Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it?

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With a $550 annual fee and a handful of other changes rolled out in early 2020, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® isn’t necessarily the most obvious first choice among other Chase credit card options. However, the Sapphire Reserve still presents an incredible value for consumers who travel often and can take advantage of its great travel-related cardholder perks.

If you’re not quite convinced the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it, read on for a breakdown of each of the cardholder benefits and what they’re worth below.

Chase Sapphire Reserve card details and benefits

The Sapphire Reserve offers a variety of rewards and benefits:

  • Earn 3x points on eligible travel (after earning your $300 travel credit) and dining and 1x points on all other purchases; also earn 10x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2022)
  • Qualify for 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening
  • Secure a $300 annual credit good toward any travel expenses
  • Qualify for Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, which includes access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide
  • Get an up to $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership
  • Score primary auto rental coverage and rental elite status
  • Receive a complimentary DoorDash DashPass (if activated using your card by Dec. 31, 2021) and earn up to $60 in DoorDash statement credits through Dec. 31, 2021
  • Complimentary Lyft Pink membership for 12 months (if activated using your card by March 31, 2022)

Score $900 in travel

The first-year value of this card is hard to beat thanks to the initial sign-up bonus you can earn right away. Once you’re approved, you’ll have the opportunity to earn 60,000 points worth $900 in travel when you spend $4,000 on your card within the first three months of opening your account.

The $900 in value comes into play because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 50 percent more with the Sapphire Reserve when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, rental cars and more through the ChaseUltimate Rewards portal. However, you could potentially get even more value for your rewards with Chase transfer partners, including Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, and more. Each of these programs lets you transfer Chase points from your account at a 1:1 ratio, which allows you to book airfare or hotel stays through each individual brand’s loyalty program.

$300 travel credit

The Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with a $300 annual travel credit that is automatically applied to your account each time you make a travel purchase. This makes this credit infinitely easier to use than comparable credits from other premium cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, which only lets you use your travel credit for incidental purchases with one airline each year.

This credit works for nearly any travel purchase, including airfare, hotels, train fare, rental cars and more. Any purchase that codes as travel on your credit card statement will count, making this credit refreshingly easy to use.

Airport lounge access

You’ll also get Priority Pass™ Select membership with this credit card, which includes access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world. While you can’t actually purchase this exact membership, since it’s designed for consumers who receive their membership through a financial institution, a comparable “Prestige” membership that you can purchase with the same unlimited visit structure is normally priced at $429 a year.

This membership is a pretty significant perk when you consider how much it normally costs. You can also get a ton of value in return if you travel often and have time to score some free food, drinks and Wi-Fi in airport lounges.

Global Entry or TSA Precheck

The Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership, both of which can save you time and hassle by letting you join a shorter line at TSA airport security (with TSA Precheck) or customs and immigration when you reenter the United States (with Global Entry) after traveling abroad.

Also, note that Global Entry comes with a TSA Precheck membership, so it’s a better value if you travel outside the United States and have the ability to use both programs. This credit is also good every four years, so you can use it over and over as you renew your membership in either program.

Primary rental car insurance and rental elite status

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a range of travel insurance products, and this includes primary rental car insurance good for up to $75,000 in losses due to collision damage or theft. You’ll also get elite rental car benefits when you enroll with National Car Rental, Avis or Silvercar. Benefits you’ll receive may include upgrades, car rental discounts, and savings on luxury and premium car options.

Up to $60 in statement credits for DoorDash food delivery

In early 2020, the Chase Sapphire Reserve added a complimentary membership to DashPass for one year, including free delivery for DoorDash orders of $12 or more. You can also get up to $60 in DoorDash statement credits through December 2021.

This credit makes it even easier to justify the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s higher annual fee if you use DoorDash at least a few times per year.

One year of complimentary Lyft Pink membership

You’ll also get a free year of Lyft Pink membership, which includes 15 percent off Lyft rides. This membership is worth $199 per year if you paid for it outright, and it’s mostly intended for people who use Lyft for ride-sharing at least a few times per month. This must be activated with your Sapphire Reserve card by March 31, 2022.

The discount on Lyft rides could easily help you save money over time, but don’t forget that you’ll also earn 10x points on Lyft rides charged to your card (through March 31, 2022). That means you’ll earn 500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $50 you spend with Lyft, which could add up quickly if you frequently use rideshares to get around.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve still worth it?

If you’ll actually use the benefits the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers, then the card is easily worth signing up for and keeping for the long haul. The annual travel credit essentially knocks $300 off the annual fee right away, and the $429 Priority Pass Select membership and up to $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck make it so this card saves you money if you would pay for those items otherwise.

When you add in other benefits, like the $60 DoorDash credits, the sign-up bonus, the rewards you can earn and the valuable travel protections you receive, this card is a no-brainer.

Still, at the end of the day, it’s important to figure out if you can take advantage of these benefits on a regular basis. If you rarely travel, you may be better off with a different travel credit card that charges a much lower annual fee.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."
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