A Change Is Being Made To The Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Credit

Filed Under: Chase, Credit Cards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve was introduced last year, and has been insanely popular. It has exceeded all expectations in terms of demand, and that’s hardly surprising, given the huge sign-up bonus that the card had, along with the generous perks and return on spend.

While the card has a $450 annual fee, it also offers a $300 annual travel credit. That travel credit will automatically be applied towards any purchase coded as travel, including things like Uber. A vast majority of people should easily be able to maximize that benefit, meaning the real out of pocket for the card is roughly $150 per year.

However, it looks like Chase is making an important change to how the Sapphire Reserve travel credit is being calculated for applications submitted as of May 21, 2017. As noted by Doctor of Credit and Travel After Work:

A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $300. Annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first statement date after your account open date anniversary, and the 12 monthly billing cycles after that each year. (For applications submitted before May 21, 2017, annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and the 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date each year.)

So the important change here is that for new cardmembers the Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit will be calculated based on the cardmember year rather than based on the calendar year. What are the practical implications of this?

When the travel credit is calculated based on the calendar year, it means you can get two of these travel credits with the card’s first annual fee. In other words, in addition to all of the other perks, you’re essentially getting $600 worth of travel credits with your first $450 annual fee.

With this change, however, you’ll get one travel credit for every annual fee you pay.

This is a logical enough change, and one that shouldn’t really impact existing cardmembers, best I can tell.

If you apply for the Sapphire Reserve in the next several days you should still be able to get a travel credit based on the calendar year rather than the cardmember year.

Ultimately this change will cost some people a $300 travel credit, though in the grand scheme of things isn’t an unreasonable change at all.

  1. Change”S” means more than one.
    This is one change of date/calendar accounting.
    Misleading headline to say the least.

  2. And so begins the stripping of CSR benefits….I’ve pushed quite a bit of my personal spend over to Chase. While this does not impact points earning, it would be highly negative if they start tinkering with points earning and other card benefits.

  3. @Shabs

    Of course it is. Each card member (whose account was not opened precisely on Jan. 1) will be down $300 for the same number of annual fees paid. I’m not saying it’s not reasonable, but it’s certainly stripping a benefit.

  4. How can it be stripping of benefits if people who currently have the card (or apply before 5/21) get the calendar year rule? I blame this on US Bank Altitude Reserve card, they inspired Chase. 😛

  5. ZERO impact to current customers. It only impacts new customers that have no plan to renew.

    Any moron that even knows somebody with half a brain realizes this makes way more business sense than the previous process.

  6. This is actually a pleasant surprise. I thought it was cardmember year, and now to learn it’s calendar year is a bonus. I guess it only matters if we plan on cancelling the card in 11 months. We have two new cards with a March anniversary date.

  7. I wonder if this change means they have been seeing lots of people take their 100k bonus points, their two $300 credits for 2016 and 2017 and then cancel or downgrade the card.

  8. Sam, it is not removing a benefit. It merely defers it by a few weeks or months, depending on when you renew.

  9. Old plan – you get two $300 credits and then cancel before annual fee comes up again.

    Old Plan – part two -it you stay a customer, no change dollar wise.

    New Plan – you get one $300 credit per annual year – no double dipping for those that cancel.

  10. @Martin: For X annual fees paid, you previously received (X+1)*300 in travel credits. Now, you receive X*300 travel credits.

    Again, totally reasonable cutback IMO. But it’s a cutback.

  11. The CSR’s $300 travel credit as initially structured was too “lucrative” to be sustainable (sort of like how HGP’s benefits and promos were always too “lucrative” to be sustainable, so they got scaled back or pulled altogether).

    Initially, the travel credit, C, for X annual fees paid was given by the following equation:

    B = $450 * X – (X+1) * $300, so that

    for X = 0 (before the first AF was due)
    C = – $300 (one could get up to $300 extra in one’s account if one spent a lot on travel).

    for X = 1 (after paying the first AF on the first year anniversary of the card, one made money!!!)
    B = -$150

    for X = 2 (after paying the 2nd AF, effectively no AF!)
    C = $0

    for X = 3+ (after paying the 3rd AF and thereafter)
    C = +$150

    Translation: EFFECTIVELY, one did not pay any AF the first two years after getting the CSR. Chase either knew it or they just realized it after people like me pointed it out in this space on this blog or others.


