About Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Although the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card isn’t expected to be released until late August, this travel credit card has been the talk of the town for much of the summer.
But you have questions, such as: Is Chase Sapphire Reserve meaningfully better than the competition? What are its pros and cons? Who’s the ideal cardholder? To help you find some answers, here’s what we know at this point:
How Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Work?
The Sapphire Reserve Card is part of the Visa Infinite network and the sixth card in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards family, which already has a strong reputation for airline and hotel partnerships.
Sapphire Reserve’s Points Structure
After spending $4,000 on your Sapphire Reserve card in the first three months, you’ll receive a 100,000-point bonus on your account. You’ll be able to increase the value of these points by another 50% when booking flights, hotels, rental cars, or cruises through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, bringing your points value to 1.5 cents each ($1,500 total, or a 4.5% rewards rate).
Pro tip: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card (more soon) excludes balance transfers, cash advances, buying cash (e.g. traveler’s checks), or interest payments from counting toward your bonus eligibility. While we can’t be sure yet, much of the same likely holds true for the Sapphire Reserve.
However, if you redeem these points through specific transfer partner airlines and hotels, you could boost this value to as high as 2.1 cents per point ($2,100 total).
Outside of this, you’ll earn 3X rewards (3 points for every $1 spent) on travel and dining worldwide, along with 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Earnings are uncapped, so the sky’s the limit (no pun intended).
Rewards & Bonuses
Each year, you’ll earn a $300 travel credit/reimbursement on your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which can be applied to anything coded as travel, such as airfare, car rentals, hotels, taxis, and limos.
Because Sapphire Reserve is part of the Infinite network, you’ll also receive other travel benefits such as a $100 Global Entry fee credit, including TSA PreCheck, rental car insurance, reimbursement for lost luggage, trip cancellation/delay coverage, and more.
Finally, your Priority Pass Select membership will give you access to 900+ global airport lounges.
Pro tip: Do you own multiple Ultimate Rewards cards? If so, you’ll be able to pool points together from across accounts, including your Sapphire Reserve card.
What About Fees?
We’re told that Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $450 annual fee. There are no foreign transaction fees.
Are We Told About Sapphire Reserve’s Eligibility Requirements?
While we likely won’t know any more details until Chase formally releases Sapphire Reserve, it’s considered a premium-level credit card. As such, we expect underwriting criteria to favor those with great credit scores and high incomes.
Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred & Other Rewards Cards
Because Chase’s ultra-popular Sapphire Preferred card is also part of the Ultimate Rewards family, it makes sense that you’re wondering what the main differences are. Based on preliminary information, here’s how they stack up:
|Sapphire Preferred||Sapphire Reserve|
|Annual Fee||Waived first year; $95 per year thereafter||$450|
|APR||16.24% to 24.24%||Pending release|
||No foreign transaction fees|
|Eligibility||Great credit scores and high incomes||Great credit scores and high incomes|
Compared to the other travel rewards cards we’ve reviewed, like the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card and Capital One Venture Card, Sapphire Preferred offers a higher points bonus, although, with other options, you’ll generally have to spend less to qualify.
Outside of this, the Travel Rewards card offers 1.5 points for every dollar spent, while Venture offers a 2:1 ratio. You won’t be able to transfer points with either of these cards.
What about other non-travel related cash back and rewards cards, like the Chase Freedom and Slate, BankAmericard Cash Rewards Card, and Discover It Cash Card? Among cards that eliminate travel benefits, you’ll generally see points earnings increase. So, if you want to earn rewards but don’t travel often, one of these options might be right up your alley.
However, even when excluding travel, some cards provide cash back and rewards for a wide variety of purchases; others only offer rewards on certain categories, while still others rotate categories every few months.
Then, there are those that straddle the difference, such as MasterCard Black. Here, you’ll also find many of the same perks as Sapphire Reserve, such as discounts and upgrades at more than 3,000 hotels (no specific properties are mentioned), Lounge Club enrollment, rental car upgrades, $100 credit for the federal Global Entry program, and 2% redemption rates for expenses coded as travel.
Who Might Benefit Most From a Chase Sapphire Reserve Card?
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, and for good reason: if you travel and dine out a lot, it really is a no-brainer. Between the 100,000 bonus points, high points-earning capacity, additional significant savings when booking through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, unlimited earning potential, and more, it seems like there really isn’t another card that can hold a candle to it.
In fact, even though it’s not set to be released until late August, some leading credit card-related websites are already calling it one of the best travel credit cards ever offered.
Now, this isn’t to say that the Sapphire Reserve is going to be perfect—even if you travel and dine out frequently. For one, you’ll have a hefty $450 annual fee, which isn’t even waived (at least based on our preliminary information) the first year like so many other cards. On top of this, you’ll almost certainly need an outstanding credit score and high income to qualify—exactly what this translates into, however, we’ll have to wait and see.
Finally, since you’ll need to spend at least $4K within 3 months to qualify for the 100,000-point bonus, you’ll also need to be a fairly big spender—preferably on all your travel and dining purchases—in order to overcome the steep annual fee and get the most out of the Sapphire Reserve card. In fact, in the right hands, you might even be able to achieve a net gain!
Overall, probably like you, we’re excited to see exactly what the Sapphire Reserve card offers once it’s released, as well as how its industry-leading perks will play out in the hands of real-world consumers. As soon as we know more, we’ll be sure to update this review!
In the mean time, why not learn how How To Pick a Travel Credit Card that Will Take You Places?