Changes Reportedly Coming To The Chase Sapphire Reserve

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is one of the hottest credit cards out there, and for good reason. The card offers a $300 annual travel credit, triple points on dining and travel, a Priority Pass membership, great travel coverage, and a variety of lucrative ways to redeem your points. For those who spend a decent amount on credit cards (especially on dining and travel), I tend to think getting this card is a no brainer

The card is so lucrative that Chase isn’t sure they’ll ever make money on the card. They’ve found the retention rate and member engagement with the card to be incredible, though they’re also finding that people are using the 3x points categories a lot, and aren’t financing many charges, so the margins for Chase are minimal. We know that the unit that oversees the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has been pushing for cost cuts, and it looks like we now know some changes they’ll make to help them achieve that goal.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card changes allegedly coming August 26, 2018

Doctor Of Credit and The Points Guy report on some changes that are reportedly coming to the Chase Sapphire Reserve on August 26, 2018. I can’t personally vouch for the accuracy of this as I haven’t received any communication, but it does look like there has been official communication regarding this.

Here’s how Chase describes these changes:

We continuously review our products to ensure we offer best in class features which sometimes means streamlining other features.

Chase Sapphire Reserve updates:

  • Each year, customers automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to their card. However, customers will no longer earn 3x points on travel purchases that qualify for the $300 Annual Travel credit.
  • Priority Pass Select access will be limited to two guests per visit. If customers have more than two guests, a fee of $27 will be charged to their Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card for each additional guest within two statement cycles.
  • Price Protection will no longer be available.

Customers will apparently be notified about these changes in early May, and the changes are expected to go into effect as of August 26, 2018.

What I make of these changes

It goes without saying that these are negative changes, though if these are the only changes coming to the card, color me relieved. Let’s look at the changes individually.

First of all they’re cutting Priority Pass guesting privileges from an unlimited number of guests to two guests per cardmember (meaning a total of three people). On one hand this is unfortunate for those traveling as families. At the same time, I know several people made a habit of bringing lots of people into lounges, and I imagine that became very costly for Chase very quickly.

Keep in mind that you can still add an authorized user to the Chase Sapphire Reserve for $75, and they get a Priority Pass membership as well, so that could double your guest privileges if you’re traveling with someone.

Then you’ll no longer earn Ultimate Rewards points for purchases that are reimbursed as part of the $300 annual travel credit. I found the previous policy to be ridiculously generous, given that they were awarding you points for a purchase that you were being fully reimbursed for. Essentially this means that if you max out your annual travel credit of $300 (which I imagine most people do), you’ll earn 900 fewer Ultimate Rewards points. Assuming you’d redeem those for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase, that’s like getting $13.50 less value from the card per year.

Lastly Chase is eliminating price protection on the card. This is a benefit that Chase is dropping from lots of their cards. I can’t say I’ve ever used it, though I know it’s something that others loved.

Bottom line

These are no doubt negative changes, though to me the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card remains a very lucrative card, and it doesn’t alter the value proposition for me. I get why they’re making these changes — a small percentage of people probably brought in a disproportionate number of Priority Pass guests, and not awarding 3x points on the travel credit is an easy way for them to achieve ~$13.50 of cost savings per member per year (which really adds up when you consider how many cardmembers they have).

Personally I’d be much more concerned if they made a more major change, like altering the transferability of Ultimate Rewards points, and restricting people from pooling across Freedom Cards and Sapphire Cards, for example. Now that would be a game-changer.

What do you make of these Chase Sapphire Reserve changes?

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Comments

  1. Lucky, I first saw your headline and thought, “oh no, here we go….”.

    Not terrible in the scheme of things. I sometimes travel with 4 of us so that might be a pain. It justifies getting another cc that has that PP benefits too. Losing IR points on the $300 travel credit is not a deal killer either, now r is the purchase protection which I forget to use.

    One thing I’ve heard rumors from some folks postings is the possibility of not being allowed to transfer UR points between cards. This would be a bummer as I’m about to reduce my non-bonus spend away from my SPG Amex cards and build a Chase Trifecta/Quadfecta. Think this could happen? I’m thinking this would be a deal killer.

  2. I’m fine with these changes. Im actually pretty happy with the limits to PP and been hoping for them for a while. There are options for families who want to bring more, and people who complain that it should be 3-4 guests are being arbitrary. Not everything should revolve around large families.

    No points on the travel credit may seem petty but totally logical. Price protection is still available on Chase FU, which is better card for “things”.

