Is The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Really Worth It? [Detailed]

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You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card. It’s a popular card for good reason — it offers lots of premium benefits and perks. But, it also comes with a hefty annual fee.

So, is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card actually worth it? Here’s a look at the benefits of the card and weighs those benefits against the annual fee to help you decide if this card deserves a place in your wallet.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Welcome Bonus

One of the first things you should look at when evaluating a new credit card is the welcome bonus. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a generous welcome bonus that more than makes up for the card’s annual fee without even taking into account the other benefits.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve
Image Credit Shutterstock.com

Key Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

One of the best features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is that it allows you to earn lots of valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

With this card, you’ll earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all travel and dining purchases! Plus, you’ll still earn 1 Ultimate Reward point per dollar on all other purchases.

Ultimate Rewards points are usually worth 1 cent each when used in the Chase Travel Portal. But, when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each — that’s 50% more value!

You can then use your points in the Chase Travel Portal to book hotels, flights, rental cars, cruises, activities, and vacation packages.

The Chase Travel Portal operates like an online travel agency (think Priceline or Orbitz), but instead of using a credit card to pay for your travel, you can use your Ultimate Rewards points.

Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a powerhouse when it comes to earning points. This card earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points/$1 spent on dining and travel. The travel category on this card is really broad and includes things like hotels, flights, rental cars, parking, timeshares, cruises, campgrounds, buses, taxis, and online travel agencies.

Chase Airline and Hotel Transfer Partners

Within the Chase Travel Portal, you can also transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to one of Chase’s hotel or airline partners where their value can increase even more! Having the Chase Sapphire Reserve card grants you access to all of Chase’s hotel and airline transfer partners.

Your Ultimate Rewards points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio to these great partners:

Chase Airline Transfer Partners

Chase Airline Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Chase > Airline)
Transfer Time
Aer Lingus AerClub1,0001:1Almost Instant
British Airways Executive Club1,0001:1Almost Instant
Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
1,0001:11 hour
Emirates Skywards1,0001:1New, pending reports
Iberia Plus1,0001:1Almost Instant
JetBlue1,0001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
1,0001:11-2 days
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards1,0001:1Almost Instant
United Airlines MileagePlus1,0001:1Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1,0001:1Almost Instant

Chase Hotel Transfer Partners

Chase Hotel Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer RatioTransfer Time
World of Hyatt
1,0001:1Almost Instant
IHG Rewards Club1,0001:11 day
Marriott Rewards1,0001:12 days

Pair the Chase Sapphire Reserve with Other Chase Cards

Having the Sapphire Reserve card in your wallet can actually make some of your other Chase cards (like the Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited®) more valuable.

When you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the points you earn on your Freedom or Freedom Unlimited cards can be transferred to your Chase Sapphire Reserve, and as mentioned above, these points then become 50% more valuable.

The points you earn on the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited are worth 1 cent each when taken in cash-back or used for travel in the Chase Travel Portal. But, when you have a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer those points to the premium card to either use them in the travel portal for 1.5 cents each or you can transfer them to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners.

Hot Tip: Get the dynamic duo! Pair the Chase Sapphire Reserve card with the Freedom Unlimited card for maximum earnings. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining with your Sapphire Reserve and 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases with your Freedom Unlimited. Pairing these 2 cards together is a great way to earn a lot of Chase points fast.

Premium Travel Benefits

$300 Annual Travel Credit

One of the most important benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the $300 annual travel credit. You will get up to $300 in statement credits each year for travel purchases charged to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card. These charges can include things like hotels, flights, cruises, tolls, taxis, parking, and more. The credits will be automatically applied to your statement until you reach the $300 maximum.

If you are a frequent traveler, this is as good as cash, and this makes the Sapphire Reserve’s steep annual fee much easier to swallow.

Bottom Line: After taking into account the $300 annual travel credit, you’ll only need to earn 10,000 points to cover the rest of the annual fee. Remember that the travel category can include things like parking, tolls, and taxis! So, if you spend more than $277 per month on dining and travel, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is worth it for you.

TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Fee Credit

Enjoying expedited security is a nice perk for those of us who are frequent travelers. It’s even better when it’s complimentary.

Every 4 years you can receive a fee reimbursement for a TSA PreCheck or a Global Entry fee that’s charged to your Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

Complimentary Airport Lounge Access

Another perk that can make a long trip more comfortable is airport lounge access. Whether you enjoy a pre-flight snack, complimentary beverages, or a quiet space to work before a flight, airport lounge access is a great perk to have.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll get a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. This grants you and up to 2 guests access to over 1,000 lounges over 5,00 cities worldwide.

Woman Working in Airport Lounge
If you’re a frequent traveler, why not have a card that makes travel even better with access to over 1,000 airport lounges? Image Credit:  Olena Yakobchuk via Shutterstock

Purchasing a Priority Pass membership separately costs hundreds of dollars, making this a valuable benefit provided by the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Hot Tip: After taking into account the $300 annual travel credit, you can make up the rest of the annual fee with just a couple of lounge visits!

The Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection

As a Chase Sapphire Reserve card holder you’ll have access to special benefits at over 900 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide including daily breakfast for 2, room upgrades, and early check-in and late check-out.

Travel With Confidence

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers lots of benefits that can be hard to quantify. When you need them, they can be invaluable, but hopefully you won’t need them often!

Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance

If your trip gets cut short due to sickness, extreme weather, or other select situations, you’ll be covered up to $10,000 per person ($20,000 per trip). These benefits cover you and your immediate family for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.

If this benefit is high up on your list of needs, consider other cards that offer trip cancellation/interruption insurance.

Lost Luggage Insurance

This benefit covers the costs you incur to repair or replace checked and/or carry-on baggage due to physical loss, theft, or damage if the loss or damage occurs during a covered trip on a common carrier.

To be eligible, you need to report the loss as soon as you exit the carrier, and you need to submit a claim with the carrier first. This benefit covers you and your immediate family. There is a maximum of $3,000 in benefits for each covered person.

Hot Tip: If you’re looking to upgrade your luggage, explore our product guides on the best checked bags and best carry-on bags to ensure that you’re traveling with luggage that is designed for how you travel.

Trip Delay Reimbursement

Trip delay reimbursement provides up to $500 per purchased ticket for reasonable expenses if your trip is delayed more than 6 hours or overnight by covered situations, including equipment failure or severe weather. This benefit applies to you and your immediate family.

Emergency Evacuation and Transportation

If you’re far from home and require emergency evacuation as a result of an injury or illness, you’re covered for medical expenses and transportation up to $100,000. This benefit extends to your immediate family members.

Drive With Confidence

An Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is a form of insurance that offers protection against damage or theft of your rental car. The coverage provided by the Chase Sapphire Reserve is primary, meaning you don’t have to file a claim with any other insurance first.

This coverage applies to rentals in the U.S. as well as most other countries worldwide. Your coverage extends to any additional drivers listed on your rental agreement, plus any authorized users on your card and additional drivers listed on the car rental agreements.

Car on highway
Image Credit: Shutterstock

To activate your coverage, be sure to decline the policy offered by the car rental agency and pay for your entire rental with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card. You’ll be covered up to $75,000 for theft or collision damage.

Don’t forget, when you rent a car using your Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll also be earning 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar!

Hot Tip: For more information, explore our complete guide to maximizing your Chase Sapphire Reserve car rental coverage.

Shop With Confidence

Purchase Protection

Chase purchase protection provides reimbursement or repair for qualifying items purchased with your card in the event of theft or accidental damage. To qualify, at least part of your purchase needs to be made with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card or points from your Chase Sapphire Reserve account.

If the item you purchased is stolen or accidentally damaged within 120 days from the date of purchase, you can receive a replacement, repair, or reimbursement for your item.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s purchase protection policy is capped at $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Girl shopping with credit card
Image Credit: Billion Photos via Shutterstock

Return Protection

The Chase Sapphire Reserve return protection policy covers you in the event a store won’t take back an item within 90 days of purchase. Coverage is for $500 per item with a limit of $1,000 per year.

Extended Warranty Protection

Extended warranty coverage increases the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of an item by 1 year if the original warranty is less than 3 years. At least part of the item needs to have been purchased with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card or points in your Chase Sapphire Reserve account.

Each claim has a $10,000 maximum, and each account has a maximum of $50,000.

Who Should Get the Chase Sapphire Reserve

While there are a ton of benefits that come with this card, it still might not be the right choice for some people.

The ideal cardholder for the Chase Sapphire Reserve is someone who:

  • Spends more than $277 per month on travel and dining expenses
  • Wants TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • Wants access to airport lounges
  • Enjoys exclusive benefits at premium hotels

The Chase Sapphire Reserve might not be the right card for you if you:

Final Thoughts

There are so many reasons to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. For many travelers, this card is a no brainer. But, if you are on the fence, it’s good to weigh all of your options. If you still aren’t quite sure if this card is right for you, check out some of our posts comparing the Sapphire Reserve to other popular credit cards:

If you’ve decided the Chase Sapphire Reserve isn’t the best card for you, there are still a ton of great options out there with lots of different types of benefits, earning potential, and annual fees. Soon enough, you’ll find the card that’s just right for you.


FAQ

How much do you have to spend to make the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it?

After taking into account the $300 annual travel credit, you would need to spend at least $277 on travel and dining expenses each month to make the Sapphire Reserve worth it. You could also spend $833 on purchases that aren’t travel or dining to make up the remainder of the annual fee. This doesn’t take into account the generous welcome bonus which more than covers the annual fee on its own.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve better?

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred offer solid travel benefits. Which card is the right one for you will depend on a lot of factors. Generally if you spend a good amount of money on travel and dining (about $277 or more each month), the Sapphire Reserve will be worth the annual fee. Check out this post for more information comparing these cards: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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