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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.
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?