Chase Sapphire Reserve® review
Earn 3x points on travel and dining, plus great travel benefits.
finder.com’s rating: 4.6 / 5
- Get this card if: you’re a frequent traveler who wants one of the top travel cards on the market.
- Pick something else if: you don’t travel enough to take advantage of this card’s benefits.
- Apply with an excellent credit score of 740 or higher.
Points as welcome offer
Up to 10x
16.99% to 23.99%
Purchase APR (variable)
|Product Name||Chase Sapphire Reserve®|
|Purchase APR||16.99% to 23.99% variable|
|Balance transfer APR||16.99% to 23.99% variable|
|Balance transfer fee||$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater|
|Cash advance rate||24.99% variable|
|Cash advance fee||$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater|
|Foreign transaction fee||None|
|Interest free period||Up to 21 days|
|Late payment fee||Up to $39|
|Returned payment fee||Up to $39|
|Additional cardholder fee||$75|
|Rates & fees||rates & fees|
Steven Dashiell is a credit cards writer at Finder. He's worked on 250 Finder articles and counting, helping readers embrace and maximize credit cards. Backed by nearly a decade of research and reporting experience, Steve's work can be seen on Debt.com, CreditCards.com and Lifehacker.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the premier travel rewards offering under the Ultimate Rewards banner. It comes with a 50,000-point welcome offer, 3x points on travel and dining, a $300 annual statement credit and $100 toward the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.
Of course, these perks don’t come cheap. You’ll need to pay a $550 annual fee to use this card. But if you’re adept at fully using your card’s given benefits, this is hardly a concern – the $300 statement credit and $100 application fee statement credits nearly pay for the entirety of the annual fee.
Given so many of the card’s benefits are centered around travel, you’re most likely to get the most out of this card if you travel at least a few times a year. But then again, this card is so feature-rich you might just start visiting those bucket list destinations.
What's in this review?
- How do I apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?
- What are the card's major benefits?
- Here's what to watch out for
- Is it really that good? How customers rate this card
- How does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® compare to other similar cards?
- Compare travel credit cards
- What kind of rewards can I earn with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®? Here's an example
- Well, who shouldn't get this card? Consider other cards if ...
- Here's how to make the most of your card
Is the annual fee worth it?
Absolutely. When my partner and I applied for this card, we made sure to do so a few months ahead of a planned cross-country trip.
Once we received the card, we booked our flights using it, instantly taking advantage of the $300 travel credit — a significant portion of our annual fee! Really, even a single trip can help take the bite out of your annual fee if you take advantage of all of the card’s features.
How do I apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?
Applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is simple and straightforward:
- Click Apply now.
- Fill out the required information and click Submit.
- Signup bonus.
Earn 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
- Earn points.
Earn 3x points on eligible travel and dining purchases and 10x points on Lyft car rides. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.
- Statement credit.
Enjoy an annual $300 statement credit on travel purchases. You’ll also enjoy a $100 travel credit toward the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years.
- Travel perks.
Enjoy complimentary Priority Pass access, a year of DashPass from DoorDash and Lyft Pink membership, travel protections and exclusive travel benefits.
- Annual fee.
Pay a $550 annual fee.
- No intro APR.
Paying interest on balances begins after your first statement.
- High credit score requirements.
You’ll need an excellent credit score to get this card.
Want your own? You’ll need this credit score
As the crème de la crème of Chase’s travel line — and arguably, Chase’s entire credit card line — you’ll need considerable credit chops to qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. You’ll want at least an excellent credit score of 740 or higher to qualify.
A few cardholders on Reddit suggest that if your credit score isn’t quite up to snuff, you can apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and upgrade after spending some quality time with the card. This is a sound strategy and can let you enjoy similar travel perks while you work your way toward the prize. Be aware that you’ll face a few restrictions due to Chase’s “One Sapphire” rule.
What makes this card tick? We looked at the highlights
What are the card’s major benefits?
- Earn Ultimate Rewards points.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3x points on eligible travel and dining purchases. This is a great earning rate, particularly given the value of Ultimate Rewards points. The Sapphire Reserve now also earns 10x points on Lyft car rides, a terrific earning rate and among the highest available for ride-shares.
- Welcome offer.
Spend $4,000 within your first 3 months of account opening and you’ll earn a substantial 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. That is roughly a $750 value when you redeem these through the Chase Travel portal.
- Statement credits.
