Categories

Credit Card Reviews

Chase Sapphire Reserve? Review: Best for Big-Time Traveler

At Experian, one of our priorities is consumer credit and finance education. This post may contain links and references to one or more of our partners, but we provide an objective view to help you make the best decisions. For more information, see our Editorial Policy.

Once the reigning king of travel rewards cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® lost some of its appeal when the annual fee increased from $450 to $550 earlier this year. But don't rule it out—this card is still a top pick for frequent travelers, particularly those who live in urban areas and use Lyft or DoorDash.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Apply

on Chase's website

Recommended FICO® Score
Exceptional

APR

16.99% - 23.99% Variable

Intro APR: N/A

Rewards

3X points on Travel & Dining

3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.

1X points on All Other Purchases

Intro Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual Fee

$550

Card Details
  • 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
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • 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
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass? Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre??
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
ProsCons
Excellent rewards on travel and diningHigh annual fee
A variety of travel-related benefits and statement creditsSome benefits are temporary
Flexible redemption optionsRequires excellent credit
No foreign transaction fees
Chase Customer ServiceCard Services
800-432-3117P.O. Box 15298
Wilmington, DE 19850

Experian Review

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is loaded with cardholder perks and offers good rewards on common purchases. It's a valuable addition for households that have other cards in the Chase ecosystem, such as the Chase Freedom® or Chase Freedom Unlimited®, but it also holds its own as a high-end travel card. The major downside is the high annual fee, but the benefits far outweigh the cost for some people.

Excellent Opportunities to Earn and Redeem Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is part of Chase's Ultimate Rewards program. Using the card, you'll earn Ultimate Rewards points, which you can then redeem in a variety of ways. Card-issuer rewards programs like this offer greater flexibility than airline, hotel or cash back rewards, and Chase has one of the best.

Earning Points on Purchases

With Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the number of points you earn depends on where you make a purchase:

  • Earn 3 points per dollar on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on every other eligible purchase
  • Earn 5 points per dollar on grocery purchases up to $1,500 per month from May 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020

Eligible purchases don't include certain types of transactions, such as cash advances, lottery tickets, interest or fees. You also won't earn 3 points per dollar on your first $300 spent on travel each year cardholder anniversary year since you'll receive a statement credit to offset those purchases.

New Cardholders Can Earn an Intro Bonus

In addition to the points you earn from purchases, you may be eligible for a large intro bonus. To qualify, you can't already have an open Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or have received an intro bonus from a Sapphire card in the past 48 months.

If you meet these criteria, you can earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after using your Chase Sapphire Reserve® to make $4,000 in eligible purchases in your first 3 months with the card.

How to Redeem Ultimate Rewards Points

You can choose how and when you want to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points—and there's no shortage of options.

You can pick from gift cards, merchandise and cash back. But generally, you'll get the greatest value (meaning, the most "cents per point") if you use your points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or transfer your points to a partner travel loyalty program.

While you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, each point in your account is worth 1.5 cents when you use them to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. By comparison, your points are only worth 1 cent each if you redeem them for cash back.

Transfers occur at a 1-to-1 ratio, so 1 point gives you 1 airline mile or hotel point. Chase partners with 13 programs—10 airlines and three hotels—and you can redeem your miles or points for flights or hotel stays after the point transfer. Using your points this way sometimes gives you the most value for them.

For example, an international business-class flight might cost $1,500 one way. You could book the flight with 100,000 points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. But if the same flight only requires 60,000 frequent flyer miles, you could transfer just 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points. By comparing and transferring points, you're able to book the same flight and save 40,000 points and get a value of 2.5 cents per point for the 60,000 points you use.

Free Memberships (Enrollment Required)

Cardholders can get complimentary access to three membership programs, which can save you money on travel and dining. Don't forget to sign up for these programs or add your card to your existing account to receive the benefits.

Priority Pass Select

Once you open your account, you can enroll in Priority Pass Select for free. The program will give you and two guests free access to over 1,200 lounges worldwide, and credit at select airport restaurants and merchants.

LyftPink (Limited Time)

If you add your Chase Sapphire Reserve® card to your Lyft account and activate by March 31, 2021, you can get a free year of Lyft Pink (a $199 value), which comes with discounts on rides, priority airport pickups and exclusive offers. You'll also receive 10 points per dollar on Lyft ride through March 2022.

DashPass (Limited Time)

You can receive a free DashPash subscription (currently $9.99 a month otherwise), which offers no delivery fees and reduced service fees when you order from eligible restaurants through December 31, 2021. To enroll, just add your Chase Sapphire Reserve® to your DoorDash account.

