Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Stella Shon
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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Chase Sapphire Reserve® is widely touted as one of the most lucrative travel rewards credit cards on the market. But no matter which way you look at things, a $550 annual fee is a lot of money. It’s a good idea to consistently reevaluate card membership year after year, even with the best credit cards. Should you keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, or should you cancel it?
Although keeping or canceling a credit card is a largely personal decision, understanding how others utilize perks and reap card benefits may make it easier to assess your own situation. With worldwide situations like inflation, COVID-19 pandemic recovery, and wars, many of us are facing similar changes in the way we spend. That makes annual evaluations an excellent idea for all cardholders. Plus, many credit cards on the market are also getting makeovers, and it may not make sense to keep a card that offers a specific perk if other cards you possess also offer that same perk.
Even though the cards in my wallet renew at different times of the year, I typically do an annual evaluation at the end of each year, with a general spending plan and idea of what cards I’ll keep, cancel, and apply for in the coming year.
I’ll walk you through my personal situation, as well as some of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card‘s advantages and disadvantages, and let you in on my final decision on whether or not I’ll keep or cancel my Chase Sapphire Reserve card in 2024. Although everyone’s financial and personal situations are different, I hope you find value in this assessment and that it inspires you to do similar assessments of the credit cards in your wallet as 2023 comes to a close.Hot Tip:
Don’t have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card yet? Qualified new applicants are eligible for the welcome offer. Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
Below, I’ll run through my personal situation, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card benefits I find the most and least useful, how I maximize the card’s points currency (Chase Ultimate Rewards), some important things to consider when deciding to keep the card, and my final decision on whether I’m keeping, canceling, or downgrading the card.
Follow along as I establish some parameters that will help me evaluate my card.
First of all, it’s important to understand that I live in Spain, so I can’t take advantage of certain card benefits useful to many U.S.-based cardholders, such as the card’s DoorDash credits and Lyft benefits. Although I’m in the U.S. about once or twice per year, those benefits aren’t worthwhile for me.
I originally signed up for the card when it first launched nearly 8 years ago, and I’ve been a loyal cardmember ever since. I was initially intrigued by the hefty welcome bonus offer, high points category bonuses, and Priority Pass lounge access.
Several years ago, fewer cards offered lounge access as a perk (the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card didn’t exist yet), and the annual fee was lower. Since Chase raised the annual fee a few years back, I’ve taken an even closer look each year to confirm I’m still gaining enough value from the card to keep it.
This year, I bought an apartment in Spain, which I’ve entirely gutted. I have many renovation costs to consider, as well as spending for furnishing and decorating my new home. Very few cards offer bonus points for these types of purchases, especially at home improvement or home goods stores outside of the U.S.
While I already used some of the larger purchases to meet the spend bonus on The World of Hyatt Credit Card I most recently applied for, I do have some additional spending coming up I could put on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card at big box home stores, or shops like Zara Home and IKEA, just to name a few.
Beyond that, I frequently spend on dining, Uber Eats/food deliveries, and travel — especially on hotels not part of points programs or flights when I don’t pay with points. Because I live in Europe, my airfare spending isn’t quite as cut-and-dried as a flyer in the U.S. loyal to a particular U.S.-based airline. Although I often fly with Iberia, British Airways, or Qatar Airways as a Oneworld flyer, I also end up on airlines like Air Europa, Lufthansa, TAP, and Air France, as well as more obscure or low-cost airlines like Vueling, Binter Canarias, Transavia, easyJet, or Ryanair.
I checked my credit score to make sure if it was dinged for canceling a card, it wouldn’t get too low. My credit score is in the excellent range, so I feel confident that even if I cancel the card and my score drops a bit, I’ll still be able to get approved for other cards.
When deciding to keep certain cards, it’s important to consider what other cards I also have. This is what’s currently in my wallet as we end 2023:
I’m also an authorized user on my husband’s 2 Spanish-based cards, the Iberia Plus Icon Visa, which gives him Iberia Silver status if he spends more than €9,000 ($9,500) per year and allows us to directly accrue Iberia Avios, and his Tarjeta Gold American Express (Spain’s version of the American Express® Gold Card, but with different benefits than the U.S. version) which gives us statement credits and offers 30% transfer bonuses to Iberia Avios, as well as dependable yearly retention offers. Note that these particular cards are only available to Spanish citizens and residents.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers up to $300 in statement credit reimbursements each year for travel purchases. The flexibility of this credit is one of my favorite benefits that any credit card offers. Chase states that merchants in the category include things like “airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rentals agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.”
