This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Disclosure, visit this page.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® sign-up is 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening (worth $750 in award travel). It’s still a very popular travel credit card even though it has a $550 annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve isn’t for everybody, but it might be the perfect rewards travel card for you. In this Chase Sapphire Reserve review, I’ll show you how the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s benefits can be worth the $550 annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
Sign-Up Bonus: At Least $750 in Travel
The current Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus offer is for 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth $750+ in award travel. You must spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months of card membership.
Although the recurring benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve can justify paying the annual fee year in and year out, you should consider applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve when you can meet the sign-up bonus qualifications, so you can collect the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points bonus.
Recent policy changes make it so you can’t get the Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus if you currently own the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Read this post to see if you should apply for the lower fee Chase Sapphire Preferred over the Reserve.
Bonus Rewards For 2020 and 2021
Chase has announced a few bonus categories for 2020 and 2021 to help cardholders who are unable to travel as frequently. From November 01, 2020, through April 30, 2021, cardholders automatically earn 3x points per $1 spent at grocery stores, up to $1,000 per month.
Additionally, cardholders can earn up to $120 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021. Cardholders don’t need a Peloton bike or treadmill to take advantage of the digital membership that includes 1,000s of on-demand or live fitness classes. Also to note, new Peloton Digital Members are entitled to a 30-day free trial, by visiting Onepeloton.com/ChaseSapphire and enrolling using your Sapphire Reserve card.
This is in addition to the complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash that lets cardholders get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees. They also earn up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases ($60 in statement credits through 2020 and another $60 in statement credits through 2021).
Plus, cardholders earn 10x points on Lyft rides, including bikes and scooters. Complimentary Lyft Pink Membership is also available when activated by March 21, 2022.
Points are worth 50% more through April 30, 2021, when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. Points are also worth 50% more when redeemed through the new Chase Dining hub in Ultimate Rewards, now through April 30th, 2021.
1:1 Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
One benefit that distinguishes the Chase Sapphire Reserve from many other travel rewards cards is the option to transfer your rewards points directly to one of the following airline or hotel Chase travel partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air Canada Aeroplan (expected in late 2021)
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
- Iberia Plus
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Although each Ultimate Rewards point is worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem them through Chase for award travel, many Sapphire Reserve cardholders almost always transfer their points to one of the Chase travel partners where the points can be worth more than 1.5 cents each.
Considering most travel rewards cards only have a maximum redemption value of 1 cent each, the 50% point redemption bonus and 1:1 travel partners are extremely valuable.
Earn 3x Points for Dining and Travel (Once Eligible)
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® pays 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible dining purchases. To earn 3x points on travel, you must first earn your $300 travel credit. Once you do, you will immediately begin to earn 3x points on travel.
With the exception of the Platinum Card from American Express that earns 5x miles on airfare, the Chase Sapphire Reserve outearns almost every other travel rewards card and co-brand airline credit card that only earn 2 points on travel purchases.
While you are probably considering the Chase Sapphire Reserve for its travel benefits and 1:1 points transfers, the 3x earning bonus means you can quickly rack up the points to take your next award trip sooner–which is the sole purpose of owning a travel rewards card.
Chase Sapphire Review: $300 Annual Travel Credit
Almost every premium travel credit card offers an annual travel credit. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is definitely the most flexible of all the premium rewards cards.
The $300 travel credit is reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. It can be redeemed for any travel-related purchases from plane ticket purchases, cruise tickets, hotel nights, to a guided tour. Some of the other premium travel credit cards air travel credit only covers checked baggage fees and in-flight purchases.
Note that for 2020, Chase is helping cardholders maximize this credit when they are not able to travel. Typically nearly all Reserve cardmembers reap the full $300 benefit annually, effectively offsetting the annual fee. To ensure cardmembers can take full advantage, gas and grocery have been added as qualifying purchases, through June 30th, 2021.
Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership
Frequent flyers will enjoy the complimentary Priority Pass Select membership that lets you and your travel companions enter one of the 1,000+ locations for free. Whether you get to the airport early or have a long layover, you can visit one of these lounges for free to relax, refresh, and even catch up on work.
