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The Chase Sapphire Reserve Review (Updated 2024)

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Posted: 3/4/24 | March 4th, 2024

Nomadic Matt has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Nomadic Matt and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

The upgraded version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the card_name is my one of my favorite premium cards. It offers a lot of fantastic perks for avid travelers.

While The Platinum Card® from American Express gets all the fanfare in terms of luxury rewards cards, I personally prefer the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It comes with better points-earning bonus categories; more practical, everyday perks (which I’ll get into below); and more comprehensive travel insurance.

Today, I want to share a bit more about this card so you can determine whether it’s the right card for you.

 

What is the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

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The card_name (often referred to as CSR) is a travel rewards card issued by Chase. The card comes with a $550 USD annual fee and a host of benefits like lounge access, travel insurance, and an array of statement credits. When used right, these benefits can be worth much more than the annual fee.

One of those benefits is a $300 USD annual travel credit that is very easy to get, effectively reducing the annual fee to a more reasonable $250 USD. You don’t need to do anything extreme to receive this benefit either; the first $300 USD per year that you spend on travel is simply erased from your statement.

Chase also has a very broad definition of what it classifies as travel, making it easy to take advantage of this credit (even parking garages count towards it). According to Chase, they classify travel purchases as including:

“airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.”

So, the first $300 USD of purchases you make in any of these categories will be removed from your statement, and after that, you’ll earn 3x points on these purchases.

And that’s just one benefit of the card. When you sign up for this card, you’ll get:

  • 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months)
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 3x points on travel (earned after earning your $300 annual travel credit)
  • 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services and takeout
  • 5x points on flights when booked through Chase
  • 10x points on hotels and rental cars when booked through Chase
  • 10x points on Lyft + 2-year Lyft Pink membership
  • Priority Pass Membership and access to Sapphire Lounges by The Club
  • $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check every 4 years
  • 1 year of complimentary Instacart+ membership (includes up to $15 in statement credits each month through July 2024)
  • Complimentary DashPass membership (includes $5 in DoorDash credits each month)
  • Travel insurance including emergency medical and dental coverage, emergency evacuation insurance, trip delay coverage, primary car rental insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and trip cancellation insurance
  • No foreign transaction fees

Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Insurance

The card_name also offers the most comprehensive travel insurance out of any credit card and is one of the only ones to include any kind of medical insurance. It’s my top pick as the best credit card for travel insurance.

As a Visa Infinite® card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel insurance includes the following:

  • Primary car rental insurance up to $75,000 USD
  • Travel accident insurance up to $1,000,000 USD
  • Trip cancelation/interruption coverage up to $10,000 USD per person and $20,000 USD per trip
  • Trip delay coverage of $500 USD after delays of six hours or more
  • Lost luggage coverage up to $3,000 USD
  • $100 per day for up to five days if your baggage is delayed
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage up to $2,500 USD for treatment (minus a $50 USD deductible)
  • Emergency evacuation insurance up to $100,000 USD

While I always recommend purchasing a separate travel insurance policy, having coverage through your credit card is an added benefit that you get at no additional cost.

Using Your Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points

With this card, you’ll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. You can use those points like you would any other rewards program: to get cash back, book travel directly, or transfer them to travel partners. You can also redeem them for Amazon or Apple purchases, but these are bad redemption values and I would not recommend using points this way.

The easiest option is to redeem your points for travel in the Chase Travel portal, which works like booking through Expedia or any other online travel agency. When you do this, you’re basically using your points as cash, at a value of 1.5 cents per point. So, for example, if you have 50,000 points, they’ll be worth 75,000 points when redeemed through the portal. This is a better value than if you simply redeem your points directly as cash, as you’ll only get a value of 1 cent per point that way.

Using your points in the Chase Travel portal is very straightforward, making it an attractive option for points and miles newbies. If this is the only way that you’ll use your points, then using them is better than letting them sit around!

Just know that there are pros and cons to using the travel portal. Namely, you can usually get more for your points when you transfer them to Chase’s 14 transfer partners (which is what you should be doing with your points).

Taking Advantage of Chase’s Transfer Partners

The ability to transfer to its partners is what makes Chase Ultimate Rewards® points so valuable. You can usually find airline and hotel redemptions where you can get much more than 1.5 cents per point. While the actual value you can get varies greatly based on flight or hotel, a good benchmark is The Points Guy’s monthly valuation chart, which values Chase Ultimate Rewards® points at over 2 cents per point when used as transferable points.