Whether it’s a flight, hotel, metro tickets, or just a collection of Uber rides, I love that this $300 credit is valid on practically any type of travel. This takes my annual fee down from $550 to $250.
Cardholders earn 3x points on dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out, as well as on other travel worldwide after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
Since I travel and dine out frequently, this is a benefit that can easily add up. If I spent even just a few hundred dollars each month on those purchases (let’s say $400), that’s 1,200 points a month on metro passes and taxi rides for my family and a few meals out and deliveries in. So, not counting larger travel purchases or purchases anywhere else, I can earn nearly 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points each year on monthly spending that doesn’t include groceries, daycare for my son, or other frequent costs, making it easy to rake in those points.
Chase has 10+ airline and hotel transfer partners to which Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can transfer their Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
I mainly transfer Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt and Iberia Plus at a 1:1 ratio. While my Amex points also transfer to Iberia, it’s easier for me to bulk up Chase points faster, thanks to the aforementioned 3x points on travel and dining. Plus, Chase also offers occasional bonuses on Iberia transfers (as does Amex), which can make Ultimate Rewards points even more lucrative.
World of Hyatt is also a transfer partner of Chase. Since many Hyatt properties have relatively affordable award nights, I really appreciate the option to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt. This partnership is even more valuable because you can’t transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Hyatt.
Upgraded Points considers Chase Ultimate Rewards points to be worth 2 cents per point, though using them in the Chase travel portal offers a 1.5 cent-per-point value. However, I tend to get much more value out of my Chase points, as I regularly transfer them to the aforementioned travel partners.
How I Extract Maximum Value Out Of My Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
I recently used 200,000 Chase points to book 5 round-trip tickets in economy for my husband, son, my in-laws, and myself between Madrid (MAD) and Chicago (ORD) during the expensive peak summer travel season. Cash prices were $1,100, or a reasonable 40,000 Iberia Avios round-trip per person. After transferring my points to Avios, I received 2.8 cents per point in value and paid a few hundred dollars for taxes and fees.
I also transferred Ultimate Rewards points to Iberia for a one-way ticket in business class from Mexico City (MEX) to Madrid. Cash prices were just over $3,000, and I used 42,000 Ultimate Rewards points that converted to 42,000 Iberia Avios, offering me a value of a whopping 7.1 cents per point, more than 3 times what Upgraded Points values Ultimate Rewards points. This trip alone made the annual fee well worth it, even when you add in the few hundred I spent on taxes and fees.
I won’t always earn 250,000 Chase points each year, but I still have about 35,000 in my account right now. With the expected spend on my new home, I hope to earn enough points to transfer to Hyatt so I can book an all-inclusive property in Punta Cana. I’d like to stay for a few nights at a hotel like the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana or a Dreams Hotel property. Hotel prices run between $300 to $800 per night for a family of 3, so even if I have to spend 25,000 to 45,000 points per night, I’m still getting a deal.Hot Tip:
As you can see, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points can offer you massive value — well beyond just 2 cents per point. Read our guide to the best ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for the highest value.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a Visa Infinite credit card that has no foreign transaction fees.
Living in Spain, it’s harder to use American Express here than Visa, so I appreciate that my Chase Sapphire Reserve card is accepted at almost all major retailers. For example, the company I used to build my kitchen cabinets, my son’s daycare, my main grocery store, and my gym all accept Visa, but not American Express. Thanks to the broad acceptance of this Visa card, I’m able to put a lot of additional spending on the card and earn more points, especially for monthly reoccurring purchases like daycare and the gym.
It is worth noting that little by little, more shops, restaurants, and other businesses in Spain are starting to accept American Express cards. However, it’s still a slow process, so having a Visa or Mastercard is still essential here, at least in Madrid.
Since I primarily spend abroad, the fact that the card has no foreign transaction fees is essential for my purchasing power.
With card membership, you get 1 statement credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS charged to your card.
In 2024, I need to renew my mom’s Global Entry renewal (paid for using my card 4 years prior) and also get it for my son, so I plan to keep 2 credit cards that offer a Global Entry statement credit. Even though I’ve already proved the card pays for itself, this takes my annual fee down from $250 to $150.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can sign up for complimentary Priority Pass Select membership to get access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with up to 2 guests.
While I hold other credit cards that offer Priority Pass lounge access, I’m not sure if I’ll be keeping those cards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the only card I hold that offers access to Priority Pass restaurants — the Amex Platinum card and the Capital One Venture X card don’t allow that.
For me, Priority Pass lounge access is fundamental because the Madrid airport has several nice Priority Pass lounges. In fact, the nationally-owned AENA company, which operates the airports in Spain, has lounges in virtually every major airport in Spain: the AENA Sala VIPs, which allow Priority Pass members in. These lounges feature comfortable work and relaxing spaces, tasty dining options, and free booze. Some also have kids’ play areas or outdoor terraces, and many are brand new or have been recently renovated.
Since I often fly between Madrid and Barcelona, the Canary Islands, Alicante, or Ibiza, I’m able to access these lounges, relax, and eat for free, even if I’m flying a low-cost carrier like Ryanair. I usually fly at least once a month, so if I’m able to visit a lounge both there and back, that’s at least 24 lounge visits a year — if not more.
I find it useful to have the Priority Pass restaurant credit option available because I often fly to Tucson (TUS) in Arizona to visit my parents, where I can use it at Barrio Brewery Company in the airport. I also frequently fly to London Gatwick (LGW), which has 3 different dining options where you can use Priority Pass.
A Priority Pass Prestige membership costs $469 annually, and like my Priority Pass Select membership I have through my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, this includes unlimited visits. The Priority Pass Standard Plus membership, the next tier down, is $329, but that only includes 10 visits each year. With either membership, you’ll still have to pay for guests — $35 per guest per visit. This takes my annual fee down from $150 to -$279, plus whatever I’d have to pay for my husband and son to access the lounge when we travel together.
If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you get access to any Sapphire Lounge by The Club location around the world.
While I haven’t been able to visit a Chase Sapphire Lounge just yet, as more open in the coming years, I’m hoping to get to one soon. I won’t value this as a specific number, but it is a benefit I’m intrigued by and could see becoming more valuable in the future, especially if Chase continues to expand its lounge portfolio.Hot Tip:
So far, Chase Sapphire Lounge has been a hit with the Upgraded Points team. Read our rave review of the Chase Sapphire Lounge in Boston.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a slew of useful travel protections and insurance, such as:
Read the fine print for further details.
I’ll be honest — I haven’t had to use these travel protections (yet), and I hope I never have to. But it does give me enormous peace of mind to have them, especially when traveling abroad or with my family, as many protections extend to my spouse and child. And while other cards offer similar protections, this card has some of the best — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, for example, doesn’t offer emergency evacuation and transportation.Hot Tip:
Many travel credit cards offer various levels of travel insurance. Here are our top picks for the best credit cards for travel insurance.
Certain benefits may be more or less valuable to some people, depending on your spending and travel situation. Living abroad, I unfortunately can’t take advantage of some of the card’s benefits. These are the ones I personally find the least useful for my situation.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get a complimentary DashPass from DoorDash for 12 months and $5 monthly DoorDash credits through December 31, 2024. I wish I could take advantage of this as I frequently order in, but the company isn’t available in Spain.
Chase Sapphire Reserve card membership includes a complimentary, 2-year Lyft Pink All Access membership, 10x points on Lyft rides, and other Lyft benefits when activated by December 31, 2024.
Lyft doesn’t operate in Spain, which means I won’t really be able to take advantage of any of these benefits.
Cardmembers earn 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels (excluding The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection) and car rentals when purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually and Chase Dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards. While I could take advantage of this, I usually prefer to book my flights directly with their airline for ease. Same with hotels, especially points hotels.
However, I will take extra time to look at the Chase travel portal before purchasing travel in 2024. If I’m able to get a great deal, I might consider booking through the portal, but in most cases, it’s cheaper to book directly. And if something goes wrong, it’s a lot easier to solve if I’ve booked directly through the hotel, airline, or rental company.
Points are worth 50% more value when redeemed for travel through Chase with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel in the Chase travel portal (1.5 cents per point). While this may be useful for some, transferring points to travel partners allows me to extract nearly triple that value or even more.
Booking a hotel that’s part of The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection offers Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders additional benefits, like resort credits, free breakfast, upgrades, and early check-in and late checkout. However, I much prefer to book a hotel via Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, which offers the same benefits but has nearly double the amount of properties — and my Amex Platinum card gives me a yearly prepaid hotel statement credit of up to $200.
