4.5MoneyWise Rating

Pros

  • Earn bonus rewards points for purchases in several categories, such as travel and dining.
  • Get $300 in statement credits annually that reimburse you for eligible travel purchases, such as hotels, buses and car rentals.
  • Your points gain 50% more value when you use them to book travel through the online portal for the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
  • No foreign transaction fee for purchases made abroad.
  • Earn a welcome bonus worth $750 in travel reserved through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site.

Cons

  • $550 annual fee.
  • Need a high credit score to qualify.
  • If you want more value, you must redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review: What We Think

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card offers frequent travelers benefits that can make travel more comfortable. You’ll get complimentary access to many airport lounges and a $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry enrollment, which gets you through security much faster.

For rewards, purchases earn one point per dollar spent, but Chase significantly multiplies your points when you buy flights, hotel stays and car rentals through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program online portal. On top of that, each point you earn becomes worth 1.5 points when you redeem them to book travel such as airfare and hotel stays through the rewards portal.

As a new cardmember, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening the account. With the 50% bonus in value for points you redeem for travel through Chase, that 50,000-point signup bonus is worth $750 in travel booked through the company.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve rewards program includes high point levels for some categories. For example, you receive 10x points on hotels and car rentals when you book those reservations through the Chase reward program site. The same 10x rate applies for dining purchases when you make a reservation or order takeout or delivery through the Ultimate Rewards platform. (Chase works with the Tock reservation system for dining.)

For flights, after you spend your first $300 on travel each year, you earn 5x points for bookings through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3x points on plane trips you buy with the card outside of the Chase portal. The 3x bonus also applies to card purchases directly through restaurants and with eligible delivery services, such as Postmates and Grubhub.

Beyond travel, you can redeem points for a number of options, from merchandise to gift cards. But remember, you get 50% more value if you use your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

If you are a member of some other loyalty programs, you can transfer your points at a ratio of 1:1. For instance, if you need 1,000 points to snag a JetBlue rewards flight as a loyalty club member of that airline, you could transfer 1,000 points from your Chase Sapphire Reserve account to buy the flight through JetBlue.

Transfer partners include airline travel programs such as AerClub for Aer Lingus in Ireland, TrueBlue for JetBlue airlines, and United MileagePlus, along with hotel partners, such as World of Hyatt and IHG Rewards Club.

Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits and rewards

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases with your card within the first three months of opening the account. This bonus can be worth $750 in travel if you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Receive an annual statement credit of $300 for travel purchases you make with your card.
  • Earn 5x points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, after you spend your first $300 on travel annually.
  • Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase.
  • Earn 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 3x points on other travel worldwide outside of the Chase portal, after you spend the first $300 on travel annually.
  • Earn 3x points on restaurant purchases outside of the Chase platform, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • Earn one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and earn 50% more value.
  • Use Pay Yourself Back for a value of 1.5 points when you redeem for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories. Recent categories include Airbnb stays, Away travel bags and accessories, dining at restaurants, and select charities.
  • Transfer points to other travel rewards programs at a ratio of 1:1.
  • Get a statement credit of up to $100 every four years for reimbursement of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees.
  • Complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges in over 500 cities worldwide.

Chase Sapphire Reserve card fees

Annual fee

There is a $550 annual fee for this card.

Interest rate

16.99%–23.99% variable APR

Foreign transaction fee

This card does not charge a fee when you make purchases in another country.

Chase Sapphire Reserve credit score

Chase does not share the exact credit score you need for credit card approval. But you’ll need an excellent credit score, typically 720 and higher, to qualify for the Sapphire Reserve.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

People often compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred cards because not only are the names similar, but the cards also have a major benefit in common: Both offer extra value if you redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

However, most everything else about the cards is different, including their rewards programs and most significantly, the Preferred card’s annual fee, which is just $95 — or $455 less than the Chase Sapphire Reserve fee.

You can offset the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s higher fee if you can take advantage of the welcome bonus (worth $750 in travel booked through Chase), its $300 annual travel credit, and the purchase categories that earn higher points. If you're not sure you travel enough to cover the fee, it's best to stick with the Preferred card. While the benefits with the Preferred card are not as valuable, you only have to worry about making up for an annual fee of $95.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card worth it?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is worth getting if you know you'll earn the new member bonus (worth $750 in travel), the annual travel credits of $300, the Global Entry credit and other benefits listed above. The fact that the card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee adds to its appeal and potential savings for international travelers because such fees could add 3% to 4% onto your purchases abroad.

If you don't travel enough to take advantage of the travel benefits and rewards opportunities, you might want to consider the little brother card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which costs $95 annually versus $550 for the Reserve card. This way you get some of the benefits without the worry of the card’s annual fee costing you hundreds of dollars a year.

The MoneyWise editorial team developed a grading system — taking into account fees, features and other factors — to prescribe the rating shared in this review. The opinions and writing in this article are solely my own. Other customers’ outcomes may differ.

About the Author

Christina Majaski

Christina Majaski

Reporter

Christina Majaski is a reporter with MoneyWise.com.

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