To give a real-life example, the 50,000 points from the example above could be an off-peak, round-trip economy fare from New York to Paris when redeemed through the portal. But if you transfer points to one of Chase’s partner airlines, you can take advantage of flash deals and saver space, potentially finding the same fare for up to 50% less points. Unless it’s a super cheap flight or hotel room (less than $150 USD), I always transfer points to their travel partners, especially when booking business class flights or fancy hotel rooms. You just get more bang for your buck.

Transferring to airline and hotel partners is a bit more work than using the portal, but there are more tools than ever to help you maximize your points. For example, you can use point.me for finding flights with points and Awayz for finding award hotel stays.

Chase’s current transfer partners are:

Airline Transfer Partners:

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards®
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel Travel Partners:

  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy®
  • World of Hyatt®

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

By this point, you might be wondering what makes this card different from its sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Both cards currently have the same welcome offer: 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Both also earn 3x points on dining. You also get travel insurance with both cards, though the insurance offered with the Reserve is much more comprehensive.

Given all that, is the Reserve really worth the higher annual fee?

Ultimately, that’s up to you to decide based on your spending, travel habits, and whether you value the Reserve’s extra perks and benefits. But keep in mind that the real difference in cost between these two cards is only $155 USD per year. Sure, that’s considering the $300 USD annual travel credit on the Reserve, but I’m guessing that anyone thinking of getting a travel rewards card spends at least $300 USD on travel per year. And if you do, you’re likely to come out ahead with the Chase Sapphire Reserve due to the ability to earn points faster, use statement credits, and take advantage of luxury perks like airport lounge access.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet of the main differences:

Chase Sapphire Reserve:

Chase Sapphire Preferred

$550 annual fee

$95 annual fee

$300 annual travel credit

$50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit

3x points on travel

2x points on travel

3x points on dining

3x points on dining

10x points on hotels and rental cars and 5x points on flights booked through Chase

5x on all travel booked through Chase

10x points on Lyft and 2-year Lyft Pink membership

5x points on Lyft

Points worth 1.5 points when redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal

Points worth 1.25 points when redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal

Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus credit (up to $100) every four years

N/A

Priority Pass membership and access to Sapphire lounges

N/A

N/A

10% anniversary points boost

One-year Instacart+ membership and $15 in Instacart credits per month

6-month Instacart+ membership and $15 in Instacart credits each quarter

DoorDash DashPass subscription and $5 in DoorDash credits each month

DoorDash DashPass subscription

Trip delay coverage of $500 USD after delays of 6 hours or more

Trip delay coverage of $500 USD after delays of 12 hours or more

Primary car rental insurance, covers up to $75,000

Primary car rental insurance, reimburses up to cash value of the car, with exclusions

Emergency medical and dental coverage up to $2,500 USD for treatment (minus a $50 USD deductible)

N/A

Emergency evacuation insurance up to $100,000 USD

N/A

Pros of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Great rewards-earning rates
  • Large welcome offer
  • $300 USD travel credit
  • 14 fantastic transfer partners
  • Excellent travel insurance
  • Statement credits for Global Entry/TSA Precheck (every 4 years)
  • Airport lounge access through Priority Pass membership and access to Sapphire lounges
  • Complimentary memberships (including Lyft Pink, DashPass, InstaCart)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Large annual fee ($550 USD per year)
  • $75 USD authorized user fee
  •  

    Who Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve For?

    This card is best for frequent travelers. If you get this card, you’ll want to be able take advantage of the card’s accelerated earning rates on travel and dining, travel statement credits, and other travel-specific benefits. You’ll get even more out of this card if you value perks like airport lounge access and expediting your airport experience through Global Entry/TSA Precheck, and will transfer your points to one of Chase’s transfer partners.

    If you’re only a semi-regular traveler, you might be better served by the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This comprehensive review has everything you need to know about that card.

    ***

    The card_name is one of the best travel rewards cards out there. It comes with a high welcome offer, lots of perks, and robust points-earning capabilities so that you can quickly stack up valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You get a ton of value with this card. I think it’s worth a spot in the wallet of any frequent traveler.

     

    Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

    Book Your Flight
    Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

    Book Your Accommodation
    You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

    Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
    Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

    Want to Travel for Free?
    Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

    Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip?
    Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.

    Ready to Book Your Trip?
    Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

    Nomadic Matt has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Nomadic Matt and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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