Chase Sapphire Reserve review: A rockstar among premium travel cards

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Fortune Recommends™ has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Fortune Recommends™ and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. 

Our take: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® upstages the competition for its valuable rewards value, lounge benefits, and a list of perks and benefits longer than an encore version of “Freebird”.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Intro bonus


60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening





Annual fee $550
Regular APR 22.49%–29.49% variable


Overview

Card type: Travel rewards, Airline, Hotel

When it comes to putting the “premium” in a travel card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card doesn’t skip a beat. Yeah, it’s got a hair-raising annual fee you can’t ignore, but it’s packed so full of perks that any semi-regular traveler should come out ahead of the carrying cost. Let’s break it down.

The card’s up-to-$300 annual travel credit applies to just about any kind of travel you can think of–from flying the friendly skies to parking lots and toll roads and is automatically credited back to you each time you use the card on an eligible purchase. This credit alone can effectively reduce the ownership cost to a more palatable $250.

Those new to rewards redemption can appreciate that points earned on the Sapphire Reserve are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel booked through the Chase Travel℠  site and more experienced points-and-miles mavens can take advantage of the card’s 11 airline and three hotel loyalty program transfer partners. Transferring your rewards from Chase to your preferred hotel or airline partner can often result in outsized value.

The Sapphire Reserve also comes with Priority Pass Select membership which grants the cardholder and up to two guests (enrollment required) unlimited visits. Without a credit card that has this benefit, Priority Pass membership for a solo traveler for ten free visits costs $329, with each additional guest subject to a guest fee of $35. 

Plus, you’ll get a statement credit of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS application fee.

These are just the card’s greatest hits, there’s other worthwhile benefits too, which we’ll get into below.

Who is the Chase Sapphire Reserve good for? 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve should be on repeat in the wallet of anyone who wants premium travel perks and spends a decent chunk of their disposable income on travel and dining. 

Experienced rewards finaglers can extract maximum value from their earnings by transferring their Ultimate Reward points to Chase’s travel transfer partners. While those who aren’t comfortable transferring points can sing the praises of the 50% points boost for booking through Chase.

Those who own other cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards like the Chase Freedom Flex can also benefit from this card as you can pool your rewards and benefit from redeeming them at the elevated Sapphire Reserve rate or transferring them to travel partners.

Who shouldn’t get the Sapphire Reserve? 

If you’re turned off by a $550 annual fee and/or you rarely travel, consider a no-annual-fee travel card like the Capital One VentureOne or one that earns simple cash back like the Chase Freedom Unlimited to use any way you’d like.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: How to earn rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns Ultimate Rewards points at the following rates::

  • 10x points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually 
  • 5x points on flights through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually 
  • 3x points on other travel and dining (including eligible food delivery services) not booked through Chase immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually 
  • 1x point on all other purchases
  • 10 points per dollar spend on Lyft rides through March 2025

Currently there’s a welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

How to redeem Chase Sapphire Reserve points

Use for cash back

Ultimate Reward points are worth one cent each when redeemed as a statement credit, for cash back to an eligible account or gift cards offered through Chase Ultimate Rewards. 

Book travel through Chase

Points are worth 1.5 cents each when used to book travel through Chase Travel℠. 

Transfer to travel partners

You can transfer your rewards to 11 airline and 3 hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio. Although occasionally Chase will offer transfer bonuses. For example, typically transferring 60,000 Ultimate Rewards into your JetBlue TrueBlue account would give you 60,000 TrueBlue miles. But, with the recent JetBlue 25% transfer bonus, that 60,000 Ultimate Rewards turns into 75,000 TrueBlue miles. Bonus partners change often, so keep an eye out for deals.

Chase’s transfer partners include: Aer Lingus, Air Canada, British Airways, Emirates, Air France KLM, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Bonvoy and Hyatt.

Pay yourself back

Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program offers elevated redemption value when redeeming for select expenses. Currently, points are worth 50% more when redeemed as a statement credit for donations to an eligible charity made on your card and 25% more when redeemed as a statement credit for gas stations, grocery stores and the card’s annual fee. These categories are subject to change at any time so verify which are available at the time you wish to redeem.

Pay with points

You can also pay with your points at checkout when shopping with Amazon or paying with PayPal, although this represents a value of just 0.08 cents per point. If you want to redeem this way, a better option is to redeem for cash at one cent per point, then buy the item you want with your cash rewards.

