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EDIT: Chase is devaluing the benefits of the Sapphire Reserve in the coming months which makes the Sapphire Preferred and Amex Platinum even more desirable.
Are you thinking about getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve but not sure if it’s worth the $450 annual fee? This Chase Sapphire Reserve review will help you understand why it’s one of the best travel credit cards of 2019 and a true gem if you travel on a regular basis. Here are six reasons why you should get the Chase Sapphire Reserve as your next travel credit card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Review
1:1 Ultimate Rewards Point Transfers
What do the following travel loyalty programs have in common?
- Southwest Airlines
- World of Hyatt
- United Airlines
- Aer Lingus
Besides having some of the most affordable award travel options, they are all Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners, plus nine additional airline and hotel loyalty programs.
You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points on a 1:1 basis in 1,000 point increments to any of the Ultimate Rewards travel partners. Many Sapphire Reserve cardholders consider the 1:1 point transfers the most valuable benefit.
Redeeming your points for award travel directly through Chase already makes them worth 1.5 cents each for all award travel–most travel credit cards only value each point at one cent each–but transferring your points and booking your travel directly from the airline can easily make your points worth 2 cents each or more!
Another reason to consider the Sapphire Reserve is if you already own the Chase Freedom cash rewards credit card that earns 5% back on rotating bonus categories. Without a Chase Sapphire or Ink Business Preferred credit card, your Chase Freedom points can only be redeemed for cash back rewards. By owning the Sapphire Reserve, the Ultimate Rewards points you earn with your Freedom are eligible for 1:1 point transfers when you “pool” your points.
Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Annual Travel Credit
Unlike some of the other travel credit cards that offer an annual travel credit that only applies to incidental airline fees like checked bags and in-flight purchases on one airline, the $300 credit from the Sapphire Reserve can be used for any travel purchase.
If the travel purchase is eligible to earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points, your first $300 in travel expenses each year will be reimbursed as a statement credit.
In addition to this $300 credit, you can also enjoy additional on-site credits when you book a stay at the Luxury Hotel and Resorts Collection and pay for your stay with the Sapphire Reserve. With more than 900 resorts, spas, and lodges, you can enjoy complimentary breakfast, hotel wifi, and room upgrades when available.
This credit alone reduces the annual fee from $450 to $150. As long as you can use some of the other travel benefits, you’ll have no problem maximizing the value of the Sapphire Reserve each year.
Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership
Frequent flyers stand to benefit the most from the Chase Sapphire Reserve because of the multiple air travel benefits. One of the most valuable is the Priority Pass Select membership that lets you and two others enter for free at the 1,000+ lounge locations that are all over the world!
If you were to buy the comparable Priority Pass Prestige annual membership with unlimited visits, you’d have to pay $399 per year plus $27 for each additional guest. This benefit alone exceeds the annual fee if you visit Priority Pass lounges on a regular basis. Even if you don’t you have to pay $27 per visit as a basic Priority Pass member plus the $99 annual fee.
Earn 3x Points on Dining and Travel (once eligible)
It doesn’t matter which country you buy lunch in, you’re always going to earn 3 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent. Chase also waives the foreign transaction fee so you never have to worry about losing your rewards to sneaky fees.
To earn 3 points on travel, you’ll first need to earn your $300 travel credit. Once earned, you will immediately be able to 3x points on travel.
If you spend $100 on a plane ticket, you’ll get 300 points if you book it directly from the airline or a third-party booking site like Priceline. Other flexible travel rewards credit cards might only offer bonus points if you book your flight directly from the carrier. Really, how “flexible” is that?
On all non-bonus categories, you will earn 1 point per dollar spent.
Global Entry Application Fee Reimbursement
Have you ever wondered how so many people skip the long security lines when coming back into the United States or hopping onto a domestic flight? It’s because they have a Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership.
While you don’t have to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve to apply for Global Entry, Chase will reimburse the $100 application fee. If you only opt for TSA Precheck–where you don’t need a passport to apply–the $85 application fee is reimbursed too.
You need to reapply for Global Entry or TSA Precheck every five years and while this benefit won’t save you a ton of money, it’s a nice perk that very few credit cards offer. And, it’s not every day that you get a $100 back from the credit card company.
It’s Cheaper Than the Platinum Card from American Express
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is cheaper than its largest alternative, The Platinum Card® from American Express which has an annual fee of $550 per year (See Rates & Fees). The Amex Platinum is a solid premium rewards card too with some attractive perks for frequent flyers but it’s also more restricting than the Sapphire Reserve.
For instance, you only get a $200 annual travel credit that can only be applied to incidental airline fees like baggage fees and in-flight purchases. You might be able to justify the additional $100 annual fee if you can use at least half of the $200 in annual Uber credits, but if you don’t ride Uber on a regular basis, the Amex Platinum is a no-go if you can’t optimize its other travel benefits.
Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Worth It?
Are you going to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve now? Frequent flyers will benefit the most from the Sapphire Reserve, but the 1:1 point transfers and flexible travel credit also benefit other travelers too. If you’re not loyal to a particular airline or hotel brand, the Sapphire Reserve lets you earn unlimited bonus points on every travel purchase and you can save money on some of the other recurring travel expenses you might be paying for already.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Score Needed
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 1:1 Ultimate Rewards Point Transfers
- 3 Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Annual Travel Credit
- 4 Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership
- 5 Earn 3x Points on Dining and Travel (once eligible)
- 6 Global Entry Application Fee Reimbursement
- 7 It’s Cheaper Than the Platinum Card from American Express
- 8 Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Worth It?