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 launched in 2016, it has been a no-brainer for many who value travel rewards. 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.

What are the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, and offers a variety of benefits, including the following:

In addition to the welcome bonus and the long term perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers a variety of temporary perks, including the following:

  • A Lyft Pink All Access membership that’s valid for two years, which ordinarily retails for $199 per year (enroll by December 31, 2024)
  • Perks with DoorDash, including a DoorDash DashPass membership through December 31, 2024, plus a $5 monthly DoorDash credit through December 31, 2024
  • Perks with Instacart, including a 12-month Instacart+ membership (enroll by July 31, 2024), plus a $15 monthly Instacart credit through July 31, 2024
Chase Sapphire Lounge access is valuable

How expensive is it to hold onto the Sapphire Reserve?

On the most basic level, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, and you receive a $300 travel credit every cardmember year, which should basically be “good as cash.” For mental accounting purposes, I’d consider this card to really “cost” $250 per year to hold onto.

That’s something we should all more or less be able to agree on. Anyone who has this card should also be spending at least $300 per year on travel — if you don’t, this card definitely isn’t for you.

However, understandably, the value of many of the card’s other perks can be tougher to quantify, and will vary based on each person’s card portfolio, spending patterns, etc. How much do you value the ability to earn 3x points on dining and travel? How much do you value the ability to redeem points for 1.5 cents each toward travel? How much do you value a Priority Pass membership?

For example, I get $60 per year in value from the temporary DoorDash perk, since I order from DoorDash at least once per month. However, for someone who doesn’t, that’s not worth anything.

The Sapphire Reserve travel credit is super flexible

Is the Sapphire Reserve the best Chase card option?

Let’s say that you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Is it still the best option for you, or should you downgrade it to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review), or maybe instead focus on the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review)?

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

You have two alternatives for remaining engaged in the Ultimate Rewards ecosystem while not having the Sapphire Reserve, so let’s compare those options.

Option #1: downgrade to Sapphire Preferred

One option is to downgrade the Sapphire Reserve to the Sapphire Preferred, and this could be compelling. To compare the two cards:

  • The Sapphire Preferred offers 3x points on dining, so it’s on par with the Sapphire Reserve
  • The Sapphire Preferred offers 10% anniversary bonus points, so it’s actually more compelling for dining and everyday spending than the Sapphire Reserve
  • The Sapphire Preferred offers a $50 annual hotel credit, which many could get value from
  • The Sapphire Preferred also offers great travel protection
  • You’d essentially be giving up an incremental Priority Pass membership (not a big deal), access to Chase Sapphire Lounges (a big deal to some, and not to others) the ability to redeem points for 1.5 cents each toward travel (which many of us don’t really value), 3x points on non-airfare travel purchases, and temporary credits and benefits with DoorDash, Instacart, and Lyft

To me the question comes down to whether it’s worth paying the higher annual fee (minus the annual travel credit), in order to receive those incremental perks. Personally, many of the limited time benefits have made the math work out for me on the Sapphire Reserve, though I know others feel differently.

The Sapphire Preferred also offers 3x points on dining

Option #2: cancel Sapphire Reserve, stick to 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). Of course an important distinction is that this is a business card, while the Sapphire Reserve is a personal card, and the spending you put on the cards should reflect that.

If you canceled a Sapphire Reserve, you’d potentially save quite a bit in annual fees. You’d still be able to transfer points to partners, and you’d still earn 3x points on travel. You’d be giving up the lounge access, some bonus categories, and the temporary perks.

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 Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Unlimited, and Ink Business Cash.

However, I’d argue that for many people there’s also value to instead having the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You’ll pay a lower annual fee, you’ll still earn 3x points on dining (and even receive 10% anniversary bonus points), and you’ll still have access to Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. You’d mainly be giving up lounge access, some temporary perks, and some points on travel purchases.

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

Conversations (35)
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  1. iamhere Guest

    Surprised that nobody commented on the annual fees and the idea of having more cards in your wallet. Let's say you downgrade to the Preferred card AND you use the INK card. Then the annual fees are $190 compared to $250 (minus the $300 travel credit). I guess it depends how much you value the Priority pass and other benefits, and how much you spend on the card to make up the $60 difference. I...

    Surprised that nobody commented on the annual fees and the idea of having more cards in your wallet. Let's say you downgrade to the Preferred card AND you use the INK card. Then the annual fees are $190 compared to $250 (minus the $300 travel credit). I guess it depends how much you value the Priority pass and other benefits, and how much you spend on the card to make up the $60 difference. I think it is not about paying an annual fee but rather about getting more value than the fee.

