The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the premium anchor in the suite of credit cards that earn flexible Ultimate Rewards Points.
Since launching, it’s rooted itself among favorite miles and points credit cards because of its earning potential, redemption possibilities, and perks.
This guide covers all the card’s perks and benefits so you can decide whether or not the Chase Sapphire Reserve makes sense for your travel wallet.
What You Need to Know About the Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of two cards in Chase’s Sapphire card family. The other Sapphire card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Both cards earn transferrable Ultimate Rewards points to redeem for flights and hotels with Chase’s transfer partners. However, the Sapphire Reserve comes with its own welcome offer, perks, and benefits.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Current Welcome Bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from your account opening.
Favorite Card Features:
- $300 travel credit
- 5x on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards Portal
- 10x hotels and rental cars booked through the Ultimate Rewards Portal
- 10x Lyft rides
- 3x on other travel and dining
- 1x on all other purchases
- Priority Pass Select Membership
- $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓
- No foreign exchange fees
- Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners like United, Iberia, and Hyatt
- 1.5 cents per point value if you redeem points for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
Annual Fee: $550
Earning Ultimate Rewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with lucrative bonus categories to help you earn even more Ultimate Rewards points for your spending.
Shop through Chase
In addition to the bonus categories listed above, you can log in to your Ultimate Rewards account and earn more Ultimate Rewards through Chase’s shopping portal.
If you’re not sure how shopping portals work, it’s easy. Simply click on the merchant you want to shop with from the shopping portal instead of going to that merchant’s website directly.
With Shop through Chase, you’ll earn whatever the stated earn rate is for that merchant, plus the points you’d earn with your Sapphire Reserve on the purchase.
I’ve earned thousands of Ultimate Rewards points over the years from Chase’s shopping portal. It may not seem like a lot at the time, but those points add up!
Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a suite of benefits designed with travelers in mind.
The card has several ways to earn bonus Ultimate Rewards Points which can eventually be redeemed for award travel, as well as perks to help make your travel experience more comfortable.
Let’s take a look at the benefits Sapphire Reserve offers.
Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit
One of the most notable of all the card benefits, the $300 travel credit is very generous in scope.
Flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises will trigger the credit but so do tolls, trains, commuter costs like parking and subway cards, as well as rideshare services like Lyft and Uber.
This $300 travel credit is tied to your card member year (not the 12-month calendar) and resets when you renew your card.
If you log in to your Sapphire Reserve Ultimate Rewards, there’s a dashboard that shows how much of the travel credit you have received.
If you’re someone who would have spent $300 in a year on travel anyways, then this travel credit essentially cuts the annual fee to $250.
Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass Select Membership
Priority Pass has a vast network of lounges located in airports around the globe. In addition, there are also Priority Pass restaurant and experience partnerships.
With Sapphire Reserve, you and 2 guests have free entry to all Priority Pass lounges. Lounges come with a variety of amenities like complimentary meals, snacks, drinks, lounge-specific wifi, restrooms, and comfortable spaces whether you’d like to relax or need to get some work finished.
In addition, cardholders plus 2 guests each also get a $28-30 food credit at Priority Pass restaurants. These are typically existing restaurants in a particular airport terminal where there is no lounge that Priority Pass has partnered with.
I highly value this Sapphire Reserve benefit. Having a credit card with lounge & restaurant access has saved my family and me a lot of money on food and drinks, not to mention the luxury of having a space away from the hustle and bustle in the main airport terminal.
$100 Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
I don’t like waiting in long lines at security and Customs when departing for or returning from a trip and I’m guessing you don’t either.
When you apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and pay with your Sapphire Reserve, you’ll get the cost credited on your card’s statement.
Once you’re approved, you’re good for 5 years. You’ll get to use the TSA PreCheck lanes at security and you won’t need to take everything out of your bag. Global Entry allows you to use specially designated kiosks to re-enter the country at Customs and Border Control.
