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Chase overhauls Sapphire cards, adds new benefits and rewards

The Chase Sapphire cards have always been highly appealing, and the new benefits make them even harder to compete with

Summary

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards have received updated rewards structures and additional benefits – all at the same annual fees.

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Chase is revamping the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Starting Aug. 16, 2021, Sapphire cardholders will receive access to new rewards and benefits, all without annual fee increases.

“Since its debut more than a decade ago, Sapphire has been a fresh standout from the typical premium credit card, and most cardmembers who got a Preferred or Reserve card within the first month of those launches are still using their cards today,” said Marleta Ross, general manager of Chase Sapphire. “We are continuing to evolve benefits and introduce new perks to meet customers where they are without departing from what they love most – travel and dining.”

Chase isn’t the only issuer upgrading its offerings this summer, which has been full of credit card updates and new card launches. For instance, one of the most prominent changes came from Amex, which overhauled The Platinum Card® from American Express, adding hundreds of dollars in statement credit benefits and upping its annual fee.

It’s clear that Chase is putting up a fight making its leading products even more appealing. The Sapphire cards are the two main rivals of the Amex Platinum and American Express® Gold Card in the travel credit card space, and with the new changes, the Sapphire cards present strong competition.

What the updated Chase Sapphire cards will offer

The Chase Sapphire cards have always offered incredible rewards value, but with modest rewards rates, points haven’t always been easy to earn.

Starting Aug. 16, 2021, this will change. Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders will still get 2 points per dollar on travel and 25% more value when redeeming for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, but now they’ll earn much more on top of that.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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New benefits and rewards will include:

  • 5 total points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3 points per dollar on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out (previously 2 points per dollar)
  • 3 points per dollar on eligible streaming services
  • 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards, which new cardmembers will start earning immediately (existing cardmembers will start earning after their next account anniversary)
  • 10% anniversary point bonus – each account anniversary, cardmembers will receive bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year ($25,000 in spend will earn an additional 2,500 bonus points)

As for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it will continue to earn 3 points per dollar on travel and dining and retain its existing benefits, including a 50% value boost when redeeming points for travel through Ultimate Rewards.

New benefits and rewards will include the following:

  • 10 total points per dollar on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards
  • 10 total points per dollar on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards (earn elevated rewards on all travel purchases immediately after earning the $300 annual travel credit)
  • 5 total points per dollar on air travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards (earn elevated rewards on all travel purchases immediately after earning the $300 annual travel credit)
  • Later in 2021, Reserve cardholders will also get access to “Reserved by Sapphire,” which will allow them to book reservations at some of the most sought-after restaurants across the U.S.

As you can see, Chase Sapphire cardmembers will get plenty of new opportunities to earn Ultimate Rewards points. For Reserve cardholders, those will come from dining and travel purchases made through Ultimate Rewards. Preferred cardmembers will be able to earn on their everyday spending, including groceries purchased online and select streaming services. Not to mention, a 10% anniversary bonus will provide a nice rewards boost each year.

Chase announces Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club

In addition to the new rewards and benefits on the Sapphire cards, the issuer has also announced the first three locations for its new airport lounge – Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club. The locations will include New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in Terminal B, Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) in the Terminal B to C connector, and later this year, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Terminal 1.

According to Chase, it will announce additional details and opening dates over time. The issuer is planning to grow the program and add more locations at select airports.

“We’re always looking to provide elevated experiences throughout the travel journey, and our Sapphire Reserve cardmembers have told us that lounge access is key,” said Catherine Hogan, president of Chase Branded Cards. “We’re excited to bring Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club to life in airports in cities across the U.S. and beyond, providing our cardmembers new value, through a fresh approach that’s rooted in the unique Sapphire experiences they love.”

Once the lounges are open, they will become available to Sapphire Reserve cardholders and Priority Pass members.

Should you sign up for a Sapphire card?

The Chase Sapphire cards have long been two of the most popular rewards credit cards, thanks to their superb value and the Reserve’s premium benefits.

Now, Reserve cardholders can earn points on travel and dining faster, making the card more competitive than ever. The Preferred’s overhaul is even more impressive, with three new earning categories and a higher rewards rate on dining. Not to mention, the $50 annual credit on hotel stays can help cardmembers recoup more than half of the card’s $95 annual fee.

For those shopping for a travel credit card, it’s a great time to seriously consider one of the Sapphire cards. The Reserve card comes with a higher annual fee ($550), but it’s easily justified by the value it offers, especially with the new earning categories.

The Preferred doesn’t offer the same premium benefits the Reserve does, but it’s a highly rewarding card and it’s even easier to earn points. Additionally, it’s still offering 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months (worth $1,250 in travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal) – a rare, extremely generous bonus offer.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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