  2. Shaun Guest

    I am constantly at BOS/JFK/LGA. It's definitely worth it. Very case specific but I've been to every lounge in the US, yes even IAD. Before any lounge opened I save $1,000's via rental insurance when a tree fell on my rental. Even though Im well under 5/24 and can cancel and open a new one for a bonus. I have sat on my card while pursuing other bonuses.

  3. Justin Wagner Guest

    Ever since the priority pass downgrade, it seems impossible to justify the CSR, especially if you already have a premium travel cc like Amex platinum.

  4. Bill Guest

    For me, it's been a no-brainer given the travel coverage that they offer - and, yes, I've actually successfully submitted several claims. If you travel without considering the insurance or buying it elsewhere, you're either brave or crazy. The evac coverage plus the $3K unexpected medical expenses complement my own insurance perfectly but if they weren't offered, I'd be spending a couple hundred dollars a trip for this additional coverage (2 of us traveling, both...

    For me, it's been a no-brainer given the travel coverage that they offer - and, yes, I've actually successfully submitted several claims. If you travel without considering the insurance or buying it elsewhere, you're either brave or crazy. The evac coverage plus the $3K unexpected medical expenses complement my own insurance perfectly but if they weren't offered, I'd be spending a couple hundred dollars a trip for this additional coverage (2 of us traveling, both over 60).

    So, the entry cost of this card for me is effectively nil after the first trip where I don't have to purchase a separate travel policy.

  5. tassojunior Guest

    The Chase Ritz is almost always better and cheaper. 85K FNC, better PP, $0 AUs, etc plus all the CSR benefits for $100 less grandfathered in. CI Preferred best for URs on travel spend and transfers. Taking 5 FNCs with a Boundless for a year is easy enough.

    1. iamhere Guest

      That 85k coupon is not as useful as it used to be because many luxury hotels are charging higher redemption rates and you can only add 10k to the certificate.

  6. Cinelliman Guest

    I cancelled my Chase Sapphire Reserve in March after their insurance provider refused to pay a delayed baggage claim for $185 (despite submitting every required document.) The Chase Reserve card provides nothing like real travel insurance that pays claims quickly and fairly.

  7. yepnope Guest

    Unless you plan to use the crap out of the sapphire lounges, no it’s not worth it. Just get one of the other 95$ AF cards if you need a card to enable transfers. Other cards offer better earn.

  8. Redacted Guest

    “For mental accounting purposes, I’d consider this card to really “cost” $250 per year to hold onto.”

    Although I agree with this, I think there is also an argument to be made that it’s much better to have a lower annual fee than a higher annual fee with a statement credit (even if the statement is essentially guaranteed to be utilized).

    The CSP is such an easier sell than the CSR, especially with cards like Venture X on the market.

    1. iamhere Guest

      For this card, Lucky is correct, because it automatically applies to any travel purchase versus other cards that have all kinds of limits, such as tagging it to an airline or certain types of expenses, etc.

  9. BenjaminKohl Diamond

    I was able to make the math work far batter for me with the pairing of CSP+Venture X. I value the overall cash equivilent annual fee (pre other benefits and pre global entry) at $90 vs $250 for the Reserve, plus I get two sign up bonuses.

  10. Andy 11235 Guest

    Even though I do my own math, I always find it interesting to see others' perspectives on whether a card is worth it. That said, I think these articles would be better by keeping business and personal cards separate. If you are putting personal spending on a business card or vice-versa, you are violating the terms of the card. My guess is they don't normally police these things, but as someone who makes money referring...

    Even though I do my own math, I always find it interesting to see others' perspectives on whether a card is worth it. That said, I think these articles would be better by keeping business and personal cards separate. If you are putting personal spending on a business card or vice-versa, you are violating the terms of the card. My guess is they don't normally police these things, but as someone who makes money referring people to cards, I'm surprised you aren't more careful about implying the Ink and Sapphire are interchangeable.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      I don't think there is any problem or violation putting business charges on a personal card. You just have to properly reimburse your business.

      Now the opposite isn't true.
      And since you are approved and have been issued a business card that means you should already be aware of this without needing anyone to remind you that.

