Another year, another credit card update.
There’s one catch to the good news: Chase announced in early January that Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee is increasing to $550 for applications approved on or after Jan. 12, 2020.
That’s a $100 jump from the previous annual fee of $450. Chase allowed existing cardholders whose annual renewal dates come before April 1, 2020, to renew for one additional year at $450, but cardholders whose renewals came on or after April 1, 2021, must renew at the new rate.
The $75 authorized user fee hasn’t changed for any cardholders, present or future.
Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 2020 Update: What to Know
To compensate for the higher annual fee and entice a new crop of cardholders amid the coronavirus pandemic, Chase has rolled out several new cardholder perks that could be worth significantly more than $100 with active use.
All the existing benefits Sapphire Reserve cardholders know and love remain in place, including the $300 annual travel credit and complimentary airport lounge access at more than 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide.
New and existing Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, as well as Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders ready to upgrade to Sapphire Reserve, can now take advantage of these brand-new benefits.
One Free Year of DoorDash DashPass
A DoorDash DashPass subscription typically costs $9.99 per month, so this benefit is worth nearly $120 – more than Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee hike. DashPass’s core benefits include:
- No delivery fees on orders of $12 or more from select restaurants
- Reduced service fees on orders of $12 or more from select restaurants
“Select restaurants” includes dozens of national and regional chains, plus hundreds of independently owned restaurants in cities DoorDash serves. Look for the blue checkmark next to the restaurant name, which indicates a DashPass participant.
Note that the threshold to trigger DashPass benefits is now $3 lower than the initial threshold announced in 2018. At most participating restaurants, a single entree with an app or side triggers free delivery.
The clock starts ticking on this benefit as soon as you activate it in the DoorDash app and add your Sapphire Reserve card as the primary payment method if you haven’t already.
You must activate it by the offer end date, and your DashPass subscription continues to auto-renew each month after your free year is complete, so be sure to cancel if you don’t want to pay for it
More Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
Sapphire Reserve’s January 2020 update was welcome news for cardholders who regularly use food-delivery and ridesharing apps. But the card still offers exceptional value for cardholders able to make the most of its rewards program and value-added benefits.
All the existing perks remain unchanged and available to new and longtime cardholders alike.
$300 Annual Travel Credit
Chase Sapphire Reserve is already regarded as one of the best credit cards for frequent travelers. That’s largely due to the fact that it subsidizes each cardmember’s travel spending to the tune of $300 per year. This is one of the best travel benefits offered by any credit card, period.
For cardholders able to max out the credit each year, the annual fee is effectively reduced by $300 to $250.
A vast array of travel-related purchases qualify for the annual travel credit. Among them:
- Any arrangements made through third-party travel-booking engines or aggregators – like Hotels.com, Booking.com, and Expedia — including airfare, hotels, cruises, and car rentals
- Airfare purchased directly from the airline
- Hotel and resort stays purchased directly from the host
- Short-term rental bookings on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo
- Car rentals purchased directly from the rental company
- Cruises purchased directly from the cruise line
- Travel purchases made through travel agents
- Local transportation, including but not limited to parking, tolls, public transit passes and fares, taxi fares, and ridesharing app purchases
You receive travel credits as statement credits, usually on the same statement.
5x Total Points on Air Travel and 10x Total Points on Hotels and Car Rentals Purchased Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Marketplace (Chase Travel)
After maxing out your air travel credit, earn 5 total points per $1 spent on eligible air travel purchases made through Chase Travel (the Chase Ultimate Rewards marketplace). Plus, earn 10 total points per $1 spent on eligible hotel and car rental purchases through Chase Travel.
3x Points on Dining and Other Travel Purchases
If you max out the credit before the end of your cardholder anniversary year (the account renewal date), subsequent travel purchases not made through Chase Travel earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent.
All dining purchases (including takeout and delivery) also earn unlimited 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent, even before you max out the travel credit.
All other eligible purchases outside these bonus categories earn 1 point per $1 spent, with one broad exclusion: purchases with partner merchants, such as Lyft, which can earn at higher rates.
Complimentary Access to More Than 1,000 Airport Lounges Worldwide
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders enjoy complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass Select, a membership-based lounge access network.
Participating lounges waive entry fees – which typically range from $30 to $60 per person – for the primary cardholder, any authorized users, and up to two ticketed guests of any primary or authorized user in the same traveling party.
