Who is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card for?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve checks all the right boxes for a premium rewards travel card. There are few cards that rival the lucrative rewards rate and even fewer that offer the flexibility to redeem your points. This metal card offers an exciting design that gives an exclusive feeling to your spending. In short, we recommend this to those who will use it as a primary credit card for everyday purchases and want to improve their travel experience.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a travel rewards credit card that makes most sense for restaurant goers and frequent travelers -- where you’ll rack up 3x points on purchases. A key differentiator of this card is how generous the earning categories are. For example, travel spending extends beyond standard flight and car rental purchases to include everyday expenses like Uber & Lyft ridesharing, metro public transport, and commuting tolls. Similarly, earning 3x points on restaurants (and over $300 food delivery credits) means you want the Chase Sapphire Reserve to be your go-to card in your wallet.
As the premium offering from Chase, this is the card for those who want to earn maximum points to get free luxury resort vacations, exclusive dining experiences, premium hotel nights, and more.
There are few cards with better rewards rates than this card. Cardholders earn 3x points on travel after consuming your $300 travel credit, 3x points on dining at restaurants, and 1x points on everything else with no cap on the total amount of points you can earn.
A key to this card is using the $300 travel credit as soon as possible so you start earning 3x points on travel purchases. We recommend booking a flight as soon as you open this card so you can start earning travel points on your everyday purchases, like ridesharing. If you don’t have a set trip in mind, you may consider booking a refundable ticket so you can start earning points without risk of changing travel plans. Make sure you book this flight in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for additional points.Like all Chase cards, The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal where you earn 50% more value when redeeming points for hotels, airfare, and car rentals. We highly advise cardholders to take advantage of this because you essentially get to leverage the combined purchasing power of Chase when you book through their portal.
This card also offers a lot in terms of rewards redemption flexibility. If you prefer not to book through Chase, you are still able to transfer your points to 10 different airline frequent flyer programs and 3 hotel loyalty accounts.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a perfect card to compliment an airline or hotel card due to the 1-to-1 points transferring ability. Most airline or hotels cardholders will earn 1x points on everyday purchase categories, like restaurants. Savvy cardholders use the Sapphire Reserve to earn 3x points and transfer these to a loyalty program before they book a flight or hotel room.
You can convert your points with:
- Aer Lingus
- British Airways
- Air France
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Hyatt Hotels
- IHG (International Hotel Group)
If you are thinking about converting your Chase points into one of these programs, we recommend doing so only when you’re about to book your trip so you preserve maximum optionality.
Benefits & Credits
The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a rich package of statement credits that helps make travel more enjoyable. The largest of these values is the $300 annual traveling credit that is posted to your account upon sign up. This statement credit is great because it also refreshes every year on the anniversary of opening your credit card. This credit is automatically consumed as you use your card on travel-related purchases so no need to manually configure anything.
TIP: The travel credit is consumed when you spend on travel purchases, as determined by the business’s merchant ID number. For example, if you used your card to buy theme park tickets, they would not count because theme park merchant IDs don’t register as travel-related purchases. However, if you booked those same tickets via a travel agent, they would count towards your statement credit because they have a travel merchant ID.
The Sapphire Reserve delivers on ridesharing and food delivery credits by partnering with Lyft and Doordash. Cardholders get a complimentary year of Lyft Pink -- a $199 value -- if you make the Sapphire Reserve card your primary billing card. Furthermore, you will automatically earn 10x points on Lyft rides (7x points in addition to the 3x standard travel points) if they are paid for with your Sapphire Reserve card.
You also receive DoorDash’s DashPass, which provides you with unlimited $0 deliveries in addition to the two $60 annual statement credits that come with the card. For most cardholders, Lyft and DoorDash are already part of existing expenses, so we can effectively count this as cash-in-pocket. This holds especially true if you are in a major metropolitan area where these on-demand services are widely available.
Cardholders also get access to over 1,300 airport lounges with the Priority Pass Select that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. These lounges are all over the world and can be the deciding factor in making your layover relaxing. This point should also be seriously considered for those who travel frequently for work. Free, secure, and fast Wi-Fi are all staples at all Priority Pass lounges, and can make the difference in getting work done in transit. The next time you fly you’ll get Wi-Fi, snacks, beverages, and more for free if you present your card.
This card goes one step further to ensure you have a pleasant travel experience by offering a $100 fee credit towards an application to Global Entry or TSA Pre✔. Both of these services truly change the airport experience by maintaining “5 minutes or less” of security wait time. These services will save you countless hours and frustration on your travels.
Finally, the Sapphire Reserve comes with great travel insurance for both airfare and car rentals. If your flight is cancelled or cut short due to sickness, weather, or other events you can be insured up to $20,000 per trip. Likewise, if you pay for your rental cars with the Chase Sapphire Reserve you are covered for up to $75,000 in theft or collision damage. This applies to cardholders no matter if you are in the U.S. or traveling abroad.
Once you spend $4,000 on purchases in the initial 3 months from account opening, new cardholders receive 50,000 bonus points. Like all Chase rewards cards, if you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you will benefit from a 1.5x value multiplier -- effectively making this 75,000 points. Accordingly, our math settles these points around a $780 to $800 value depending on how you redeem your points. You also receive the $300 annual traveling credit as soon as you are approved for your card. Just these two rewards are worth $1,100 -- which is about 4 free round trip domestic flight tickets.
All of these benefits come at the annual cost of $550. While that is certainly a considerable sum, it’s worth framing this in context of what you receive. We estimate the first year value for a typical premium rewards cardholder (including the welcome bonus) to be around $1500. These estimates assume you use this as your main credit card (to earn the most points) -- which you should do given the high rewards rate of this card.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a sleek offering targeted at the premium cardholder space that has long been dominated by the American Express Platinum card. From the metal embossing to the holographic finish, this card is as much a social statement as it is a luxury rewards tool for savvy cardholders.