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Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card Review

Chase Sapphire Reserve

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Sign-up Bonus: Spend at least $4,000 in qualifying purchases within 3 months to earn 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. That’s worth up to $900 when redeemed for airfare, hotels, and other travel purchases through the Chase Travel℠.
  • Annual Travel Credit: $300 annual travel credit, redeemable for any travel expenses — including airfare, room charges, and airline and hotel incidentals
  • Chase Travel Rewards: Earn 5 points per $1 spent on air travel purchased through Chase Travel and 10 points per $1 spent on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel
  • Lyft Rewards: Earn 10 points per $1 spent on Lyft ride-hail purchases through March 2025
  • 3x Rewards: Earn unlimited 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on most travel (after earning your travel credit) and dining purchases worldwide
  • Base Rewards: Earn unlimited 1 Ultimate Rewards point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Redemption Value: Points worth $0.015 (50% more) when redeemed for travel at Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal with no blackout dates or travel restrictions
  • Other Benefits: 1-to-1 points transfer to participating travel partners; $100 Global Entry fee credit; complimentary airport lounge access at more than 1,000 Priority Pass lounges worldwide
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $550 + $75 for each authorized user other than the primary cardholder
  • Credit Needed: Excellent

Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a super-exclusive travel rewards credit card for consumers with top-notch credit profiles and ample spending and earning power. Sapphire Reserve’s powerful mix of valuable loyalty currency and extensive travel perks is equal parts luxurious, convenient, and plain-old valuable.

With a $550 annual fee for the primary cardholder and $75 for each additional authorized user, Chase Sapphire Reserve most definitely not for everyone. That said, the $300 annual travel credit, which offsets up to $300 in travel-related purchases each year, goes a long way toward offsetting the annual fee. So do perks like complimentary airport lounge access and accelerated earnings on Lyft ride-hail purchases.

Still, if you’re in the market for a less generous travel rewards card, check out Chase Sapphire Preferred (still a great card, and a bargain at a $95 annual fee) or check our list of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market today.

Here’s a look at Chase Sapphire Reserve’s key features, benefits, and drawbacks – and how they stack up to the competition.

What Sets the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Apart?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the most sought-after travel credit cards for good reason. Here’s what sets it apart from just-OK travel cards:

  • Broadly Applicable $300 Annual Travel Credit. Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit offsets more than half the card’s annual fee. Better yet, it applies to virtually any travel purchase made with this card, not just bookings made through Chase Travel.
  • Excellent Airport Lounge Benefit. Sapphire Reserve entitles you to complimentary Priority Pass Select membership — meaning fee-free access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide (subject to availability and all that).
  • Up to 10x Points on Eligible Travel Purchases. You can earn up to 10x points on eligible travel purchases with Sapphire Reserve: on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Travel℠ and on eligible Lyft rides through March 2025. Eligible airfare purchases booked through Chase Travel℠ earn 5x points, and all other eligible travel purchases earn 3x points after the annual travel credit is exhausted.

Key Features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

These are the key features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

$300 Annual Travel Credit

Sapphire Reserve has a $300 annual travel credit that can be invoked to offset a host of travel-related purchases – anything coded “travel” in the merchant category. These include:

  • Airline incidentals, including baggage fees and in-flight purchases
  • Hotel charges and incidentals
  • Rental car charges and incidentals

Credits are applied on your statement until you hit the $300 annual cap, which renews on your cardmember anniversary date.

Sign-up Bonus

Spend at least $4,000 in qualifying purchases within 3 months to earn 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. That’s worth up to $900 when redeemed for airfare, hotels, and other travel purchases through the Chase Travel℠.

This bonus is only available to you if you don’t currently have a Sapphire card (including Sapphire Preferred) and haven’t had a Sapphire card for the past 24 months.

Earning Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase Sapphire Reserve earns an unlimited 3 Ultimate Rewards points points for every $1 spent on most travel (including airfare, rental cars, and hotels not purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal) and dining out. Most other purchases earn an unlimited 1 point for every $1 spent. Exceptions include:

  • Air travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (Chase Travel), which earns 5 total points per $1 spent
  • Hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠, which earn 10 total points per $1 spent

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards Points

You can redeem points for a wide variety of items at Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. The most lucrative redemption option is travel, which values points at $0.015 apiece – so 100,000 points equates to $1,500 in travel. That’s a 50% boost to the regular redemption rate

Other redemption options include cash equivalents (statement credits, gift cards, and bank account deposits), general merchandise, experiences, and more. You can also redeem points for purchases at Amazon. These other redemption options generally value points at $0.01 apiece or less. As long as your account remains open, your points don’t expire.

