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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 current annual fee of $450. Chase will allow existing cardholders whose annual renewal dates come before April 1, 2020, to renew for one additional year at $450. Cardholders whose renewals come on or after April 1 must renew at the new rate, though all renewals through the end of 2020 qualify for a one-time statement credit of $100. The $75 authorized user fee won’t change for any cardholders, present or future.
To compensate for the higher annual fee, Chase 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 access to more than 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide.
Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 2020 Update: What to Know
As of Jan. 12, 2020, new and existing cardholders can 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 Dec. 31, 2021, 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.
Up to $120 in DoorDash Credits Through 2021
Sapphire Reserve cardholders also get up to $120 in DoorDash order credits through 2021: $60 in 2020 and $60 in 2021. You receive them as statement credits after you make a purchase, usually on the same statement. Any credits not used by Dec. 31, 2021, expire and are unusable unless Chase chooses to extend the promotion.
One Free Year of Lyft Pink
Sapphire Reserve-wielding Lyft devotees qualify for one free year of Lyft Pink, the ride-hailing app’s VIP subscription service. At $19.99 per month, that’s a value of nearly $240.
Lyft Pink’s benefits include:
- 15% savings on all Lyft rides
- Priority airport pickups during high-demand periods
- Up to three cancel fees waived each month when you rebook within 15 minutes
- Waived lost-and-found fees
- Three free maximum 30-minute Lyft bike or scooter rides per month where available
- Seasonal offers unavailable to other Lyft members
To claim your free year, you must set your Sapphire Reserve card as your default Lyft payment method and activate Lyft Pink by March 2022. Like DashPass, Lyft Pink continues to auto-renew after the free year is complete, so you must cancel to avoid a recurring charge.
10x Points on Lyft Purchases Through March 2022
Sapphire Reserve cardholders qualify for another great Lyft benefit: 10 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on Lyft rides through March 2022.
That’s 7 points more per $1 spent than the typical 3-point-per-$1 earning rate and a 15% return on spending when you redeem points earned on Lyft rides for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. To ensure you’re earning at the higher rate on all Lyft rides, add Sapphire Reserve as your default payment method.
More Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
Sapphire Reserve’s January 2020 update was welcome news for cardholders who regularly use food-delivery and ride-hailing 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 subsidizes each cardholder’s travel spending to the tune of $300 per year. 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 ride-hailing app purchases
You receive travel credits as statement credits, usually on the same statement.
3x Points on Dining and Travel Purchases
If you max out the credit before the end of your cardholder anniversary year (the account renewal date), subsequent travel purchases earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent. All dining purchases also earn unlimited 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent, even before you max out the travel credit. All other eligible purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent – except 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
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 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: $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 Collection (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. Highlights include:
- 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.
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.
Are you a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder? If not, do the recent updates convince you to apply?
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.