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In a crowded landscape of travel credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is consistently ranked one of the best among rewards enthusiasts, and for good reason. With its sleek metal design, this card has become a status symbol among travelers and diners who appreciate the finer aspects of life. But the Sapphire Reserve is far from style-over-substance. Thanks to its appealing blend of premium benefits, travel protections and a generous rewards program, it offers exceptional value for its $550 annual fee.
Whether you’re a foodie looking to earn rewards on your biggest spending categories or you’re looking for a credit card for international travel, the Chase Sapphire Reserve might be a great fit for you. In this review, we’ll dive into the card’s key features, pros, cons and whether its premium price tag is justified.
Here are some highlights and a full breakdown of the Chase Sapphire Reserve:
- Lucrative welcome bonus: The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening.
- Earn rate: Cardholders earn 10X points on Chase Dining purchases and on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase; 5X points on flights purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants; 1X on all other purchases.
- Premium travel benefits: The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a suite of premium travel perks, including airport lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck reimbursement.
- Valuable travel protections: The card provides comprehensive travel insurance, such as no foreign transaction fees, primary rental collision damage waiver, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, travel accident insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, emergency medical and dental benefit, emergency evacuation and transportation.
- Flexible redemption options: Cardholders can redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal at 1.25 cents each or transfer them to 14 airline and hotel loyalty programs.
Overview of the Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium travel rewards credit card designed for those who want to maximize points and upgrade their travel experience. The card is packed with useful benefits, including Chase Sapphire and Priority Pass lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck reimbursement every four years. Cardholders also receive over $1,200 in perks from partners like DoorDash, Lyft and Instacart to name a few.
The Sapphire Reserve is also great for maximizing rewards on daily and travel spending. The card earns 10 points per dollar spent on Chase Dining purchases and hotels and rental cars booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel. Cardholders also earn 5X points on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, along with 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.
When it comes to redeeming points, cardholders can transfer their points 1:1 to 14 different travel programs. Alternatively, you have the option to redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel at 1.5 cents each. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of the Chase Sapphire Reserve:
- Premium travel benefits: The card offers a range of premium travel perks, including Priority Pass lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit, and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck reimbursement, which can significantly enhance the travel experience.
- Generous rewards program: Earn up to 10X points on travel and dining purchases and redeem them through 14 top-tier airline and hotel loyalty programs.
- Valuable travel protections: The Sapphire Reserve offers comprehensive travel insurance benefits, such as trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary rental car coverage and trip delay reimbursement.
- High annual fee: The card comes with a relatively high $550 annual fee, which can be a significant expense for some cardholders. The card also carries a $75 fee for each authorized user.
- Limited bonus categories: While it excels in dining and travel, the Sapphire Reserve lacks category bonuses on gas and grocery spending, which may not be as appealing for individuals with diverse spending habits.
- Application restrictions: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is subject to the "5/24 rule," which can limit your eligibility. If you've opened five or more credit cards (across any bank) in the past 24 months, you likely won’t be approved for a Chase card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium travel rewards credit card known for its impressive array of benefits that cater to frequent travelers. Here's an overview of the card's key benefits:
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. This bonus is valued up to $900 for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal. For maximum value, you can transfer your points to 14 different airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 10X points on Chase Dining purchases, hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel. Cardholders also earn 5X points on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar spent.
There's no cap on the number of points you can earn and the points can accumulate quickly with everyday spending.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is particularly notable for its travel benefits. The card includes a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass Select lounge membership and Chase Sapphire lounge access. Cardholders also qualify for up to $100 every four years towards Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fees, making airport security and customs procedures smoother. Foreign transaction fees are waived, helping you save money and retain purchase protections when using your card abroad.
Additionally, it includes an extensive range of travel protections, including primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, travel accident insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, emergency medical and dental benefit, emergency evacuation and transportation. These perks provide extra peace of mind when traveling abroad and save you from having to purchase travel insurance.
Other (limited-time) benefits
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders receive limited-time benefits, including a complimentary DoorDash Dashpass subscription and a $5 monthly credit through Dec. 31, 2024. The card also comes with a year of Instacart+ membership, which must be activated by July 31, 2024 and includes up to $15 in monthly credit.
Lastly, cardholders earn 10X points on Lyft rides, two years of complimentary Lyft Pink All Access membership, and 10X points on Peleton purchases over $150 through March 31, 2025.
How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points
There are several ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points, depending on your needs. If you want to use points to save money on travel, your best option is to transfer them to one of Chase’s travel partners. You have 14 to choose from and will get the best value on luxury hotel bookings and business or first-class flights. If that sounds complicated, you can opt to book travel with points through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal at a rate of 1.5 cents per point.
Here’s a complete overview of how you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal
Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, Sapphire Reserve cardholders can book flights, hotels and other travel using their points. Points are worth 1.5 cents each and you’ll even be able to earn miles on the flights you book. This option is ideal for those getting started with travel points and airline miles and who need a more straightforward redemption option.
