Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Review

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Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

If you plan on doing a lot of traveling, Chase Sapphire Reserve offers the most benefits in that category, including larger bonuses for travel expenses and better perks while you’re on the road.

However, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers the same value for its sign-up bonus and still features decent travel perks and flexibility on where you spend your points. Couple that with its much lower annual fee, and it may prove more attractive if you stay closer to home.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. The Platinum Card from American Express

The choice between these two cards comes down to whether you want ways to earn more rewards or offers of more luxury. While with Chase Sapphire Reserve you can earn rewards from travel and grocery purchases that The Platinum Card from American Express lacks, the latter card has cushy travel benefits such as elite hotel status and concierge services.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Citi Prestige Credit Card

These cards tie when it comes to APR and sign-up bonuses, but Chase Sapphire Reserve takes the lead in rewards flexibility. The Citi Prestige Credit Card offer is slightly cheaper with its yearly and balance transfer fees, but overall, Chase Sapphire Reserve has a more diverse mix of benefits.

The cheaper fees of the Citi Prestige Credit Card may not make enough of a difference for most users, but the card does offer some differentiating features such as cellphone protection and identity theft support.

Earning Rewards

Approximate annual rewards value: $408
Sign-up bonus value: None
First-year rewards value: $1,158

Chase Sapphire Reserve delivers three points per dollar on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides (valid through March 2022), three points on up to $1,000 in monthly grocery store purchases made from Nov. 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, and three points per dollar on dining purchases. All other purchases earn one point per dollar. While that base rate might seem low, you can squeeze out a lot of value, depending on how you redeem your rewards.

A lot of the card’s value is stored in travel benefits, but if you don’t travel often, earning enough rewards each year to offset the annual fee will be tough.

Based on average spending data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can earn an estimated 27,200 points each year. That’s worth $272 for most redemption options, $408 when you book travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards, or potentially even more with the card’s transfer partners.

Expenditure Annual cost Point per dollar earning rate Annual points earned
Groceries (after Apr 30, 2021) $4,400 One 4,400
Dining $3,400 Three 10,200
Apparel and services $1,800 One 1,800
Flights and hotels $1,000 Three 3,000
Gas $2,000 One 2,000
Entertainment $3,000 One 3,000
Personal care products and services $800 One 800
All other expenditures $2,000 One 2,000
Total annual points earned 27,200
Total annual value when redeemed for travel $408

Values for each spending category are based on average data from the 2017 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. Each category is rounded to the nearest $100.

Accelerate your earnings in the first few months with the card’s 50,000-point sign-up bonus. To earn the bonus, spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Once you meet that goal, you will receive $750 worth of points if you redeem your points for travel through Chase.

A popular strategy for maximizing the rewards you earn with Chase Sapphire Reserve is pairing it with one of Chase’s no-annual-fee cards, especially one that receives bonus rewards in categories outside of dining and travel. Chase allows you to transfer points from other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards, which you can then redeem at Chase Sapphire Reserve’s bonus travel rate.

How to Redeem Rewards

Redemption value makes Chase Ultimate Rewards one of the best rewards programs in the credit card industry. The card offers exceptional value when you use points to book travel through Chase and potentially even more value using the right redemption strategy with a transfer partner.

When booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, your points are worth 50% more. As a result, this redemption option is a no-brainer.

But you may be able to identify even more valuable redemption options through Chase’s airline and hotel partners. According to U.S. News research, a handful of these partners offer average redemption values higher than 1.5 cents per point:

Chase travel partner Average value of points or miles
British Airways Executive Club 2.51 cents
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards 1.37 cents
United Airlines MileagePlus 1.69 cents
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 5.29 cents
World of Hyatt 1.99 cents

Keep in mind, though, that if you use your rewards to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’re limited to the options available on the platform. While the selection is extensive, you may not have as much flexibility as other general travel cards.

APR

Chase Sapphire Reserve has some impressive features, but APR isn’t one of them. The card has no introductory 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers, so you’ll be on the hook for interest on any balance you carry. Paying your balance in full each month is a good idea to avoid interest charges.

Chase Sapphire Reserves Annual Fee

Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee isn’t waived the first year and is the card’s biggest drawback.

If you want great travel rewards and a more modest annual fee, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card instead. But if you travel often enough to get more value from the card than what it costs, the fee could be money well spent.

The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which is typically 3% of every purchase you make abroad. It does, however, have an annual fee for authorized users at $75 per card and a late fee of up to $39.

Should You Get a Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

  • Can get more than $550 in value from the card annually
  • Redeem rewards only for travel bookings
  • Don’t plan to carry a balance
  • Want to take advantage of premium travel perks, trip protections and no foreign transaction fee

Questions About Chase Sapphire Reserve

Q: Is Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it?
A: Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, which is more than average. However, it has a total annual value of $408 when redeemed for travel, and a $300 annual travel credit. The card is worth it for cardholders who can take advantage of these features.

Q: How much is a point worth for this card?
A: Point values vary depending on how you redeem them.

Q: What credit score do you need for Chase Sapphire Reserve?
A: Prospective cardholders need an excellent credit score to be approved for Chase Sapphire Reserve. You should have a VantageScore of at least 781 to qualify.

Q: Can you upgrade from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to Chase Sapphire Reserve?
A: Yes, it’s possible to upgrade your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Contact Chase customer service to request an upgrade.

Q: Does Chase Sapphire Reserve get you into airport lounges?
A: Priority Pass Select membership is available to Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, offering access to more than 1,000 airport lounges.



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