Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card Review

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Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card Review

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"The Latest Premium Travel Card from Chase"

A new player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points in travel and dining while offering the perks of other luxury cards.

Apply Now (at Chase's secure site)

Often referred to as the top travel card on the market, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card combines elites travel benefits and perks with excellent point earning and redemption options.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® aims to help cardholders earn more points and travel more often — while keeping you covered in the process. With a reputation like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card has, there’s obviously a lot to unpack. So let’s jump straight in.

Card Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

Man Traveling Thailand
With Chase Ultimate Rewards, each purchase brings you closer to your next vacation. Image courtesy of Twinsterphoto via Shutterstock.

As one of the best travel credit cards on the market, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is obviously ideal for individuals who love to travel and want a card that will help them not only travel more, but enhance those travel experiences.

If you need a card that offers great travel insurance and purchase protection, elite benefits like lounge access and Global Entry, and fantastic point earnings on the things you spend the most on, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better card than this one.

Great Card If

Don't Get If

  • You do not enjoy travel
  • You prefer a cash-back credit card to points
  • You cannot afford or justify the $450 annual fee

Card Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $450
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    None
  • Interest Rates
    • 19.24% - 26.24% Variable
  • Balance Transfers
    • 19.24% - 26.24% Variable
    • Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 27.24% Variable
    • Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

How to Earn More Chase Points

Travel and Dining Expenses

As mentioned, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3x points per $1 on all travel and dining purchases. This includes any travel or dining purchases that you make outside of the U.S. as well — and with no foreign transaction fees, you’ll be racking up the points without any hidden fees.

Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can provide you with some incredible value, you’ll want to make this your designated card for all travel and dining purchases you make.

Hot Tip: You may think that Chase only considers airfare or hotel stays as travel purchases, but you’d be mistaken! In fact, Chase considers all of the following as travel purchases: airfare, hotels (including Airbnb), cruises, discount travel sites, trains, buses, taxis (including Uber and Lyft), limousines, ferries, toll bridges, and parking garages. 

Chase Shopping Portal

Skip the traffic, skip the crowds, skip the lines, and get all your shopping done from your couch in your pajamas…while earning extra points for it?

It’s not too good to be true! With the Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal, you can earn anywhere from 1x-20x points per $1 when shopping online with companies like Apple, Macy’s, or Nike.

Adding More Ultimate Rewards-Earning Cards

If you want to increase your earning potential, you’ll want to consider adding some other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to your wallet. Consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which earns 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points on every $1 spent on the card with no caps.

Cardholders of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earn a massive 50% more points on purchases outside of travel and dining, as opposed to the 1x earned with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Curious what other Chase credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards? Here are some options recommended by the Upgraded Points team.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite starter travel rewards card which has a 60,000 point sign up bonus (highest ever) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The current bonus is worth $750 in travel purchases (e.g. flights, hotels, car rentals and with no blackout dates) when you redeem your points through Chase's travel portal which is easy to use. You could enjoy several round-trip flights or hotel stays with that 60k bonus.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Consider this premium card if you want to get into a lot of airport lounges. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $450 annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A simple, no annual fee card that earns you 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Just know that you won't get any travel benefits or the ability to earn bonus points with this card.

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card - This is our #1 recommended business card and comes with a whopping 80,000 sign up bonus after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This 80,000 bonus is worth $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases (e.g flights, hotels, car rentals). Earn lots of points by leveraging bonus categories, and also - if you pay for your cell phone bill with this card, you can get up to $600 in insurance coverage.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card - earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. In addition, get up to 5% cash back on a range of business expenses. A simple, $0 annual fee card.

Bottom Line: There are so many ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, that listing them all out would need its own post — so we did just that! Check out our article on the best ways to earn lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points

How to Use These Points for Max Value

One of the best things about Chase Ultimate Rewards points is how versatile they are. In fact, cardholders have 6 different redemption options (although they aren’t all created equally and can differ greatly in terms of value).

Transferring to Airline and Hotel Partners

If you were hoping we’d jump straight into the most lucrative redemption option, you’re in luck. Transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to their respective airline and hotel partners is often the best value redemption you can make.

Transfer partners allow you to redeem your points for luxurious business-class flights and hotel stays that could otherwise cost thousands of dollars.

Often this method is overlooked because cardholders feel that it is too complicated to bother with. But utilizing transfer partners isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think. If you need help getting started, check out our guide on Chase’s transfer partners and how to use them.

Park Hyatt Paris Vendome Exterior
Transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, and you can book award nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris. Image Courtesy of Booking.com.

Redeeming Points Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

If simplicity and flexibility are what you’re after, this is the method for you. With the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, you can save time and frustration by not having to worry about blackout dates, award space, or transfer partners.

In addition, your Chase Sapphire Reserve® points are worth 50% more than their cash-back value when booking rewards through the travel portal. This means each point you earn with the card is worth at least 1.5 cents when used through the travel portal. So if you earn 50,000 Ultimate Reward points, you could redeem those for $750 in travel purchases.