An annual Priority Pass membership with unlimited visits currently costs $399 per person. This benefit alone almost pays the $550 annual fee itself.
Other rewards credit cards offer access to other lounge networks in addition to Priority Pass, but Priority Pass is still the most extensive network that you can access regardless of which airline you’re flying this trip. But it’s not as great as the Centurion lounge access you get with the Amex Platinum.
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
Like the other premium travel rewards cards, your application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck will be reimbursed with a fee credit for up to $100. This benefit saves you $100 and the headache of standing in the long airport security and customs lines.
Additional Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
The most valuable Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits are the $300 travel credit, 1:1 point transfers or 50% point redemption bonus, and complimentary Priority Pass lounge access.
Some of the additional travel benefits that you’ll also enjoy are:
- Up to $10,000 in trip protection insurance
- One free year of Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value)
- Free DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21
- Primary rental car collision damage waiver coverage
- Avis, National, and Silvercar discounts and upgrades
- Bonus amenities with The Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection stays
- Exclusive Sapphire events like going to the Emmys
Chase Sapphire Reserve Advantages
When you factor in the $300 travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, and Global Entry application fee reimbursement together, these three benefits are worth $720 each year.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is worth the $550 annual fee when:
- You use the $300 travel credit and Priority Pass lounge access
- Redeem or transfer your points for award travel
- Travel frequently to maximize the 3x dining and travel (once eligible) purchase rewards
- Use the Lyft and DoorDash perks
Sapphire Reserve Disadvantages
The Sapphire Reserve isn’t for everybody. You’ll want to consider a different card when:
- Travel infrequently
- Don’t visit Priority Pass lounges
- Cannot qualify for a sign-up bonus
- Are loyal to one airline or hotel
- Don’t have excellent credit
Even if you travel frequently but primarily use one airline or hotel, you might be better off with their co-brand card. You will earn more rewards points for your brand purchases and will enjoy other complimentary benefits. For example, free checked bags can be worth more than the $300 travel credit.
Alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Reserve
If you decide the Chase Sapphire Reserve® isn’t worth the $550 annual fee, below are a couple of different alternatives that still offer flexible travel rewards.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
If you enjoy the Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 point transfer opportunities, but won’t benefit from the Sapphire Reserve’s other travel benefits, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers these two travel rewards:
- Unlimited 1:1 point transfers
- 25% point redemption bonus (points are worth 1.25 cents each)
The annual fee is only $95 per year and additional cardholders are free.
You will also earn 2x points for all travel and dining purchases.
The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best premium credit cards you can get. It’s best for frequent flyers and people who stay at hotels because of these benefits:
- Earn 5x Membership Rewards on flights booked directly from the airline or AmexTravel.com (starting Jan. 01, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
- Earn 5x points on hotels booked on AmexTravel.com
- Transfer points on a 1:1 basis to airlines and hotel partners
- $200 airline fee credit for incidental fees at one select qualifying airline
- Up to $200 in Uber credits
- Free airport lounge access (Centurion, Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club, and others)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
This card also provides automatic Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. And you can get a $100 credit at The Hotel Collection and up to $550 on-site benefits at Fine Hotels and Resorts.
However, the Platinum Card has a $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) that can be offset with the rewards.
New cardmembers can earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Summary of Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is worth it if you travel on a regular basis and want flexibility because you’re not loyal to a particular airline or hotel. If you maximize the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s benefits, it can definitely be worth more than the $550 annual fee.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 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®
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
- 1 Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
- 2 Bonus Rewards For 2020 and 2021
- 3 1:1 Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
- 4 Earn 3x Points for Dining and Travel (Once Eligible)
- 5 Chase Sapphire Review: $300 Annual Travel Credit
- 6 Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership
- 7 Global Entry and TSA PreCheck Reimbursement
- 8 Additional Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
- 9 Chase Sapphire Reserve Advantages
- 10 Sapphire Reserve Disadvantages
- 11 Alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Reserve
- 12 Summary of Chase Sapphire Reserve Review