Ultimate Rewards sometimes run promotions that boost point-earning potential and/or redemption values. For instance, through April 2019, Ultimate Rewards discounted gift cards from popular retailers (including iTunes, Express, and Whole Foods) by 10%.

1-to-1 Points Transfer to Chase Travel℠ Partners

You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned with Chase Sapphire Reserve to approximately a dozen participating airline, hotel, and alliance loyalty programs at a 1-to-1 ratio, regardless of the redemption value of the partners’ points.

Participating frequent traveler programs include:

  • Marriott
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • British Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hyatt
  • InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)
  • United Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Iberia
  • Aer Lingus
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Air France/KLM

Transfers allow you to increase the value of your Ultimate Rewards points beyond the $0.015 Ultimate Rewards portal redemption rate by redeeming them for flights or hotel stays that would normally require more Ultimate Rewards points. Be aware that point values can vary widely when you redeem with partner vendors. Check with each vendor for more specific information.

Global Entry Fee Credit (Or TSA Precheck)

As a Sapphire Reserve cardholder, you’re entitled to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit. You’re eligible to receive this credit once every four years.

Complimentary Airport Lounge Access (Priority Pass Select)

For as long as their accounts remain open and in good standing, Sapphire Reserve cardholders get complimentary access to more than 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide. Companions must pay $27 per person, per entry. According to Priority Pass, this benefit is worth $399 per year.

Important Fees

Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee is $550. Additional authorized users cost $75 per person. There are no foreign transaction fees. Late and returned payments range up to $38. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.

Rental Car Discounts and Loyalty Memberships

Sapphire Reserve cardholders enjoy exclusive discounts on car rentals with National, Avis, and Silvercar. Discounts vary by location and carrier, but range from 25% off the regular rental rate with National to 30% off with Silvercar and Avis.

In some cases, these benefits come with loyalty memberships. For instance, Sapphire Reserve cardholders automatically enjoy National’s Emerald Club Executive Level membership, whose benefits include expedited rentals and 1 free rental day on every 8th rental reservation. These benefits may be affected by blackout dates and are subject to change or discontinuation without notice.

Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection Privileges

Sapphire Reserve cardholders get special privileges at more than 900 Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection properties worldwide. Perks include complimentary breakfast for two, complimentary room upgrades when available, flexible check-in and check-out times, and other benefits unique to specific properties (including resort credits and welcome gifts).

LHR Collection properties include Park Hyatt, Sofitel, Virgin Hotels, and other marques. A full list is available at

Additional Travel Benefits

Sapphire Reserve comes with a host of additional travel benefits and services for cardholders in good standing:

  • Complimentary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Trip delay reimbursement up to $500 per ticket for trips delayed longer than 12 hours due to circumstances beyond your control
  • Trip cancellation and interruption service, a partial travel insurance policy that reimburses you up to $10,000 for trips canceled or cut short due to factors outside your control
  • Damaged or lost luggage reimbursement up to $3,000 per passenger
  • 24/7 travel emergency assistance.

Exclusive Events and Experiences

Sapphire Reserve cardholders enjoy exclusive or VIP access to a variety of limited-access events, such as private dining with celebrity chefs and major sports championships. Not all experiences are complimentary, and additional fees may apply.

Credit Required

This card requires excellent credit and a demonstrated ability to manage a credit card with a high spending limit. If you have any blemishes on your credit report, you’re unlikely to qualify.

Advantages of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve’s top advantages include its excellent sign-up bonus, very generous rewards program, $300 annual travel credit, and expansive point transfer program.

