redemptions, so it takes just 75,000 points to redeem for $1,500 in airfare as opposed to 100,000 points with the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM, though Chase Sapphire ReserveSM redemption bonuses can be applied to a variety of travel beyond just airfare.
Perhaps the biggest difference is that the Mastercard® Black Card™ offers an introductory zero interest period on balance transfers made within the first 45 days of account opening for the first 15 billing cycles, making the Mastercard® Black Card™ perhaps a better option if you need to transfer a balance and pay it off over time interest-free. Otherwise, you'll get similar, if not better, perks and features for a lesser annual fee with the Chase Sapphire ReserveSMcard.
The Citi Prestige® Card (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser) has recently undergone some changes that took some of the luster off its luxury shine. That said, it's still worth checking out as its annual fee is the same as that of the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card, $450, but it charges slightly less per authorized user, $50.
When it comes to the perks, Citi Prestige® Card members are eligible for up to $250 annually in statement credit to reimburse for travel expenses, though the reimbursement is limited to flight-related expenses with the Citi Prestige® Card, whereas the Chase Sapphire ReserveSM card offers its reimbursement for everything from flights to hotel stays. Citi Prestige® Card members, however, can receive their fourth consecutive night free when they book their hotel stay through Citi Prestige® Concierge.
The Citi Prestige® Card features a tiered points-earning structure that allows you to earn three points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels, two points per dollar on dining out and entertainment and one point on all other purchases. Consider your typical spending habits and which card's points structure will allow you to accumulate more points.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is another strong contender in the luxury credit card market. It comes with a $550 annual fee, but it doesn't charge an additional fee for authorized users, so you can add authorized users for free and their purchases can help accumulate points.
You earn five points for flights purchased directly with airlines or through the Amex travel portal as well as five points for hotels purchased through the portal. You earn one point per dollar spent, however, on all other purchases with The Platinum Card® from American Express, so it's reward-earning opportunities are perhaps lower than with the Chase Sapphire ReserveSMcard. Otherwise, its perks are similar and include airport lounge access, airline fee reimbursement via up $200 in statement credit annually for fees charged by a pre-selected airline, Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee reimbursement and, of course, 24/7 concierge service.
The biggest difference here is that The Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, not a credit card, which means you'll need to pay off your balance in full each billing cycle as opposed to having the option to carry a balance.
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're already a fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are are looking for additional perks and comfort when you travel as well as even higher rewards earning opportunities, take a long look at Chase Sapphire ReserveSM.
On the other hand, if you like the sound of what Chase Sapphire ReserveSM has to offer but just can't justify the steep annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is still there as an excellent option with a much lower, $95 annual fee and plenty of options to rack up rewards.
Since this card is a step up from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, we'll close by taking a look at a few of the key features of these cards side by side.
Chase Sapphire ReserveSM: $450 ($75 for each authorized user)
Chase Sapphire Preferred®: $0 the first year, $95 after that; no charge for authorized users.
Introductory offer: Chase Sapphire ReserveSM: 50,000 bonus points, worth $750 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, after spending $4,000 within the first three months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred®: 50,000 bonus points, worth $625 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, after spending $4,000 within the first three months (points are worth an extra 25 percent as opposed to 50 percent more with Chase Sapphire ReserveSM. Earn 5,000 additional points after adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first three months.
Chase Sapphire ReserveSM: Three points for every dollar spent on travel and dining; one point for every dollar on all other purchases.
Chase Sapphire Preferred®: Two points per dollar spent on travel and dining; one point per dollar on all other purchases.
Chase Sapphire ReserveSM: Points are worth 50 percent more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Chase Sapphire Preferred®: Points are worth 20 percent more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Foreign transaction fees:
Chase Sapphire ReserveSM: None
Chase Sapphire Preferred®: None