In August 2016 we saw the introduction of the new Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, which at the time had a 100,000 point welcome bonus. This bonus was incredibly popular, and allegedly Chase reached their 12 month acquisition goal within two weeks. That’s pretty crazy.
In the Ask Lucky forum, jshood asked the following:
I’m fairly new to travel credit cards and points. Just 3 years ago I flew Lufthansa from New York to Frankfurt and didn’t bother crediting the miles at all, because I thought miles were only useful for business travelers (I later tried to claim the trip but was just outside of the deadline). A year after that trip I got the AA Platinum Select because of a great in-flight offer and I’ve been working on earning and using miles and points ever since.
I really want to get the Chase Saphire Reserve and start using that as my main travel card, but I’ve been waiting since last year when I just missed the great sign on bonus offer. Should I keep waiting in case they do a new promotion or should I just jump in and get the card with the standard offer?
I receive a lot of questions along the same lines, and the short answer is “I don’t know.” That won’t stop me from sharing my (educated) guess, though.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is extremely rewarding for everyday spend
Taking the welcome bonus out of the equation, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is a card that’s valuable for anyone looking to earn travel rewards. The card has a $450 annual fee, and offers:
- A $300 annual travel credit that’s automatically applied towards any purchase coded as travel; if you spend at least $300 per year on travel then I consider that to be worth face value, and to me it lowers the real “out of pocket” on the card to $150 per year
- You receive triple points on all dining and travel purchases
- You can redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase
- You get a Priority Pass membership with unlimited guesting privileges
- You receive excellent travel, purchase, and car rental protection
- You receive Visa Infinite perks, like 30% off Silvercar rentals of two days or more
Those are just a few of the benefits, though see this post for a full review of the card. The point is that this is an extremely well rounded card that a lot of people should get value out of. It’s a $450 annual fee card for people who don’t otherwise pay $450 annual fees.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s historical welcome bonus
When the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card was first introduced, we saw a welcome bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points upon completing minimum spend. That bonus was available starting when the card was introduced until very early 2017, for a period of a little over four months.
Since then, the welcome bonus on the card has been 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months. That welcome bonus has remained unchanged. That’s still an excellent welcome bonus. At a minimum it gets you $750 worth of travel.
What are the chances we see a better welcome bonus?
Do I think we’ll see a 100,000 point welcome bonus return on the Sapphire Reserve? I highly doubt it.
Is it possible that we’ll see a marginally better welcome bonus at some point in the future? Yes, I think that’s a possibility. Maybe a 60,000 point welcome bonus at some point, but I highly doubt we’ll see a significantly higher bonus.
The reason I say this is because Chase has revealed a lot of details about the average Chase Sapphire Reserve cardmember, and also about the profitability of the card. While Chase has been very successful in making Sapphire Reserve cardmembers more loyal to the brand, there are questions as to whether or not they’ll ever be able to make money on the card. That’s how rewarding the card is for consumers.
With that in mind, I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll see the return of a huge welcome bonus. The 100,000 point offer at the beginning was intended so that the card made a splash, and it very successfully did that. With the number of cardmembers they have, I just don’t think they’ll feel the need to offer a bonus like that again.
So it’s possible we’ll see a slightly bigger bonus at some point in the future, but personally I wouldn’t recommend holding out for the bonus. That’s because I don’t necessarily think we’ll see a bigger bonus anytime soon, and also because if we do, I’m not sure it’s really worth waiting for.
Want more Ultimate Rewards points? Consider these two cards
If you do want bigger welcome bonuses (possibly in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, consider the excellent bonuses presently available on two of Chase’s best business credit cards:
- The $95 annual fee Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is offering a welcome bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months, which I consider to be the best welcome bonus of any card at the moment
- The no annual fee Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months, which is an incredible welcome bonus for a no annual fee card (see this post for details on how to convert these points into Ultimate Rewards points)
If you are considering picking up one of these cards, check out this post about how to apply for Chase business cards, this post about the best order in which to apply for the cards, and this post for a comparison of the two cards (though you can potentially pick them both up).
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is known for being one of the all around most compelling travel cards out there. I know a lot of people don’t like the feeling of applying for a card when it doesn’t have its best ever welcome bonus, though I fear this is an instance where we’re unlikely to see another 100,000 point welcome bonus on the card. I certainly could be wrong, though I suspect at best we’ll see a marginally better bonus on the card, and even that isn’t a guarantee, and in my opinion isn’t worth waiting for.
Don’t feel too bad, though. The card will help you earn tons of points through everyday spend, and at the moment we are seeing amazing welcome bonuses on the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, which you don’t want to miss out on.
Do you think we’ll ever see a significantly bigger welcome bonus again on the Sapphire Reserve?