Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review

The card_name is an elite credit card that Chase created to cater to frequent travelers. I’ve carried the card since Chase first introduced it in 2016. While it comes with a high annual fee ($550), the rewards you earn from using this card will make up for the annual fee cost for those who travel even once or twice a year. You’ll receive a valuable signup bonus if you meet the spending requirements, earn up to 10x points, and receive $300 in annual travel credits every year. Plus, get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel(SM). For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel. We dive into the details and your approval odds in this review.

Our Rating

4.9/5.0

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points

Annual Fee

$550

0% Intro on Purchases

N/A

Reward Rate

1x – 10x

0% Intro on Balance Transfers

N/A

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Editorial Review

A word about my approach to credit cards. As regular readers know, I save and invest ALL of my credit card rewards. For Chase Ultimate Rewards, I use them to book travel through Chase Travel(SM), thereby taking advantage of the 50% rewards bonus offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (more on that below). When I book this “free” travel, I take what the trip would have cost me out of my checking account and deposit it into my Credit Card Financial Freedom Fund (CCFFF). As of today, my CCFFF totals over $32,000.

I mention this because I evaluate all credit cards based on numbers and nothing else. Save the Instagram pictures of somebody sipping champagne on an 8-hour flight in first class. What you never see on Instagram is the same person a week later grinding away in their cubicle in real life. I prefer financial freedom, and I enjoy investing in the rewards I earn.

While it does come with a high annual fee ($550), the rewards from using this card will make up for the annual fee cost for those who travel even once or twice a year. You’ll receive a valuable signup bonus if you meet the spending requirements, earn up to 10x points, and receive $300 in annual travel credits.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® reward structure centers around Chase Ultimate Reward (CUR) points. That’s the “currency” Chase uses for rewards on several of its credit cards (Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Freedom Flex®, to name a few). The key is to understand that this “currency” has different values depending on how you use it.

However, before we can use CUR points, we must earn them. That’s where the Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes in. With the card, you earn CUR points in one of three ways: the Signup Bonus, 3x rewards, and 1x rewards.

Signup Bonus Points

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points once you spend $4,000 or more within your first after opening your account.

So how much are 60,000 points worth? Simply put, they are worth 1 cent each. As we’ll cover in more detail below, however, CUR points earned from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® enjoy a 50% bonus when you redeem them for travel through Chase Travel(SM). Thus, 60,000 CUR points redeemed for travel through CUR are worth $Up to $900.

The 48-Month Rule

Here, we need to add an important caveat. You will not be eligible for this offer if you have any other Sapphire cards and received a bonus within the past 48 months. I call this the 48-Month Penalty Box.

Here’s some language from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® application website: “This product is not available to either current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or previous cardmembers who received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire credit card within the last 48 months.”

Everyday Rewards

Chase recently launched a new rewards system, introducing 10x and 5x point categories. Remember that these rewards are not applied when the $300 travel credit is used. Here’s what you need to know:

10x: The card pays 10 points for every dollar spent on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel(SM).

5x: You’ll earn 5 points for every $1 charged to the card on airline flights booked through Chase Travel(SM).

3x: For other travel and dining, you’ll earn 3 points for every dollar charged to the card.

1x: Finally, you’ll earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. For this reason, we don’t recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve® as an everyday card. It should be paired with a card that pays 1.5% or even 2% on all purchases.

Transactions that Do Not Earn Points

Some transactions on the card will not earn CUR points:

  • travel purchases that qualify for the $300 Annual Travel Credit
  • balance transfers
  • cash advances
  • traveler’s checks, foreign currency, money orders, wire transfers, or similar cash-like transactions
  • lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, race track wagers, or similar betting transactions
  • any checks that access your account
  • interest
  • unauthorized or fraudulent charges
  • fees of any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable

Redeeming Rewards

Chase offers its cardholders many options for redeeming their rewards. These redemption options, however, are not created equal. We’ll get into the details, but here’s a table on redemption values:

Redemption MethodValue per Point
Checkout$0.008
Cash$0.01
Gift Cards$0.01*
Travel through Chase Travel(SM)$0.15
Transfer to Travel PartnersVaries, but as high as $0.02 or higher

*Some gift cards are sold at a 10% discount, increasing the value of Chase Ultimate Reward points.

The takeaway here is clear: Chase Ultimate Reward points should be redeemed for one of two things, and only two things—travel through Chase Travel(SM) or transfers to travel partners. We’ll cover those two options first and then look at the remaining redemption methods.

50% Chase Ultimate Rewards Bonus

A key feature of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is its 50% point bonus when you redeem points for travel through Chase Travel(SM). The bonus turns points normally worth 1 cent into 1.5 cents. The effective result is that travel and dining purchases earn a rewards rate of 4.5% (3x points + the 50% bonus).

