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Chase Sapphire Reserve: Is it worth it?

The fee is high, but the card might be more than worthwhile if you travel and eat out a lot

Summary

If you travel a lot and enjoy good food, it’ll probably be easy for you to recoup the high cost of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s annual fee. Here’s a look at how the benefits and perks stack up to help you see how much value you could get out of the card.

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At $550, 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 it’s worth it.

The Sapphire Reserve offers an abundant suite of perks. Not everyone will be able to use all the 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 sort through the card’s perks to help you decide whether the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it for you. 

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. It’s important to understand how the Ultimate Rewards points system works with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card since it has a special redemption value. 

Each rewards point you earn is worth a full 1.5 cents when you redeem it 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, you can even transfer those points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to stretch their value further, too. 

Here are the travel benefits and perks this card offers:

  • 50,000-point sign-up bonus: If you spend $4,000 in the first three months, you’ll receive a bonus worth $750 when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal. 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 statement credit back for your first $300 in eligible travel purchases each year, which is a big way to knock down the cost of the card. (The credit doesn’t apply to the annual fee; you still need to spend $300 to get the credit.)
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit: Every four years, you can receive a credit toward applying for one of these two expedited traveler programs. 
  • Priority Pass Select membership: You’ll need to activate this benefit to get it, but it grants you 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’d cost you $299 per year. 
  • Lyft benefits: You’ll get a free 12-month subscription to Lyft Pink, which is 15% off rides and normally costs $239.88 if you paid for it on your own. In addition, Chase is offering 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. 

The value of these benefits listed below will depend on how much you spend on your card or whether you encounter circumstances where the insurance would kick in:

  • At least 3X points on all travel: One of the mainstays of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is how you’re rewarded for travel spending. For every dollar you spend on travel, you’ll earn at least 3 Ultimate Rewards points. 
  • Bonus points on Ultimate Rewards travel: If you book your travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and pay for it with your card, you’ll earn a better rate of 10X points for spending on hotels and car rentals and 5X points on airfare. 
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: If you have to cancel your trip or if it’s interrupted by a qualifying weather event or other misfortune, you can file for reimbursement of up to $10,000 worth of prepaid trip expenses per person ($20,000 per trip total). 
  • Trip delay insurance: If your trip is delayed for more than six hours, you can file for reimbursement of up to $500 worth of expenses, such as lodging and food. 
  • 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. 

Dining and other benefits

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 benefits: You’ll get a free 12-month subscription to the DashPass (worth $119.88), which shaves off the delivery fee for many restaurants. You’ll also get $60 worth of DoorDash credits to use through 2021. 
  • Peloton benefits: Been wanting to try out Peloton or already a rider? If you purchase a bike before the end of March 2022, you’ll get 10X points on your purchase. You’re also eligible for up to $120 in statement credits toward a membership (either for the bike or the app), but only through the end of 2021. 

Like with the travel benefits, some of the perks offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are harder to quantify. To see how much benefit you might get from these perks, you might need to estimate how much you spend in these areas, and thus how much benefit you might get in return:

  • Bonus points on dining out: One of the great perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is earning 3 points per dollar on restaurant spending. The average family spent $2,994 on restaurants in 2020, which would translate into 8,982 points per year, or $135 if you redeem points toward travel. 
  • Bonus points on Chase Dining: If you prepay for a reservation or order takeout through the new Chase Dining program, you’ll earn 10 points for every dollar you spend. 

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card worth it for me?

Go through each item and tally up whether you’d be able to use it or not or how much savings you think you might get. If you can save more than $550, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it. If not, skip it for a less expensive travel card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (which comes with a $95 annual fee).

Remember – it only truly counts as saving money if you would have bought the item anyway. For example, if you wouldn’t have shelled out $100 for Global Entry on your own, then it’s not really saving money if you pay for it with a card that carries a high annual fee. 

Bottom line

If you use all the Chase Sapphire Reserve card benefits, you’ll earn almost $1,000 in statement credits every year, more than enough to offset the $550 annual fee. And this doesn’t even include the Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn from your everyday and travel spending. 

See related: Chase overhauls Sapphire cards, adds new benefits and rewards

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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