It makes the most sense to apply for Global Entry because it includes TSA PreCheck and the fee is $100, exactly the amount of the statement credit. It doesn’t work in reverse, though. TSA PreCheck does not include Global Entry.
I value this perk now more than ever when check-in and security can be so chaotic. And if you already have Global Entry, you can use the credit to pay for a family member.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Perhaps obvious, but very important nonetheless.
Sapphire Reserve is made for travel. So bring it with you wherever you’re heading on your next trip.
You won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad.
Sapphire Reserve Primary Car Rental Coverage
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been at a rental car counter being with your eyes spinning as the representative upsells you on different types of insurance.
I love knowing that with my Sapphire Reserve I am protected against damage for the cost of a typical rental car. It helps me to sort through what additional coverage I might want to pay for and what I don’t need to add to my rental car cost.
To trigger the Sapphire Reserve primary car rental coverage, you must decline the CDW coverage offered by the rental agency.
And while it’s definitely one of those perks where it pays to read all the terms and conditions to understand exactly what is covered, there’s no denying how much money you can save when you don’t have a per-day charge for CDW on a rental car.
One Year Lyft Pink Membership with Sapphire Reserve
This might not be a perk everyone gets equal value from but at the very least it might be able to help you with your airport transfers. On the flip side, if you rely heavily on ridesharing, this could potentially save you a ton.
With Sapphire Reserve, you’ll get15% of all rides, priority airport pickup, and no fees for canceling within 15 minutes up to 3x each month. You also have no lost and found fees and, where available, you’ll get free privileges on bike or scooter rides.
ProTip: Sapphire Reserve cardholders can also stack lyft privileges and earnings with the Hilton or Delta and Lyft partnership to earn even more points and miles.
Sapphire Reserve DoorDash DashPass & Monthly Credit Benefit
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will get a complimentary DashPass through the end of 2024 (as long as your card remains open). Order through DoorDash and you’ll have no delivery fees and get reduced service fees when you reach the minimum order amount. ($12 restaurants/$25 Grocery)
Also beginning in April 2022 and running through the end of 2024, Sapphire Reserve cardholders will get a $5 monthly DoorDash credit. You can use this credit monthly or roll it up for 3 months before it expires each 3-month period.
Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
When you book a room through Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection with your Sapphire Reserve, you’ll get breakfast for 2, complimentary wifi, an upgrade if available, early check-in/out, as well as a special property-specific amenity.
It can be a nice way to add luxury to your hotel stay while taking advantage of fantastic property privileges.
Visa Signature Benefits
Sapphire Reserve is part of the Visa Signature family, which comes with specific travel protections.
You’ll want to read more about the terms and conditions for each of these perks but they include coverage for things like:
- baggage delays,
- lost luggage,
- trip interruption/cancellation,
- emergency evacuation and transportation for you, your spouse, and children under the age of 19.
- purchase protection,
- roadside assistance, and,
- warranty assistance.
Redeeming Ultimate Rewards Points
Now comes the fun part! You get to use the points earned with Sapphire Reserve for fabulous travel experiences!
There are a lot of possibilities, but if you need some ideas and inspiration about how to use your Ultimate Rewards points, I’ve put together this guide and this guide.
Redeem for1.5 cents per point in the Chase Travel Portal
By far the most straightforward way to book flights, hotels, and more, Sapphire Reserve cardholders get 50% more value on every point redeemed in the portal.
This adds up to a 1.5 cent-per-point value instead of the 1-cent value with one of the Chase Freedoms or a 1.25-cent value with the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred.
I’ve found the Chase Travel portal most useful when booking cheap flight deals and small, independent hotels in places where it isn’t possible for me to use hotel points for award nights.
ProTip: Combine all your Ultimate Rewards points with your Sapphire Reserve. Not only does it make sense to keep one balance of points, once combined, all of your points benefit from the 1.5-cent value.
Transfer to Airline and Hotel Partners
1.5 cents per point for your Ultimate Rewards is a good value but it’s possible to get even more.
Chase has airline and hotel transfer partners and when you transfer your Ultimate Rewards to some of these partners, you have the ability to book award flights and hotel nights above and beyond the 1.5-cent valuation.