A word of caution. I’ve found that sometimes the cost of travel through Chase Travel(SM) is higher than what I can find on other websites. This is particularly true with hotels, in my experience. Chase even points this out in the fine print of Chase Ultimate Rewards terms and conditions:

The cost of travel is based on the rates and fares available through the Ultimate Rewards website and travel center, and may not reflect all rates and fares that are available through other sales channels.

Chase

So compare prices before making a final decision on any travel.

Transferring Points to Chase Travel Partners

There is no set value for points transferred to Chase travel partners. It all depends on the airline or hotel and how you use the points or miles after the transfer. As a general rule of thumb, we assume the Chase points have a value of 1 to 2 cents after the transfer. Of course, you’ll need to do your assessment based on the specific transfer partner and how you’ll use the rewards.

We know how many points or miles you earn for each CUR point–it’s 1:1. We also know that points must be transferred in 1,000-point increments. Here are the travel partners:

  • Airline Partners
    • Aer Lingus AerClub
    • British Airways Executive Club
    • Emirates Skywards
    • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
    • Iberia Plus
    • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
    • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
    • United Airlines MileagePlus
    • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Hotel Partners
    • IHG Rewards Club
    • Marriott Bonvoy (including Ritz-Carlton)
    • World of Hyatt

Here are more details on the other redemption option:

  • Cash
    • Redeem points for cash through an account statement credit
    • Redeem points for cash through an electronic deposit into an eligible savings or checking account in the U.S.
  • Gift Cards
    • You can choose from over 150 different companies for gift cards, such as Lowe’s, Amazon, Home Depot, Airbnb, and more. Points used for redeeming gift cards are currently valued at 0.1 cents each, although some cards offer a 10% discount.
  • Checkout
    • When using points at checkout, such as on Amazon, the current point value is 0.8 cents.
  • Shop on Amazon
    • Connect your Chase Sapphire Reserve card account to your Amazon account and begin shopping. With this option, you can use points to help pay part or even all of an order.

Combining Points with Other Chase Credit Cards

A little-known secret is that you can move Chase Ultimate Reward points between Chase credit cards. Each card must be eligible to earn CUR points. One way to take advantage of this is to get the Chase Freedom Flex card, which pays up to 5% cash back. Those rewards can be turned into CUR points and transferred to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, where you can enjoy the 50% bonus on travel purchased through CUR (see below).

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Rewards Calculator

To help you estimate the value of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® based on your specific spending habits, we’ve created the following calculator. Just enter an estimate of how much you spend with the card each month for travel, dining, and all other purchases.

Note that the first $300 spent on travel does not earn CUR points due to the $300 travel credit. Remember that if you redeem points for something other than travel through CUR, the value will be higher or lower than what’s reflected in the calculator.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Travel Credits

One key feature of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is its travel credits. The primary credit is $300 toward travel purchases, but that’s just the start.

  • $300 Travel Credit: An annual credit of $300 will automatically be applied to travel purchases on the card. In addition, through the end of 2021, gas station and grocery store purchases will also count toward earning the travel credit.
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Fee Credit: From the Chase website, “You will receive one statement credit (up to $100) every four years after the first program (either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS) application fee is charged to your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, by you or an authorized user.”
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass – a membership for DoorDash and Caviar – which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders for at least one year when you activate by December 31, 2024. With DashPass, you also get $5 in DoorDash credits each month, redeemed at checkout.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Travel and Insurance Protection

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: When using your Chase Sapphire Reserve® for rental car usage, you can receive primary collision and theft coverage. To be eligible, you must decline the waiver from the collision insurance rental car company. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement of up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.

Extended Warranty Protection: Upon purchasing an item with your Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase will extend the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by one year on eligible warranties of 3 years or less.

Purchase Protection: Items bought with a Chase Sapphire Reserve® will be protected up to 120 days from the date of purchase against damage or theft. This card will cover up to $10,000 for each claim and $50,000 annually.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather, and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement: If you or an immediate family member bring any luggage damaged or lost by the carrier, you will be covered up to $3,000 per passenger.

Trip Delay Reimbursement: If your carrier service becomes delayed for more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family will be covered for unreimbursed expenses up to $500 per ticket.

Emergency Evacuation & Transportation: This benefit helps cover up to $100,000 in medical expenses for you or an immediate family member. It is only accepted if you or a family member get injured or become sick on a trip away from home, which results in an emergency evacuation.

Complimentary Airport Lounge Access: This allows you access to the 1,000+ VIP lounges in over 500 cities worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select. This gives you great relaxation time before your flight departure.

Earn 10x points on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025. That’s 7x points in addition to the 3x points you already earn on travel.

