Is The Chase Sapphire Reserve Still Worth It? (2022)

Is The Chase Sapphire Reserve Still Worth It? (2022)

27
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) is one of the most popular premium credit cards. Since the card was introduced over five years ago, it has been a no brainer for many. However, a lot has changed, both in absolute and relative terms, including that the card’s annual fee has increased, and that significant changes were made to both Sapphire cards.

With that in mind, I wanted to tackle the question of whether the Chase Sapphire Reserve is still worth it, both in absolute terms, and relative to other cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This card is especially worth considering now, given that it’s offering an improved bonus.

Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, and offers the following major long term benefits:

Priority Pass lounge access is an awesome perk

In the past couple of years we’ve also seen several changes made to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, both for better and worse. Some of these have been permanent changes, while some have been temporary. These include the following:

The Sapphire Reserve travel credit is super valuable

How much is the Sapphire Reserve “costing” me?

On the most basic level, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, and I receive a $300 “good cash” travel credit every cardmember year. For mental accounting purposes, I’d consider this card to really “cost” me $250 per year, since I spend $300 on travel every year anyway.

In terms of other value I can “cash out,” the card is offering a $5 monthly DoorDash credit through December 31, 2024. You can “bank” credits and use up to three for an order. I order from DoorDash at least once per quarter, so to me that’s like $60 worth of value per year.

That brings the real annual cost of the card down to $190, at least in my situation. Below I’ll do the math on what I’m getting for that.

The travel credit can be used toward virtually any travel purchase

Why I’m not spending much on the Sapphire Reserve

When the Chase Sapphire Reserve was first introduced, I loved the ability to earn 3x points on dining and travel, and used it for virtually all purchases in those categories. However, that’s no longer the competitive advantage that it once was:

My dining spending goes on the Citi Prestige

Since I’m no longer using the Sapphire Reserve for my dining and airfare purchases, at this point the only “bonused” spending going on my card is non-airfare travel purchases. For hotel spending it’s also breakeven, since I earn 3x points on the Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige.

In fairness, this is still a significant category, as it means I’m putting things like ridesharing, rental cars, trains, hotels, and more, on the card. The 10x points on Lyft is a big category for me, and that continues to be valid through March 2025.

Is the Sapphire Reserve still right for me?

All of this has me wondering whether the Chase Sapphire Reserve is still right for me, or if I should downgrade it to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) or maybe just keep the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review).

When considering these cards, let me share what perks of the Sapphire Reserve I do and don’t value at this point:

  • For the 3x points on dining and travel, at this point I only value 3x points on non-airfare travel purchases, since I’d rather put other purchases on the Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige
  • I value the $300 annual travel credit more or less at face value
  • I value the temporary up to $60 in annual DoorDash credits more or less at face value
  • I value the travel and rental car protection, as that really comes in handy for my travels
  • The Sapphire Reserve lets you redeem points for 1.5 cents each toward travel purchases (rather than 1.25 cents), though that’s not something I personally value, since I’d rather transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners (and the transfer ratio is 1:1 for all three Ultimate Rewards “hub” cards)
  • A Priority Pass membership is valuable, but I also get this through several other cards, so incrementally I don’t think that’s worth much
I value the card’s rental car protection

Where does that leave me? Should I keep the Sapphire Reserve, should I downgrade to the Sapphire Preferred, or should I just keep the Ink Preferred?

I want to keep a premium Ultimate Rewards card

On the most basic level, the reason I want to keep one of those three cards is that they allow me to unlock the full value of the Ultimate Rewards program.

If I have one of those three cards, then I can transfer the points earned on the no annual fee Chase Freedom FlexSM (review), Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review), Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (review), and Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review), to Ultimate Rewards partners.

For me the value of the overall Ultimate Rewards ecosystem remains unchanged thanks to Chase’s great no annual fee cards.

If I were to consider not keeping the Sapphire Reserve, I’d have two options.

Option #1: downgrade to the Sapphire Preferred

One option is to downgrade the Sapphire Reserve to the Sapphire Preferred. With the changes made to the card in 2021, this is a really compelling option:

  • The Sapphire Preferred now offers 3x points on dining, so it’s on par with the Sapphire Reserve
  • The Sapphire Preferred now offers 10% anniversary bonus points, so it’s actually more compelling for dining and everyday spending than the Sapphire Reserve
  • The Sapphire Preferred now offers a $50 annual hotel credit, which many could get value from
  • The Sapphire Preferred also offers great travel protection
  • I’d essentially be giving up an incremental Priority Pass membership (not a big deal), the ability to redeem points for 1.5 cents each toward travel (which I don’t really value), and 3x points on my non-airfare travel purchases (which is the only real loss here)

To me the question comes down to whether it’s worth paying the higher annual fee (minus the annual travel credit), in order to earn some bonus points on travel purchases. I’m seriously considering this card downgrade option when my next annual fee comes due.

