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Coronavirus: Chase adding limited-time benefits to Sapphire cards

The new temporary benefits package makes these travel cards worth keeping even as most travel has come to a halt


Chase is offering new ways to redeem points, lowering the renewal annual fee and giving Sapphire Reserve consumers more flexibility with their $300 travel credit.

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In the age of the coronavirus, paying a high annual fee for a premium travel credit card might not seem like it makes much sense. While you can hold on to your rewards to spend them on future trips, most of the perks that make high annual fees worth it aren’t of use when you’re staying at home.

Fortunately, credit card issuers have been coming up with solutions to assist customers. For instance, American Express has added limited-time benefits to its travel cards, such as statement credits on streaming services and restaurant purchases, and started offering rewards for shopping at supermarkets. Chase has followed suit, allowing customers to earn bonus rewards on grocery purchases and giving Chase Sapphire Reserve® holders a statement credit to help them cover the annual fee.

Chase recently took its efforts to help consumers a step further. On May 28, 2020, the issuer announced limited-time perks on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve that can prove valuable to cardmembers stuck at home during the pandemic.

What Chase Sapphire cardholders are getting with the new offer

“We know people are spending their time (and money) a bit differently right now,” a Chase spokesperson said in a statement. “We also know people are craving flexibility with their rewards, so Chase is unveiling new ways to redeem points and also adding flexibility for Sapphire cardmembers.”

A new Pay Yourself Back tool

Chase is launching a new Ultimate Rewards tool called Pay Yourself Back, available to Sapphire cardholders starting May 31, 2020. The tool will allow cardholders to redeem points as a statement credit that will cover all or a portion of purchases across specific categories, starting with groceries, dining (including takeout and delivery services) and home improvement stores. Through Sept. 30, 2020, the rewards rate for Sapphire Reserve cardholders in these categories will be at 1.5 cents per point and 1.25 cents per point for Sapphire Preferred users.

Pay Yourself Back tutorial, courtesy of Chase

More ways to use the Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit

Sapphire Reserve cardmembers will also get more flexibility with their $300 travel credit. From June 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, gas and grocery store purchases will automatically count toward the existing travel credit. The offer can make it easier for cardmembers to get the most from their annual credit during a time when travel has slowed or paused for most.

A lowered renewal annual fee

After increasing the annual fee from $450 to $550 for Sapphire Reserve cardmembers in January, in April Chase offered cardholders with renewal dates between April 1 and July 1, 2020, a one-time, automatic $100 credit toward the new annual fee.

Since the situation has remained mostly unchanged, Chase has since announced it will not be charging existing customers with renewal dates between  Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, the $550 annual fee. These cardholders will be charged $450 for their annual fee. According to the issuer, this will be implemented automatically, and no action is needed from cardmembers.

Do the limited-time benefits make the Sapphire cards worth keeping?

It’s understandable that consumers may be reluctant to keep an expensive travel rewards card when most travel has been stalled around the world. However, Chase has been taking the right steps to ensure their products are relevant for cardholders even in times like this.

With other limited-time offers Chase has announced for Sapphire cards, like 3 to 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in grocery purchases per month, the new benefits package makes it easier to maximize rewards and perks while staying at home.

Even the expensive Sapphire Reserve may be worth keeping, especially considering the lowered annual fee and other perks – such as $60 in annual DoorDash credits in 2020 and 2021 and a complimentary year of DashPass.

If you make a point to take advantage of these new offers, your Chase Sapphire card is easily worth keeping. The new limited-time benefits will help you make sure the costs are justified until you can finally take your next trip.

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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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