Is The Chase Sapphire Reserve Still Worth It?

Is The Chase Sapphire Reserve Still Worth It?

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Link: Apply now for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) is one of the most popular premium credit cards. Since the card was introduced over six years ago, it has been a no-brainer for many. However, a lot has changed over the years, so I wanted to take an updated look at the overall value proposition of the card.

With that in mind, I’m going 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.

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 as 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 obvious value I’m getting with the card perks, 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, so since I order from DoorDash at least once per quarter, that’s like $60 worth of value per year
  • A $15 monthly Instacart credit through July 31, 2024; I do use Instacart at least once per month, so that’s like $180 worth of value per year
  • Between the 10x Chase points on Lyft rides, plus the Lyft Pink All Access membership, having the card is making a significant difference in how I’m being rewarded for ridesharing

The DoorDash and Instacart benefits offer $240 of additional value. And while I don’t think there’s an easy way to do the math on the value of the Lyft perks, I think it’s safe to say that I’m getting more than $10 worth of value there, which would otherwise be the breakeven amount on the annual fee, based on my math.

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 the 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?

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve still right for me, or should I 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 and $180 in annual Instacart credits more or less at face value
  • I value the Lyft Pink All Access membership plus the 10x points on Lyft rides at roughly $200 per year
  • 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?

I want to keep a premium Ultimate Rewards card

Given that the value of the Sapphire Reserve is often based on the limited time perks being offered, I wanted to take a look at the alternatives that others may want to consider, or that I may even consider in the future. Some might be trying to decide if they should keep the Sapphire Reserve, if they should downgrade to the Sapphire Preferred, or if they should just switch to or keep the Ink Preferred.

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 at some point 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. This could be a compelling option, especially with the card’s refresh in 2021, which improved the value proposition significantly. Comparing the two cards:

  • 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), 3x points on my non-airfare travel purchases (which is the biggest loss here), the temporary credits with DoorDash and Instacart, and the perks with Lyft (10x points and Lyft Pink All Access)

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, and to take advantage of temporary credits and perks. At this moment, especially with the recent introduction of a Lyft Pink All Access membership, the math very much checks out. However, that might not be the case in the future.

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.

The temporary perks with DoorDash, Instacart, and Lyft, are currently making the math work out for me. Time will tell what happens in the future, though.

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

Conversations (45)
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  1. iamhere Guest

    You forgot that you can use the pay yourself back feature for paying for many charges including but not limited to restaurants and the annual fee via points at the 1.5x as well. This is particularly useful because it applies as a statement credit, so you still earn the points for the transaction. This could make it more valuable to charge restaurants to this card. Lower end cards also have this feature but provide less....

    You forgot that you can use the pay yourself back feature for paying for many charges including but not limited to restaurants and the annual fee via points at the 1.5x as well. This is particularly useful because it applies as a statement credit, so you still earn the points for the transaction. This could make it more valuable to charge restaurants to this card. Lower end cards also have this feature but provide less. Also because lower end card points can be converted to Reserve points or redeemed together then you're not getting the most value from the points. It depends on how much you spend on what merchants or in which categories.

  2. CSue Guest

    How can you bear buying airline tickets through the portals when you can't reserve seats? It irritates me so much I go back to buying direct. At first I thought I would be able to call the airline to assign the seats, but they say no if you buy through a portal. The seats I want are worth more to me than the extra miles.

    The only thing that makes a premium card worth it...

    How can you bear buying airline tickets through the portals when you can't reserve seats? It irritates me so much I go back to buying direct. At first I thought I would be able to call the airline to assign the seats, but they say no if you buy through a portal. The seats I want are worth more to me than the extra miles.

    The only thing that makes a premium card worth it to me these days is travel credits to reduce the fee, and lounge access. But Chase mainly does PP which is lousy, and AmEx only allows Delta lounges if flying Delta (at least they have some Centurion lounges), but only for 1 so then you need 2 of those premium cards. I'm about to drop them all.

  3. JetSetFly Guest

    I find CSR worth it because it’s a transfer partner with United Airlines. Not that I’m a big fan of United Polaris, but I find there are a lot of nonstop flights from UA from my city to many places in the world so I’ve been booking them more lately. If that partnership ever go away, then I will definitely cancel Chase since there are too many transfer partner overlaps between Chase, Citi, and Amex.