  3. The only change that is noteworthy here is the demise of ‘double-dipping’ on the $300 credit. However, it was utterly predictable, and for someone who spends enough to earn the credit within days, this will cause barely a ripple.

  4. Interesting Lucky values UR at only 1.5c here but 1.7c in his “what’s it worth” posts.

  5. The Citi Costco card (and other Citis) is better for price protection and extending warranty anyway.

  6. Will the Priority Pass be restricted to 1+2 guests or just 2 in total? And does it apply across authorised users (viz. if I am with my authorised user, do we get 2 guests EACH or a total of 2 guests between us?).

  7. I think this is manageable. If the limit to PP use to two reduces crowding in the PP lounges, that can only be a good thing. Right now, many of the PP lounges are way too crowded.

  8. They should of never been giving 3X on the $300 credit. So that was too good to be true.

    I bet PP made them reduce the guest thing. They prob sent way more customers to lounges than anticipated bc the card blew up.

    I didn’t use this card for any non travel or restaurant purchases so purchase protection wouldnt of applied.

    This is losing 900 points for me. I said a few weeks back when the IHG issue arouse that Chase is going to find savings across their card portfolio. They over spent on marketing last year and now need to adjust their costs. What other Chase cards are next?

  9. @Dave 1.5c is the value you get if redeeming through Chase with a CSR, which is what many people do.

  10. Nothing in card with an annual fee of $450 is “ridiculously generous.” (I noticed that you didn’t mention this fee in your post!) Chase is making 3 negative changes to the card, and it’s still a puff piece for it.-“though to me the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card remains a very lucrative card”-of course it does, I can’t imagine how much you get through referrals!

  11. For those who make lots of 4-night+ hotel stays, the Citi Prestige card is far superior to this card.

  12. @A sez: “Nothing in card with an annual fee of $450 is “ridiculously generous.” (I noticed that you didn’t mention this fee in your post!).”

    @A – Just for you, I suggest a post on this very site from YESTERDAY titled “Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit: Everything You Need To Know”, because it seems that you still do not get it even though the subject has been addressed here (and elsewhere) so many times it’s elicited complaints of ‘overkill — apparently not!

  13. Totally fine with the upcoming changes. CSR still the best travel rewards card on the market.

  14. @A everyone in the world knows the card is $450… was he supposed to rehash every benefit of it as well in this brief post?
    How did you come to know it was $450 if it’s not in the post?? Are you magic?

    Go start your own perfect blog. I’d love to read it.

  15. @Tim – I haven’t heard anything about nixing transfers between card accounts. However, there are rumors that they will stop allowing transfers within households.

  16. @Lucky – “I found the previous policy to be ridiculously generous, given that they were awarding you points for a purchase that you were being fully reimbursed for.” Right. I suppose that you find that getting full points for spending $250 on airfare on the Citi Prestige or $200 in airline fees on the Amex Platinum is “ridiculously generous,” too? -_-

    Cutting back on points for LEGITIMATE spending is ridiculously cheap on Chase’s part. As for the price protection, while I haven’t used it, I do like knowing that I can be reimbursed if a product’s price drops. It’s just another cheap move.

    The only thing I’m fine with is the Priority Pass guest changes. I guess one could always use second/third cards to bring in additional guests, but I do wonder if that’s allowed…

  17. If that’s the only changes people need to quit bitching.

    Look at the Citi Prestige. Value in that card seriously plummeted and for those who prefer Airbnb it’s a garbage card now in comparison.

  18. @DCS. I know what the $300 travel credit is. I have used it. But the $300 travel credit DOES NOT CHANGE THE ANNUAL FEE. The annual fee is $450. Beyond that, he mentions the $300 travel credit in the post, but does not mention the annual fee.

    And the fact that he posted about the very travel credit yesterday and then give this long post about negative changes that chase is making to the card in a way that is unbelievably supportive of “ridiculously generous” Chase (the poor multibillion international company, they aren’t making as much money as they expected on a card that has a $450 annual fee and interest rates in the double digits).

    Honestly, these blogs-points guy, VFTW, OMAAT, need a new tagline: Brought to you by Chase.

    I would love, love, love to know how much compensation those bloggers got from Chase last year!!!

  19. Can you use separate priority pass cards (from different credit cards) to get more guests in if they’re both in the same name?

  20. Not unrelated but I’m more worried they will take away the ability to transfer UR points between cards. Do you think they would give warning like this situation or just do it? How many of you just out of habit regularly transfer your UR points to your Reserve?

