Updated: These changes have now been confirmed. See this post for all the details of the Sapphire Reserve changes.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has quickly become one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards out there, and for good reason — it’s incredibly rewarding.
The card was initially introduced in August 2016, and the card was so popular that Chase reached their 12 month membership goal within two weeks. Heck, the Sapphire Reserve is so rewarding that Chase has indicated that they’re not sure they’ll ever make money on the card.
In mid-2018 some minor changes were made to the Sapphire Reserve, though rumor has it that same major changes will be made to the card soon. This is being reported by Doctor Of Credit and others, as Chase bankers are apparently starting to get memos about this.
Rumored Chase Sapphire Reserve changes
So, what’s expected to change about the Chase Sapphire Reserve? Let me once again emphasize that I have no inside knowledge here, so I can’t personally vouch for any of this. But I will share what the rumors are.
Annual fee rumored to increase to $550
The annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve is rumored to increase from $450 per year to $550 per year. This would put the annual fee on the card in line with that of the Amex Platinum, which had a similar annual fee increase a while back.
The Sapphire Reserve cardmember agreement already states that the annual fee on the card is “$450 to $550,” which basically seems to confirm that this is coming.
Rumored new Sapphire Reserve benefits?
There are conflicting reports about what new benefits will be added to the card to offset the $100 annual fee increase. The rumors regarding this seem a lot less certain than the rumors about the annual fee increase.
Chase has just added a DoorDash DashPlus membership as a benefit on some of their cards, which is a value of up to $9.99 per month. So in addition to Sapphire Reserve cardmembers getting that for free, there’s also a rumor of a $60 annual DoorDash credit.
Furthermore, Sapphire Reserve cardmembers will allegedly get a free Lyft Pink membership. This ordinarily costs $19.99 per month, and offers the following perks:
- 15% off unlimited car rides
- Priority airport pickups
- Relaxed cancellations (they’ll cover three cancel fees per month)
- Surprise offers (“seasonal discounts and exclusive savings”)
- Waived lost and found fees
- Bikes and scooters (three 30 minute bike or scooter rides per month, in select markets)
This might be part of an even bigger Lyft perk, as Sapphire Reserve cardmembers may also earn 10x points on Lyft rides through March 31, 2022. I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so that would be like a 17% return on Lyft spending, and that’s before factoring in the discount you would be getting with Lyft Pink.
What about the timing of these rumored changes?
Again, none of this is confirmed, but according to rumors:
- The new annual fee will kick in for applications as of January 12, 2020
- The annual fee increase will kick in for existing users with renewal dates in April 2020 or later
According to reports it is not currently possible to product change to the Sapphire Reserve from other Chase cards. This could be because these changes are being implemented soon, or could be for other unknown business reasons.
As of now these are just rumors. The annual fee increase is being reported as a fairly reliable rumor, as is the timing of those changes.
What’s less certain is what benefits will be added to offset that increase.
I think it’s likely that these changes wouldn’t be good for many consumers, given that Chase has struggled to make money on this card. I’d love to see an increase in the travel credit, or maybe see increased bonus categories on the card.
But I also think it’s quite possible that we see a DoorDash and Lyft credit, along with a $100 annual fee increase. For some that will be well worth it, while for others it won’t. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Would any of these changes impact whether you’d get/keep/cancel the Sapphire Reserve?