About Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Updated on: Apr 19, 2017

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card was the talk of 2016 with its 100,000-point sign-up bonus. However, Chase announced the card’s bonus has dropped to 50,000.

That leaves rewards-seeking asking a few questions: Is Chase Sapphire Reserve still 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 50,000-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 Reserve card excludes balance transfers, cash advances, buying cash (e.g. traveler’s checks), or interest payments from counting toward your bonus eligibility.

See Also: The Best Travel Card of 2017: Why Miles Aren’t Just Miles

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).

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s 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.

Related: 4 Types of Credit Cards Responsible Consumers Use for Big Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s 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?

The underwriting criteria to favor those with great credit scores and high incomes. You’ll also be held to Chase’s 5/24 rule, which excludes you from a Chase card if you’ve opened up five or more credit cards in the past 24 months.

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, especially since the two cards offer the same amount of intro bonus points. 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
Other Fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $15-$30 late fee, depending on balance
  • The greater of $5 or 5% for balance transfers
  • The greater of $10 or 5% for cash advances
No foreign transaction fees
Points Earned
  • 50K after spending $4K within 3 months
  • 20% discount when booking through UR portal
  • 2X points on dining and travel
  • 1-to-1 points on all other purchases
  • 100K after spending $4K within 3 months
  • Increase value by 50% by booking through UR portal
  • 3X points on dining and travel
  • 1-to-1 points on all other purchases
  • No caps
Rewards
  • Free concierge services
  • Rental car insurance
  • Reimbursement for lost luggage
  • Trip cancellation/delay coverage
  • Ability to pool points across UR accounts
  • $300 travel credit/reimbursement
  • $100 Global Entry fee credit
  • Rental car insurance
  • Reimbursement for lost luggage
  • Trip cancellation/delay coverage
  • Global airport lounge access
  • Ability to pool points across UR accounts
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 50,000 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.

All the leading card-related websites hailed it one of the best travel credit cards ever offered. Based on what we’ve seen, it’s hard to disagree with that conclusion.

Now, this isn’t to say that the Sapphire Reserve is perfect—even if you travel and dine out frequently.

For one, you have a hefty $450 annual fee, which isn’t even waived 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.

Finally, since you’ll need to spend at least $4K within 3 months to qualify for the 50,000-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.

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4 Customer Reviews for Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Average Customer Rating: 3.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 2 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  2
Bottom Line: 50% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-4 of 4
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  • Chase Sapphire: Useful & Worth It

    I've been using Sapphire Preferred for the last few years. I loved it. Chase's online banking is easy to use so the rewards were always easy to redeem.

    When they announced their reserve card promotion (100K points) I was worried about opening up a new card, how it would affect my budget, and could I transfer my old points.

    Chase was very helpful navigating all of this. Definitely recommend.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    A completely overhyped card

    • San Jose, CA,
    • Apr 3, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    BEWARE of this card! Chase doesn't deliver anywhere close to what they promised.

    1. Yes, there are lots of blackouts on route dates and the ability to upgrade your airfare using points: false advertising. They don't call them blackouts, you just can't use points to upgrade or get certain fares or routes on the dates you need. The way Chase tries to lie out of this when the reality is staring then m in the face is to lie some more, "Oh, we don't have any blackout dates, but our airline partners do. What the heck?!

    2. They have only seven airline partners worldwide. Couple this with blackouts and you can forget using your miles for upgrades. A scam.

    3. Oh, you can buy tickets on the Chase site but watch out as you'll pay far more with points there, and Chase doesn't know fare class. What this means is that you can end up buying a non-refundable ticket that can't be upgraded. Chase will tell you, if you ask, to call the airline and call Chase back. Again what sort of "sham wow" amateur hour is this?

    4. Crap interest rate. I pay off my cards but still, since the benefits on this card turn out to be mostly lies, you'd expect a decent rate. Even with top tier credit expect a terrible rate.

    5. Incompetent support staff that is utterly clueless. Expect to be transferred a lot with no action.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    If you travel and eat out often, look no further

    • New Braunfels, TX,
    • Jan 23, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    A spectacular looking card that even had a heftier feel to it. The $450 annual fee drops to $150 if you travel with the $300 credit. They have great customer service with English speaking reps. And you get 3% cash back at restaurants and travel with no cap, which easily makes up the $150 remainder, even without the many perks. This is my primary card for anything business related.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 7 people found this review helpful

    Misleading information on 50% redemption. READ BEFORE GETTING IT.

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Nov 9, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    If you are used to Chase Sapphire Preferred, you probably saw the 50% redemption and assumed a flight for $500 would be $250. After all, a $500 dollar flight on the chase sapphire preferred is $400 (i.e. 20% off). Well, it's not.

    Chase, unethically and misleadingly, says its 50% more in points. Technically, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is 25% more in point; that just equates to 20% off. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is 33% off the cost of the flight, but 50% more in points.

    If you are confused, so was I. A $500 dollar flight, for example, would cost $333.33 in points, NOT $250. They chose to misleadingly make it look like you get 50% off, like you get 20% off with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I spend close to 50K a year on this card, I will never trust Chase again and not recommend this card to anyone.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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