Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Review: Amazing Travel Perks and Great Rewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is simply one of the best credit cards on the market today. It combines a versatile rewards programs with elite travel perks and great rewards rates on common spending categories. That makes it a winner in just about every way.
If you use the Chase Sapphire Reserve regularly, you can get significant value. But its high annual fee could be an obstacle for some. It’s always worth it to compare cards and their rewards with the CardCruncher tool before you apply. But we can’t recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve highly enough. Here’s what you need to know.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Highlights
Annual Fee: $450
APR: 19.24% to 26.24%
Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points
Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits:
- $300 travel credit
- 50% more value if you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Option to transfer points to airline and hotel programs
- Complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges in the Priority Pass network
- Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application
- VIP access to rental-car programs
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Primary rental car insurance
- Baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement
- Emergency evacuation and transportation
- Emergency medical and dental benefit
- No foreign transaction fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve Minimum Payment: The greater of $25 or 1% of the full balance, plus the current statement’s interest charges, plus late fees.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Fees:
- 5% for balance transfers with a $5 minimum
- 5% for cash advances with a $10 minimum
- Up to $38 for late payments
- Up to $38 for returned payments
Why Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the hottest credit cards around, and for good reason:
Incredible rewards program
You’ll earn a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That’s a huge bonus, and can easily pay for a full vacation. The card also earns 3X points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.
Unlike most travel rewards programs, Chase Ultimate Rewards lets you redeem your points for $0.01 per point. If you book travel through Chase, though, each point is worth $0.015 apiece—a 50% boos in value. You can even potentially extract more value per point if you transfer your points to one of Chase’s travel partners, too.
The card’s $300 annual travel credit effectively drops its annual fee to $150, making that easier to digest. The card doesn’t stop there, though. With free access to Priority Pass lounges around the world, VIP access to National, Avis, and Silvercar programs, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit, the card easily recoups its annual fee.
Seemingly endless trip protections
The card offers a suite of travel insurance benefits that can save you a lot of money when you’re traveling. Not many cards offer as much or more than what this one offers with trip protections. That includes trip cancellation/interruption insurance; trip delay reimbursement; lost luggage reimbursement; auto rental collision damage waiver insurance; and emergency evacuation and transportation. Those can save your hundreds, if not thousands of dollars—and provide peace of mind whenever you’re away from home.
Chase Sapphire Reserve: Drawbacks and Downsides
No credit card is perfect, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve is no exception. Here are some drawbacks to think about before you take the leap and apply:
Big annual fee
The card’s benefits and rewards program can easily make up for its annual fee, but you can’t spread out the $450 charge over a year—it has to be paid in one lump. If that’s difficult for your budget, you may want a card with a more modest fee.
Maximizing rewards can be difficult
You’ll get a base rewards rate of 1.5% if you use your points to book travel through Chase, which is a solid value. But if you want to squeeze out even more value, you’ll have to get to know how Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners work. If you’re new to the travel rewards game, it can be a steep learning curve.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Alternatives
If you’re considering the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but want options for comparison, check out our favorites:
Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card from American Express doesn’t have quite as robust of a rewards program as Chase Ultimate Rewards, but you’ll get a lot more premium benefits. Some include up to $500 in annual credits, complimentary access to Priority Pass lounges plus Amex Centurion Lounges and a few other networks, elite status with hotel and rental-car programs, and more. If you’re into high-end travel perks, you should strongly consider the Amex Platinum Card.
The Citi Prestige offers a great sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. It also earns 5X points per dollar on air travel and dining, 3X points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines, and 1X point per dollar on everything else. Perks include a complimentary fourth night free when you book your hotel stay through ThankYou.com, a $250 annual travel credit, free access to Priority Pass lounges, and the option to transfer your points to a handful of airline programs. The card’s annual fee is $495.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred charges an annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95, but doesn’t offer nearly as many perks as the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You’ll earn a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, plus 2X points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1X point per dollar everywhere else.
Another big difference: Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth only 25% more ($0.0125) if you use them to book through Chase. Fortunately, you still have all the same transfer partners. That means you can still book with travel partners for better value. The Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t offer the premier travel perks, like lounge access, but does come with many of the same trip protections.
Chase Sapphire Reserve FAQs
Here are some answers to common questions we’ve found about the Chase Sapphire Reserve:
What credit score do you need for a Chase Sapphire Reserve card?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is targeted to consumers with excellent credit, which typically means a credit score in the upper 700s to 800s. Check your credit score using a free service like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, or Discover Credit Scorecard. If you’re not quite there yet, work on improving your credit before you apply.
Do Chase Sapphire Reserve points expire?
As long as your account is open and in good standing, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t expire. If you’re thinking of canceling the card at some point down the road, either use up your points or transfer them to another Chase card if you have one.
How do I redeem Chase Sapphire Reserve points?
The general redemption options include cash back, gift cards, paying with points on Amazon.com, booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and points transfers to travel partners.
Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
If you’re big on travel—or you want to be—the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great way to get serious rewards and benefits. Despite the card’s high annual fee, it’s easy to get value well beyond the card’s cost Just keep the annual fee in mind as you compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve with other top travel credit cards—and compare them on the CardCruncher tool to make sure it’s the right card for you.