If you’re a frequent traveler and foodie, you’ll love all the benefits that come with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Learn more in our Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits guide.
If you’re looking to get the most value possible out of your credit card and you spend a lot on food and travel, then it’s hard to beat the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The biggest drawback of this luxury travel card is the price: $550 per year, which isn’t cheap.
However, if you know how to use the benefits that come with this card, you can easily recoup the cost of the annual fee, and then some. We’ll show you how to can do it in this Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits guide.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve at a glance
Like many cards in its class, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is geared more toward cardholders looking for luxury benefits and who have a credit score to match. You’ll need an excellent credit score (740 or higher) in order to get it.
The card’s APR (16.99% to 23.99% variable) isn’t anything to write home about. However, it’s always best to avoid carrying a balance if you can, in which case the APR wouldn’t matter if you pay your full bill on time every month. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about any foreign transaction fees with this card, which means it’s easy to bring with you on travel abroad.
Sign-up bonus and rewards rates
When the Chase Sapphire Reserve card first launched in 2016, it made waves by offering a 100,000-point sign-up bonus, worth $1,500 toward travel. It’s only half of that today – 50,000 points, but that’s still worth $750 when redeemed toward travel and that’s pretty significant. In order to earn it, you’ll need to spend $4,000 within the first three months of getting this card.
The sign-up bonus will get you off to a good start and allow you to recoup the high annual fee of the card in the first year. But going forward, you’ll need to know more about how to earn and redeem rewards so that you can be sure to get your money’s worth.
The way you’ll earn rewards is pretty straightforward with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Every dollar from purchases you make with the card will earn at least 1 point. For travel and restaurant purchases, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent. These have been the standard earning rates since the card launched.
One of the great things about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is that it’s continually changing to offer new value. Recently, the card announced extra ways to earn points. To earn these extra points, you’ll need to make your purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal:
- 10 points per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars through the portal
- 5 points per dollar spent on airfare through the portal
It’s important to note that you’ll only rack up points at these new, higher rates after you’ve earned your $300 annual travel credit, which we’ll talk more about below.
One of the best features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is how far you can stretch your points. You’ll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with this card, which is the same points currency that many of Chase’s other credit cards use. Which card you have your points on when redeeming could give you different redemption values. At the low end, such as with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, your points are worth $0.01 each. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a little better, with points worth $0.0125 each (25% more), but only when you redeem your points for travel.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve, on the other hand, offers the most value of all: Each point is worth $0.015 each (50% more) when you redeem them for travel. This is, in fact, the highest-value way to redeem your points, but you can also choose from other options like cash back, gift cards or even merchandise. Your redemption rate will be much lower, however, with non-travel redemption options.
The best part of all is that you can combine your Chase Ultimate Rewards points from your other cards within your Chase Sapphire Reserve account.
For example, if you have 50,000 points with your Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you could transfer them to your Chase Sapphire Reserve account – where they’ll be worth more when you redeem them for travel. Thus, your points could shoot up in value from $500 to $750.
Travel is at the heart of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Here’s what you’ll get:
- Up to $300 annual travel credit: The first $300 you spend each year on travel purchases will be automatically reimbursed with a statement credit.
- Priority lounge access: You’ll get a free Priority Pass that lets you into more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world for a less-stressful trip.
- Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit: Every few years you’ll be eligible for a statement credit against the cost of your application for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
- Lyft benefits: You’ll get a free Lyft Pink membership if you activate it by March 31, 2022. You’ll also get 10 points per dollar spent on Lyft rides through that date.
Purchase protection and exclusive event access
The Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with a host of other benefits that might not offer a ton of value every year, but they definitely could save the day when you run into problems or offer you smaller ways to maximize your value.
- Primary rental car insurance: If you decline the optional insurance from the rental car company, you’ll be covered against damage from collisions. You won’t even need to use your own car insurance first like with most policies – this will kick in first.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: We all hate it when a trip is canceled or delayed, plus it can be costly, too. You’re covered for up to $10,000 per person ($20,000 max per trip) with this insurance when that happens.
- Lost luggage insurance: Losing your bag can be another big snarl, but you can file for reimbursement of up to $3,000 per passenger with this coverage.
- Purchase protection: If something you recently bought with your card is damaged or stolen, you can file for reimbursement of up to $10,000 within a 120-day time limit.
- Return protection: If you bought something within the past 90 days and the merchant won’t allow you to return it, Chase will take it back (up to $1,000 per year).
- Special event access: Chase offers early-access tickets and priority seating to many popular events with Chase Experiences. It also offers virtual cooking experiences with industry-leading chefs.
- DoorDash benefits: You’ll get a free DoorDash DashPass membership (activate by March 31, 2022).
- Peloton benefits: If you spend more than $1,800 on new Peloton equipment, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar on that purchase through March 31, 2022.
How to maximize your Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits
Figuring out how to maximize the value you get from this card isn’t as difficult as managing a rotating category rewards card, per se, but it will take some forethought on your part.
The easiest way to recoup some of this card’s costs is by making sure you’re able to spend at least $5,856 per year (or $488 per month, on average) on travel and dining with this card.
How does this break down? Your first $300 in travel expenses is essentially free each year (due to the travel credits). After that, you’d need to spend an additional $5,556 on travel and dining in order to earn 16,668 points, which are worth $250 when you redeem them for travel. In this way, you’ll earn enough to fully recoup the cost of the card every year.
That’s not even including the other ways you can maximize your benefits, too, such as with the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credits, Priority lounge access and more. The best way to make sure you take advantage of all that you have available to you is to become familiar with your benefits portal through Chase’s website. Chase has been very proactive in offering new ways to get value from this card throughout the pandemic, and it’s there that you’ll find the most current information.
Make sure to note any end dates for benefits, too. If you’re planning a new Peloton bike purchase, for example, you’ll want to make sure you do it before March 31, 2022, in order to ensure you earn all those extra points.
There’s no doubt that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the highest-priced cards out there. But there’s also no doubt that if you know how to use your guide to benefits for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll also get more value out of the card than you spend on the annual fee each year. It might take a bit more planning than with a no-annual-fee rewards card, but for the serious traveler it’s definitely worth the effort.