Chase Sapphire Reserve card removes three program benefits
How will the changes affect you? By our calculations, not by much
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The Chase Sapphire Reserve card underwent a handful of program changes on Aug. 26, 2018. Although the updates involved the removal of three benefits, overall, the changes should have little to no impact on most card users.
The changes are as follows:
Read on for more details on each of these changes.
While Sapphire Reserve cardholders continue to earn three points per dollar on travel purchases and an annual $300 travel credit, they can no longer earn the three-point rewards rate on purchases that qualify for the travel credit.
For example, let’s say you spend $300 on travel expenses, such as baggage fees and taxis, in a year. Previously – in addition to receiving a $300 statement credit as reimbursement for those charges – you also would have earned 900 bonus points.
Three points per dollar x $300 = 900 points
However, with the program update, cardholders will not earn the three-point bonus on purchases that qualify for reimbursement. So, while you’ll still receive $300 in statement credits on your account anniversary for those purchases, you will not earn the 900 bonus points.
While earning 900 points less each year may seem significant, in the grand scheme of your total yearly earnings, it’s not. Because we value Sapphire Reserve point to be worth approximately 1.26 cents each, 900 points is equivalent to $11.34.
The Sapphire Reserve card grants cardholders access to more than 1,200 VIP airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass Select – with amenities that include Wi-Fi, complimentary snacks and beverages and more.
Previously, cardholders could bring unlimited guests each airport lounge visit. Now, two guests are allowed per visit. Cardholders will be charged a fee of $27 for each additional guest.
This change brings the Reserve card more in line with similar premium travel rewards cards. For example, the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card offers two complimentary guest passes at Priority Pass Select lounges and the Platinum card from American Express offers two complimentary guest passes at Centurion and Priority Pass Select lounges.
Pro tip: Authorized users also receive complimentary airport lounge access. So, let’s say, for example, you have a wife and two children. To avoid paying an additional $54 for your children to join you and your wife in the airport lounge, you can add your wife as an authorized card user. That way, she will receive a complimentary lounge pass in addition to your two complimentary passes.
Keep in mind, though, that the Sapphire Reserve card comes with a $75 authorized user fee each year. So, if you don’t plan to have multiple guests more than one time in a year, the fee won’t be worth it.
The Sapphire Preferred card no longer offers price protection. In the past, price protection covered the difference in cost if an item had a lower advertised price within 90 days of purchasing it, up to $500 per item.
The removal of price protection shouldn’t negatively affect a large number of cardholders, since many didn’t take advantage of the benefit or didn’t know it existed at all.
Pro tip: If you find an item advertised for a lower price somewhere else, many stores will price match the item or even reimburse you if the item recently went on sale.
Still a great value
Even with the removal of the three benefits, the Sapphire Reserve card continues to offer a variety of premium travel perks, including a $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit, a 50 percent bonus on points when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, VIP access to events and experiences, trip cancellation insurance and trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 per ticket.
Additionally, thanks to its 50,000-point sign-up bonus and three-point bonus on travel and restaurant purchases and one point per dollar on everything else, cardholders can get more than $700 in value from the card’s rewards in the first year alone – more than making up for the card’s $450 annual fee.
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