Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Review

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Rewards rate:

3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: 60,000 points
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Regular APR: 16.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 740-850 (Excellent)

Luxe benefits and valuable points redemptions draw many people to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, despite its steep $550 annual fee. But depending on how you use it, the Reserve’s benefits can easily outweigh even the high cost of ownership. 

At a Glance

  • 60,000 bonus point if you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening 
  • 3x points on travel worldwide (after earning $300 annual travel credit)
  • 3x points on dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 3x points on up to $1,000 in grocery purchases every month through April 30, 2021
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • 50% redemption boost on points redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or eligible statement credits via Pay Yourself Back
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 16.99% to 23.99% variable APR 
  • $550 annual fee

Pros

  • Valuable welcome bonus

  • $300 travel credit and other added benefits

  • 50% points value boost when redeemed for travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • Metal card

Cons

  • High APR

  • Annual fee

  • Not the best choice for infrequent travelers

Additional Card Details

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a lot of added bonuses and perks, many of which are tailored to travelers. Here’s everything else you’ll get with your Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • $300 annual travel credit (gas station and grocery purchases also count toward this credit through June 2021)
  • Up to $100 credit every four years toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee
  • Complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select membership
  • 10x points on Lyft rides and complimentary 12-month Lyft Pink membership through March 2022
  • Up to $60 in DoorDash statement credits and complimentary 12-month DashPass from DoorDash subscription through Dec. 2021
  • Up to $120 in statement credits for qualifying Peloton purchases through Dec. 2021
  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation services
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection and return protection

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 credit 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 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in your first three months of account opening.

Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points per dollar on all travel and dining. It also comes with perks such as a $300 travel credit, up to $100 credit on TSA PreCheck/Global Entry, Lyft Pink membership, up to $60 in DoorDash credits and up to $120 in Peloton membership credits.

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 2x points on all travel and dining, compared to 3x on the Reserve. 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 60,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening — a $900 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 3x point bonus categories: dining, travel, and (through April 2021) grocery stores. 

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 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

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Intro bonus:
    60,000 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.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Intro bonus:
    80,000 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.
The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Intro bonus:
    75,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $550
  • Regular APR:
    See Pay Over Time APR
  • 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 $900 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. 

*All information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

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 3x points on dining out, and travel, as well as at grocery stores (up to $1,000 in monthly spend through April 30th, 2021), 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.