  21. WHEW, so relieved the changes amount to a whopping $13.50 (for my purposes, at least).

    My strategy for the next year is: $300 of travel purchases on the CSR, 5x on CIC bonus categories, & 3x on the CFU for everything else. Hopefully Chase would release pooling restrictions with these other changes at the same time & not separately?

    Don’t see why if Chase is concerned about overuse of 3x rewards they would (limited) issue a 3x on everything CFU card unless they also plan on limiting point transfers. Hoping this is the extent of major changes for at least a year…

  22. All I can say is “phew”… These changes are miniscule compared to what they could have done (removed the travel credit altogether, reduce dining rewards to 2x, etc)… If you have another “premiere” credit card, chances are you have priority pass through them as well which resolves the lounge limit… and there are plenty of sites for price protection available now…. So let’s keep our fingers crossed that this is it.

  23. @A sez: “I know what the $300 travel credit is. I have used it. But the $300 travel credit DOES NOT CHANGE THE ANNUAL FEE.”

    It does effectively change the annual fee. What you fail to understand, like everyone who’s espoused your erroneous view, is that the $300 credit must be thought of as money that would have been spent, REGARDLESS, and that without it there would simply have been a $300 hole in your account.

    The short of it is that you are confused and I am not going to be the one trying to convince you of something that is really self-evident and has now been beaten to death.

    G’day.

  24. Key question: Do the limits on guests apply to minor children as well? I was going to apply for this card *tonight* in part on the strength of the lounge privileges for our traveling family of four. I’m not sure it’s worth it to pay $29 or whatever so my two year-old can sit around sleeping in the lounge.

  25. It’s $29 for him to sleep in the lounge or nothing for you to all sit/sleep outside the lounge. I know which one I’d pick. But you can just put an additional cardmember or use a PP from another credit card.

  26. @ kendor — Infants under two are admitted for free, but otherwise you have to pay for them to enter the lounge. If you do travel with your spouse, keep in mind you can add them as an authorized user for $75, and then they’d get a full Priority Pass membership as well. That could be a great value in your case. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  27. Thanks, Lucky and Peter. So has anyone confirmed for sure that if a second authorized user is added at $75 (e.g. my spouse), that that person also can bring two guests into the club?

  28. @ Kendor — Yep, 100%. 🙂 They get the same membership as the primary cardmember.

  29. Their changes are perfectly reasonable and do not affect whether one keeps and uses the card or gives it up for something else.

  30. I am pretty sure CSR is eliminating Price Protection because it is one of those perks that cardholders barely use.

  31. I think Price Protection was being abused by ‘extreme’ members of this community. People who would buy a $3k tv around mid-November once they knew what was going on sale for Black Friday, resell the tv and pocket the cash.

    This affects very few people.

  32. I read elsewhere that Chase is eliminating price protection across its entire line of cards.

  33. Wonder how new PP member +2 guests policy would be applied at restaurants within PP network. We had breakfast at Timberline Grill in DEN using PP as party of 4. $28 (or $30?) per person allowance wasn’t even close to what we each ordered since menu item was around $12 to $16 each. Our bill was less than $60 for four of us. If there are party of four dining at a PP participating restaurant and the bill was under the allowance for three people (member +2 guests), say $84 or less, I wonder if the restaurant would make the 4th guest to pay $27 fee per regulation… $84 worth of foods for $27 is still a good deal, but curious how they would apply new rule…

  34. I’m very unhappy about the elimination of price protection. I never used it much until last year when I started using the app Earny which synced to your amazon account and your credit cards (both my Chase Freedom Unlimited and CSR are on here as well as my Citi Prestige) and the app automatically requests refunds for you when prices drop. They’ve since partnered with a bunch of other online retailers like Target, Costco, Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic, Nordstrom, etc that I also shop at. Although Earny charges you 25% of the amount refunded as their service fee, I pretty much “set it and forget it” and it’s so it’s been an easy way to passively take advantage of a commonly underused card benefit, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s claimed over $120 for me in the last 9 months.

    Here’s my referral code for anybody who may want to check it out: https://earny.app.link/JlcTPdOHJM

  35. I used to like this card. However, their travel group has dropped the ball so many times on my international flights, it is sickening. Also, their travel group only has a small percentage of flights available. I am planning to drop this card this year but will evaluate these changes first. Does anyone else know of a better travel card?

    Thanks

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