Each year you’ll enjoy $300 back in statement credits on travel purchases. Plus your first year and every four years thereafter, you’ll receive a $100 statement credit toward the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
- Travel perks.
This card offers numerous travel benefits, including Priority Pass membership, a year of Lyft Pink and DashPass by DoorDash membership, concierge service and travel protections.
New limited-time perks and rewards from Chase
Chase has stealthily added several new perks to its premium Sapphire cards within recent months. While not explicitly stated, these perks appear aimed at helping consumers better earn rewards during the pandemic – a time where many are spending more on essentials and less on travel.
Here are the limited-time perks for each card, what the perks are and when offers end.
|Credit card||Limited-time perks||Availability|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Pay Yourself Back. Points are worth 50% more when you redeem them as statement credits against purchases in grocery stores, dining and home improvement stores.||May 31 through September 30, 2020|
|Earn 5x points on up to $500 in combined DoorDash and Tock purchases.||Ended May 31, 2020|
|Earn 5x points on grocery store purchases on up to $1,500 a month. Usually 1x points.||Ended June 30, 2020|
|Earn your $300 annual credit with grocery store and gas station purchases. Used to require travel purchases.||June 1 through end of 2020|
|Renewal annual fee lowered to $450.||July 1 through end of 2020. Renewals before this date will be original fee, but cardholders will receive a $100 credit.|
Deeper dive: That’s a big welcome offer
The Chase Sapphire Reserve®‘s welcome offer might be less generous than it once was, but is nonetheless straightforward and a great windfall for a vacation trip. However, you might have noticed that you’ll need to spend a steep $4,000 within your first 3 months of account opening to get the bonus. For some, this is a fairly sizable chunk of change.
My partner and I had a plan to hit this spending goal before we even applied for the card: get married! In fact, she and I chose to apply for the card based entirely around our wedding plans so that we could put our wedding expenses on the card.
If you were curious, even a minimal wedding is expensive, usually from costs you hadn’t even considered (who really needs chairs though?). It felt nice to slam the payment for our wedding venue on our card and receive a decent point payout that helped us book some much-needed summer travel.
If you’re unsure whether you can hit the spending cap for the welcome offer, you might consider taking the same route and apply when you know you have some big, expensive life events coming up. Even paying rent with your credit card can help push you that much closer to the cap.
Deeper dive: Is Priority Pass membership worth it?
As a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder, you’re entitled to a complimentary Priority Pass membership. The extensive network of airport lounges can take the edge off of travel by giving you a place to crash and enjoy some complimentary amenities and refreshments while you wait for your flight. This perk was one that I was looking forward to most since I pretty much equate my discomfort level waiting around in the airport to visiting the dentist.
Of course, that’s assuming your local airport offers Priority Pass lounges. All was well here in Phoenix Sky Harbor for our first month or so.
But soon after, the Sky Harbor Priority Pass lounge was shuttered. What’s more, the eligible discount restaurants and stores were removed from the Priority Pass program as well.
Unfortunately, you’ll be at the mercy of the to-and-fro negotiations of Priority Pass and the pre-existing lounges at participating airports. But if you do have Priority Pass access available at a nearby airport, it’s worth the effort.
During our last trip, my partner and I used our Priority Pass discount at a participating restaurant for our departure and our return home. Our savings: $28 per person on our meals! Between two dinners, we nabbed a sweet $112 in savings.
Deeper dive: Crazy Lyft earning
This most recent addition to the Chase suite of benefits was a surprise for sure – but a welcome one. Now your Chase card will earn 10x points on Lyft car rides. Ten! That’s a number that doesn’t tend to stick around for a very long time when it comes to card benefits, so the idea that this is now a baseline feature of the Sapphire Reserve is exciting.
Lyft was already my preferred method of ride-share (Uber’s questionable practices force me to pass), so this perk is like a sign from the universe that says: “Steve, you’re doing good.” The Reserve also provides a free year of Lyft Pink membership, a more than $200 value that offers discounts on car rides, priority pickup and free scooter and bike rides each month.
While the card wasn’t necessarily marketed toward the city-dwelling crowd, the dining and Lyft earning rate combine to make a rather strong point powerhouse for this segment and possibly worth a look if you spend enough here to earn those points!
Here’s what to watch out for
- Annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® demands a $550 annual fee from cardholders. Generally, this won’t be a problem if you travel and take advantage of the card’s perks. Although, if you’re an infrequent traveler, you might find it hard to get enough value out of the card to cover the annual fee.
