Chase Just Announced the Sapphire Cards Are Getting an Upgrade — and Annual Fees Aren’t Increasing

A photo to accompany a story about the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards Illustration/NextAdvisor
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A few weeks ago, we reported that big changes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® might be coming.

And today, those rumors are coming true.

On August 16, new perks and benefits will be available to cardholders of both Sapphire cards. Better yet? Neither card is increasing its annual fee.

Let’s take a look at what’s in store, according to a statement from Chase on Tuesday.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Updates

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is already our top pick for a travel rewards card with an annual fee under $100. For an annual fee of $95, it already offers solid perks and a lucrative high welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.

But as part of the revamp, it will earn 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, as well as 3 points per dollar on dining, eligible delivery services and takeout. These categories previously earned 2 points per dollar. In addition, it will earn 3 points per dollar on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (not including Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).

Cardholders will also get a $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through the Ultimate Rewards portal. New cardmembers will start earning towards the credit immediately, whereas existing cardholders will earn it after their next account anniversary.

In addition, cardholders will get a 10% anniversary point bonus. That means that each account anniversary, you’ll earn bonus points equal to 10% of the total purchases you made in the last year. “That means $25,000 in spend will earn an additional 2,500 bonus points,” a spokesperson for Chase explains. 

Notably, the card is offering its whopping 60,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. This is worth up to $750 in travel, according to Chase.

Pro Tip

If you’re thinking of applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, make sure you have budgeted for the $4,000 spending over three months that would get you the card’s  welcome offer of 60,000 points.

The $95 annual fee will not change. After August 16, the card’s design will change too, Chase says, adding that this new look will be available for existing card members too.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Updates

The premium Chase Sapphire Reserve card — which has a $550 annual fee but offers a lot more perks for travelers — is getting an upgrade, too.

As of August 16, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will earn 10 points per dollar on Chase Dining purchases, and on hotel stays and car rentals made through the Ultimate Rewards portal. They’ll also earn 5 points per dollar on airfare purchased through the portal. Previously, the card earned a general elevated rate of 3x points on all dining and travel, which is remaining.

Later this year, cardholders will have access to “Reserved by Sapphire,” a booking service that will help cardmembers get reservations at some of the most exclusive restaurants in the country. These include Redbird in Los Angeles, Reverence in New York City and One Off Hospitality in Chicago.

The card earns an 80,000-point sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. This is worth up to $1,200 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, according to Chase.

The card will continue to carry a $550 annual fee as well as existing benefits such as the $300 travel credit and up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck/Global Entry.

New Airport Lounges Opening to Sapphire Reserve Cardholders

Chase has also announced new airport lounge locations at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), with more locations to open at a later date. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders and Priority Pass members will have access to Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club airport lounges.

Bottom Line

These are welcome updates to two popular travel rewards credit cards from Chase, giving cardholders the opportunity to earn even more bonus points on their purchases that they can later redeem for free or discounted travel.

Better yet, neither card is increasing in annual fee — a stark contrast from the Sapphire Reserve card’s top competitor, The Platinum Card® from American Express, which recently increased its annual fee from $550 to $695.

The benefits will go into effect on August 16 for both new and existing cardholders.