Airport lounge amenities vary significantly by location. But comfortable seating, guests-only washrooms, and free snacks and soft drinks are the norm. More-generous lounges often have:
- Complimentary hot and cold food, typically buffet style
- Access to free alcoholic beverages
- Private family rooms
- Sleeping pods
- Business centers with high-speed Internet access and printing capabilities
- Outdoor seating areas, some of which include designated smoking and vaping areas
- Entertainment options like TVs, newspapers, and magazines
1-to-1 Point Transfer to Partner Hotels and Airlines
This is another major travel perk for Sapphire Reserve cardholders. Chase partners with nearly a dozen travel providers on preferred 1-to-1 point transfer arrangements that can significantly increase the redemption value of Ultimate Rewards points earned through Sapphire Reserve spending.
Participating transfer partner loyalty programs include:
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- Flying Blue (shared by Air France and KLM)
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- World of Hyatt
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
Redemption values vary widely by partner. But it’s common to extract values of $0.02 to $0.03 per point when redeeming for long-haul airfare.
50% Value Boost on Travel Redemptions
Ultimate Rewards points earned on all Sapphire Reserve purchases are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal (Chase Travel): $0.015 each compared with the usual $0.01 each, boosting the effective rate of return on travel and dining spending to 4.5%.
Travel redemption options include:
- Hotels and resorts
- Rental cars
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders never pay foreign transaction fees on purchases made with overseas vendors or denominated in foreign currency. That’s fantastic news for frequent frugal international travelers.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Application Fee Credit
Once every four years, Sapphire Reserve cardholders qualify for one statement credit against a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
Global Entry is a better fit for regular international travelers and entitles holders to the same benefits as TSA PreCheck. The slightly less expensive PreCheck is adequate for travelers who mainly fly within the United States.
This benefit is worth up to $100, the cost of a Global Entry application.
Exclusive Benefits at the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
Sapphire Reserve cardholders enjoy exclusive benefits and amenities at properties in the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collectio (LHRC), a group of more than 1,000 high-end hotels and resorts, many of which belong to luxe hospitality franchises like Fairmont and W.
Offers vary by property but typically include:
- Free room upgrades when and where available
- Complimentary breakfast for two
- Free Wi-Fi access if not included
- Food and beverage credits – often $100 per room per stay
- Flexible check-in times
- Complimentary welcome gifts
Note that LHRC properties are typically pricey, and some properties’ benefit and amenity packages aren’t sufficient to render the place cost-competitive with nearby budget hotels.
Still, for cardholders willing and able to splurge, LHRC packages certainly beat sticker price.
Exclusive Benefits at Relais & Chateaux
The Relais & Chateaux network comprises hundreds of independently owned hotels, resorts, lodges, and restaurants in more than 60 countries.
Benefits vary by property but almost always include a complimentary welcome gift, like a bottle of Champagne on ice, and sometimes complimentary breakfast for two.
Exclusive Benefits With Select Rental Car Partners
Chase partners with Avis, National, and Silvercar to deliver exclusive upgrades and discounts to Sapphire Reserve cardholders. Details vary by provider and location but include benefits like:
- Complimentary vehicle class upgrades – for instance, midsize standard to full-size standard or midsize luxury
- Cardholder-only daily rates
- Discounts on luxury and premium car rentals
- Exclusive promotions and offers
Exclusive Access to Select Events and Experiences
Chase sponsors cardholder-only experiences, like private dining with celebrity chefs, in select cities and offers exclusive or VIP access to hundreds of other hot-ticket events, such as the Sundance Film Festival.
Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverages
Chase Sapphire Reserve isn’t the only elite travel rewards credit card to offer complimentary travel insurance coverage. But its traveler protection package is among the industry’s most generous and comprehensive.
- Trip cancellation and interruption coverage, which provides reimbursement up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses like airfare, hotel bookings, and tour reservations
- Complimentary rental car coverage up to $75,000 per reservation for theft and collision damage
- Baggage delay insurance, which provides reimbursements up to $100 per day for five days for essential purchases, like toiletries and clothing, necessitated by baggage delays longer than six hours
- Lost luggage reimbursement up to $3,000 per passenger when baggage is lost or damaged by the carrier
- Trip-delay reimbursement up to $500 per ticket for purchases like meals and lodging necessitated by trip delays longer than six hours
Before January 2020, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card was one of the most generous travel rewards credit cards on the market. With an amazing travel credit and great sign-up bonus, it was a big step up from Chase Sapphire Preferred, its less generous cousin.
After January 2020, Sapphire Reserve is even better for cardholders capable of taking full advantage of its myriad benefits.
From the $300 annual travel credit to a generous rewards program that’s particularly valuable for frequent travelers to a host of exclusive discounts and perks with partner vendors, Sapphire Reserve’s potential value far exceeds its admittedly hefty annual fee.