Not all Chase cards come with the ability to access these transfer partners on their own, but Sapphire Reserve does. You can see how it works in the diagram below.
There’s a learning curve about how best to use these partners. However, these partners make it possible to redeem your points for premium-class seats on flights and stay at fantastic hotels, particularly through Hyatt.
ProTip: Know how to transfer your flexible points. Point transfers are irreversible. Never transfer Ultimate Rewards points until you know that what you want to book is available.
The annual fee is too high! Why would I pay for that?
For those of you wondering if paying the annual fee is worth it, understand that this is a question you should continually ask with any and all of your credit cards regardless of how high or low the card’s fee is.
The first thing to consider with Sapphire Reserve is the $300 travel credit.
This travel credit can be used broadly for typical travel expenses like airfare and hotels, but also for parking fees, subways, commuter trains, and tolls.
So if you’re someone who would normally spend $300 a year on travel expenses or even commuting costs, you’ve offset a big chunk of the annual fee.
And if you’re interested in a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, chances are you’re someone who spends $300 a year in travel-related purchases to begin with. So, why not spend that money as usual and get additional perks as a cardholder?
The annual fee reduces itself further and could even pay for itself entirely If you use just a couple more of the primary perks like:
- $100 credit for Global Entry,
- Free food, drinks, and wifi with the Priority Pass Select Lounge membership for you and 2 guests, and/or,
- redeem with a 50% added value in the Chase Travel Portal often.
This is all before you put a value on the Ultimate Rewards Points you can earn with Sapphire Reserve, as well as from additional perks like Door Dash.
As always, though, the perks must outweigh what you’re paying in an annual fee to justify the cost.
Will I be approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
Chase’s approval rules are centered squarely on the 5/24 rule.
If you’ve opened more than 5 credit cards from any bank over the last 24 months, you could get denied regardless of your credit score or financial profile.
For this reason, miles and points beginners should start with credit cards from within the Chase Ultimate Rewards family (Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Freedom Unlimted, and Ink Preferred). All of these can help you book award travel around the globe.
Learn more about the first 5 Chase cards you should start with in order to maximize your points and miles earnings.
Chase also added a “Family Rule” to the Sapphire cards and extended the amount of time before you’re eligible for another Sapphire welcome bonus.
You can only have 1 card in the Sapphire “family” at a given time. And, it must be at least 48 months since you’ve last received a Sapphire welcome bonus.
What if I already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
Unfortunately, you can’t hold both Sapphires at the same time.
If you already have the Sapphire Preferred and you think the perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve are better suited to your spending and travel needs, here’s what you need to consider.
Has it been less than 48 months since getting a Sapphire Preferred welcome offer?
- If yes, you could call Chase and upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve.
- If no, keep reading.
You wouldn’t earn a welcome offer but you’d get access to the higher-earning rates and travel perks, like Priority Pass Membership, 50% bonus in the Travel Portal, Lyft and DoorDash perks, and the $300 travel credit.
If it’s been more than 48 months since you received a welcome bonus on your Sapphire Preferred, you could:
- Downgrade that card to a Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited.
- Wait a billing cycle.
- Then, apply for the Sapphire Reserve.
Just a few things to keep in mind if you plan to downgrade.
Make sure you have another credit card like the Ink Business Preferred or a spouse with an Ink or a Sapphire to ensure you still have access to Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners.
If you don’t, it’s not a good idea to downgrade. Any Ultimate Rewards points in your account would devalue to a fixed 1 cent per point value and only be usable for the Chase travel portal and cashback rewards.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it for travelers who want to maximize their spending on travel and dining, take advantage of valuable benefits like lounge access, and have the ability to redeem for award travel with valuable transfer partners like Hyatt and United.
So, what do you think of the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
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14 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About the Chase Sapphire Reserve”
I have to say that I never heard about the Chase Sapphire before. But this is a great and informative explanation, thank you so much!
