The Chase Sapphire Reserve card debuted back in 2016 with a whopping 100,000 point sign-up bonus. It has evolved since then in many ways, and I was curious if this premium credit card was still worth it today. This Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits guide should help answer that question.
The sign-up bonus has gotten smaller and the list of other premium credit cards longer, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is still one of my favorite credit cards out there. Even though Chase recently decided to raise its annual fee.
With significant rewards points offered on dining and travel (3 points for every $1 spent) that get more value when you redeem them for travel, it’s a card that I can’t imagine will be leaving my wallet any time soon.
Let’s dive into the details of my Chase Sapphire Reserve card review:
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Rewards Benefits Guide
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a one-of-a-kind premium credit card. It provides coveted Chase Ultimate Rewards points and its list of perks is nearly endless. We’ll cover the key specs to know here and get more into the details further below.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Key Specs:
- 3x points on dining and travel
- 1x points on everything else
- Plus, points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel
- 50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
Other Notable Bonuses:
- $300 annual travel credit (applies to most travel purchases)
- $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit every 4 years
The Best Features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Building on the core specs of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card listed above, below are some of my favorite features that this high-end credit card offers:
Travel and Dining Rewards
The 3x points on travel and restaurants that you earn for every dollar spent is really 4.5x when you consider the bonus you get when redeeming for travel through Chase. This is because Chase increases the value of your points by 50% when you redeem for travel.
Essentially, you’re getting 4.5% “cash back” for every dollar spent in those categories. That’s a huge discount and a major reason I utilize this card.
On top of this, there are no blackout dates or travel restrictions. So you can redeem your rewards whenever and however you want.
The Sign-Up Bonus
The 50,000 bonus points you get for signing up (and spending a minimum of $3,000 in 3 months after account opening) is my second favorite feature about this card.
It’s not the biggest welcome bonus on the market right now, and it’s much smaller than what it was when the card debuted, but it’s still significant. The 50,000 points are worth $750 when redeemed towards travel.
$300 Travel Credit
Without this travel credit, I’m not sure I would own this credit card at all. Especially since the credit card just raised its annual fee to $550 (in January 2020).
With the $300 travel credit, you cut the annual fee down to $250 (used to be $150), which is a much easier pill to swallow.
For someone spending $2,000 a month (with $500 of that on dining and travel), you’d out-earn the $250 fee with points in about 6 months. Then, the second of the year would be all upside earnings.
Don’t get me wrong, $2,000 a month is a lot of money. You have to be a medium-to-high-earner and a high-spender in order for the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card to be worth it.
Travel and Purchase Protection
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers various forms of travel and purchase protection:
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
- Auto Rental Collision Insurance
- Travel Accident Insurance
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement
- Trip Delay Reimbursement
- Emergency Evacuation and Transportation
- Purchase and Return Protection
- Extended Warranty Protection
Personally, I’ve used the trip cancellation insurance before to get reimbursed on my flight and other purchases I made in the destination city that I would obviously not be able to use.
That alone was easily worth a few hundred dollars and is not something that all credit cards offer.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Offering no foreign transaction fees is a simple and obvious perk.
Nothing special here, but it’s nice to be able to use this travel card overseas without having to worry about paying additional fees.
TSA Precheck Credit
I have not taken advantage of the TSA Precheck credit yet, but I plan to this year. I just have to stop being lazy and do it.
Note: you get this credit every four years.
Priority Pass Lounge Access
Last but not least, you get Priority Pass Select membership (access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide).
I have yet to take advantage of Priority Pass membership because I rarely get to airports early and try to avoid connecting flights at all costs, but it’s certainly a high-value perk associated with this card for those of you who visit airport lounges often (they’re not cheap or easy to get in to!).
DoorDash and Lyft Perks
With the increasing annual fee, there are also some new perks added to the list of Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits.
Lyft: Cardholders will get a one-year Lyft Pink membership for free, which normally costs $19.99 a month and gets you 15% off all Lyft rides. In addition, you will earn 10x points on every dollar spent with Lyft!
DoorDash: You will also get $120 worth of statement credits using DoorDash – up to $60 in 2020 and $60 in 2021. To be honest, I’m not sure what comes after 2021…
Compared to the Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is like the little sibling in the Chase Sapphire family. It’s an amazing card, but a little smaller in every aspect: fees, rewards, and perks.
This is the only other “Sapphire” card that Chase offers. Here are the details:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Key Specs:
- 2x points on dining and travel
- 1x points on everything else
- Plus, points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel
- 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
Other Notable Bonuses:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a sizeable bonus that is actually worth the same as it’s Reserve counterpart when redeemed for travel (60,000 x 1.25 = $750 value). Plus, it’s annual fee is much less, making it a perfect intro card for travelers who are looking to test out better credit cards.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits Guide: Pros and Cons
For high-spenders, the pros of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card may likely outweigh the cons, making this card worth it. At the end of the day, it is still one of the best rewards cards available for consumers, especially for those who value travel.
- Rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers excellent rewards on travel and restaurant spending. Tallying to 4.5x points when you always redeem the points for travel.
- Sign-Up Bonus: The 50,000 point sign-up bonus is worth $750 when redeemed for travel!
- Travel Perks: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is designed for frequent travelers. Its airport lounge access, TSA Precheck credit, travel credit, and no foreign transaction fees are just a few of the premium perks that it offers for nomads.
- Purchase Protection: The card offers a ton of consumer protection.
- Point Transfers: You can easily transfer points to airline and travel partners, not to mention between other Chase cards.
- Annual Fee: The $550 annual fee is hefty (especially considering the recent increase from the $450 annual fee). Even with the $300 travel credit, you’re still looking at paying $250 per year.
- All Other Spending Rewards: Earning 1x points per dollar on all other purchases (1.5x when redeemed for travel) isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. Some no annual fee cash back credit cards, like the Citi Double Rewards card, offer better rewards than that.
Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Worth It?
For heavy travelers and high-spenders, I believe that the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is often worth it.
From a math standpoint, this travel credit card will easily pay itself back for people who are spending about $2,000 a month (with at least 25% of that being spent on travel or restaurants). The question at that point becomes, is there a better alternative that will reward you even more for your spending.
Other Premium Credit Cards to Consider
Obviously, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a great alternative to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card for someone who is unsure if they will spend enough to offset the hefty annual fee.
Although, below are some other premium rewards credit cards from other credit card companies outside of Chase that are worth considering.
Capital One Venture Rewards Card
- 2x miles on every purchase
Annual Fee: $95 (waived the first year)
Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
Other Bonuses: Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
American Express Gold Card
- 4x points at restaurants
- 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year)
- 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com
- 1x points on everything else
Annual Fee: $250
Sign-Up Bonus: 35,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
Other Bonuses: $100 airline credit and $120 dining credit
Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits Guide: Passing on the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card? No worries…
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.