Other options

You can use your points to book exclusive experiences, like various sporting events and concerts with VIP packages or meet and greets or use your points to book reservations at select restaurants through Chase Dining. All of these options are generally worth one cent per point.

Chase Sapphire Reserve rates and fees

  • Purchase APR: 22.49%–29.49% variable
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Annual fee: $550 ($75 for each authorized user)

Additional benefits

In addition to earning points on purchases, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card also comes with the following benefits:

  • Trusted traveler application fee credit: Receive a statement credit of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee for TSAPrecheck, Global Entry or NEXUS.
  • Airport lounge access: In addition to the Priority Pass lounge network, cardholders also have access to the exclusive Sapphire airport lounges. There are locations in Boston and Hong Kong with more planned in 2024. 
  • Hotel benefits: Get welcome amenities, discounts and perks at hotels in The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, Relais & Chateaux and Ennismore collections.
  • Primary auto rental coverage: Decline the rental car company waiver at the counter and charge the car to your card and you’ll be reimbursed up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance: Get up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: If your carrier is delayed more than six hours or requires an overnight stay, you’re covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
  • Baggage delay insurance: If your luggage is delayed more than six hours, get up to $100 per day for five days.
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection: Extends the original manufacturer’s warranty an additional year on eligible warranties and reimbursement for new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year

Credit cards similar to Chase Sapphire Reserve

There’s an increasingly crowded field when it comes to premium credit cards. If you’re not sure that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is your jam, here are some alternatives to consider.

The Platinum Card from American Express vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

If you love the idea of a credit card with airport lounge access, the The Platinum Card® from American Express is unbeatable. It offers entry to more exclusive lounges than any other card you can get, including not just Priority Pass but also everything in the Global Lounge network which means the Centurion Network, Delta Sky Club, Lufthansa Lounge, Plaza Premium Lounge, and Escape Lounges.

You’ll pay a higher annual fee of $695 for the card, but if you can take advantage of the other potential credits, like a $200 hotel credit, a $240 digital entertainment credit, a $155 Walmart+ credit, $200 Uber Cash and a $200 airline fee incidental credit, it might be worth it to you.

Just know that the rewards rate on the Amex Platinum doesn’t stack up to the Sapphire Reserve, earning 5x points on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel and airfare, and 1x on all other spending.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Capital One Venture X vs Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Venture X card offers many of the same features as the Sapphire Reserve, like high rewards on travel booked through the issuer, a credit for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and hotel benefits for bookings made with various collections, primary auto rental coverage and various travel and purchase protections and insurances.

However there are some notable differences. For one, the annual fee is significantly less, clocking in at $395 to the Sapphire’s $550. And although it offers an annual $300 travel credit, that applies only to bookings made through Capital One Travel. The Venture X also offers cell phone insurance and Hertz President’s Circle rental car status– features the Sapphire Reserve does not have.

Perhaps the tipping point between the two is how you can use the rewards. Both cards allow you to redeem your earnings to book travel through the issuer but only the Venture X allows you to redeem your rewards as a statement credit towards a past travel purchase.

However, the Sapphire Reserve offers slightly better value for your points, between the enhanced rewards rates for booking made through Chase and the chance to redeem rewards at a 50% premium for travel. The better card between these two will come down to your booking preferences.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve right for you?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve sings a sweet tune if you can maximize the credits, expansive travel benefits, and transfer partners. Just make sure the high annual fee doesn’t strike a sour note.

Frequently asked questions

What credit score do I need for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

As a premium travel card, you’ll likely need a credit score of good to excellent to qualify for the card. According to FICO, a good credit score starts at around 670. However, there is no one credit score that will guarantee acceptance for a card application. Issuers consider a number of factors including your income, overall debts and credit history as well as score when making their decision.

Which is better? The Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred?

The “better” card between the two will come down to personal preference and tolerance for paying an annual fee. The Sapphire Preferred is an excellent travel card for the price of $95 a year but offers less rich rewards and fewer perks than the Sapphire Reserve card.

What is the Chase 5/24 rule?

The Chase 5/24 rule is the issuer’s unlisted policy that if you have applied for and been approved for five or more credit cards in the past 24 months, you aren’t likely to be approved for another card from Chase.


Fortune Recommends™ has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Fortune Recommends™ and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. 

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. 

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying. 

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