Chase Sapphire Reserve card review: One of the best premium travel cards, with a 50,000-point bonus, improved benefits, and new earning categories

Chase Sapphire Reserve card review: One of the best premium travel cards, with a 50,000-point bonus, improved benefits, and new earning categories

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This post contains links to products from our advertisers, and we may be compensated when you click on these links. Our recommendations and advice are ours alone, and have not been reviewed by any issuers listed. Terms apply to offers listed on this page. Read our editorial standards.

Regular APR

16.99%-23.99% Variable

Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
    • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel’
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more


    Read Our Review
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    Review: Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve the best credit card for you?

    The Sapphire Reserve is an extremely valuable card for travel, thanks to the flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points it earns and benefits like Priority Pass airport lounge access and up to a $300 annual travel credit. It does charge a $550 annual fee, but if you can put its benefits to use, it could be the best premium credit card for you.

    You’ve also got options to use points at a higher rate for everyday purchases through the Chase Pay Yourself Back program. Until March 31, 2022, your points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when you redeem toward dining, Airbnb, and Awaytravel.com purchases, and toward eligible charity purchases through December 31, 2022.

    Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: How to decide which travel rewards credit card is best for you

    Chase recently announced updates to the Sapphire Reserve and its sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, including new benefits and improved bonus categories. On the Sapphire Reserve, they include 10x points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards and on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through the Chase Travel Portal.

    If you don’t want to pay the Sapphire Reserve‘s high annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a good alternative, at $95 a year. It earns bonus points in some of the same categories as the Sapphire Reserve and it offers most of the same travel protections. Plus, it’s offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

    Comparison: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs other Chase credit cards

    Chase Sapphire Reserve vs other premium cards

    How to earn points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve

    Until recently, the Chase Sapphire Reserve had a straightforward earning structure of 3x points on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. With the card’s recent update, Chase introduced more bonus categories with higher earning rates:

    • 10x points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards
    • 10x points on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards
    • 5x points on air travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards

    Other travel and dining purchases continue to earn 3x points, and all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar.

    Read more: 2 credit cards can earn you at least 10% back in travel rewards on hotel and car rental bookings — but there are some pitfalls to watch for

    How to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points 

    The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can redeem for cash back, gift cards, or statement credits, with each point worth 1 cent.

    You can also use them to purchase travel through the Chase Travel Portal, which works just like any other online travel agency. When you use points that way, you get a 50% bonus — in other words, each point will be worth 1.5 cents instead.

    Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards points

    Chase also offers a pandemic-friendly option for redeeming points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It’s called Pay Yourself Back, and it lets you cash in Ultimate Rewards to cover dining, Airbnb, and Awaytravel.com purchases made with your card through March 31, 2022, and toward eligible charities through December 31, 2022.

    You get a 50% bonus in value with the Chase Sapphire Reserve — so, 1.5 cents per point — and a 25% bonus if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This can be a great way to save money during periods where you’re not doing much traveling.

    Read more: It’s time for Chase to make its much-loved Pay Yourself Back feature permanent

    Finally, you can also transfer points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners to book award travel — transferring points is generally the most valuable way to use them. 

    The Chase Sapphire Reserve 50,000 points sign-up bonus is worth $500 as cash back, $750 for travel purchased through Chase, or potentially more if you transfer the points to an airline or hotel program.

    It’s also worth noting if you have other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, you can transfer points from those cards into your Chase Sapphire Reserve account — then all of your points will be worth 1.5 cents toward travel booked through Chase and Pay Yourself Back. This includes the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and Chase Freedom Flex℠.

    Read more: I use the Sapphire Reserve to increase the value of all my Chase points, and you can use the same strategy to effectively get up to 7.5% back on your spending

    Plus, you’ll unlock the ability to transfer those points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners — an option that’s not available if you only have a no-annual-fee Ultimate Rewards card.

    Benefits and features

    Up to $300 travel credit

    Each cardmember year (meaning every 12 months starting the month you open the card), the Sapphire Reserve offers up to $300 in credit toward travel purchases. The credit will be applied to the first $300 worth of purchases you make that year in the travel category, including things like subways, taxis, ridesharing, and parking, as well as hotels, airfare, and cruises.

    Read more: The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with up to $300 per year in travel credits — here’s how to use them

    When you subtract the travel credit, the Sapphire Reserve annual fee is effectively $250.

    DoorDash food delivery

    Chase was clearly feeling the pressure from updates to American Express cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card
    , and American Express® Green Card
     — which have all added benefits including statement credits over the last few years.

    Read more: 5 credit cards from Amex, Chase, and Capital One that score you bonus rewards and extra perks for food delivery

    Chase has added DoorDash benefits for Sapphire Reserve cardholders. Cardholders receive a complimentary year of DashPass membership (for waived delivery fees on qualifying orders — activation is required by March 31, 2022).

