Chase Sapphire Reserve

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Well worth the annual fee for frequent diners and fliers.

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

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The rewards and annual credits the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers are among the best available for a travel rewards card. Bankrate also gives high marks to this card for its boosted rewards redemption value, 50% higher when used for booking travel.

Review

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the top premium travel rewards cards, offering bonuses and perks tailored for consumers who dine out and travel frequently. Cardholders who can justify the pricey $450 annual fee will earn industry-leading rewards when they fly, cruise, rent cars or stay in hotels.

Since its introduction in August 2016, the Sapphire Reserve has offered points- or rewards-obsessed credit card customers a fantastic sign-up bonus, superior travel rewards and extra benefits that outshine many competitors’ cards.

Ultimate Rewards Points are flexible and can be transferred to a wide range of partner airlines and hotels, typically at a 1:1 value. Where Ultimate Rewards really become valuable is when they’re redeemed through Chase’s travel portal, where they are worth 50% more.

Although it no longer offers jaw-dropping 100,000 bonus points, worth $1,500 in travel, the current sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus points is worth a still-respectable $750 toward travel. The ongoing benefits beyond signing up also are some of the best available.

Sapphire Reserve pays 3x points on travel and dining out and 1x points on all other purchases. The card also comes with a $300 annual travel credit, a $100 credit for the Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee and a Priority Pass Lounge membership.

Chase’s definition of travel is pretty generous and includes everything from hotels to flights to tolls and parking garages. If you ever leave your house, there’s a good chance that over time, you’ll use the $300 annual travel credit, which effectively brings the cost of owning this card down from $450 to $150.

Who should get this card

Anyone who dines out, flies or stays in hotels frequently can benefit from owning this card.

Advantages
  • The perks that come with this card are worth more than the cost of ownership.
  • The rewards rate on dining and travel is generous.
  • Rewards take on 50% more value when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal.
Disadvantages
  • There’s no introductory APR offer on purchases or balance transfers.
  • If you rarely travel or dine out, you may be better off with a card without the high cost of ownership.
  • You need to have excellent credit to be approved for this card, which makes this card unattainable for some.

Fees and APR

  • There’s a variable APR of 16.99% to 23.99% with this card.
  • There’s a $450 annual fee.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Late payments won’t affect your APR but you may have to pay a late fee of up to $37.

Extras, perks and using points

You’ll receive a free membership in the Priority Pass Select lounge program, which has more than 1,000 airport locations worldwide. Everyone you’re traveling with can join you in the lounge.

Cardholders also receive discounts and free upgrades at Avis, National and Silvercar car rental companies.

There are perks at participating Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection hotels, as well, including free WiFi, breakfast for two, early check-in and late check-out.

To use the 50,000 bonus points, log on to your Chase account and redeem your points for gift cards, cash back or travel. The points are worth $500 if you choose a statement credit, gift cards or wish to transfer the points to another rewards program, like Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards.

You’ll get more mileage on those points — $750 in travel credits — if you book directly through Chase’s travel portal. Your points will be used to cover all or a portion of the cost. You’ll have to pay any remaining balance.

There is no fee to redeem your points.

How this card compares

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Credit Needed

Excellent

Regular APR

16.99% - 23.99% Variable

Annual Fee

Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

If the $450 price tag on the reserve has you scared, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which is one step below the super-premium credit cards, meaning you’ll get good rewards without having to fork over hundreds of dollars in annual fees each year.

Citi Prestige® Card
  • Earn 3 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at airlines and hotels.
  • Earn 2 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at restaurants and select entertainment merchants.
  • Earn 1 ThankYou Point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.
  • Cardmembers with a Citigold® or Global Client relationship will earn an additional 15% in ThankYou Points based on purchases made on your card during that cardmembership year, and those with a Private Bank relationship will earn an additional 25% in ThankYou Points.

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

Credit Needed

Excellent

Regular APR

16.74% to 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. These APRs will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Annual Fee

$450.

Balance Transfers Intro APR


The Citi Prestige Card gives air travel rewards at a rate of 3x points to the Amex Platinum’s 5x points. But it comes with one perk that could make it worth more to you: on hotel stays of four or more nights booked through the Citi concierge, get the fourth night free. For some, this benefit could exceed the cost of card ownership.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite®
  • Earn 3X points per dollar for travel and mobile wallet spend.
  • Earn 1X point per dollar on all other purchases.

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our excellent credit category page.

Credit Needed

Excellent

Regular APR

16.74%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.

Annual Fee

$400.

Balance Transfers Intro APR


Another contender in the premium rewards card category is the US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite, which, in addition to its boosted rewards on travel also 3x points per $1 on all mobile wallet purchases — something no other card currently offers. This means you could theoretically earn triple points on all your spending with this card. The only catch is you have to be a U.S. Bank customer to apply for the card.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.