It’s a new card, Maaike. It comes packed with travel rewards.
That’s a lot of information. I’m new to hacking the travel points and credit cards and recently went with an AmEx, but I’ll be keeping an eye on this for the future!
American Express Membership Rewards is another solid travel rewards program, Tonya.
So many cards, so little time to figure it all out! I have the Sapphire Preferred card and the AMEX Plat so I’ll really have a good look to see if it’s worth the extra fees.
You have to do your homework, Sue, and think about what makes sense for you. The $300 travel credit on the CSR brings the annual fee close to the Sapphire Preferred and the 3x the points on travel and dining will return more value on your money spent in these categories. Definitely a card to consider.
I love collecting points from credit cards to save for travel. Already have had the Chase Sapphire preferred, but cancelled when the year was up because of the annual fee. Not so sure I’d be up to paying such a high one.
I totally understand, Natasha. Personally, I think the annual fee pays for itself with the $300 travel credit, the Global Entry Credit, and 3x the points earned on dining and travel.
I am new to utilizing travel reward points but have signed up for this card. The $300 travel credit makes the cost much more palatable.
That being said,what are the best ways to utilize the sign up bonus points to receive the most bang for my buck?
Thanks for reading and congrats on getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve! I couldn’t agree more about that $300 travel credit. There are so many ways to use the 100k sign-up bonus. I actually will be posting ideas on what to do with those points next week. I hope you’ll check it out. In the meanwhile, I do have a free 7-part course with all the basics for someone who is new to travel reward points. During the course, I’ll be available to help you out and answer your questions. You can sign up here if you’re interested. 🙂 Hope to see you in the course.
Thanks very much for your blog.
I am curious about your and anyone’s input on the following re denied application for the CSR card:
Denied due to 9/24. Credit score 765. Income 120K.
Already have CSP, Mileage Explorer, and Freedom by Chase.
Will drop to 4/24 by Jan 2017. Will re-apply for CSR then.
Any insight whether closing the CSP (with a 50K credit line) would be an advantage?
Thanks – Mark
Sorry to hear you weren’t approved for the CSR. Chase has gotten much stricter and many people who are over 5/24 have only had success because a bank branch representative was able to push it through. I’d definitely reapply once you’re at 4/24 in Jan. 2017. As for your CSP, I wouldn’t close it. First, the CSP is still a great card and, since you don’t have the CSR yet, the CSP can help you continue to earn UR points and act as an account to merge your Freedom points with. Second, closing the account will affect the age of your accounts and your debt to credit ratio which could lower your credit score. Lastly, and most importantly, I think your ticket to success could be that 50K line of credit. Chase has already extended you that line of credit. If need be, some of that credit can be shifted over to a new CSR account to equal the same amount of credit you already have with Chase. Hope that helps! Would love to hear how things go in January!
Hello. I found this article when reading another article while trying to figure out what I want to do with my current AMEX Delta card since I really hate paying annual fees (so the $400 annual for this card probably isn’t going to happen.) I only fly once a year (sometimes not at all) and only if I have my bow with me do I check a bag (which then becomes free) and was thinking I may be better served switching back to my cash rewards card. Anyway, I digress. I saw something mentioned in another posters comment…the numbers 5/24 and 4/24. What do these mean? I know what the other numbers are (credit score), just not that one. Thank you for your time!
Thanks for reading. The 5/24 or 4/24 numbers have to do with Chase’s rule that says you won’t be approved for many of their credit cards if you’ve gotten more than 5 credit cards from any bank in the last 24 months. So when someone says, “I’m 4/24” it means they’ve gotten 4 new credit cards in the last 24 months and have 1 more possible application before Chase will likely deny them. Also, this is why it’s important beginners to the miles and points world begin with Chase cards first or risk being locked out of Chase’s travel rewards program. I’d also add that I’m not affiliated with Chase in any way and I’d keep in mind the annual fee on this card comes with a $300 travel credit every time you renew, among numerous other benefits. I have a cash back article you might find helpful as well. Thanks again for reading!