The Sapphire Preferred now also offers 3x points on dining

Option #2: cancel my Sapphire Reserve and stick to the Ink Preferred

The Ink Business Preferred is a $95 annual fee business card that offers 3x points on the first $150,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.

This is a phenomenal card given that it offers the same 3x points on travel as the Sapphire Reserve (though it’s capped).

If I canceled my Sapphire Reserve I’d save quite a bit in annual fees, I’d still be able to transfer points to partners, and I’d still earn 3x points on travel. Long term the loss would be fairly limited.

The Ink Preferred also offers 3x points on travel

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is an incredibly well rounded travel rewards card that has maintained its value well. Not only that, but having a card earning Ultimate Rewards points is still very much worth it. That’s especially true given that it opens up value with four fantastic no annual fee cards — the Chase Freedom FlexChase Freedom UnlimitedInk Business Unlimited, and Ink Business Cash.

However, with me having over time shifted my dining spending to the Citi Prestige and my airfare spending to the Amex Platinum, the Sapphire Reserve isn’t quite the slam dunk that it used to be. Now add in the major improvements we saw to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and there’s not that much incremental value for some of us to having the Reserve over the Preferred.

My annual fee is due in a few months, and at that point I’m going to have some serious thinking to do…

How are you feeling about the value proposition of the Sapphire Reserve nowadays?

Conversations (27)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Gwen Guest

    I downgraded my CSR to the CSP and upgraded my Marriott card to the Ritz card. Same annual fee, I get the same rental car coverage, travel protection and priority pass as the CSR. Also no annual fee for auth users so I can give family priority pass at no additional cost. The $300 travel credit had not been an issue for me to use but slightly less convenient to call. Plus I get the...

    I downgraded my CSR to the CSP and upgraded my Marriott card to the Ritz card. Same annual fee, I get the same rental car coverage, travel protection and priority pass as the CSR. Also no annual fee for auth users so I can give family priority pass at no additional cost. The $300 travel credit had not been an issue for me to use but slightly less convenient to call. Plus I get the 50k cert.

    The 50k cert is more valuable to me than 1x more on general travel (plus I am usually working on a sub or spending bonus and need that spend on another card) or the 1.5 cpp via the portal. Most of my flights are award flights so I am not missing out on that much by using the Ritz card for taxes and fees vs a card with a better return on flights. Plus I don't use door dash.

    I realize this alternative is not for everyone, (I revaluate every year) but it's an option.

  2. Willieron Guest

    I always valued CSR for the primary rental car coverage, but I got the CAP1X card so have that coverage if I ever have to rent a car again. I charge my groceries and dining on my AMEX Gold card. With the increase in fee, I'll be downgrading to the Preferred card at my next anniversary date.

  3. DCS Diamond

    The CSR, the 'premium' card that started it all, remains the card that you keep because its benefits are solid and timeless, unlike those of its cheap imitators that introduce and pull benefits, like, every other quarter. Remember the Citi Prestige that was touted as CSR's "killer", a mantle that's now Cap One's VX ? Well, let's see how long the VX will wear it.

    Is the CSR still worth it? That is a...

    The CSR, the 'premium' card that started it all, remains the card that you keep because its benefits are solid and timeless, unlike those of its cheap imitators that introduce and pull benefits, like, every other quarter. Remember the Citi Prestige that was touted as CSR's "killer", a mantle that's now Cap One's VX ? Well, let's see how long the VX will wear it.

    Is the CSR still worth it? That is a silly question to anyone who plays the game with a "full deck" rather than falling for the latest hyped card. The CSR is the card that I use almost exclusively overseas for "dining" and "ground transportation", both very broadly defined, because those are the activities that I spend most on while traveling abroad and no other card offers me better. Domestically, the CSR gets all my "ground transportation" as well (Lyft: 10x. Taxi, tramway, subway, etc, etc, etc: 3x).

    Lastly, I recently redeemed UR points at 1.5x for a round trip *A Biz cabin ticket from BRU to Africa and back that would have cost me about $3K in cash. The beauty of it is that, not only did I save nearly $3K in cash using points, but the award ticket will earn me both redeemable and elite qualifying miles because redeeming points for tickets through Chase's UR site is the same as using cash.