    After the change

    C = $450X – 300X so that

    for all X

    C = $150.

    This means is that there is no longer an ~2-year AF ‘holiday”. One pays $150 within a year of getting the card and thereafter, which makes more business sense.

    It may also mean that Chase is about to let bloggers have the signup link for the CSR…

    The change does not affect the millions who already have the card, however 🙂

  12. Very reasonable change. Disgusted at the threads where people are discussing gaming this card by getting the double travel credit and then canceling the card. The 100,000 point bonus wasn’t enough for the gamers.

    It’s a good card, and the true annual fee is $ 150.

  13. People are free to offer views as to whether the original plan made good business sense or not, – I guess Chase decided it didn’t, at least beyond the initial buzz the card created – but there’s no doubt that the change is a $300 reduction in the potential value of the card for everyone signing up after the effective date of the change, whether they plan to keep it for 40 years or cancel it within the first year. The only new customers who might not be affected to the tune of $300 would be those who eventually die as cardholders, depending on the date of signup, date of use of the credit, and date of death.

    It is without question a devaluation of the card for new applicants. Whether the devaluation makes the card less worthy of applying for is a decision for each potential customer. To me, due to 5/24, it’s all an academic exercise anyway.

  14. In DCS on May 17, 2017 at 12:42 am

    Minor error in the equation. Should be:

    C = $450 * X – (X+1) * $300

    rather than

    B = $450 * X – (X+1) * $300

    Change any ‘B’ to ‘C’.

    (was alternatively and interchangeably thinking ‘B’ for bonus and of ‘C’ for credit).

  15. Your equation omits the TSA precheck reimbursement which my wife and I already used on our separate cards. Deduct an extra 85 per card, or $ 100 per card if global used,

  16. @Paul S — You’re right and the reason is that nothing else changed, which means that when the unchanged perks are included, the card still pays for itself and then some…

  17. as to the Global Fee $100

    You really can not count that except the first year, and then a few years later when you renew.

    (everyone agrees that year one is awesome – future years are a maybe)

  18. I have only found two negatives with the Card.

    The lounge access will be of very limited use unless you travel internationally. Any domestic location where you can use them? This was one of the reasons I got the card. Not useful for me.

    Pathetic luxury hotel collection customer support. Long phone waits. Poor answers. I booked the Aria in Las Vegas. Page says inclusive of tax. Called hotel. They said tax is always added. Called Hotel Collection agency, not a clue. Transferred to specialist. Not a clue. Called Chase. Not a clue. Went through my Chase support page. Sent message. Message answer was to call hotel collection. At least the Aria rate was very good. Most hotels were very overpriced.

  19. Hey! I’ve got a question that you might have the answer to:

    I am a long-term traveler that is out of the U.S for the next few years on numerous trips through different countries.

    When I look through my benefits of the Chase Reserve, I see that it limits most of the benefits to “covered trips less than 60-days”. However, when I sent Chase an email asking them what constitutes a covered trip, they told me to refer to my benefits packet, which says that a covered trip is the purchase of a ticket or tour.

    It doesn’t mention in there that a trip has to be to and from your resident country, so I have figured that I’m just making lots of different trips. For example, I’m currently on my “Peru” trip, which lasts 30 days and then will be heading onto my “Ecuador” trip for two weeks.

    Do you think I would be out of luck if something came up and I actually had to use a medical or other insurance benefit? They don’t seem to have a good explanation of what “trip” means and I’m curious if you might have heard a more clear definition at some point. This is my main reason for having the card, as 60-day coverage when I’m traveling for a year+ doesn’t help me out much.

    Any help is truly appreciated. Long-term follower here!


  20. @Boco, it scared me too.
    I think this is reasonable though.
    @Paul S, I have used my PriorityPass domestically several times, do you have the app that tells you what lounges are eligible? Our local airport has an alaska lounge I get to use. Only been denied once for capacity. Used it at other airports too.

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