  4. Weekendsurfer Guest

    I downgraded my CSR to the very basic no-annual-fee chase sapphire card during lock down. I don’t use any of the other added Lyft, Door Dash, etc benefits. The customer service rep told me I can still keep and use my UR points. Plus, the wife has the ink business preferred card as well. As the pandemic was winding down, got the VentureX when it came out and have been really happy with it.

  5. Timetorefresh Guest

    I’ve been waiting for years for chase to do something to improve the product. All they did after the annual fee increase was get worse.

    PP is an absolute joke these days. If you still care about this, just get a venturex.

    People complain about the Amex credits but chase is as bad if not worse to use. I’ll take Uber over Lyft and DoorDash any day. I use to think the 3%...

    I’ve been waiting for years for chase to do something to improve the product. All they did after the annual fee increase was get worse.

    PP is an absolute joke these days. If you still care about this, just get a venturex.

    People complain about the Amex credits but chase is as bad if not worse to use. I’ll take Uber over Lyft and DoorDash any day. I use to think the 3% travel was great but between 5x on the Amex travel portal, Hilton and hyatt cards and status, I don’t even use the CSR for hotels anymore. I guess it’s good for car rentals and if you take alot of public transport.

    I kept the CSR just as a backup in situations where Amex wasn’t accepted. Thanks to the venture x, I will be canceling my CSR.

  6. Greg Guest

    OMAT seems to keep recycling this post quite often….. I find it increasingly pointless especially given that many of us don’t have a prestige (a product that’s no longer available).

  7. Ghostrider5408 Guest

    I have a question given the current devaluations which I believe will continue does all this maneuvering between cards/offers/spend really provide a ROR sufficient to warrant all this? DISCLAIMER I once was on that "ferris wheel" of miles/flights and having the correct cc or at least the card de jure. Today I am winding down as such looking around at deals/pricing rather than "loyalty' as such finding it interesting.

    Serious question reasonable answers!

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Just like you looking around for deals/pricing over loyalty, it's a trade off between effort and returns.
      Why not look for deals AND be loyal AND using the correct card.
      You jumped off the "ferris wheel" because you think your effort isn't worth the returns. Spending hours to save $10 isn't worth it anymore. But if you're spending few hundred thousand on some bonus category monthly, it doesn't take hours to save thousands.

      ...

      Just like you looking around for deals/pricing over loyalty, it's a trade off between effort and returns.
      Why not look for deals AND be loyal AND using the correct card.
      You jumped off the "ferris wheel" because you think your effort isn't worth the returns. Spending hours to save $10 isn't worth it anymore. But if you're spending few hundred thousand on some bonus category monthly, it doesn't take hours to save thousands.

      So my answer, if you have time and enjoy doing it, then do it.
      If you think it's too confusing to save then stop.
      If you're a lawyer charging $1000 an hour, you probably make more spending that hour to charge your client than spending it trying to save $30 on your next purchase. On the other hand, $30 sounds better than listening to all those politicians. Also don't lie yourself that the hour rates apply all the time either. Nobody can work 24/7, it doesn't cost a lawyer $4000 to watch football when you are not working.

      Efforts and Returns. That should sum it up.

  8. bickleinny New Member

    I gave up my CSR for several reasons, but the main three are 1) the incredibly poor service from their travel portal, the costs of multiple cardholders (unlike Capital One Venture X), the duplication of benefits with other cards like Amex Platinum, Amex Gold, and Cap One Venture X, and others. While you get $300 back of the $550, that is actually only $291 given the lost points you would earn charging travel on other...

    I gave up my CSR for several reasons, but the main three are 1) the incredibly poor service from their travel portal, the costs of multiple cardholders (unlike Capital One Venture X), the duplication of benefits with other cards like Amex Platinum, Amex Gold, and Cap One Venture X, and others. While you get $300 back of the $550, that is actually only $291 given the lost points you would earn charging travel on other cards (opportunity costs), so CSR costs $259 per year. Too much. CSR got me into the points game, but I have 15+ cards now and have no use for CSR or Chase Freedom Unlimited anymore.

    1. bickleinny New Member

      Sorry $209 not $259. Still too much.