    A year of complimentary Lyft Pink membership

    This is another recent benefit that took effect in 2020, and activation is required by March 31, 2022. Lyft Pink membership gets you perks such as:

    • 15% off Lyft rides
    • Priority airport pickups
    • Relaxed cancellation policies
    • Up to three 30-minute bike or scooter rides per month

    The last benefit is only available in select metropolitan areas, so not everyone will be able to use it. If you’re a frequent Lyft user, this perk could be a great way to save money.

    Read more: 11 benefits that make Chase Sapphire Reserve a must-have for frequent travelers

    Airport lounge access including new Chase Sapphire lounges

    Having access to airport lounges is one of my favorite perks of the Sapphire Reserve. Lounges are comfortable, relaxing, and exclusive areas where you can enjoy comfortable seats, an internet connection, food and drinks — often complimentary — and sometimes other amenities.

    Read more: I pay $550 a year for my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and it gives me a perk so valuable I won’t travel without it

    The Sapphire Reserve comes with a Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is a network of more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world, any of which you and two travel companions can access for free when you have your membership card.

    With the Priority Pass membership provided by the Sapphire Reserve, you can bring in two guests. So whether you’re traveling alone or with your family, you can enjoy free snacks, drinks, newspapers and magazines, showers, and more, all separate from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal.

    Additionally, Chase will open three new Sapphire-branded lounges at New York-LaGuardia (LGA) Terminal B, Boston (BOS) Terminal B to C connector, and Hong Kong (HKG) Terminal 1, although information about opening dates or details about lounge amenities aren’t available yet.

    Read more: Your credit card could get you a free drink and a comfortable place to relax at the airport

    These Chase Sapphire Lounges will be available to Sapphire Reserve cardholders and all Priority Pass members. 

    Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS application fee credit

    TSA PreCheck and Global Entry (which comes with PreCheck) are absolute musts for just about any traveler. Once you enroll, you can use special lanes to breeze through airport security — you won’t have to remove shoes and light coats, and you can leave your laptop in your bag.

    Read more: Several travel credit cards have quietly added application fee credits for NEXUS — a better deal than Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

    With Global Entry, you can use a fast lane when you return to the US from abroad, which makes clearing immigration and customs easy and quick. And with NEXUS, you get the privileges from both of these programs, plus expedited entry into Canada. The programs cost $85 (TSA PreCheck), $100 (Global Entry), or $50 (NEXUS), and Chase will provide a credit for that fee every four years (memberships are valid for five years).

    Primary car rental insurance and rental elite status

    The Sapphire Reserve offers a primary auto rental collision damage waiver, or free loss and damage coverage when you use the card to pay for a rental car. Just decline the collision/damage/loss coverage offered by the rental agency and use the card to pay for the rental. Keep in mind you may still want to opt for the rental company’s liability insurance.

    Read more: The best credit cards with primary car rental insurance

    When you have the Sapphire Reserve, you can also get complimentary elite status with Avis, National, and Silvercar rental agencies. The benefits vary a bit between the companies but generally include a car class upgrade, easy pick-up/drop-off, and more.

    Discounts and perks with Avis, National, and Silvercar car rental agencies

    Sapphire Reserve cardholders receive special privileges with Avis, National, and Silvercar car rentals. These include discounts, upgrades, savings on luxury and premium cars, and special promotions. To access these deals, visit the card benefits section of your online account and navigate to the “Special Car Rental Privileges” section to enroll.

    Trip interruption/cancellation insurance

    If you’ve paid for an eligible trip with the Sapphire Reserve and it’s cut short or canceled for a covered reason like illness or severe weather, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.

    Read more: The best credit cards for travel insurance

    Trip delay insurance

    When you use your Sapphire Reserve to pay for your fare, you can get reimbursed up to $500 per ticket for hotel rooms, food, toiletries, clothes, or other reasonable expenses when your flight is delayed overnight or by six hours or more.

    Read more: Your credit card might cover your next flight delay — as long as you have the right one

    Baggage delay insurance

    If you paid for your trip with the Sapphire Reserve and your bags are delayed for six hours or more, you could be reimbursed for essential purchases (like clothing and toiletries) up to $100 per day for up to five days.

    Lost luggage reimbursement

    If the airline damages or loses your bags, you and your immediate family members could be covered for up to $3,000 per passenger as long as you’ve paid for your tickets with the Sapphire Reserve.

    Extended warranty

    The Sapphire Reserve extends the time period of a US manufacturer’s warranty on eligible items by an additional year, on warranties of three years or less when you pay with your card.

    Purchase protection

    If an eligible item you’ve bought with the Sapphire Reserve is damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase, you could be eligible for up to $10,000 in reimbursement per claim, and up to $50,000 per account.