Automatic Statement Credits on Eligible Purchases

If you use your card for certain purchases, Chase will automatically apply a statement credit to your account. The statements credits can offset all or part of your purchase:

  • $300 in annual travel credits: Each cardholder anniversary year, your first $300 in travel purchases will be covered by a statement credit.
  • Up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck: This credit offsets the cost for enrolling in Global Entry ($100) or TSA Precheck ($85), which can make getting through security at the airport easier. You can receive one statement credit once every four years.
  • Up to $120 for DoorDash: Receive $60 in DoorDash statement credits for 2020, and another $60 in DoorDash statement credits for 2021.

Consider these statement credits when you're thinking about whether the card makes sense for you. While the $550 annual fee is one of the highest credit card annual fees around, these credits can offset some of that expense each year.

A Long List of Travel and Purchase Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has so many cardholder benefits, it can be hard to keep track of them all. These benefits can help you save money, make your travel more luxurious and offer protections on purchases you were going to make anyway. Many of these apply to you and your travel companions when you use your card to make a purchase.

  • No foreign transaction fees: Don't pay extra on purchases outside the U.S. or on purchases in non-U.S. currency.
  • The Luxury Hotel and Resort CollectionSM: Receive complimentary benefits, such as upgrades and late checkout, when you book select hotels with your card.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Get reimbursed for necessary expenses when your trip is delayed by over six hours or requires an overnight stay, up to $500 per ticket.
  • Baggage reimbursement: Get up to $100 per day per person for five days to buy necessary expenses like toiletries and clothing if your bags are delayed by over six hours.
  • Cancellation or interruption insurance: If a qualifying incident requires you to cancel or cut your trip short, you could get up to $10,000 per person ($20,000 per trip) for unreimbursed expenses.
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage: When you're over 100 miles from your home, you can get up to $2,500 in eligible medical or dental expenses reimbursed for you or an immediate family member.
  • Roadside assistance: our times a year, receive up to $50 toward roadside assistance services, such as towing or fuel delivery.
  • Exclusive access: Get access or special seats at events and dining experiences around the world.
  • Primary rental car coverage: You'll get primary coverage if your rental car is damaged or stolen. Many cards only offer secondary coverage, which requires you to use your personal insurance policy first.
  • Purchase protection: Get up to $10,000 back per claim ($50,000 maximum per year) when a new item your purchase is lost or damaged within 120 days.
  • Return protection: Get reimbursed up to $500 per item ($1000 maximum per year) if a merchant won't accept a return within 90 days of your purchase.
  • Extended warranty: Receive an additional year of coverage on purchases that have an eligible U.S. manufacturer's warranty of three years or less.

Once you create an online account, you can also download the Chase mobile app for iOS or Android. You can use the app to manage your card and account by reviewing purchases and setting up notifications. You can also review and redeem your rewards from the app, along with managing or making your payments.

Additional Info

Purchase APR: 16.99% - 23.99% VariableGrace period: 21 days
Transfer APR: 16.99% - 23.99% VariableAnnual fee: $550
Cash advance APR: 24.99% VariableBalance transfer fee: 5% ($5 minimum)
Minimum interest charge: NoneCash advance fee: 5% ($10 minimum)
Foreign transaction fee: None
Late payment fee: Up to $39
Returned payment fee: Up to $39

Authorized-User Policy

You can add an authorized user to your Chase Sapphire Reserve® card for $75. As is always the case, the authorized user will receive a card that's tied to your account. They can make purchases, but you'll be responsible for the entire payment.

There's a fee for authorized users because they'll also receive some benefits as a cardholder. For example, authorized users will also receive a DashPass membership through 12/31/2021 and can enroll for their own Priority Pass membership. They can also bring two guests into Priority Pass lounges. They don't receive a $300 annual travel credit, but their purchases can trigger the statement credit to apply to your account.

Is This Card Right for You?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is a high-end travel card that can be a good fit if you frequently travel, particularly if you often use Lyft and order takeout or pickup with DoorDash. It's even better if you regularly pay for luxury travel and are willing to learn the ins-and-outs of the Ultimate Rewards Program.

The card may also be used to complement other Chase cards you may already have. If you or someone in your household has another card that gives you Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer those points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® before redeeming them for travel to increase their value.

For example, if a household member has the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, they would get 1.25 cents per point when booking travel, or only 1 cent per point with one of the Chase Freedom cards. After transferring points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve® account, you'll get the 1.5 cents per point value when booking travel.

Resources