- No intro APR.
While not a huge deal for a rewards card, a lack of intro APR means you’ll need to start paying back interest on balances immediately after opening your card. Considering you’ll want to shoot for the welcome offer as well, you’ll need to take care to pay off your balance in full to avoid unwanted interest.
Can I get a Chase Sapphire with 0% APR?
Unfortunately, no. None of the Chase Sapphire cards offer 0% APR. But this is in line with all cards of the same rank. If this is a feature you need, you may have to settle for a less premium 0% APR credit card.
Is it really that good? How customers rate this card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a favored card from users across a variety of social media. Many customers tout the generous travel credits and signup bonus as big factors in their happiness with the card, with several users on Reddit recommending frequent travelers upgrading from the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Among social media complaints for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, some cardholders felt the card wasn’t worth the high annual fee. Others complained about a lack of lounge coverage through the Priority Pass program — a sting felt by yours truly. Finally, a few cardholders felt Chase customer service was lacking when they encountered issues.
Authorized users or cosigners and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase allows additional authorized users at the cost of $75 a card annually. Purchases made by additional users count towards the welcome offer on the account and are included and covered by most of the card’s travel benefits.
One exceptionally useful perk for authorized users is that they can sign up for their own Priority Pass membership! This means that if your authorized user is traveling alone, they can still enjoy the benefits of Priority Pass.
How does the Chase Sapphire Reserve® compare to other similar cards?
|Welcome offer||Earning rate||Annual fee|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||50,000 Ultimate Rewards points||3x points on eligible dining and travel purchases; 1x on everything else||$550|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||60,000 Membership Rewards points||5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel; 5x points on prepaid hotels booked on Amex Travel; 1x on all other purchases; Starting January 1, 2021, however, your 5x points on flights will be capped on up to $500,000 annually, reverting to 1x points after that||$550|
(see rates & fees)
|Citi Prestige® Credit Card||50,000 points||5x points on flights and dining, 3x points on hotels and cruises, 1x on all other purchases||$495|
Compare travel credit cards
What kind of rewards can I earn with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®? Here’s an example
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a travel rewards workhorse and is at the top of my credit card deck when I dine. We decided to run some quick math on what the average Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder could expect to earn in rewards each month, on average.
Assume you spent $750 on each card’s highest earning category monthly — say, a flight or two, a hotel stay and some dining while you travel. Here’s a breakdown of how much back you can expect to earn after one year, not including any welcome offer or other statement credits.
|Credit Card||Points earned after spending $750||Value of points|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||2250||$22.50|
$33.75 when spent on travel
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||2250||$22.50 if used only on travel|
|Citi Prestige® Credit Card||2990||$29.90 on travel|
Note: Of these three cards, only The Platinum Card® from American Express doesn’t grant an accelerated earning bonus on dining. That means if you split $750 on dining and travel equally, you would make less than the amount shown below: 22,500 points on travel and only 4,500 on dining for a value of $270. In the case of the Citi Prestige® Credit Card, you earn 5x points on airfare and 3x on dining.
Well, who shouldn’t get this card? Consider other cards if …
To really get the most out of this card, you’ll need to travel a fair amount and spend on eligible dining and travel purchases.
If you’re more of an occasional traveler, you might consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card instead. This mid-tier card costs only $95 a year, but still sports a strong signup bonus while earning 2x points on travel and dining purchases. Plus, your points are worth 1.25x when redeemed through the Chase travel portal.
Cards to pair with Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Enjoying your Chase Sapphire Reserve® but looking for a way to supplement its features? I’d be remiss to not suggest adding a Chase Freedom Flex℠ to your wallet.
The name of the game with this pairing is supplemental earning: the Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5x points on rotating categories each quarter you activate on up to $1,500. After you reach the cap, you’ll earn 1x points. You’ll also earn 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft through March 2022, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases. You can then transfer these points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve® account to redeem them on travel at 1.5x value.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® can also prove useful for this technique, providing a steadier 1.5% base cashback rather than rotating categories, in addition to the same accelerated categories as the Chase Freedom Flex℠.
Naturally, a combination of these three cards is lovingly referred to as the “Chase Trifecta” by credit card junkies. It’s the perfect card combination of earning potential and redemption value.
How do I redeem points?
Points earned with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® automatically post to your account, which you can then access on your Chase online account. Through your account, redeem your points on travel, merchandise, gift cards or cash back. This is also how you transfer your points to Chase loyalty partners.