Annual Fee

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s annual fee is $550. Of course, the $300 travel credit makes up more than half of this amount. The other credits, if you use them, can make up much of the rest. Ultimately, however, how you use the card will determine if it is worth the cost.

Last year the card generated $1,151.72 in rewards for me. Most of this came from earning 3x rewards on travel and dining (only $28.93 came from 1x rewards). Factor in the $300 travel credit and subtract the $550 annual fee; the net value to us was $901.72.

In contrast, had I used a 2% cash back card with no annual fee, the total rewards value would have been $537.59. So clearly, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® was well worth the cost for us. These calculations don’t account for the other benefits, such as lounge access and travel protections.

Pros & Cons

What we like

  • Signup Bonus of 60,000 points
  • $300 in annual travel credit
  • 3x points on worldwide travel and dining
  • 50% more value when redeeming through Chase Travel(SM)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS Fee Credit
  • Complimentary DashPass
  • Complimentary Airport Lounge Access (through Priority Pass Select)
  • Excellent travel and purchase protections
  • Transfer points 1:1 to Chase airline and hotel travel partners

What could be better

  • $550 annual fee that Chase does NOT waive the first year
  • Requires excellent credit
  • The base rewards rate is 1%, which is not ideal for those who want to use only one credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to transfer points to an airline or hotel?

According to Chase, most transfers are processed by the next business day. However, in some cases, the transfer can take up to 7 business days.

What credit score do you need to qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® ?

Chase does not disclose the exact underwriting standards need to get the card. Furthermore, factors beyond credit score are important, such as income. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® does require excellent credit, which is typically above 720. That said, I’ve seen reports of some qualifying for the card with scores in the high 600s.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® worth its annual fee?

The answer depends on how you use the card. For me, the card is worth several times the annual fee. You can use this calculator to estimate the value of CSR rewards.

Final Thoughts

For my money, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the best travel card available today. Its rewards are worth $1,000 or more yearly, even after factoring in the annual fee. Of course, your mileage may vary, so make sure to do the math before applying.

Features & Benefits

SecurityEMV Chip Enabled, Fraud Monitoring, Zero Liability, Alerts
Contactless PaymentsTap to Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay
BenefitsExtended Warranty Coverage, Purchase Protection, Return Guarantees, 24/7 customer service
Travel PerksAccess to Special Events and Concerts, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Emergency Travel Assistance, Airport Lounge Access, Luggage Protection, Trip Delay Reimbursement, Travel Accident Insurance, Trip Cancellation Insurance, TSA PreCheck & Global Entry credit

Rewards

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
Earn 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
3x points
Dining
Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.
5x points
Travel
Earn 5x points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Travel(SM) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
10x points
Travel
10x on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel(SM) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.

Interest Rates & Fees

Annual Fee$550
Foreign Transaction Fee$0
Regular APR22.49%-29.49% (V) APR

What Credit Score Is Required to Get the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The following credit score data are based on publicly available information we have collected from various forums. We have no way to confirm the accuracy of this data. In addition, keep in mind that credit card issuers use numerous factors in their underwriting process, and these factors can change at any time.

Lowest Approved Credit Score: 677

Average Approved Credit Score: 766

App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved04/08/2023
720
Not Provided
$10,000
Approved05/08/2023
830
Experian
$27,000
Approved02/06/2023
677
Experian
$10,700
Approved04/19/2023
806
Experian
$18,600
Approved04/19/2023
810
Equifax
$18,600
Approved04/19/2023
823
TransUnion
$18,600
Approved08/03/2023
700
TransUnion
$15,000
Approved09/30/2023
698
Experian
$25,500
Approved09/30/2023
730
TransUnion
$25,500
Approved09/30/2023
733
Equifax
$25,500
Approved09/30/2023
766
Equifax
$25,500
Approved12/14/2023
750
Experian
$10,000
Approved03/22/2023
719
Equifax
$21,700
Approved03/22/2023
752
TransUnion
$21,700
Approved03/22/2023
789
Experian
$21,700
Approved01/07/2023
821
Experian
$25,000
Approved01/07/2023
828
TransUnion
$25,000
Approved01/07/2023
838
Equifax
$25,000
Approved10/23/2023
751
Experian
$10,000
Approved10/23/2023
785
TransUnion
$10,000
Denied10/19/2023
749
TransUnion
---
Denied10/19/2023
765
Experian
---

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Welcome offer
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Up to 10x points
  • Excellent statement credits
  • Transfer points to Chase travel partners
Cons
  • Annual fee
  • Requires good credit

What Are the Best Alternatives?

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rating

4.9

Rewards Range

1x - 5x points

Annual Fee

$95

American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card

Rating

4.8

Rewards Range

1x-4x

Annual Fee

$250

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express

Rating

4.5

Rewards Range

1x - 5x points

Annual Fee

$695

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