Redeeming for Gift Cards

Cardholders can also cash out their points in the form of gift cards if they so choose. Chase gives you the option of choosing gift cards from over 150 different brands, and each point is worth 1 cent toward the gift card — so a $100 Nike gift card would set you back 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

Redeeming for Cash-Back

If you’re not interested in travel, redeeming your points for cash-back could be the next best option. Chase allows you to redeem your points at a rate of 1 cent per point, which can be applied either as a statement credit or deposited directly into your bank account.

Use Points With Amazon or Apple

Similar to cash-back and gift cards, if you link your card with your Amazon and Apple accounts, Chase will allow you to use your points toward the purchase of items from either merchant. Again, with this method, your points will have a fixed value of 1 cent each.

Chase Experience Portal

An interesting feature offered by Chase is the option to redeem your points for VIP access to sports, entertainment, and dining experiences through their Chase Experience Portal. While it’s nice that these experiences are only available to Chase credit card holders, we generally wouldn’t advise using points for these — your points prices will often be tied to the cash value and only worth 1 cent each.

Bottom Line: Our top choice is using points with transfer partners for some incredible travel experiences. Due to this, we don’t recommend redeeming your points for cash-back, gift cards, or any other option that only earns you 1 cent per point in value. Here’s how you can travel like a pro and use your Chase points for maximum value

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
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

Competitor Cards

Platinum Card® from American Express 

Often mentioned alongside the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Platinum Card® is no slouch when it comes to a premium rewards credit card.

In fact, the Platinum Card® offers some of the best elite perks on the market, like Gold status with Marriott and Hilton hotels, access to American Express Centurion lounges and Delta SkyClubs, and even Uber and Saks Fifth Avenue credits.

So if you prefer a card that offers more elite perks and increased lounge access, then Platinum Card® might be a better option for you.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

While the Aspire Card is technically a hotel card, it still offers other travel benefits like airport lounge access and 7x Hilton points per $1 spent on airfare.

Not only that, but you’ll also receive a $250 Hilton resort credit, complimentary Diamond status, and 1 free annual weekend night at any Hilton hotel.

While Hilton points aren’t as valuable as Chase Ultimate Reward points, if you’re a Hilton loyalist who spends a large number of nights each year at their hotels, this could be the best card option for you.

FAQ

What is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®? Is it worth it?

This card is Chase’s new luxury travel card in their Ultimate Rewards lineup.

Similar to The Platinum Card® from American Express, this card has Priority Pass Select lounge access plus a $300 travel credit each year.

Additionally, you will get credited for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee every 4 years.

The card earns 3x points in travel and dining, which beats the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card‘s 2x points in the same categories. However, because there are so many benefits to the card, it costs $450 per year.

Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® fall under the Chase 5/24 rule?

Unfortunately it does. So if you have signed up for more than 5 Chase cards in the last 2 years, you will have to wait to sign up for the card.

Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® have lounge access?

Yes, the card has a Priority Pass Select Membership, which is the newest version of the Priority Pass Membership specific to financial institutions that provide memberships via reward cards.

Unfortunately, you will not have access to other airline lounges outside of Priority Pass such as Delta Sky Club, American Airlines Admirals Club, and United Club lounges.

How does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® travel credit work?

You simply make purchases in the travel category with your card, and the credit card issuer will automatically reimburse for the purchases until you reach the $300 limit. As of 8/26/18, you no longer earn the 3x points for your purchase.

How does the card stack up versus the Citi Prestige® Card?

The Citi Prestige® Card is in the similar luxury travel space, although costing more at $495 per year. However, instead of a $300 travel credit, the Citi Prestige® Card only has a $250 credit.

One unique feature of the Citi Prestige® Card is that you get a 4th night free when you book hotels with the card up to twice a year.

The big difference maker here is that the Citi Prestige® Card earns 5x on airline and dining purchases, 2 points more than you earn with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. However, the Citi Prestige® Card only earns 5x points for airfare purchases, whereas the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3x for all travel-related purchases.

What is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® annual fee?

The card has an annual fee of $450.

What is the Global Entry credit?

The Global Entry credit allows you to get credited for the $100 fee once every 4 years.

What are the car rental benefits that come with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

You can redeem your reward points in the Chase travel portal for a 50% discount on car rentals as well as other travel.

What are the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with benefits like a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass Lounge access, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, trip insurance, purchase protection, and 3x points earned on all of your travel and dining purchases.

Does the annual fee count toward the Chase Sapphire Reserve® minimum spend?

The annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is not counted toward the minimum spend requirement. Keep this in mind, as the annual fee will likely post on your first statement but this $450 is not counted toward your minimum spend requirement.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card metal?

Yes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is metal with a dark blue finish.

Do Chase Ultimate Rewards points expire?

No, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points will never expire as long as the account remains active. No qualifying activity is necessary. As long as you do not close the account, your points are safe.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® a charge card?

Unlike the Platinum® Card from American Express, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is not a charge card. Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders receive a set credit limit based on their creditworthiness. Since the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a Visa Infinite card, the minimum credit limit for approved applicants is $10,000.

Does Chase Sapphire Reserve® waive the annual fee for military?

Yes, if you are a member of the U.S. military, the $450 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is waived. You will receive all of the same benefits that the card offers at no out-of-pocket cost to you.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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