Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a travel rewards card that offers 3x points for travel-related spending immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, as well as travel reimbursements and airport lounge access. The APR is moderate, and the annual fee is high, but it does come with many perks to make it worth it for some people. Most of the benefits that come with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® are travel-related, but it does offer certain purchase protections too. Plus, the points you earn are transferable to partner hotels and airlines at a 1:1 rate.

The Essentials of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • APR: 18.49% – 25.49% variable
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Primary Feature: Triple points on travel, hotels, and restaurants
  • Introductory Bonus Offer: Members receive 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months of card membership (approximately $750 that can be used towards travel).

What’s Interesting about the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has an unusual rewards structure. Members receive $300 in travel reimbursements every year. After that, they earn 3 points for every $1 they spend on travel. Cardholders also earn 3x points when they eat out at any restaurant in the world. All other purchases earn 1 point for each dollar spent. The points that members earn can be transferred at a 1:1 value to any airline or hotel chain that partners with Chase. In general, 50,000 points equals $500. If card members redeem their points through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, they receive a 50% bonus, making 50,000 points worth roughly $750.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® is a pretty versatile rewards program. Members can use their points to pay for purchases from Apple or get a gift card from more than 150 stores. They also have access to exclusive travel deals, free nights within the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, and cash back. There is a Shop Through Chase program, too. It lets members earn 1-15 bonus points on more than 350 stores.

There are other benefits, as well. When you choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you also get a statement credit for a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee, up to $100 every four years. Plus, you get complimentary airport access. Your Chase Sapphire Reserve® gets you membership in Priority Pass™ Select. Members also enjoy other travel benefits, including access to a Customer Service Specialist 24/7 and unique benefits at properties within the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. Furthermore, having the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives you purchase protections and certain travel insurances.

Things to Consider

The annual fee with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is hefty, and the APR is not low. You will need to be able to take advantage of all the benefits the card offers to make it worth your while. Some people will find that the Priority Pass™ Select perk (valued at $429) combined with the annual $300 travel credit are enough, but not everyone flies that often. Before you sign up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, do the math. See whether the amount you travel and spend on travel-related expenses such as hotels, flights, and restaurants is enough to offer you benefits above and beyond the annual fee.

How to Get the Most from this Card

Ultimately, this is a travel rewards credit card, so it is not going to be the best choice for someone who doesn’t travel very much. To get the most benefit from the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’re going to need to travel frequently or spend a considerable amount on the travels you do take so that you earn enough points to make having the card worth it. You’ll also want to redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program because you get a 50% bonus on your points when you do. Before you sign up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, spend some time evaluating whether it’s genuinely the best choice for your needs and your spending habits. As many benefits as this card has, it may not be the best choice for you.

Other Card Options that Might Interest You

If you want a travel rewards credit card that comes with a lower annual fee, consider the United℠ Explorer Card. This credit card is also from Chase and offers many of the same benefits, including the buyer protections, travel insurance, and two passes to the United ClubSM per year. However, the annual fee is only $95 waived the first year, and you also get a free checked bag on every trip for both yourself and a companion. There is a condition, however, that you have to fly United.

If you’d rather have no annual fee or you don’t often travel, consider the Chase Freedom® credit card. This credit card comes with an APR of 16.49% – 25.24% variable, and it offers 5% cash back on purchases in bonus categories up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Purchases outside of those categories earn you 1% cash back, and there’s no limit to how much you can earn. New members get $200 cash back after spending $500 within the first 3 months of getting the card, as well as 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfer. After that, it’s 16.49% – 25.24% variable.

The Final Word

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a travel rewards credit card that comes with a high annual fee, but it also offers a wide range of benefits. Frequent travelers will benefit the most from having this card. Cardholders get certain purchase protections as well, both on the items they buy and the trips they take. While the card is not a good fit for everyone, the right person will enjoy benefits that far exceed the $550 annual fee.

Renee Breiten

Personal Finance Contributor

Renee Breiten is a professional writer and Exeter MBA who specializes in business, finance, investments, and management. Her work has appeared on PNC, Credit Suisse, American Express, The Street, Investopedia, Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, SCORE, and Hello Giggles, amongst others.