Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Review

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Rewards rate:

Earn 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 5X total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: 50,000 points
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Regular APR: 16.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 740-850 (Excellent)

Full Review

Card Type

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium travel rewards credit card. It has the highest annual fee in Chase’s credit card lineup, and also comes with notable luxury perks such as $300 travel credit, Priority Pass lounge membership and more. It is geared towards frequent travelers and competes with other luxury travel cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Annual Fee

The Chase Sapphire Reserve carries a $550 annual fee.

Sign-Up Bonus

The Chase Sapphire Reserve currently offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in your first three months of account opening.

Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 10x points on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 10x points on dining through Chase Dining, and 5x total points on air travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

You’ll also get 3x points on other travel and dining, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. It comes with plenty of added perks too, such as a $300 travel credit, up to $100 credit toward TSA PreCheck/Global Entry, Lyft Pink membership (through March 2022), and up to $60 in DoorDash credits and up to $120 in Peloton membership credits (both through Dec. 2021).

Foreign Transaction Fees

The Chase Sapphire Reserve does not charge any foreign transaction fees, so it’s a great card to take with you on any international trips once it’s safe to do so again.

Other Benefits

You can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points via the Chase travel portal for 1.5 cents per point, although you will typically get more value out of them by transferring to partners. Some of Chase’s notable partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways and Hyatt.

The card also comes with complimentary travel benefits such as Priority Pass Select membership, which grants you access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world.

Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

For frequent travelers, this card is a top pick. The $300 travel credit, $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck/Global Entry and airport lounge access can help you travel in style. The Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the card can be redeemed for free travel.

Drawbacks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card 

The biggest drawback of the card is its high annual fee of $550. It’s one of the premier travel rewards credit cards, and its high price tag reflects that. We do not recommend it for infrequent travelers.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Reserve carries a higher annual fee than the Preferred, its sister card. The Sapphire Preferred card carries a $95 annual fee and earns 5x points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and 2x points on all other travel. The Preferred earns the same 3x points on dining as the Reserve, in addition to online groceries and select streaming.

The Preferred does come with a complimentary DoorDash Dash Pass membership, although it does not have $60 worth of credits. It also comes with Peloton credits, although it’s only $60 compared to the Reserve’s $120.

If you’re deciding between the two cards, we recommend taking a close look at your travel and lifestyle preferences. While the Reserve does carry a higher annual fee, you may find that you are able to use its perks to the degree that you offset the cost of the card. While the Sapphire Preferred card does have a lower annual fee, it does not have nearly as many perks as the Sapphire Reserve carries.

How to Use the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Start maximizing your Chase Sapphire Reserve’s value by qualifying for its 50,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening — a $750 value from the start when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You should also make sure you use the $300 annual credit by swiping this card for each of your travel, gas station, and grocery store purchases until reaching the cap.

Then, start collecting points via your purchases in the card’s bonus categories: dining and travel, especially when you can book through Chase.

While you do get 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases, you may want to consider coupling your Chase Sapphire Reserve with another cash back card that can get you more rewards in other categories. This can be an especially effective strategy using the Chase Freedom cards, which offer good cash back rewards but have no annual fee. 

If you pair your Chase Sapphire Reserve with a Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for example, which earns at least 1.5% back on everything (along with other bonus categories), you can transfer the Freedom card’s points to your Sapphire Reserve account, then redeem them at the boosted 1.5 cents per point rate on certain redemptions. 

This transfer is valuable since each point on your Reserve card’s account is worth 1.5 cents — a 50% boost — when you use them to book travel directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase also introduced Pay Yourself Back in 2020, a program in which you can redeem points for statement credits toward eligible purchases. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders retain the same boosted redemption value with Pay Yourself Back as they receive on travel redemptions — so each point redeemed via Pay Yourself Back on your Sapphire Reserve account is worth 1.5 cents. Current categories include grocery stores, home improvement, and dining.  

You can also always redeem points for cash back or gift cards at a standard rate of 1 cent per point. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve Compared to Other Cards

  • Intro bonus:
    50,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $550
  • Regular APR:
    16.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    740-850 (Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
  • Intro bonus:
    60,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $95
  • Regular APR:
    15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Right for You?

If you’re a globetrotter seeking top-tier benefits for your frequent travel, this card is for you. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the top-of-the-line travel card from Chase, with benefits unmatched by many other rewards credit cards. But these benefits are not cheap — you’ll pay $550 a year for them.

You’ll gain the most value from racking up points on dining and travel purchases, which you can redeem for a 50% redemption boost through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, $5,000 spent on travel and $5,000 on dining translates to 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. When you redeem those at the boosted 1.5% rate, you’ll get $450 in redemption value. 

And, while spending something like $5,000 on travel just to get rewards for more travel may seem redundant, remember the travel category is broad. Spending on Uber rides, bus tickets, taxis, toll bridges and highways, parking lots and garages, campgrounds, rental agencies, timeshares, boat rentals, and more all qualify.

In addition to earning and redeeming points, the Reserve’s added benefits can quickly offset its price tag, if you use them. The $300 travel credit alone reduces your effective fee to $250 a year, which is driven further down by perks like $60 toward DoorDash through 2021 and $120 back on Peloton purchases. While you should never make a purchase solely to score a bonus, if these benefits align with purchases you’d make or consider anyway, they can further boost the Reserve’s value. 

With all its flashy benefits, though, this card isn’t for everyone. Simply put, the Chase Sapphire Reserve makes sense for people who are already spending thousands of dollars per year on travel and dining. If you don’t travel often or rarely spend within the 3x bonus categories, you likely won’t get the full value potential from this card, and you won’t offset its high fee. 

Always evaluate your regular spending habits to determine the card that best suits your needs before applying.

Bottom Line

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve can be a treasure trove of points and benefits for ultimate rewards seekers. But the perks come at a price — $550 to be exact. Make sure you can really reap the benefits of this card to the max before signing up. But if you can, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a huge value-add for your wallet and future travel plans. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Chase Sapphire Reserve differ from the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

These two cards both earn points, but their main differences are annual fee and rewards boost. The Preferred Card’s annual fee is $95 compared to the Reserve’s $550 price tag. Max redemption value for the Preferred is 1 point =1.25 cent. With the Reserve you can earn up to 1.5 cents per 1 point.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve good for everyday purchases?

You can use your Chase Sapphire Reserve for everyday purchases, and can earn bonus points on dining out, and travel, but you’ll only get 1 point per dollar on everyday expenses outside of those categories. Because of that, it might make sense to pair your Reserve card with another credit card that earns more rewards or cash back on everyday spending. 

Do you need good credit to qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

You’ll need excellent credit to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve.