• MT Staff Writer
  • January 24, 2019

Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.”

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review: Quick Facts

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
  • Annual credit of $300 toward travel purchases made with the card
  • 3x points on travel after earning $300 travel credit
  • 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Get 50% more value on points through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
  • Easy access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Named “Best Premium Travel Credit Card” in 2018 by Money Magazine.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • High rewards rate
  • Large welcome bonus
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Valuable extra perks

Cons:

  • High annual fee
  • Must have excellent credit for approval
  • Not ideal for infrequent travelers
  • Extra perks only valuable for some travelers

Full Review 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is a great option for frequent travelers. Although the card comes with a high fee of $450 annually, many cardholders can get still get a load of benefits and rewards that make the fee totally worth it.

Cardmembers can take advantage of travel credits worth $300 each year and airport lounge access. Those who are new to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can also benefit from 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of the account being open. Those introductory bonus points can translate to $750 worth of travel credit if users book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. This is because Chase allows some credit card users to beef up points if users book through the portal.  Other than new member rewards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card also boasts high rewards for some categories and a flat rate of 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases. 

In general, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is an incredible travel credit card option with lots of bonuses to take advantage of. However, if you aren’t a traveler or can’t quite handle the $450 fee, you may need to seek another card. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review: Basics and benefits

Generally, those looking to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card need a credit score of 720 or higher. If you fall into this category, you could be reaping a lot of rewards from this card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers a generous sign-up bonus of 50,000 points if cardholders spend $4,000 purchases in the first 90 days of the account being open. If you’re a high spender, this shouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise, you may want to strategically apply for this card if you have larger future purchases in mind.

After getting approved, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will receive 3 points per $1 spent on travel and dining and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Points are valued at 1.5 cents each if they’re redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. To sweeten the deal, Chase has partnered with United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Marriott, and Hyatt, giving cardholders opportunities to spend their points in a variety of ways. Otherwise, points may be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, and other products and services. To stretch points as far as possible, redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. This will give you an effective 4.5% cash back on travel and dining, which is more than what the competition is willing to give.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has no foreign transaction fee, and you can receive points internationally as well as in the United States. The card comes with a $450 annual fee. Though this fee is high, Chase makes up for it by awarding cardholders with a travel statement credit of up to $300 every year – automatically.  While other travel card issuers offer discounted baggage fees, the $300 credit with Chase Sapphire Reserve is much more flexible. It can be used for taxis, rideshare, campground fees, train fares, airfare, and more. 

Secondary benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card include airport lounge access and Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement. Airport lounges are clutch when experiencing a layover or flight delay and give members a complimentary beverage while they wait. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll have access to more than 1,000 airport lounges across the globe as well as meal credits at some airport restaurants and bars. Security is a breeze with this card, too, as it’ll pay for your TSA Precheck or Global Entry via reimbursement. TSA Precheck typically costs $85 while Global Entry is $100 every four years.

Finally, another added bonus to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is its travel partners. Cardholders can transfer points between other loyalty programs and redeem those points or miles for free flights. When transferring, you’ll get two to four times the value for your points than earning them through frequent flyer programs.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review: Pitfalls and other possibilities 

Not everyone can take advantage of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card benefits. Luckily, Chase offers another low-cost option for travelers.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has $450 annual fee, which is pretty high, all things considered. On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a $0 annual fee for the first year and a $95 annual fee after that. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t give users the $300 annual travel credit. However, it does have a generous sign-up bonus coupled with the same 1:1 reward ratio for travel partners. The new sign-up bonus includes 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months, which translates to $625 toward travel.

Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can also earn 2X points on travel and dining and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Points for this card are valued at 1.25 cents per point. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card doesn’t have the added benefits of free access to airport lounges or reimbursement for TSA Precheck and Global Entry. Although it doesn’t boast equal benefits as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a great travel card option for those who aren’t trying to pay nearly $500 annually for a credit card.

Your luck with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card will be dependent on where you frequently fly from. If your home airport doesn’t have a Priority Pass lounge, then the free access to lounges offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve card may not be so enticing. Also if you’re not a frequent traveler, you’re not going to benefit from this card. Period. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s return on investment will only be worthwhile to those who fly or travel often.

Some flyers may want access to more lounges, too. The Platinum Card from American Express comes with broader coverage of airport lounges along with Priority Pass Select coverage and access to other networks such as Centurion lounges and Delta Sky Clubs. This card comes at a price, though. The annual fee for the Platinum Card from American Express is $550.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card right for you? 

If you’re an avid traveler who can handle the $450 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card should be a no-brainer. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers far more rewards and benefits compared to its competition. If you don’t travel or fly very often, don’t waste your time by applying for this card. The benefits are aimed toward travelers, mostly. You’ll likely end up wasting money on the $450 annual fee if you don’t fly often.

Learn More

Many of the listings that appear on this website are from companies which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the listings that appear on this website are from companies which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

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