    2. Andy 11235 Guest

      My language was sloppy, and I should apologize because Lucky does have a caveat that spending on the Ink should reflect business expenses. It is not a violation of terms to routinely use a personal card for business expenses. It is, however, a very, very bad idea to commingle business and personal spending. Whatever benefit you may get for min-maxing points will be easily wiped out by the additional cost of tax compliance. So, for...

      My language was sloppy, and I should apologize because Lucky does have a caveat that spending on the Ink should reflect business expenses. It is not a violation of terms to routinely use a personal card for business expenses. It is, however, a very, very bad idea to commingle business and personal spending. Whatever benefit you may get for min-maxing points will be easily wiped out by the additional cost of tax compliance. So, for all these reasons, the main point I was trying to make is still valid: business and personal cards should not be thought of or presented as interchangeable.

  11. Eskimo Guest

    Still no coverage on Citi Strata?

  12. Andy Guest

    Amex Green has AF of $150 (I assign no value to Clear & Loungebuddy) vs CSR effective $250.
    Both earn 3x on dining and travel.

    Assuming one already has Priority Pass through other means, the only benefit the CSR seems to have would be 1.5cpp through the Chase Portal and travel insurance. For some that is definitely worth it.

    To me then it comes down to which points are more valuable - Amex or Chase?

    1. Pat Guest

      I agree. Everyone complains about Amex cards being a coupon book, but then Amex offers a solid straightforward card like the Green, and everyone dismisses it as being too straightforward.

    2. dx Guest

      The argument against Amex Green is that it offers nothing that Wells Fargo Autograph doesn't (same earning rates) for zero annual fee (plus universal Visa acceptance) unless you highly value Amex transfer partners.

    3. Lee Guest

      Bingo. The only thing that WF needs to do is broaden its base of transfer partners. In time, it will. Emirates, Singapore, and Virgin would be the likely suspects. Of course, some will want Air Canada, etc. If WF follows what Bilt has done on the hotel side, I think you've got a real contender.

  13. matt11to5 New Member

    I think I would upgrade from CSP if they had a Sapphire lounge in my home airport, but they don't and I don't feel like I'd get another $205 (annual fee minus credits difference) out of the CSR.

  14. Will Guest

    Surprised to see negativity here. The 3x points + 1.5c value (plus huge set of transfer partners) is still extremely strong for a card that nets out at $250/year, enhanced by the rest of the Chase ecosystem (1.5x points on everything via CFU and often 5x points on dining through Freedom/Freedom Flex). I'm still heavily bought into the Chase ecosystem.

    1. Anthony Diamond

      The point is you can get most of that with the Chase Sapphire Preferred (which I use)

    2. Andrew Diamond

      If you're just in the game for that 1.5x multiplier, the US Bank Altitude Reserve is a better bet. You get 3x for all mobile purchases (so better for unbonused categories) and the same 1.5x for travel, at a lower AF. And they still have Priority Pass restaurants (for now..)

  15. Anthony Diamond

    The only real reasons to keep the card are Chase lounge access, 3x earnings on travel spend, and 1.5x travel portal redemptions. 3x travel spend and 1.5x portal redemptions can be significant for many people, especially for those with a lot of extraneous travel expenses (including Uber/Lyft).

    I'm trying out the Chase LGA lounge tomorrow - so I will see if that is a reason for me to upgrade to this card. The issue...

    The only real reasons to keep the card are Chase lounge access, 3x earnings on travel spend, and 1.5x travel portal redemptions. 3x travel spend and 1.5x portal redemptions can be significant for many people, especially for those with a lot of extraneous travel expenses (including Uber/Lyft).

    I'm trying out the Chase LGA lounge tomorrow - so I will see if that is a reason for me to upgrade to this card. The issue is that you would have to switch to American/JetBlue/Spirit/Southwest/etc to really get use of the Chase Lounge at LGA

    1. Portlanjuanero Member

      It's only worth it to me bc I place a particularly high value on Hyatt points - my avg return has to be over 2.5 cents per point. Should Hyatt implement some of the devaluation being discussed, I would likely drop Chase in favor of my other premium cards.

  16. Manny Guest

    From a keeper card, this became one that can only serve some niche requirements. If say you travel, a lot, out of Boston or New York LGA/JFK, this card is still a keeper, as you get Sapphire Lounge access.

    But other than that there is not much value you can get for effectively what is $250 AF. The restaurant PP benefit was a massive loss for people like me who do not have a PP...