  9. Rob Guest

    What bugs me is that Chase Reserve charges another $75 for each additional cardmember in addition to the $550 AF. recently got Venture X for $395 and put spouse and 2 adult kids on at no cost which gets everyone Priority Pass which is nice for my 20-something kids who can’t afford high end CC’s. Love the reserve card but $625 is a high AF.

  10. Jeremy S Guest

    It’s definitely not as appealing. However your math is wrong as you said the incremental is $60, if you value the credits as you described, $300 (agree though it were being precise it’s probably $290 since points aren’t earned), $60 DoorDash (I value at say $30), and $180 for Instacart (my value is about $50), your value is $300 + $60 + $180 = $540 vs $550 fee. For $10 I don’t see how you...

    It’s definitely not as appealing. However your math is wrong as you said the incremental is $60, if you value the credits as you described, $300 (agree though it were being precise it’s probably $290 since points aren’t earned), $60 DoorDash (I value at say $30), and $180 for Instacart (my value is about $50), your value is $300 + $60 + $180 = $540 vs $550 fee. For $10 I don’t see how you could go wrong with it.

    Where I struggle is with two young kiddos and pandemic, the ancillary travel benefits (protections and PP with restaurants) haven’t been used, so I need to get max usage of the credits to come close to even. When those go away it’s hard to justify especially if not using points for 1.5 cents. I’ve redeemed a ton of UR for groceries etc at that value since 2020 getting $3k in cash in the process and still have close to 850k points. So that was very worthwhile rather than wasting points and inflation. When burning on travel more in future I doubt I do that much so it’ll be harder to justify.

    1. Karo Member

      Not everyone needs Doordash and Instacart. I've never used either. The PP restaurants was the biggest appeal for me, and after Amex stopped offering it, CSR was the only card to offer it. After 4 years, I closed CSR and am happy with Venture X. With 4 free AU and coming DEN lounge, it's a no brainer.

      The only thing that Chase could do for me to justify CSR were Chase lounges, but Chase even here is choosing a wrong strategy. I guess they know better.

  11. Eskimo Guest

    Everyone is forgetting about travel insurance that comes with CSR.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      Genuine question: have you used it? The reason I'm asking is because nearly every (non-CSR-based) insurance product seems to exist to make someone else money or give the illusion of security. It's a for-profit business and (generally) we aren't shareholders.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Yes, but like nearly every (including-CSR-based) insurance product, it exist to make someone else money or give the illusion of security.

      They will find a way to deny your claim. But as long as you read and follow the rules exactly, you will be reimbursed. I've had success from all major credit card issuers.
      I also did get denied few times mostly because of documentations. Especially these day where every operator will not admit...

      Yes, but like nearly every (including-CSR-based) insurance product, it exist to make someone else money or give the illusion of security.

      They will find a way to deny your claim. But as long as you read and follow the rules exactly, you will be reimbursed. I've had success from all major credit card issuers.
      I also did get denied few times mostly because of documentations. Especially these day where every operator will not admit any wrong doings. So sometimes it's impossible to prove the trip was delayed due to covered reasons. But this is more of an airline than insurance problem.

    3. Andrew Diamond

      I tried to mark your comment as helpful but this system is buggy AF. So I'll just say your comment is helpful. :)

    4. Bob Guest

      I have the CSP. Deer hit my rental car in North Cascades NP. Almost $5,000 worth of damage. Insurance covered 100%. All I had to do was provide pics of the damage and some documentation. Did not have to contact my auto ins provider. Lifesaver!

    5. Lune Guest

      I've used it twice. Once I hit a deer with a rental car and they covered the entire cost with minimal hassle (made one phone call to their insurance support center after a month to check on the progress). And FWIW when I told the rental car company that I'll be using the insurance from the CSR, they were like "oh, you shouldn't have any problems then. We've worked with them before. They're really easy...

      I've used it twice. Once I hit a deer with a rental car and they covered the entire cost with minimal hassle (made one phone call to their insurance support center after a month to check on the progress). And FWIW when I told the rental car company that I'll be using the insurance from the CSR, they were like "oh, you shouldn't have any problems then. We've worked with them before. They're really easy to work with and this should get taken care of no problem."

      Second, a couple years ago during the pandemic when flights were massively reduced, my original flight to get home was cancelled due to weather and I couldn't get home for 2 days. They covered my hotel, rental car, and meals for those 2 days. All I had to do was submit receipts and a statement from United that yes indeed my original flight was cancelled for weather reasons (easy to get; it's a standard letter you can request online).