    Read more: Chase credit cards offer purchase protection if a new item is damaged or stolen — here’s how to file a claim

    Travel and emergency assistance services

    If you’re traveling away from home and run into problems, you can get help with medical and legal referrals or other emergency assistance. This service is free, but any third-party costs are your responsibility.

    Travel accident insurance

    When you pay for your air, bus, cruise, or train transportation with the Sapphire Reserve, you’re eligible for accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $1,000,000.

    Read more: 6 lesser-known credit card travel benefits that can save you thousands of dollars if things go wrong on a trip

    Roadside assistance

    Sapphire Reserve cardholders can contact the roadside assistance hotline for help with a tow, jumpstart, tire change, locksmith, or gas. Coverage is for up to $50 per incident, up to four times per year.

    Emergency evacuation and transportation

    Sapphire Reserve cardholders and their immediate family members can access an emergency evacuation and transportation benefit, which can be a lifesaver if things go very wrong while traveling.

    It offers up to $100,000 in coverage if you’re injured or become critically ill during a covered trip of between five and 60 days, as long as you’ve charged a portion of the cost, or the entire cost of a covered trip to your account. The evacuation also has to be approved by Chase’s benefits administrator in consultation with a licensed physician.

    Read more: 8 lesser-known Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve benefits that can save you money — whether you’re at home or on the road

    If you’re hospitalized for more than eight days, this benefit will even pay the cost of an economy class ticket to bring a friend or relative to your bedside.

    Emergency medical and dental benefit

    Another unique benefit of the Sapphire Reserve is an emergency medical and dental benefit, which supplements any existing medical coverage you have if you are injured or become ill during a trip of five to 60 days. There’s a maximum benefit of $2,500 with a $50 deductible.

    If you need to recover in a hotel, you can be covered for costs up to $75 per day, for up to five days. 

    Reserved by Sapphire restaurant benefit

    Later this year, Sapphire Reserve cardholders will have access to Reserved by Sapphire, a new opportunity to book hard-to-get reservations at some of the country’s top restaurants.

    These include Canlis in Seattle, Redbird in Los Angeles, SingleThread Farms in Healdsburg, California, Reverence in New York City, and One Off Hospitality in Chicago.

    Regular APR

    16.99%-23.99% Variable

    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
    • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel’
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more


    Read Our Review
    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    Fees and costs

    The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium credit card, and the $550 annual fee reflects that. It’s worth it if you can take advantage of the $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, and other benefits. Like virtually every other premium travel card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees

    Read more: Annual fees aren’t always worth it, but with these 5 cards the benefits are worth more than what you’ll pay each year

    You’ll want to make sure you can pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges. As with most other cards, there are fees for balance transfers, cash advances, and late or returned payments.

    Chase Sapphire Reserve — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve — which is better?

    The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best travel credit card on the market for most travelers. Its benefits are straightforward and easy to use, unlike competitor cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express which offers many niche or obscure credits that most cardholders may not be interested in.

    Read more: Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: How to decide which premium card is best for you

    However, if you can use all the features of the Amex Platinum, there’s hundreds more in potential annual value via statement credits.

    What credit score do you need to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

    You’ll generally need a credit score above 700 to open most travel credit cards. Typically, most people who are approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve have a credit score in the good to excellent range. This means a FICO score of at least 670, or a VantageScore of at least 700.

    Read more: What is a good credit score? It depends whether you’re asking VantageScore or FICO

    If your credit score isn’t quite that high yet, read our guides on improving your credit score and how using credit cards can help boost your score.

    Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card worth it?

    With just a few card benefits, a frequent traveler can easily save $1,000 per year with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. As long as you’ll use benefits like the $300 travel credit, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, and primary rental


    car insurance

    , the card’s annual fee is definitely worth paying each year.

    If you don’t think you’ll be able to maximize these benefits, you’ll likely do better with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card instead.

    Am I eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve? 

    If you’ve opened more than five cards in the past 24 months from any bank (excluding most small-business credit cards) you aren’t eligible to open the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This is known as the Chase 5/24 rule.

    However, if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and it’s been open for at least a year, you can contact Chase to request a “product change” and upgrade your card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

    Read more: After months of contemplation, I finally upgraded to the Chase Sapphire Reserve with a 10-minute phone call

    Also, note that you cannot open a Chase Sapphire Reserve if you currently hold any flavor of Chase Sapphire card. And you won’t be eligible for its bonus if you’ve received a Sapphire bonus within the past 48 months.

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      David is a Senior Transportation Reporter for Business Insider. He primarily covers airlines and air travel.
      A native New Yorker and avid photographer, David previously covered travel, credit-card rewards, and frequent-flyer programs.
      Before joining Business Insider, David was a freelance writer and editor — before that, he worked in public affairs.
      He earned his bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College and his master’s from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, UK.
      You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram, or send him an e-mail at dslotnick@businessinsider.com.


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