Transfer to Chase travel partners
Transferring Chase points to travel partners is one of the best ways to maximize their value. There are 11 airlines and three hotel loyalty programs to choose from. You can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio, with the occasional transfer bonus of 15% or higher (though these are rare). Here’s a complete list of Chase transfer partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Iberia Plus
- IHG One Rewards
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- World of Hyatt
Pay Yourself Back
Chase Pay Yourself Back allows you to redeem points for statement credits at a rate of 1.25-1.5 cents each. It's easy to use - simply make a purchase, then redeem your points towards that purchase. Qualifying purchases change, but you can typically redeem points at 1.5 cents each towards eligible charities and 1.25 cents towards common spending categories like gas, groceries and the card’s annual fee.
How the Sapphire Reserve compares to other cards
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers exceptional rewards and benefits that set it apart from other premium credit cards. However, it’s not the end-all-be-all travel card. There are plenty of premium cards at the same price point that offer similar (or better) benefits.
When comparing two premium travel rewards cards, it's essential to evaluate factors such as the annual fee, rewards program, and the value of the benefits offered. Look at how each card earns and redeems rewards, the bonus categories and any statement credits or travel perks provided. Additionally, consider your own spending habits and travel preferences, as well as your willingness to manage complex points systems or your desire for a more straightforward rewards program.
Here’s how the Chase Sapphire Reserve stacks up against its peers:
Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are both popular travel credit cards, though they cater to different types of customers. Both cards offer the same 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening but the Sapphire Preferred has a lower annual fee of $95.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is considered the premium card, offering a comprehensive suite of travel benefits. Its $550 annual is partially offset by a $300 annual travel credit, elevated travel perks and higher category bonuses. It's ideal for frequent travelers who value luxury travel experiences and are willing to pay a higher annual fee for premium perks.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a more budget-friendly option with plenty of valuable perks. It offers nearly identical travel protections, except for travel accident insurance and lost luggage reimbursement.
The Sapphire Preferred’s rewards rate is lower than the Reserve, earning just 5X points on Ultimate Rewards Travel bookings, plus 3X on dining, online grocery purchases and select streaming services. All other travel purchases earn 2X points, and the card comes with an annual $50 statement credit towards Ultimate Rewards hotel bookings.
Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum
The Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express* are both premium travel rewards cards that offer a range of exclusive benefits and perks. At $695, the Platinum Card has a much higher annual fee (see rates and fees), but it also provides over $1,500 in annual statement credits. This includes an annual $200 hotel credit through Amex Travel, $240 in digital entertainment credits, $200 in airline fee credits, $200 in annual Uber cash and more.
The Amex Platinum Card’s lounge network is more comprehensive than the Sapphire Reserve. In addition to Priority Pass Select membership, cardholders can access the exclusive Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Club, Lufthansa lounges and more.
One significant shortcoming of the Amex Platinum Card is the weaker point-earning potential. The card earns 5X points on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel and flights booked directly and through Amex Travel. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent. These category bonuses are incredibly limiting and unideal if you want to maximize points through everyday spending.
Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is an excellent alternative to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Venture X has a much lower annual fee of $395 and a larger welcome bonus: 75,000 miles after $4,000 spent within three months of account opening. The card also comes with an annual 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 towards travel), Priority Pass Select membership and a $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit every four years.
The card’s $300 annual travel credit is a little less flexible than the Sapphire Reserve’s, since it’s only valid on Capital One Travel bookings.
The Venture X card might be more rewarding than the Sapphire Reserve, depending on your spending habits. The card earns 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One and 5X miles on flights booked through the portal. All other spending earns 2X miles, which is very generous, considering you can transfer these miles to over a dozen airline and hotel loyalty programs.
Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth getting?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth getting for frequent travelers and individuals who value premium travel benefits. While it comes with a higher annual fee compared to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, it offers an array of perks that can more than offset the cost. The card provides a substantial welcome bonus, generous bonuses on travel and dining purchases and the flexibility to redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
Additionally, it includes benefits like Priority Pass lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit, and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement, making it a top choice for those who travel frequently and appreciate luxury travel experiences. However, it's important to consider your travel habits and spending patterns to determine if the card's benefits align with your needs, as it might not be the best fit for everyone.
Why is Chase Sapphire Reserve so popular?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is popular due to its extensive travel benefits, including Priority Pass lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck reimbursement, as well as its generous point-earning potential and flexible redemption options through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
Is it hard to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
Getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve can be challenging due to its stringent application requirements, including a good to excellent credit score, limited tolerance for recent credit card applications and income requirements. Additionally, Chase often looks for applicants with a history of responsible credit usage, making it accessible to those with a well-established credit profile.
How much is 60,000 Chase points worth?
The value of 60,000 Chase points can vary depending on how you redeem them. When you redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, each point is worth 1.5 cents. That makes 60,000 Chase points worth $900. However, you might get more value by transferring points to airline and hotel partners for premium travel redemptions.
Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve a metal card?
Yes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a metal credit card.
*Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.