      So I've been very happy with their insurance so far. To be fair, my understanding is that these insurance products aren't from Chase per se but rather Visa Black (or whatever the premium Visa level is) so you might get the same service from other premium Visa cards. Not sure about that part and maybe something Lucky could explain further (the difference between benefits provided by the card itself vs the payment network).

      Hope this helps!

    6. Bob Walker Guest

      A deer jumped in front of our rental car and although it didn't injure anyone in the car as it flew in one window and out the other it did total the car. I started to do the paperwork to cover the accident as I had used the CSR to rent the car and before I could send in the increasingly detailed paperwork they required my State Farm paid off the rental company with no cost to me.

  12. James Guest

    I know it's anathema to travel bloggers, but redeeming for cash (pay yourself back at 1.5x) is the biggest reason that I keep the Reserve. As long as I redeem 50k UR/year, I'm *at least* break-even with the card, after accounting for the $300 travel credit but nothing else.

    1. Karo Member

      What's the point of keeping a card if your net is zero?

    2. James Guest

      There are other benefits, which people will weight differently. Plus you might redeem more than 50k UR/year.

  13. Anthony Diamond

    It boils down to

    1) How much you value 3x travel (can be huge for Uber, transit, boutique hotels, etc)
    2) How much you value 1.5 cent redemptions

    I am probably breakeven on CSP vs CSR given my travel patterns but I wouldn't hesitate to upgrade ahead of a big UR redemption.

  14. Andrew B Guest

    The CSR was fantastic when it first came out (and I am one of the ones who got it within hours of being available). However, now with other premium cards on the market, it was tough to argue to keep it. I finally dumped it just this month. Between the Amex Platinum and Capital One X (both which at least fully pay for their cost for me), there was no additional benefit of having the...

    The CSR was fantastic when it first came out (and I am one of the ones who got it within hours of being available). However, now with other premium cards on the market, it was tough to argue to keep it. I finally dumped it just this month. Between the Amex Platinum and Capital One X (both which at least fully pay for their cost for me), there was no additional benefit of having the CSR.

    I’ll probably pick up the Preferred at some point when there is a bonus (as I still use the Freedom for 5X categories). And if they ever picked up another unique, useful partner (maybe KAL again?), that might change my mind.

  15. DCS Diamond

    Is the CSR still worth it? Unless it is rhetorical, 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, the 'premium' card that started it all, remains the card that one keeps because its benefits are solid and timeless, unlike those of its cheap imitations that introduce and pull benefits, like, every other quarter.

    It is the card...

    Is the CSR still worth it? Unless it is rhetorical, 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, the 'premium' card that started it all, remains the card that one keeps because its benefits are solid and timeless, unlike those of its cheap imitations that introduce and pull benefits, like, every other quarter.

    It is the card that I use almost exclusively overseas for "dining" and "ground transportation", both very broadly defined, and both being activities that I spend most on while traveling abroad; 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).

    Then there is the sweet spot, which is the ability to redeem UR points at whopping and true 1.5x for plane tickets that earn both redeemable and elite qualifying miles because they exactly like revenue tickets...

    1. Andrew Diamond

      Agreed the sweet spot is that 1.5x. But if you're going to transfer to partners, the Citi Premier is a much better value ($99 AF, same earn rates for travel and dining, no forex fees, etc.)

      Also, the "Citi full deck" (Rewards+ for small purchases and redemption bonus, Custom Cash for groceries or dining at 5x, Double Cash for 2x, Premier for 3x and if you have Prestige 5x for all dining and airfare)...

      Agreed the sweet spot is that 1.5x. But if you're going to transfer to partners, the Citi Premier is a much better value ($99 AF, same earn rates for travel and dining, no forex fees, etc.)

      Also, the "Citi full deck" (Rewards+ for small purchases and redemption bonus, Custom Cash for groceries or dining at 5x, Double Cash for 2x, Premier for 3x and if you have Prestige 5x for all dining and airfare) is superior for both bonus and unbonused earn rates. But as I said, if the objective is that 1.5x redemption, then it'll be hard to beat.

    2. DCS Diamond

      Redemption at 1.5x works for me, and I do not have single Citi ThankYou point. Stopped earning them several years after I got rid of all Citi cards I had.