    Is the CSR still worth it? Please stop asking that silly question, or if you are going to recycle the post, then please also re-post comments that readers made when you previously posted it. I just searched the site for a post with the same title and I found one with 44 comments, except that when I follow the link to that post it brings me to here, where there are only 24 comments as I write this. This means that 20 prior comments, including one of mine that garnered 5 "likes", are hidden... not kosher at all. If you are going to recycle posts, it is only fair that you also recycle associated comments, especially those that provided a different perspective than yours.

    G'day.

  4. iamhere Guest

    I do not agree with all of your comments.

    I do agree that the $300 on this card compared to many travel and airline credits is as good as cash because it will be triggered only by travel purchases. I do agree that Priority Pass is not as useful as you obtain it from other cards, BUT as it is a chase issued card then you can bring guests with this membership, so there...

    I do not agree with all of your comments.

    I do agree that the $300 on this card compared to many travel and airline credits is as good as cash because it will be triggered only by travel purchases. I do agree that Priority Pass is not as useful as you obtain it from other cards, BUT as it is a chase issued card then you can bring guests with this membership, so there is some value there.

    Overall I do not agree with you in terms of point accrual. You are merely looking at the number of points you are obtaining for a certain category of purchase and not considering the redemption. The 1.5x redemption can be a lot of money difference in the value of the points especially if you are combining points from other Chase cards, so travel and dining would be 4.5 points per dollar and you also need to consider your redemption - the number of points it will cost you do redeem for what you want. Chase travel generally has better point rates than Amex through their travel center and the travel center can be useful in the event of a dispute or a problem with the reservation or airline. If you are simply using it for transfer to airline or hotels many other cards are useful for this. If the value of your points including the 1.5x is more than the rest of the annual fee it is probably worth keeping the card.

  5. Steve Guest

    I keep the car reserve for multiple reasons.
    1. Their trip insurance is for any flight, whereas the Amex platinum only works on round trip purchases.
    2. The csr priority pass membership includes a lot of airport restaurants but the Amex pp membership is only for lounges. Csr pp gets you $28 off your bill at these restaurants so I get the full $550 dues from this benefit alone. TIP: you can bring...

    I keep the car reserve for multiple reasons.
    1. Their trip insurance is for any flight, whereas the Amex platinum only works on round trip purchases.
    2. The csr priority pass membership includes a lot of airport restaurants but the Amex pp membership is only for lounges. Csr pp gets you $28 off your bill at these restaurants so I get the full $550 dues from this benefit alone. TIP: you can bring guests with you and they get the free $28 too, AND you can go to multiple restaurants and get the $28 off each bill. For example we have gotten dinner at one place saving $56, then went to another for dessert, where we could have gotten $56 more if dessert cost that much).
    3. Having primary rental car insurance is worth a lot. Almost all other cards only offer secondary insurance.
    4. I save at least $100 per year on Lyft. My Amex platinum gives me $20 per month in Uber credit, so I use that up first, then switch to Lyft.

    So those make it an obvious choice to retain. For the person asking if you get the sign up bonus if you downgrade from the csr to the preferred, no. It has to be a new application.

  6. Jeff Guest

    I like having the CSR for its broad travel categories (not just airfare or hotel) and the auto rental coverage.

    I also really like having a visa with strong dining earning rate and no foreign transaction fees. Not everywhere accepts AmEx. This is useful both domestically and internationally.

    I also like to use the card for hotels in which I do not have a co-branded card.

    While it’s a well rounded card, I wish...

    I like having the CSR for its broad travel categories (not just airfare or hotel) and the auto rental coverage.

    I also really like having a visa with strong dining earning rate and no foreign transaction fees. Not everywhere accepts AmEx. This is useful both domestically and internationally.

    I also like to use the card for hotels in which I do not have a co-branded card.

    While it’s a well rounded card, I wish it had a little more differentiation or were more competitive in some earning categories. I think Chase should looking into adding some categories that people might normally use on an unbonused card like the Freedom Unlimited or Blue Business Plus. Gas, Shopping, Insurance, Medical, Cafes, etc.

  7. Tom L Guest

    For me a key benefit that many don't mention is the primary car rental insurance. Which I actually used a few years back when I scraped a car against a high curb in Australia. I reported the claim, sent the paperwork to Chase and they credited the rental company damage charge back to my account.

  8. Richard_ New Member

    The $300 travel credit, 3x on travel and dining and 1.5c pay yourself back makes this worthwhile. The ability to use transfer to Hyatt and use points to upgrade from a standard cash room to a premium suite is an added bonus.

    We usually spend enough on travel that the difference between CSP at 2x and CSR at 3x makes the CSR worthwhile.

    We rarely see good points redemptions for hotels (redemptions are usually only...

