Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card Review

The information for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card has been collected independently by Money Crashers. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a super-exclusive travel rewards credit card for consumers with top-notch credit profiles and ample spending and earning power. Sapphire Reserve’s powerful mix of valuable loyalty currency and extensive travel perks is equal parts luxurious, convenient, and plain-old valuable.

With a $450 annual fee for the primary cardholder and $75 for each additional authorized user, Chase Sapphire Reserve most definitely not for everyone. If you’re in the market for a less generous travel rewards card, check out Chase Sapphire Preferred (still a great card, and a bargain at a $95 annual fee) or check our list of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market today.

Here’s a look at Chase Sapphire Reserve’s key features, benefits, and drawbacks – and how they stack up to the competition.

When you spend at least $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account, you earn 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points, Chase’s loyalty currency.

This bonus is worth up to $750 on travel purchases (including airfare and hotel stays) purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and $500 on all other redemption methods. The bonus is only available to you if you don’t currently have a Sapphire card (including Sapphire Preferred) and haven’t had a Sapphire card for the past 24 months.

Chase Sapphire Reserve earns an unlimited 3 Ultimate Rewards points points for every $1 spent on travel (including airfare, rental cars, and hotels) and dining out. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1 point for every $1 spent.

You can redeem points for a wide variety of items at Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. The most lucrative redemption option is travel, which values points at $0.015 apiece – so 100,000 points equates to $1,500 in travel.

Other redemption options include cash equivalents (statement credits, gift cards, and bank account deposits), general merchandise, experiences, and more. You can also redeem points for purchases at Amazon. These other redemption options generally value points at $0.01 apiece or less. As long as your account remains open, your points don’t expire.

You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned with Chase Sapphire Reserve to approximately a dozen participating airline, hotel, and alliance loyalty programs at a 1-to-1 ratio, regardless of the redemption value of the partners’ points.

Participating frequent traveler programs include:

Transfers allow you to increase the value of your Ultimate Rewards points beyond the $0.015 Ultimate Rewards portal redemption rate by redeeming them for flights or hotel stays that would normally require more Ultimate Rewards points. Be aware that point values can vary widely when you redeem with partner vendors. Check with each vendor for more specific information.

Sapphire Reserve has a $300 annual travel credit that can be invoked to offset a host of travel-related purchases – anything coded “travel” in the merchant category. These include:

Credits are applied on your statement until you hit the $300 annual cap, which renews on your cardmember anniversary date.

As a Sapphire Reserve cardholder, you’re entitled to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit. You’re eligible to receive this credit once every four years.

For as long as their accounts remain open and in good standing, Sapphire Reserve cardholders get complimentary access to more than 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide. Companions must pay $27 per person, per entry. According to Priority Pass, this benefit is worth $399 per year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee is $450. Additional authorized users cost $75 per person. There are no foreign transaction fees. Late payments range from $15 to $37, depending on balance size, while returned payments always cost $37, regardless of balance size. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.

Sapphire Reserve cardholders enjoy exclusive discounts on car rentals with National, Avis, and Silvercar. Discounts vary by location and carrier, but range from 25% off the regular rental rate with National to 30% off with Silvercar and Avis.

In some cases, these benefits come with loyalty memberships. For instance, Sapphire Reserve cardholders automatically enjoy National’s Emerald Club Executive Level membership, whose benefits include expedited rentals and 1 free rental day on every 8th rental reservation. These benefits may be affected by blackout dates and are subject to change or discontinuation without notice.

Sapphire Reserve cardholders get special privileges at more than 900 Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection properties worldwide. Perks include complimentary breakfast for two, complimentary room upgrades when available, flexible check-in and check-out times, and other benefits unique to specific properties (including resort credits and welcome gifts).

LHR Collection properties include Park Hyatt, Sofitel, Virgin Hotels, and other marques. A full list is available at lhrcollection.com.

Sapphire Reserve comes with a host of additional travel benefits and services for cardholders in good standing:

Sapphire Reserve cardholders enjoy exclusive or VIP access to a variety of limited-access events, such as private dining with celebrity chefs and major sports championships. Not all experiences are complimentary, and additional fees may apply.

This card requires excellent credit and a demonstrated ability to manage a credit card with a high spending limit. If you have any blemishes on your credit report, you’re unlikely to qualify.

Like high-end general travel cards such as Amex’s Platinum Card and Citi Prestige, and exclusive branded cards such as Amex Delta Reserve, Chase Sapphire Reserve® is not appropriate for most consumers. In fact, it’s designed for a small subset of the population, a group comprised of well-heeled jet-setters and frequent business travelers with enviable expense accounts.

Though you don’t have to be a millionaire to carry this card around in your wallet, you do need to travel quite a bit to make it worth your while, and you need to be able to responsibly handle a credit card with a high spending limit. Even if you’re not ready for Sapphire Reserve right now, it’s certainly worth aspiring to. You never know where you’ll be in the future.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® is an exclusive credit card for frequent travelers who spend heavily in its favored categories and take advantage of its many benefits and perks, which collectively offset Sapphire Reserve’s hefty annual fee by a substantial margin.

On the other hand, Sapphire Reserve’s very high annual fee and travel-oriented benefits make it inappropriate for people who travel infrequently, or even a few times per year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve’s benefits include its big sign-up bonus, very good (and predictable) value on travel redemptions, great earning rate on travel and dining, 1-to-1 point transfer to roughly a dozen travel partners, generous air travel credit and airport lounge access allowance, deep discounts at major rental car companies, and potentially valuable hotel benefits.

Drawbacks include the hefty annual fee, lack of carrier-specific benefits and discounts, lack of freebies or discounts for traveling companions, and lack of trip extension privileges.

Overall, this is a fantastic card for frequent travelers who can afford it.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Categories: Chase, Credit and Debt, Credit Cards, Reviews

Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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