If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you get the following car rental benefits as a Visa Infinite cardholder:
Cardholders also get 10x points on car rentals booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
While this is a nice perk to have if you frequently rent vehicles, I rarely rent cars anymore. If we do, we use my husband’s Hertz Gold Plus President’s Circle status, which he gets from his Spanish Amex Gold card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can get a complimentary Instacart membership and $15 per month in statement credits through July 2024.
Groceries are expensive, and I would love to take advantage of this benefit for ease and to save money each month using statement credits. However, Instacart isn’t available in Spain.
The verdict is in, if you haven’t already gleaned from my detailed benefits analysis: I’m holding on to my Chase Sapphire Reserve card for at least another year.
Even though I can’t reap all the benefits of the card due to my location, the annual fee still pays for itself, and I’m able to extract a massive amount of value from the card by transferring Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners.
For the card to continue to provide value for me, I need to have a significant amount of expenditures to build up my bank of points, so I’ll have to evaluate my spending year by year. Of course, perks like the travel credit and travel partners that I frequently use also play a part in my hanging onto the card for another year.
Whether you intend to definitely get rid of your card or are just considering it, you can call Chase in anticipation of your renewal date. Explain that you’re thinking about canceling the card and see if you’re offered a retention offer. If you are, you’ll have to weigh the terms to you to see if they outweigh paying the annual fee.
While there’s never a guarantee you’ll get a retention offer, it’s definitely worth a try. Some examples of a retention offer may include a waived annual fee, statement credits, statement credits with a minimum spend requirement, bonus points, or bonus points with required spending.
Credit card holders should consider doing evaluations each year to see if hanging on to each credit card in their wallet is worth it.
When doing a credit card evaluation, understand that canceling cards can temporarily lower your credit score. You may want to consider downgrading to a no-fee card instead, which might make more sense. It’s also important to understand what happens to your points if you cancel the card, which varies depending on the card, bank, and what other cards you hold.
When doing an evaluation, follow these steps:
If you’ve decided to downgrade your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll have to downgrade to a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points to retain your points.
There are a few rules to note. You can’t downgrade your Chase Sapphire Reserve card before 12 months of card membership, and you can’t downgrade to a business card. Our best recommendation is to downgrade to a card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Chase Freedom Flex℠.
Although you can downgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, it may be best to wait 48 months and then apply for that card to take advantage of what’s usually a decent welcome bonus offer.
The most comparable card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is probably the Amex Platinum card. Although the card’s annual fee is significantly higher at $695 (rates & fees), the Amex Platinum card offers a slew of luxury travel benefits ideal for big spenders or those who value annual statement credits (enrollment required) or access to coveted Centurion Lounges.
Check out our card comparison posts, where we compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve card to other credit cards on the market:
Canceling or keeping credit cards is a largely personal choice. However, it’s one that’s relatively simple to make by weighing the perks and benefits of the card against the annual fee. You should also take into account your personal situation, travel style, card benefits, annual spending, and credit score. Don’t forget to think about the other credit cards you have in your wallet, too. Annual card evaluations can help you streamline your cards, ensure you understand how to best take advantage of all the benefits, and later, best reap the rewards you’ll earn.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
Log in to your Chase account and navigate to your monthly statements. Go back through them until you find the last date your annual fee was charged. This is your renewal date. Mark your Chase Sapphire Reserve card renewal date in your calendar as an annual recurring event so you always know when your card renews.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points never expire, but you will lose them if you cancel your card. Plan to either transfer or use your points before canceling or consider downgrading your card to another Ultimate Rewards-earning card instead so you can retain your points.
Unfortunately, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card doesn’t have a points incentive for renewing the card each year. You could call to see if you might be provided with a retention offer, but there are no guarantees. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card gives you 10,000 additional Chase Ultimate Rewards points on your account anniversary each year.
You won’t be able to earn a welcome bonus for 4 years if you’ve just earned one. You have to wait 48 months from the date of your welcome offer to earn a new one. Plus, you can only have 1 Sapphire card at a time.
Deciding what credit cards to keep and cancel is a decision you should make based on your spending, personal situation, credit score, and other factors. Although some of the card benefits overlap, it may be advantageous to have both, assuming you utilize the perks and benefits enough to outweigh the hefty annual fees.
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This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.