  • Big Sign-up Bonus. Chase Sapphire Reserve has a big sign-up bonus. In fact, few competing cards offer bonuses anywhere near this good.
  • Very Good Point Value on Travel Redemptions. This card’s rewards currency is worth $0.015 per point when redeemed for travel at Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. That’s better than Chase Sapphire Preferred, which values points at $0.0125 apiece when redeemed for travel, and much better than Amex Platinum, which values points at a flat $0.01 apiece (or less).
  • Great Earning Rate on Most Travel and Dining. This card offers an excellent earning rate on most travel and dining purchases: 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent, which equates to a 4.5% return on travel and dining spending when you redeem points for travel. Air travel purchases made through Chase Travel℠ earn 5 total points per $1 spent. And hotel and car rental purchases made through Chase Travel℠ earn 10 total points per $1 spent. By comparison, Citi Prestige offers 3 points per $1 spent on air travel and hotels, but not on dining, which can be a hefty expense for frequent travelers.
  • 1-to-1 Point Transfer Can Further Boost Point Values and Increases Flexibility. Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 1-to-1 point transfer arrangement with approximately a dozen popular travel loyalty programs is a powerful asset for savvy travelers seeking to maximize the value of their Ultimate Rewards points. By strategically transferring points to loyalty programs with which you already have free membership, you can boost the value of your Ultimate Rewards points to well over $0.02 apiece, depending on the dollar cost of the flights or hotel nights for which you redeem them.
  • Annual Travel Credit Offsets More than Half the Annual Fee. This card’s $300 annual travel credit offsets more than half of its annual fee when fully utilized, assuming no authorized users. If you travel often, it’s a virtual certainty that you’ll find at least $300 in incidental expenses to claim. Few other cards are as generous on this measure – Citi Prestige’s travel credit amounts to $250, for example.
  • Airport Lounge Access Benefit Is Broad and Valuable. This card allows complimentary cardholder access to more than 1,000 airport lounge locations worldwide. If you find yourself with a couple hours to kill in a major airport, chances are high that you’ll find a participating lounge nearby. This benefit is worth $399 per year, relative to the cost of a full Priority Pass membership. Many competing cards offer access to far fewer lounges – for example, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express covers roughly 50 Delta Sky Club lounges, mostly in the United States.
  • Rental Car Discounts Can Be Super Valuable for Travelers Who Rent Often. If you regularly rent cars when you travel, this card’s cardholder-exclusive rental car discounts can be extremely valuable. With National, you save 25% off your rental price, and with Avis and Silvercar, you save 30% off. So, if you spend $1,000 on car rentals each year, you can save between $250 and $300.
  • Hotel Perks Add More Value. If you frequently stay at hotels and resorts in the Luxury Hotels and Resorts Collection, perks such as free breakfast for two and complimentary room upgrades where available can quickly add up.

Disadvantages of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

These are the most significant drawbacks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Note the hefty annual fee and authorized user fee, no companion airfare (free or discounted), and no automatic loyalty status with partner travel brands.

  • Has a Hefty Annual Fee. Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, plus a $75-per-person fee for each additional authorized user. Needless to say, that’s a high price to pay if you’re not going to use this card’s benefits to the fullest. Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has a similar (if less generous) rewards program and benefit lineup, looks like a bargain at $95 per year.
  • No Automatic Frequent Guest or Traveler Status With Major Brands. Sapphire Reserve cardholders aren’t entitled to automatic frequent guest or flyer status with major hotels or airlines. That’s a drawback relative to competitors such as The Platinum Card from American Express, whose cardholders get complimentary Gold and Gold Elite Status within the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy programs – two distinct loyalty programs that together cover several thousand hotel and resort properties.
  • No Companion Airfare Freebies or Discounts. Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t come with companion airfare freebies or discounts, which can dramatically reduce the cost of airfare for traveling couples. By contrast, Amex Platinum’s discounted companion airfare benefit applies every time you purchase a business or first class ticket for yourself and a plus-one. Even less generous cards, such as Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card (also issued by Chase), offer annual companion airfare discounts to frequent travelers.

How the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Stacks Up

Before you apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, see how it compares to another premium travel rewards card: the Capital One Venture X Credit Card.

Chase Sapphire ReserveCapital One Venture X
10x RewardsLyft purchases through March 2025 + eligible car rental and hotel purchases through Chase TravelNone
5x RewardsEligible airfare purchases through Chase TravelEligible Capital One Travel purchases
3x RewardsAll eligible dining and non-Chase Travel℠ purchases (after the travel credit)None
2x RewardsNoneAll other eligible purchases
1x RewardsAll other eligible purchasesNone, all purchases earn at least 2x points
Annual Fee$550 + $75 per authorized user (other than the primary)$395, no authorized user fee
Annual Travel Credit$300 against virtually any travel purchase$300 against eligible travel booked through Capital One
Airport Lounge BenefitComplimentary access to 1,000+ Priority Pass lounges worldwideComplimentary access to 1,000+ Priority Pass lounges worldwide, complimentary access to other eligible lounges

Final Word

Like high-end general travel cards such as Amex’s Platinum Card and Citi Prestige, and exclusive branded cards such as Amex Delta Reserve, Chase Sapphire Reserve® is not for everyone. Though you don’t have to be a millionaire to carry this card around in your wallet, you do need to travel quite a bit to make it worth your while, and you need to be able to responsibly handle a credit card with a high spending limit.

But even if you’re not ready for Sapphire Reserve right now, it’s certainly worth aspiring to. You never know where you’ll be in the future.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.