How much are Chase Ultimate Rewards points really worth?
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point. Of course, that’s assuming you’re redeeming them on cash back or gift cards. When you use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to redeem on travel through Chase travel portal, their value increases to 1.5 cents per point.
Remember: Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to partnered loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. If the value of a single point is greater than 1 cent on a partnered program, you can easily increase the value of your rewards points by double or more — it only takes a little extra research.
What’s the deal with Ultimate Rewards points?
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are widely favored for their flexibility — so much so that they sit as one of the “three kings” of credit card reward programs alongside Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points. Using the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer the points you accumulate to a variety of other loyalty programs, including several major airline and hotel brands.
While the welcome offer and statement credits are self-explanatory in value, the Ultimate Rewards program was one of the things that most drew me to this rewards card. Being able to transfer points to another loyalty program is every penny-pincher’s dream. And if you’re like me, doing the research to find the best value is half the fun of using a credit card.
What’s interesting to note here is that points redeemed through the Chase travel portal are worth 1.5 their standard value. For my partner and I, this value was about on par with what they would have been worth had we transferred the points to American Airlines, our airline of choice. This means that for typical flights, we don’t even need to transfer our point bounty — we can take the easy route of using the Chase portal.
This is still a strong point value when compared to loyalty partners, meaning redeeming your points through this portal is a completely viable value play. The same can’t be said for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which boosts points to 1.25 when redeemed through the Chase travel portal.
My credit card compatriot Kevin Chen had a similar experience, though he owns the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card instead of the Sapphire Reserve. Points redeemed through the Chase portal with the Sapphire Preferred are worth 1.25 their standard value compared to the Sapphire Reserve‘s 1.5. Luckily, points transferred to his airline of choice, Southwest, were worth 1.6 cents apiece. So by transferring his 10,000 Ultimate Reward points to Southwest, his points were worth about $160 in value, rather than the $125 he would have received through the Chase portal.
Here’s how to make the most of your card
- Use that statement credit.
You can get reimbursed for up to $300 in travel expenses in the form of statement credits every year. That’s an incredible perk and if you’re not using it, you probably shouldn’t have this card. Be sure to check your card’s terms to find out what’s eligible and when the credits are applied.
- Make use of the Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® fee credit.
Every four years you can receive a statement credit of up to $100 towards application fees for either Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® when you pay for them using your Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It can be easy to forget about these — or if you’re like me, you’re a little lazy when it comes to paperwork. But they’re a strong value you shouldn’t ignore.
- Sign up for Priority Pass.
Follow the instructions you receive from Chase to complete the one-time activation of your Priority Pass. These instructions involve a process separate from your Chase account, so take care not to assume you’re a member simply because you activated your Chase card.
- Keep track of your spending.
Register with Chase Online to monitor your account activity 24/7.
- Check out the card features section on your account page.
Chase recently added a section on the account site that reviews all of your Chase Sapphire Reserve® benefits. Once you click on this section and see all of benefits and perks you actually get for using this card, you’ll probably be thankful I reminded you to do so.
- Watch out for penalties.
If your payments are late, you’ll pay up to $39.
- Contact customer service.
Get round-the-clock access to the Chase customer service team. Contact Chase at 800-432-3117, on Twitter @ChaseSupport or log in to your account to send a secure email.
The “One Sapphire” rule
Chase restricts cardholders to only one Sapphire card per person. There are a few things to note about this ruling:
- If you want to move from a Sapphire Preferred to a Sapphire Reserve or vice versa, you’ll need to apply for a product change.
- If you make a product change up or down, you can’t earn the welcome offer on your new card.
- If you closed a Sapphire card, you’ll need to wait upwards of four years before you can qualify for another Sapphire.
How to upgrade or downgrade my card
If you qualify, Chase will allow you to upgrade or downgrade your existing Chase card, in what is called a product change. You can call Chase to check your eligibility, which can depend on your card type, the age of your card and your account standing.
The bottom line
With a terrific signup bonus, a strong earning rate on travel and dining, more than $300 in statement credits and a plethora of travel perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is more than worth your time if you’re a frequent traveler. And if you were like me and hardly traveled much beforehand, this card’s benefits might motivate you to go out and see the world. Or at the very least, visit your family once in a while.
If you like the perks mentioned here but don’t quite travel enough to make this card worth it, compare rewards cards to find one that best suits your needs.
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