If you travel a lot and enjoy good food, it should be easy for you to recoup the Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s high annual fee. We’ll take a look at how the benefits and perks stack up to see how much value you could get out of the card.
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At $550 per year, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card’s annual fee makes it one of the most expensive cards on the market. You’d be right to ask whether or not it’s worth it. In exchange for its high annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers an abundant suite of perks. Not everyone will be able to use all of its benefits, particularly if you’re not a traveling foodie. But if your lifestyle and spending habits match this card’s target audience, chances are you’ll be able to come out ahead (and then some).
Below, we’ll sort through the card’s perks to help you decide whether the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it for you.
When is the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it?
You want travel-focused rewards
The Chase Sapphire Reserve was designed to be a premier luxury travel rewards card, and it doesn’t disappoint on this front. Each rewards point you earn is worth 1.5 cents when you redeem for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, instead of the normal 1 or 1.25 cents that other Chase cards will net you. If you have other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, you can even transfer those points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to stretch their value further, too.
Here are some of the other travel benefits and perks this card offers:
- Solid welcome bonus. You can earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. That’s worth $900 when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal thanks to the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 50 percent points boost. Obviously, this is a one-time deal, but it will completely negate the cost of the annual fee in your first year with plenty to spare.
- $300 travel credit. You’ll get a $300 statement credit toward eligible travel purchases each year, which is a big way to knock down the annual cost of the card. This credit can be used toward flights, hotel stays, taxis and rideshares, public transportation and more.
- Up to $100 credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS. Every four years, you can receive a credit toward applying for one of these expedited traveler programs.
- Priority Pass Select membership. This benefit provides you with free access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world. If you were to pay for a comparable membership on your own, it would cost you $299 to $429 per year.
- Higher rewards rates on travel. One of the mainstays of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is how you’re rewarded for travel spending. You’ll earn 10X points on hotel stays and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5X points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3X points on general travel purchases.
- Lyft benefits. Through March 31, 2025, you can earn 10X points on Lyft rides.
- Points transfers to Chase partners. One of the best ways to redeem your points is for points transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners. All points will transfer at a 1:1 rate, a feature that many loyalty programs don’t have.
You’re interested in dining perks, too
Chase knows that people who travel also typically enjoy good food, and so it offers a few great money-saving perks in this area, too:
- DoorDash DashPass. You’ll get a free 12-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass, which includes $0 delivery fees for many restaurants (activate by Dec. 31, 2024).
- Gopuff perks. You can earn a $10 monthly statement credit from Gopuff, a snack and beverage delivery service (activate by Dec. 31, 2023).
- Bonus points on dining out. Another great perk of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is that you’ll earn 3X points per dollar on restaurant spending.
- Bonus points on Chase Dining. If you prepay for a reservation or order takeout through Chase Dining, you’ll earn 10X points for every dollar you spend.
Like with the travel benefits, some of the perks offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are harder to quantify. To see how much you might get from these dining perks, you might need to estimate how much you spend in these areas. For example, if you spend about $3,600 per year on restaurant purchases, you’ll earn 10,800 points on dining. If you redeem those points for travel, you’ll get a 50 percent points boost, meaning you’ll have 16,200 points to redeem (worth $162).
You’re looking for great travel and purchase coverage
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best credit cards for travel insurance and purchase protections. It includes an incredible number of benefits, such as:
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance. If you have to cancel your trip or if it’s interrupted by a qualifying event, you’ll be covered for up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.
- Trip delay insurance. If your trip is delayed for more than six hours, you’re covered for up to $500 per ticket.
- Lost luggage insurance. If your transportation carrier loses your bag, you’re eligible for reimbursement of up to $3,000 per person for you and your immediate family members traveling with you.
- Primary car rental insurance. If you charge a car rental to your card and decline the rental agency’s insurance, you’ll receive auto theft and collision coverage worth up to $75,000.
- Emergency evacuation and transportation insurance. If you experience an illness or medical emergency while abroad, you’ll be covered for up to $100,000 worth of medical services and transportation costs.
- Purchase protection. New purchases you make will be covered for 120 days against damage or theft (up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year).
- Return protection. You can get reimbursed for eligible returns (within 90 days of purchase) that a retailer won’t accept. You’ll be covered for up to $500 per item and $1,000 per year.
- Extended warranty protection. Eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranties will be extended by an additional year.
When is the Chase Sapphire Reserve not worth it?
You don’t want to pay a high annual fee
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the top luxury travel cards, which means it comes with a premium annual fee for access to its benefits. If you’re uncomfortable paying such a high fee up front — even if you can recoup the cost later on through card benefits and credits — you should consider a travel card with a lower annual fee, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which comes with a $95 annual fee.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get similar benefits to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, albeit slightly less impressive benefits:
- Boosted points. You’ll get a 25 percent points boost when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also earn bonus points each account anniversary that are equal to 10 percent of your total purchases made during the previous year. As for a welcome offer, you’ll get the chance to earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within three months.
- Travel benefits. You can earn a $50 credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus, you can transfer points to Chase airline and hotel partners at a rate of 1:1.
- Dining perks. You can get one free year of DoorDash DashPass (if activated by Dec. 31, 2024) and a $10 monthly statement credit from Gopuff (if activated by Dec. 31, 2023). You’ll also earn 3X points on dining purchases.
- Boosted rewards on travel and other categories. You’ll earn 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025), 3X points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 2X points on other travel purchases and 1X points on all other purchases.
- Travel and purchase coverage. You’ll get trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary car rental insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay coverage, 24/7 travel and emergency assistance services, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
You don’t travel frequently
If you only travel once a year (or less frequently than that), the Chase Sapphire Reserve will not be worth it for you. Most of its benefits revolve around travel rewards and benefits, plus travel insurance. Instead, if you still want some travel perks, you may want to consider a travel rewards card with a lower annual fee or no annual fee. Otherwise, if you’re interested in rewards beyond travel, maybe another top rewards credit card would be a better fit for you.
You won’t use its benefits
Before applying for a card, you should absolutely scan over its list of benefits and see if you’ll be able to utilize them. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has an incredible number of travel benefits — including a $300 travel credit, up to $100 credit for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or NEXUS, and airport lounge access — but if those benefits aren’t something you’ll use, then this card won’t be worth it for you.
In this case, think through your spending habits and consider the benefits you would like to have most in a rewards credit card. For example, would you rather have a card that rewards you for grocery spending, online shopping or gas station purchases?
Should you get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
Go through each benefit and determine whether you’d be able to use it or not, and think about how much savings you might get. If you can save more than $550, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it. If not, you should choose a less expensive travel card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Remember — you’re only saving money if you would have bought an item anyway. For example, if you wouldn’t have shelled out money for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry on your own, then you’re not really saving money if you pay for it with a card that carries a high annual fee.
If you use all of the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s benefits, you’ll earn more than enough to offset the $550 annual fee. And this doesn’t even include the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn from boosted rewards on travel and everyday spending.
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