Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Aug 30, 2016 | Updated Mar 30, 2017

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is a high-end travel rewards credit card for people with excellent credit. It has a high annual fee, but earns lots of rewards and has lots of great benefits only found on other high-end cards like the Platinum Card from American ExpressCiti Prestige, and MasterCard® Black Card™.

This is a general-purpose travel card, meaning it’s not associated with a single airline or hotel chain. Instead, you’ll be able to earn rewards on every purchase you make, with the most points coming from travel and dining at restaurants.

It only makes sense to get this card if you travel frequently. The card has a large variety of extra perks and protections that can save you a ton of money, upgrade your accommodations, or get you out of a jam.

If you’re not a frequent traveler, the high annual fee will make this card cost you more than it’s worth. If that’s you, check out some good but less expensive travel cards.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Apply Now

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $450 ($75 for additional cards)
  • Interest Rate: 16.24% - 23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 3X points on travel and dining worldwide
  • 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in 3 months
  • 1:1 point transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • $300 annual credit for travel expenses
  • $100 Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application credit
  • Visa Infinite Concierge
  • Priority Pass Select Membership
  • Luxury Hotels and Resorts Collection
  • Travel and Shopping protections
  • $450 annual fee
  • 16.24% - 23.24% APR *Variable

The information for Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Our Rating: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

We gave the Chase Sapphire Reserve 5 out of 5 stars because it’s one of the most rewarding travel credit cards that’s not tied to a particular airline or hotel. You’ll get a huge number of bonus points, the ability to earn lots of rewards on your basic travel expenses, and a large set of extra benefits and protections.

This card has a very high annual fee, but if you travel enough it should be able to pay for itself. Just pay attention to everything you get from it, and you’ll find some way to use it on every trip.

Should you be using the Chase Sapphire Reserve to get the most out of your travel, every time you fly or stay in a hotel? Keep reading our review to find out.

Using this card as part of your credit card strategy

  • Use this card for all travel and dining purchases to maximize rewards, since it provides higher rewards in those categories than most other cards.
  • Use the full $300 travel credit to make the most of your annual fee.
  • Redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards or by transferring to a travel partner to get the highest value for your points.
  • Use this card to get airport lounge access.
  • You probably don’t need more than one high annual fee travel card in your wallet, whether it’s this card or one of its top competitors (listed below), because they tend to have similar benefits.

The Rewards

This card effectively earns the equivalent of 1% to 4.5% on purchases, depending how you earn and redeem points.

Earning Points

When earning points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll get:

  • 3X points per dollar on travel (airfare, hotels, car rentals, taxis, etc.)
  • 3X points per dollar on dining
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases

This card also has a nice sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, which helps make the annual fee worth it during the first year, since this bonus can be worth $750 when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards website. Comparing this to other high end travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a great sign-up bonus.

Redeeming Points

There are several options for redeeming the Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn with the Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  1. Statement credit — When you redeem your points as a statement credit, you’ll get a value of 1 cent per point.
  2. Ultimate Rewards travel portal — Chase gives a 50% point bonus when you redeem points for through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, giving you an effective value of 1.5 cents per point.
  3. Transfer to travel partners — You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points 1:1 to travel partners’ rewards programs in 1,000 point increments. Travel partners include 6 airlines (British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore, Southwest, United, and Virgin Atlantic), and 4 hotel brands (Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton). These transfers can be very valuable depending on how you use them.

The Benefits

The extra perks and protections you’ll get with this card are pretty comprehensive, and are comparable to other high-end travel card like this.

While the rewards potential goes a long way toward making the annual fee worth it on this card, the benefits are the other big part of the equation.

The $300 travel credit can be applied to just about any travel-related expense, which is better than some other cards that only apply the credit to incidentals, like baggage fees. As long as you can use the full $300 each year, that will go a long way toward making up for the annual fee.

While it’s only available (and needed) every 4 years, the $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit is a great perk for people who fly a lot and want to save time at airport security and U.S. customs, and can cover another chunk of the annual fee.

Check your Guide to Benefits when you get your card, because you may actually have more benefits than what you see listed here.

Perks

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit

    Get an automatic $300 statement each year to cover travel expenses.

  • Visa Infinite Concierge

    Your personal assistant to help with dinner reservations, travel plans, event tickets, and much more.

  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Application Fee Credit

    Get a statement credit to pay for your express security service (optional)

  • 1:1 Point Transfer

    Redeem your points at a 1:1 rate with a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs.

  • Priority Pass Select Membership

    Relax in the comfort of over 900 airport lounges around the world.

  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

    A variety of benefits, upgrades, and discounts at participating locations around the world.

  • Car Rental Privileges

    Special benefits from National Car Rental, Avis, and Silvercar.

  • No Blackout Dates or Restrictions

    As long as you can find a seat on the flight, you will be able to book it using Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Account Management

  • 24/7 Access to Customer Service Specialists

    Call anytime for professional customer service.

  • Add Authorized Users

    Each additional card has a $75 annual fee.

Security

  • Zero Liability Protection

    You will not be held responsible for unauthorized use of your card.

Shopping

  • Purchase Protection

    Provides coverage for 120 days against theft and damage, up to $500 per incident and $50,000 per account.

  • Extended Warranty Protection

    Extends a manufacturer’s warranty by 1 year, for warranties of 3 years or less.