    The $300 travel credit, 3x on travel and dining and 1.5c pay yourself back makes this worthwhile. The ability to use transfer to Hyatt and use points to upgrade from a standard cash room to a premium suite is an added bonus.

    We usually spend enough on travel that the difference between CSP at 2x and CSR at 3x makes the CSR worthwhile.

    We rarely see good points redemptions for hotels (redemptions are usually only for sub-suite rooms) or flights (availability isn't what it used to be) on this or other cards. I don't want to deal with travel portals. Other cards don't have as good cash redemption options.

  9. Clem Diamond

    I downgraded to CSP a few months ago (or rather I cancelled my CSR and applied to the CSP so I got the huge sign up bonus when it was around), and very happy with my decision. The CSR makes no sense to me especially if you have other premium cards like the Amex Plat or C1 Venture.

    1. Steve from LA Member

      Hate to cancel if I can avoid it, but if that is what it takes to get a bonus on the CSP so be it. I just need the option of being able to transfer Chase points to Hyatt and on occasion a few of their flight partners.

  10. Steve from LA Member

    I am inclined to downgrade to the CSP when my renewal rolls around. Anyone know if you downgrade to the CSP, would you still get the sign up bonus if otherwise qualified?

    1. Richard_ New Member

      I believe the best course is to convert the CSR to a Freedom card, then apply for the CSP. So far as I know, you only get the bonus on a new card, not a downgraded one.

  11. Ethan Guest

    If you use the Doordash credit and spend $100/month with Lyft, seems like a bad idea to downgrade.

  12. Alex Guest

    Downgraded to CSP. The Venture X is a better deal as an all around premium card.

  13. RCB Guest

    For me it's $250 a year because I can fully use the $300 travel credit. The value I get for that $250 is: Primary Rental Car Coverage, the Priority Pass Membership, and the really good trip delay/interruption/cancellation insurance which gives me better peace of mind when traveling. I did recently use the Luxury Hotels and Resorts program and got an insanely good value out of it, so to me the card definitely pays for itself....

    For me it's $250 a year because I can fully use the $300 travel credit. The value I get for that $250 is: Primary Rental Car Coverage, the Priority Pass Membership, and the really good trip delay/interruption/cancellation insurance which gives me better peace of mind when traveling. I did recently use the Luxury Hotels and Resorts program and got an insanely good value out of it, so to me the card definitely pays for itself. Being able to transfer miles to various airlines programs is also beneficial to me.

    The card isn't a slam dunk for everyone, but I think someone who travels even a few times a year outside the US or rents cares a time or two each year can really get great value from it.

  14. Tony Guest

    I recently closed my CSR to take advantage of the CSP SUB, but we're considering upgrading my wife's CSP to a CSR for the priority pass restaurant benefit - we get good use out of this benefit, certainly enough to justify an extra ~$100 annual fee per year (adjusted for Lucky's math above, which I largely agree with), and our other priority pass cards don't include restaurants.

  15. Alonzo Diamond

    Worth it solely for the sign up bonus but would downgrade 1 year after. At this point, the Citi double cash is better imo. Worrying about spending categories is for the birds. Amex gold for dining, Citi DC for everything else. You're welcome.

  16. Zzz Guest

    Don’t overthink this, ditch the CSR and use your CIP

  17. Treat Guest

    Niche, but an underrated feature on the Sapphire Reserve is 10x on Chase Dining (Tock). Many high end restaurants in places like NYC and SF are only available as prepaid reservations on Tock. Particularly if you have the chance to spend OPM this way, the return can be really attractive.

  18. Alex77W Guest

    I would love to see a comparison of Chase Sapphire vs Venture One or AmEx Plat from Schwab. The last card is rarely mentioned in this blog.

  19. MM Guest

    I think that the 1.5cent redemption for people who don’t want to transfer to and redeem via hotel programs is more valuable than this suggests, especially if your spouse loaded up on easy bonuses from the preferred and then combined them in to your reserve account. I’ve seen Hyatt Andaz rooms cheaper via redemption at the preferred rate than bookable using points after transfer to Hyatt, and odd one-offs many of us like for vacation,...

    I think that the 1.5cent redemption for people who don’t want to transfer to and redeem via hotel programs is more valuable than this suggests, especially if your spouse loaded up on easy bonuses from the preferred and then combined them in to your reserve account. I’ve seen Hyatt Andaz rooms cheaper via redemption at the preferred rate than bookable using points after transfer to Hyatt, and odd one-offs many of us like for vacation, like the Ritz Paris or Prestonfield in Scotland, are simply outside of other redemption networks like bonvoy or whatnot. Basically useless for air though, I agree.