      I collect only Chase UR and AMEX MR points, which avoids me the pitfall of "points currency dilution", whereby one accumulates points currencies in too many transferable denominations and ends up with not enough points in any of the denominations to be able to afford a decent redemption.

    3. Chris Gold

      If they're transferable currencies, doesn't that mitigate points currency dilution in that you can transfer some from each to pool into the program. There's so much overlap that this doesn't really seem valid.

    4. Shawn Guest

      @Chris - it’s not. But he’s the resident cat lady and we all just let him scream and holler at the wall.

    5. DCS Diamond

      @Shawn -- Well, you are clearly so stupid, you ought to do more than let me scream and holler at the wall. You ought to study the comments and learn something.

      Now, get lost.

    6. DCS Diamond

      Points currencies are not transferable to all partners. You cannot, e.g., transfer AMEX MR or CITI TY points to UA miles, which means that I am better off accumulating UR points if my goal is to redeem UA awards. Got it now?

    7. Eskimo Guest

      @Chris

      Under your logic, it's not valid. Under @DCS, it is very valid.
      But first you gotta understand the real reason behind Amex and Chase.
      @DCS is a hardcore Hilton and UA zealot, therefore these 2 card issuers have the direct and transferable ecosystem that supports these 2 programs. And the fall back of SQ is also there.

    8. DCS Diamond

      Under your logic, it's not valid. Under @DCS, it is very valid.
      But first you gotta understand the real reason behind Amex and Chase.
      @DCS is a hardcore Hilton and UA zealot, therefore these 2 card issuers have the direct and transferable ecosystem that supports these 2 programs. And the fall back of SQ is also there.

      — Eskimo

      Bingo, especially with the recognition of SQ as the fallback FF program....

      Under your logic, it's not valid. Under @DCS, it is very valid.
      But first you gotta understand the real reason behind Amex and Chase.
      @DCS is a hardcore Hilton and UA zealot, therefore these 2 card issuers have the direct and transferable ecosystem that supports these 2 programs. And the fall back of SQ is also there.

      — Eskimo

      Bingo, especially with the recognition of SQ as the fallback FF program. Sometimes you can be smarter than your comments suggest! ;-)

      BTW, I will soon become a hardcore IHG 'zealot' as well, because after getting the IHG Diamond status through their recent 'botched' promo, I decided to read up closely on what the program has to offer and my impression is that, after its latest programmatic 'enhancements', IHG has become a Hilton Honors clone, with elites perks that I perfected the art of making the most of over the years ("The Art of the Deal", gulp!).

      So, the "assimilation" is well under way:
      — One of my first acts after becoming an IHG Diamond was to get the Chase IHG Premier MC, which will put 140K IHG points in my now-empty account after I spend $3K in 3 months.
      — Then, I paid $200 to become an Intercontinental Diamond Ambassador, a no brainier, with all the perks that come with it.
      — Lastly, I booked a 4-night revenue stay at InterContinental Hotel in Chicago for right after Thanksgiving that will earn me a 20K bonus for becoming Ambassador, in addition to all the points that I will earn from the relatively pricey revenue stay. I plan to put to the test all the claimed/promised Intercontinental Diamond Ambassador perks during the stay.

      Before Marriott Rewards became BONVoY and gutted its Gold status that I had through a CC, it was my #1 fallback program while HGP/WoH was #2 for the purpose award redemption. After MR became BONVoY and gutted both its Gold status and its once-decent Rewards program to try to appease former SPG loyalists, I had enough: I transferred all my BONVoY points to SQ miles and made WoH my #1 fallback program, in spite of the latter's tiny footprint.

      Now, after finding out more about IHG and feeling that it's a program that I can thrive in, I have now made it my #1 fallback program, which, considering IHG's huge footprint, may mean that WoH and I are about become even more "estranged", except perhaps for very few destinations that may have a WoH hotel, but no HH or IHG presence.

      Hello IHG, goodbye WoH!

    9. Andrew Diamond

      Oh come on. You're going to miss:
      * Category 1-7 certificate that somehow misses all the Park Hyatt category 8 properties.
      * Swanky properties (in 8) like Alila Big Sur has a 'base room rate', but only has suites available at 48k - 60k points / night OR like $3k / night.
      * WoH Globalist breakfast is more of a guideline now. (Hyatt Centric Waikiki *still* tells you there's a starbucks nearby.)

