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This article was last updated Jun 08, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
If you’re looking for a travel card with strong rewards, premium benefits and a generous sign-up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® might be the credit card you want in your wallet.
In addition to offering valuable travel benefits, including a $300 annual travel credit, a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit and a Priority Pass Select membership, the card lets you earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Keep in mind the annual fee is $550, so premium benefits come at a premium price, but the annual travel credit and additional benefits offset some of the cost.
We’ll break down if you’re eligible for the sign-up bonus, how you can use it and more.
In this article:
- Are you eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® sign-up bonus?
- How can you use your Chase Sapphire Reserve® sign-up bonus?
- Transferring Chase Sapphire Reserve® rewards
- Other ways to earn Chase Sapphire Reserve® rewards
- Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® right for you?
Are you eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® sign-up bonus?
The first thing you should know is that there are two Sapphire cards — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. If you’ve previously held either of these cards, and you received a new cardmember bonus for your card within the last 48 months, you are not eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s current sign-up bonus.
You should also know that you can’t hold both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® at the same time. So, if you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you won’t be approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. And while you could request a product change from one card to the other, cardholders who get the Chase Sapphire Reserve® through a product change aren’t eligible to earn the sign-up bonus.
It’s also good to keep the Chase 5/24 rule in mind when applying for this card. Essentially, this unwritten rule says that you won’t be able to be approved for a card from Chase if you’ve been approved for five or more credit cards from any issuer in the past 24 months.
If you do qualify for the card and its bonus, you’ll need to meet the spending requirement. Spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening could be a bit of a heavy lift, coming out to a little more than $1,333.33 each month. However, if you’re strategic and apply for the card while planning for a big purchase, hitting $4,000 can be more easily achievable.
How can you use your Chase Sapphire Reserve® sign-up bonus?
One of the best benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is that you get 50% more value for your points when you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal for travel.
This means 60,000 bonus points are worth $900 when redeemed for airfare, hotels, car rentals or cruises via the portal.
Additionally, from May 31, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021, the value of your Ultimate Rewards points will increase by 50% when redeemed for statement credits against purchases in the following categories: grocery stores, dining (including restaurants, and takeout), eligible delivery services and home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.
You can receive your statement credit by selecting an eligible purchase made within the past 90 days and applying your points to all or part of the purchase.
Other ways to redeem your points include:
- Cash back (each point is worth $0.01).
- Gift cards (each point is worth $0.01).
- Chase Pay (each point is worth $0.08).
You can also transfer points to travel partners.
Transferring Chase Sapphire Reserve® rewards
Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 value to the following airline partners:
- 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
Points also transfer at a 1:1 value to the following hotel partners:
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Other ways to earn Chase Sapphire Reserve® rewards
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 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.
Typically, only travel purchases count towards the $300 annual travel credit; however, from June 1 through Sept. 30, 2021, gas station and grocery store purchases will also count towards the credit.
Keep in mind that, once you earn the $300 travel credit, you will begin earning the three-point rate on travel purchases.
Here’s what’s included in the travel category:
- Hotels, motels and timeshares
- Car rental agencies
- Operators of passenger trains
- Buses, taxis, and limousines
- Toll bridges and highways
- Parking lots and garages
- Cruise lines
- Travel agencies
- Discount travel sites
The restaurant category includes merchants whose “primary business is sit-down or eat-in dining,” according to the Chase website. Such merchants can range from fast-food restaurants to fine dining establishments. Be aware that some merchants that sell food and drink may not qualify for the 3X rewards rate — for example, those located inside sports stadiums.
The grocery store category covers purchases made at supermarkets and merchants that offer a full grocery line of merchandise, such as a deli and bakery. The following merchants may not qualify for this category: warehouse clubs, discount stores, drugstores, gas stations and merchants that specialize in only a few grocery items.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5% cash back in rotating categories (each quarter that you activate) and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® lets you earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.. Though the rewards earned on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited® are officially described as cash back, when you log into your account online, you’ll see the rewards you’ve earned as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, with each point being worth 1 cent.
By using the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for travel and dining, then using the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® when the Chase Sapphire Reserve® would only earn 1 point per $1 spent, you can earn more rewards than you would with the Sapphire card alone. And you can transfer the Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, then redeem for 50% more value through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® right for you?
While the $550 annual fee isn’t cheap — and there’s an additional $75 annual fee for each authorized user — the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a premium travel card that provides significant value for the price. And if you can meet the spending requirement, the sign-up bonus is strong: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Overall, this is a great card for the frequent traveler.