  • Price Protection

    If you made a purchase in the U.S. that you find advertised at a cheaper price within 90 days, you can get reimbursed the difference; up to $500 per item, $2500 per year.

  • Return Protection

    Store won’t take back your eligible item? No problem. Get reimbursed for eligible items purchased on your card if you make the return within 90 days of purchase; up to $500 per item, $1000 per year.

Travel

  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance

    If a trip is disrupted for an eligible reason, provides reimbursement up to $10,000 per trip for non-refundable costs.

  • Emergency Evacuation & Transportation

    Covers the cost of emergency medical evacuations for you and your family (up to $100,000).

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement

    If a trip is delayed by over 12 hours, provides reimbursement for expenses like meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.

  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement

    If checked or carry-on bags are lost or damaged, provides reimbursement up to $3,000 per passenger.

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

    Provides coverage against theft and collision, as long as the car rental company’s own insurance is declined.

  • Travel Accident Insurance

    Accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000 when you pay for travel by air, bus, train or cruise with your card.

  • Baggage Delay Insurance

    Reimbursement for purchases such as toiletries and clothing when baggage delays go beyond 6 hours by the passenger carrier; up to $100 a day for 5 days.

The Costs & Fees

Since this is a card designed for frequent travelers, no foreign transaction fee is expected. The biggest cost that stands out is the $450 annual fee.

When considering this card, or evaluating whether you should keep this card if you already have one, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting at least $450 in value out of it each year. In the next section, we’ve broken down how you might be able to recoup that value to make sure the card is worth it.

As always, we recommend setting up automatic payments for your full statement balance each month to avoid interest completely and stay out of credit card debt.

Annual Fee Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
$450 ($75 for additional cards) 16.24% - 23.24% *Variable 16.24% - 23.24% *Variable 25.24% *Variable None
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
See Terms Up to $37 Up to $37

The Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is one of the most impressive general-purpose travel rewards credit cards, with a very enticing offer.

The annual fee is pretty high, but if you travel a lot the points and benefits you can get should be enough to offset it. You’ll earn 3X points for the kinds of purchases you hope to see in a travel card: travel expenses and meals at restaurants. When redeeming points, you can get the most value by using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or transferring them to one of the travel partners.

The extra benefits, like the travel credit, airport lounge access, and the hotel upgrades are the other big perks that can make the annual fee worth it.

How can I make this card worth the annual fee?

This card has a $450 annual fee, so you’ll need to use it enough to make it worth the cost.

We’ll assume you redeem your rewards through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That will give you a 50% bonus, so you’ll usually get the most value for your points there.

First off, you’ll get that $300 statement credit to use towards travel every year. As long as you use all of that it covers most of the annual fee, leaving you with $150 of value to make up somewhere.

To earn that in rewards that you’ll redeem through the Ultimate Rewards site, you’d need to earn 10,000 points to equal $150.

So you’ll only need to spend $3,334 on travel or dining over the course of a year to earn 10,000 points and earn enough value to cover the rest of the annual fee. Any more than $3,334 and you’re coming out ahead.

We didn’t even take into account some of the other cost-saving benefits you’ll be getting, like hotel and resort upgrades, the complimentary access to airport lounges, rental car services, and the Global TSA PreCheck credit.

If you spend more than this example and make good use of your extra benefits and protections, you’ll be able to make your card even more profitable than this every year.

Applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Want to learn more or apply for this card? Just click the name below.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Apply Now

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

For People with
Excellent Credit

  • Annual Fee: $450 ($75 for additional cards)
  • Interest Rate: 16.24% - 23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 3X points on travel and dining worldwide
  • 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in 3 months
  • 1:1 point transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • $300 annual credit for travel expenses
  • $100 Global Entry and TSA PreCheck application credit
  • Visa Infinite Concierge
  • Priority Pass Select Membership
  • Luxury Hotels and Resorts Collection
  • Travel and Shopping protections
  • $450 annual fee
  • 16.24% - 23.24% APR *Variable

The information for Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Not the right card for you? Check out our picks for Best Travel Credit Cards.

Was this review helpful to you? Go ahead and share it with a friend! And if you use the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card click here to leave a reviewwe’d love to hear from you!

Was this helpful?
  • SPQR_US “The Deplorable”

    AVOID THIS SCAM CARD:

    1. Yes there are lots of blackouts on routes dates and the ability to upgrade your airfare using points: false advertising. The way Chase tries to lie out of this when the reality is starring then m in the face is to lie some more;”Oh we don’t have any blackout dates but our airline partners do. WTF???!!!

    2. They have only 7 airline partners worldwide. Couple this with blackouts and you can forget using your miles for upgrades. A scam.

    3. Oh you can buy tickets on the Chase site but watch out: you’ll pay far more with points there and Chase doesn’t know fare class. What this means is that you can end up buying a no refundable ticket that can’t be upgraded. Chase will tell you if you ask to call the airline and call Chase back. Again what sort of sham wow amateur hour is this?

    4. Crap interest rate. I pay off my cards but still since the benefits on this card turn out to be mostly lies you’d expect a decent rate. Even with top tier credit expect a terrible rate.

    5. Incompetent support staff that is utterly clueless. Expect to be transferred a lot with no action.

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