      Oh come on. You're going to miss:
      * Category 1-7 certificate that somehow misses all the Park Hyatt category 8 properties.
      * Swanky properties (in 8) like Alila Big Sur has a 'base room rate', but only has suites available at 48k - 60k points / night OR like $3k / night.
      * WoH Globalist breakfast is more of a guideline now. (Hyatt Centric Waikiki *still* tells you there's a starbucks nearby.)
      * Suite upgrades that are less and less relevant (SLH, limited service properties, and many more don't accept them.)

    10. Andrew Diamond

      (That was extreme sarcasm, in case it was lost on anyone. I've clearly not been pleased by them.)

    11. Joey Guest

      But …
      Chase doesn’t partner with Hilton

      I understand why you love the Chase Sapphire Reserve card but it can’t compete with the Hilton Aspire Card especially since the Aspire card is $100 USD cheaper

    12. eponymous coward Guest

      I find dilution's pretty overrated for me given that programs for AF/KL, AV, SQ, AC, EK, CX, VS and BA/EI/IB/QR have huge overlaps in where you can transfer from. That's a lot of tools in my toolbox to construct itineraries (and that's not including programs like TK or BR that have their own twists).

      But I ain't even mad if someone else's trash is my treasure.

  16. Santos Guest

    I'm still onboard with the CSR. As someone who doesn't own a car, the rental protections are very valuable, as is the Visa Infinite discount on Silvercar (although why they left LAX still baffles me). The 3x on dining racks up UR points for me but I still prefer to use Amex Plat for airfare. The credits all but cover the AF and I find them useful, esp. Instacart.

    Big question for me is...

    I'm still onboard with the CSR. As someone who doesn't own a car, the rental protections are very valuable, as is the Visa Infinite discount on Silvercar (although why they left LAX still baffles me). The 3x on dining racks up UR points for me but I still prefer to use Amex Plat for airfare. The credits all but cover the AF and I find them useful, esp. Instacart.

    Big question for me is why I don't downgrade my Amex... they do a hell of a job with brand psychology with Platinum even though I know Gold would be the better play for me.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      Not just LAX. They left SFO and SEA too. Silvercar makes me sad. So much potential, gutted so quickly.

    2. eponymous coward Guest

      If you don’t own a car… secondary rental car insurance becomes primary (unless you have a driver only policy that covers comprehensive). So really AMEX/CSR/CSP/whatever all becomes the same.

      (It gets complicated in California and Texas because they’re not required to offer liability on their vehicle rentals, and you will need driver only insurance or to insure with the rental car company).

  17. Art_Czar Member

    Ben - In a similar position with my Amex Platinum. AF hits next month and I am considering a cancelation since I already have the Amex Gold, which I put more spend on. Also, between the 3 premium cards (Plat, Reserve & Venture X) in my wallet currently, I am struggling to justify the benefit of hanging onto the Platinum card for another year.

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Rob Guest

What bugs me is that Chase Reserve charges another $75 for each additional cardmember in addition to the $550 AF. recently got Venture X for $395 and put spouse and 2 adult kids on at no cost which gets everyone Priority Pass which is nice for my 20-something kids who can’t afford high end CC’s. Love the reserve card but $625 is a high AF.

2
DCS Diamond

Is the CSR still worth it? Unless it is rhetorical, 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, the 'premium' card that started it all, remains the card that one keeps because its benefits are solid and timeless, unlike those of its cheap imitations that introduce and pull benefits, like, every other quarter. It is the card that I use almost exclusively overseas for "dining" and "ground transportation", both very broadly defined, and both being activities that I spend most on while traveling abroad; 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). Then there is the sweet spot, which is the ability to redeem UR points at whopping and <b>true</b> 1.5x for plane tickets that earn both redeemable and elite qualifying miles because they exactly like revenue tickets...

2
Karo Member

Not everyone needs Doordash and Instacart. I've never used either. The PP restaurants was the biggest appeal for me, and after Amex stopped offering it, CSR was the only card to offer it. After 4 years, I closed CSR and am happy with Venture X. With 4 free AU and coming DEN lounge, it's a no brainer. The only thing that Chase could do for me to justify CSR were Chase lounges, but Chase even here is choosing a wrong strategy. I guess they know better.

1
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