If you want to get the most out of your credit card and spend a lot on food and travel, then it will be hard for you to beat the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The biggest downside to this deluxe travel card is the price: $550 a year, which isn’t cheap.
However, if you know how to take advantage of the benefits provided by this card, you can easily recoup the cost of the annual fee and then some. We’ll show you how to do it in this Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits Guide.
A Brief Overview of the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Like many cards in this class, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is geared more towards cardholders who are looking for luxury benefits and have an appropriate credit rating. You will need an excellent credit score (740 or higher) to qualify.
The annual interest rate of the card (variable from 17.74% to 24.74%) is nothing special. However, it’s always best to avoid a balance if you can, in which case the APR won’t matter as long as you pay your full bill on time every month. Plus, with this card, you won’t have to worry about any transaction fees abroad, which means it’s easy to take it with you on your trip abroad.
Bonus for registration
When the Chase Sapphire Reserve card was first released in 2016, it made a splash by offering a signup bonus of 100,000 points worth $1,500 per trip. These days, that’s 60,000 points, which are still worth $900 if used for travel. To earn it, you will need to spend $4,000 within the first three months of receiving this card.
The signup bonus will get you off to a good start and allow you to recoup the card’s high annual fee in the first year. But after the first year, you have to use the card’s reward structure and other benefits to justify your money.
The method of earning rewards with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is quite simple. Every dollar made with the card will earn you at least 1 point. For regular travel and restaurant purchases, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent. These have been the standard earning rates since the launch of the card.
Chase also offers increased rewards for travel purchases you make through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal:
- 10 times more points spent on hotels and car rentals booked through the portal.
- 5X points for flights booked through the portal
It’s important to note that you’ll only earn points at these high rates once you’ve earned your $300 annual travel credit, which we’ll discuss below.
Travel is at the heart of the Chase Sapphire Reserve map. You will receive the following:
- Annual travel credit up to $300A: The first $300 you spend each year on travel will be automatically reimbursed through your credit statement. Purchases that qualify for travel include flights, hotel stays, taxi rides, public transportation, and more.
- Priority Lounge AccessA: You’ll get a free Priority Pass Select subscription that gives you and two guests unlimited access to over 1,300 airport lounges around the world. (Priority Pass Prestige membership, which also provides free unlimited access, costs $429 per year.)
- Additional hotel privileges: When you stay at the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, you receive special guest benefits including daily breakfast, free Wi-Fi, early check-in and late check-out. To enjoy these benefits, you must book at least a double room on the LHRC website through Ultimate Rewards.
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck CreditA: Every four years (the duration of this membership), you will be eligible for up to $100 in credit towards the cost of your application for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Participation in any of these programs will speed your way through the security system while you play.
- Benefits of LyftA: You’ll get a free Lyft Pink membership (usually $19.99 per month) if you activate before March 31, 2025. You’ll also earn 10x points for Lyft rides before that date.
Use of awards
One of the best things about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is how far you can stretch your points. The card is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, one of the best and most valuable travel reward programs. Which card you have points on redeem can give you different redeem values.
At the bottom level, like Chase Freedom Unlimited, your points are worth 1 cent each. The Chase Sapphire Priority card works a little better, with points worth 1.25 cents each (a 25 percent increase), but only when redeemed for travel.
On the other hand, Chase Sapphire Reserve offers the most value, with each point worth 1.5 cents each (50 percent more) when redeemed for travel through the Chase Portal. This is actually the most beneficial way to redeem your points, but you can also choose from other options such as cash back, gift cards, or even merchandise. However, your repayment rate will be lower for non-travel repayment options.
The best part is that you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points from other Chase credit cards to your Chase Sapphire Reserve account. For example, if you have 50,000 points in your Chase Freedom Unlimited account, you can transfer them to your Chase Sapphire Reserve account, where their value can rise from $500 to $750.
Other insurances and benefits
Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers a host of other benefits that may not offer a ton of value every year, but they can save the day if you run into trouble or offer you smaller ways to maximize your value.
- Primary rental car insuranceA: If you opt out of the optional rental car insurance from the car rental company, you will be covered for collision damage. You don’t even have to use your own car insurance first, like with most policies – that will work first.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: We all hate when a trip is canceled or postponed, plus it can be expensive. This insurance covers up to $10,000 per person (maximum $20,000 per trip) when this happens.
- Lost luggage insuranceA: Losing your bag can be a major headache, but you can apply for a refund of up to $3,000 per passenger for a trip with this coverage.
- Purchase ProtectionA: If something you recently purchased with your card is damaged or stolen, you can apply for a refund of up to $10,000 per claim within 120 days.
- Return ProtectionA: If you bought something within the last 90 days and the seller won’t let you return it, Chase will refund you up to $1,000 per year.
- Extended Protection Warranty: Did you break the screen of your mobile phone right after the end of the warranty? The card provides a one-year extended warranty beyond three years of warranty or less.
- Access to a special event: Chase offers early access tickets and priority seats to many popular sporting events or concerts with Chase Experiences. It also offers reservations at top restaurants.
- Benefits of DoorDashA: You’ll get a free DoorDash DashPass membership that gives you free shipping, a 10 percent service fee discount on qualifying orders, and $5 DoorDash credit every month (activate by December 31, 2024).
How to get the most out of Chase Sapphire Reserve
Figuring out how to maximize the value you get from this card isn’t as difficult as managing a spinning category reward card, but it will require some forethought on your part.
The easiest way to recoup some of the cost of this card is to make sure you can spend at least $5,856 per year (or an average of $488 per month) on travel and meals with this card.
How does it break down? Your first $300 in travel expenses is practically free every year due to travel credits. After that, you will need to spend an additional $5,556 on travel and food (which earns 3x the points) to earn 16,668 points. These points are worth $250 when redeemed for travel. So if you’re spending around $500 a month, you should be earning enough rewards to fully recoup the cost of the card every year.
And that’s not counting other ways to maximize your benefits, such as using Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits, frequent access to Priority Pass airport lounges, and more. The best way to take advantage of all the benefits available to you is to check out your Benefits Portal on the Chase website.
Chase is always proactively updating its cards to continually add value, so make sure you’re always up to date on the benefits of your card.
There is no doubt that Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most expensive cards. But there is also no doubt that if you take full advantage of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you will get more value from the card than what you spend on the annual fee every year. It may take a little more planning time than with a bonus card with no annual fee, but for the serious traveler, it’s well worth the effort.