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Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Review

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Review

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Jun 08, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card could easily be considered one of the best premium travel cards currently available. That’s because – in addition to an elevated rewards rate in popular spending categories, such as travel and dining – the card offers generous travel benefits and a lucrative sign-up bonus that’s worth $750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just know, the benefits, sign-up bonus and rewards rate come with a hefty annual fee of $550. However, if you renew your card membership from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, your annual fee will be reduced to $450.

We break down the pros and cons of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, as well as show how it compares to another premium travel card: the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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Chase Sapphire Reserve® pros

Rewards rate. Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Additionally, from Nov. 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021, cardholders earn 3X points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month, including pickup and eligible grocery store delivery services.

The travel rewards earning category includes airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, campgrounds, taxis, ferries, toll bridges and more.

Dining rewards categories consist of merchants whose primary business is sit-down or eat-in dining, including fast food restaurants and fine dining establishments. Note, merchants that sell food and drinks inside of sports stadiums, hotels, casinos and other facilities don’t qualify for the higher rewards rate.

The grocery store category includes supermarkets, merchants that offer a full service grocery line of merchandise including a deli and bakery, as well as smaller grocery stores. Purchases made at warehouse clubs, discount stores, drugstores and gas stations and merchants that specialize in only a few grocery items do not qualify.

Sign-up bonus. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Chase Sapphire Reserve® points are generally valued at 1 cent each – making the sign-up bonus worth $500, unless you redeem those points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards at 1.5 cents each.

Read: Chase Sapphire Reserve® Sign-up Bonus

50% boost in rewards value. When you redeem points for airfare, hotels, car rentals or cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll get a 50% boost in rewards value – increasing the value of the sign-up bonus to $750.

Read: Chase Ultimate Rewards Program Guide

Pay Yourself Back limited-time offer. From May 31 through April 30, 2021, cardholders can also get 50% more value from their points when redeemed for statement credits to cover purchases in the following categories: grocery stores, dining (including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services) and home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.

To receive your statement credit, select an eligible purchase made within the past 90 days and apply your points to all or part of the purchase.

Redemption options and travel transfer partners. Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for travel, cash, gift cards, statement credits and products and services.

You can also transfer points to 10 airlines and three hotel partners at a rate of 1:1. Chase transfer partners include: Aer Lingus AerClub, British Airways Executive Club, Emirates Skywards, Flying Blue Air France KLM, Iberia Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt.

Read: Chase Sapphire Preferred Airline Transfer Partners

Additional Chase Sapphire Reserve® card benefits:

  • $0 foreign transaction fees. You will not incur additional charges if you use your Chase Sapphire Reserve® card outside of the U.S.
  • Free Priority Pass Select membership. Upon activation, the primary cardholder and authorized users receive complimentary access to Priority Pass lounges for themselves and up to two guests. You will be charged $27 per additional guest per visit.
  • Annual travel credit. Receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card. Typically, only travel purchases count towards the annual travel credit; however, from June 1 through Dec. 31, gas station and grocery store purchases will also count towards the credit, as well as earn points for those purchases. Once you earn the $300 travel credit, you will begin earning the three-point rate on travel purchases.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance. If your trip is canceled or cut short due to sickness, severe weather or other covered circumstances, you can receive reimbursement for up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement. Receive coverage of up to $3,000 per passenger if your luggage is damaged or lost by the carrier.
  • Trip delay reimbursement. If your travel is delayed more than six hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
  • Emergency evacuation & transportation. If you or a member of your immediate family are injured or become sick during a trip that results in an emergency evacuation, you can be covered for medical services and transportation up to $100,000.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver. Receive reimbursement of up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Purchase protection. Your new purchases are covered for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 a year.
  • Return protection. Receive reimbursement for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year.
  • Extended warranty protection. Extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.

Read: Chase Sapphire Reserve® Full Benefits Guide

Chase Sapphire Reserve® cons

Annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card charges a high annual fee of $550, as well as a $75 fee for each authorized user per year. However, the value you can get from the card’s annual travel credit, Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit, complimentary airport lounge access and other benefits can substantially offset that amount each year.

Also know, existing cardholders who renew their card memberships between April 1 and June 30 will receive a $100 statement credit, while existing cardmembers who renew between July 1 and Dec. 31 will be charged a lower annual fee of $450.

No intro APR. Because the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card does not offer an intro APR on purchases or balance transfers, it’s not ideal if you plan to carry a balance on your card.

If you don’t pay your balance in full each month, you will be subject to interest charges at a rate of 16.99%-23.99% variable APR.

Compare it with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases & 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

See additional details for Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

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If you want a premium travel rewards card and your travel is often booked on American Airlines, you may want to look at the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.

Similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® comes with a number of valuable benefits, including a complimentary Admirals Club membership – valued at up to $650, a Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit and the first checked bag free for you and up to eight travel companions.

Additionally, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® offers the following sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

AAdvantage® miles can be redeemed for flights on American Airlines, American Eagle or any oneworld airline or partner airline, as well as flight upgrades on American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia flights. Miles can also be redeemed for car rentals, hotel stays, activities and tours.

Here’s how the two cards stack up.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

 Chase Sapphire Reserve®Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
Annual fee$550 ($450 if renewed between July 1 and Dec. 31)$450
Regular Purchase APR16.99%-23.99% variable 15.99% - 24.99% (variable)
Rewards3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases & 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
Sign-up bonusEarn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Foreign transaction fees$00%

While these cards share similar sign-up bonuses, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® requires cardholders to spend $1,000 more in the first three months to earn the bonus. Also, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® lets you earn an elevated rewards rate in a broader range of spending categories for a limited time.

But keep in mind, if you are a new Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder who applies and then renews their card membership after Dec. 31, 2020, your annual fee will be significantly higher than that of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.

Read our Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® review.

Which credit card is best for me?

If you are a regular American Airlines customer who travels to one of the 350 destinations American Airlines flies to and can take advantage of the card’s premium airline benefits, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® could be a great fit.

Read: Which American Airlines Credit Card Is Best for You?

But if you want more flexibility in how you use those rewards, as well as earn a higher rewards rate in popular spending categories, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card will be a better choice.

If the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is a little too steep for your liking, you can get access to some of the card’s same benefits with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – which charges an annual fee of $95.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card offers the following sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Additionally, cardholders have access to a number of travel benefits, such as $0 foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance, purchase protection and more.

 


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