    1. MM Guest

      Sorry at the *reserve* rate—preferred was about comparable to redemption via Hyatt direct.

      Should also add that this approach helpfully leaves no “stranded” miles in otherwise good value programs, like the grand or so I keep forgetting I have in FlyingBlue.

  20. Reno Joe Guest

    Net of the annual travel credit, the card costs $250. When discussing a different card, another author said the access the card provided was well worth the net fee . . . even though he does not use that other card. Others might not value that access. My sense is that you would.

  21. Sean Guest

    I have to disagree with you on this one, Lucky. The AF on this card is $550-300 (easy travel credit) = $250 AF, however they charge $75 for spouse card, bringing total cost to $325 AF. They need to add some better cash back options and/or drop the annual fee if they still want to compete. Otherwise, Capital One Venture X blows this card out of the park (as it's $399 - $300 travel credit...

    I have to disagree with you on this one, Lucky. The AF on this card is $550-300 (easy travel credit) = $250 AF, however they charge $75 for spouse card, bringing total cost to $325 AF. They need to add some better cash back options and/or drop the annual fee if they still want to compete. Otherwise, Capital One Venture X blows this card out of the park (as it's $399 - $300 travel credit = $100 AF and no fee for additional cards).

    Most of us reading this blog aren't using Chase Travel for a number of reasons (company bookings and/or not getting elite credit) so that 5%/10% option is gone. That leaves 3% travel (only 1% better than a bunch of 2% cards) and 3% restaurants. Except Chase even offers 3% at restaurants on its $0 AF Freedom Flex card.

    They either need to drop AF back to $450 or increase the restaurant to 5% (like Citi Prestige & some AmEx cards) to be competitive going forward.

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      If we're talking cash back:
      - The Venture X offers how many cents per point? (See Robin's comment.)

      If we're talking points:
      - What transfer partners does the Venture X have?
      - What transfer bonuses does the Venture X offer?

      Some people might argue that the Venture X needs to step up its game.

  22. Robin Guest

    You forgot something that can make a massive difference, depending on one's spend, of course -- Pay Yourself Back.

    The ability to redeem 1.5c per UR point against, say, AirBnB, or dining charges is massive, and does not exist in any other card ecosystem. Depending on overall spend and or redemptions, that additional 0.25 cents can pay huge dividends, and can pay for the extra cost many times over.

  23. Ron Guest

    It's no longer worth it for me after the af increase. I'm downgrading it to a Freedom and applying for the CSP.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

iamhere Guest

I do not agree with all of your comments. I do agree that the $300 on this card compared to many travel and airline credits is as good as cash because it will be triggered only by travel purchases. I do agree that Priority Pass is not as useful as you obtain it from other cards, BUT as it is a chase issued card then you can bring guests with this membership, so there is some value there. Overall I do not agree with you in terms of point accrual. You are merely looking at the number of points you are obtaining for a certain category of purchase and not considering the redemption. The 1.5x redemption can be a lot of money difference in the value of the points especially if you are combining points from other Chase cards, so travel and dining would be 4.5 points per dollar and you also need to consider your redemption - the number of points it will cost you do redeem for what you want. Chase travel generally has better point rates than Amex through their travel center and the travel center can be useful in the event of a dispute or a problem with the reservation or airline. If you are simply using it for transfer to airline or hotels many other cards are useful for this. If the value of your points including the 1.5x is more than the rest of the annual fee it is probably worth keeping the card.

1
Steve Guest

I keep the car reserve for multiple reasons. 1. Their trip insurance is for any flight, whereas the Amex platinum only works on round trip purchases. 2. The csr priority pass membership includes a lot of airport restaurants but the Amex pp membership is only for lounges. Csr pp gets you $28 off your bill at these restaurants so I get the full $550 dues from this benefit alone. TIP: you can bring guests with you and they get the free $28 too, AND you can go to multiple restaurants and get the $28 off each bill. For example we have gotten dinner at one place saving $56, then went to another for dessert, where we could have gotten $56 more if dessert cost that much). 3. Having primary rental car insurance is worth a lot. Almost all other cards only offer secondary insurance. 4. I save at least $100 per year on Lyft. My Amex platinum gives me $20 per month in Uber credit, so I use that up first, then switch to Lyft. So those make it an obvious choice to retain. For the person asking if you get the sign up bonus if you downgrade from the csr to the preferred, no. It has to be a new application.

1
Clem Diamond

I downgraded to CSP a few months ago (or rather I cancelled my CSR and applied to the CSP so I got the huge sign up bonus when it was around), and very happy with my decision. The CSR makes no sense to me especially if you have other premium cards like the Amex Plat or C1 Venture.

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published