    From a keeper card, this became one that can only serve some niche requirements. If say you travel, a lot, out of Boston or New York LGA/JFK, this card is still a keeper, as you get Sapphire Lounge access.

    But other than that there is not much value you can get for effectively what is $250 AF. The restaurant PP benefit was a massive loss for people like me who do not have a PP lounge or Sapphire lounge at their home airport. That is why i will be downgrading this card when the next AF hits.

    1. Santos Guest

      Yeah, it was a great card when we lived in NYC, flew out of LGA all the time and rented cars for the weekend. Now we're down south in suburbia and have our own car insurance, are DL hub captives and rarely use DoorDash or Instacart. For us, Amex Plat is the stronger play considering SkyClub access, 5x MR points on any airfare purchase and similar travel protection benefits. But I keep holding onto the...

      Yeah, it was a great card when we lived in NYC, flew out of LGA all the time and rented cars for the weekend. Now we're down south in suburbia and have our own car insurance, are DL hub captives and rarely use DoorDash or Instacart. For us, Amex Plat is the stronger play considering SkyClub access, 5x MR points on any airfare purchase and similar travel protection benefits. But I keep holding onto the CSR because of Hyatt as a transfer partner since I've managed mainly 4 cpm+ redemptions on domestic stays.

    2. Manny Guest

      You can get the same Hyatt transfer partners with a CSP or CIP. Both have an annual fee of $95. No need to pay the $550 AF.

    3. Santos Guest

      Oh for sure, I don't even plan to downgrade to CSP, since I already have CFU for the year-end 2x bonus on points accrued promotion. My plan is to close out CSR and wait for another good SUB to open my next Chase card.

      I should have closed out the CSR a couple years ago, but I kept putting it off because of the 3x UR earning on dining and the fact that it...

      Oh for sure, I don't even plan to downgrade to CSP, since I already have CFU for the year-end 2x bonus on points accrued promotion. My plan is to close out CSR and wait for another good SUB to open my next Chase card.

      I should have closed out the CSR a couple years ago, but I kept putting it off because of the 3x UR earning on dining and the fact that it has no foreign transaction fees. The Amex doesn't either but I've had trouble using Amex in some European countries oddly. It was years ago but it stuck with me.

  17. HinBW Guest

    I think it used to be worth it, but probably no more with the various limits on benefits. The removal of the restaurant benefit from PP is a big loss, given that Chase doesn't have a meaningful lounge of it's own. I think Chase is counting on inertia to keep people on this.

  18. Peter Guest

    The Sapphire Reserve includes Medical Evac and AD&D type insurance. Always wondered for the effective $250 annual fee how this compares to purchasing annual off the shelf travel insurance (in cost and actual payouts, in practice).

  19. Lee Guest

    If a person has Priority Pass via another card and is not dependent on the travel protections, it doesn't offer significant value over other travel-oriented cred cards.

  20. Jason Guest

    Unless I'm missing something, you dont mention that the Chase Sapphire Preferred only gives you 2x the points for travel expenses, yes? That's a big difference than the 3x points the REserve does, and it matters! That's a huge difference! And for what I spend money on - travel and dining - it makes Reserve worth it! Plus I do use the Reserve/ Priority Pass lounges, and do, at least once a year, find it...

    Unless I'm missing something, you dont mention that the Chase Sapphire Preferred only gives you 2x the points for travel expenses, yes? That's a big difference than the 3x points the REserve does, and it matters! That's a huge difference! And for what I spend money on - travel and dining - it makes Reserve worth it! Plus I do use the Reserve/ Priority Pass lounges, and do, at least once a year, find it worthwhile to redeem points at 1.5 per for travel through the portal.

    1. Pam Guest

      AND the Ink Preferred doesn’t offer 3x dining so no to it as well as a viable substitute on its own

    2. UnitedEF Guest

      You can get 3x dining on the freedom flex for $0 annual fee

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.

Anthony Diamond

The point is you can get most of that with the Chase Sapphire Preferred (which I use)

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Manny Guest

You can get the same Hyatt transfer partners with a CSP or CIP. Both have an annual fee of $95. No need to pay the $550 AF.

1
Will Guest

Surprised to see negativity here. The 3x points + 1.5c value (plus huge set of transfer partners) is still extremely strong for a card that nets out at $250/year, enhanced by the rest of the Chase ecosystem (1.5x points on everything via CFU and often 5x points on dining through Freedom/Freedom Flex). I'm still heavily bought into the Chase ecosystem.

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