Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it?

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Chase made a handful of significant changes to its popular Chase Sapphire Reserve card in early 2020, which didn’t necessarily thrill existing customers and left some looking for other Chase credit cards options. However, it’s hard to argue this card isn’t a good deal when you add up all the new benefits from DoorDash and Lyft.

The reality is, even at $550 per year (up from $450), the Chase Sapphire Reserve still presents an incredible value for consumers who travel often and can take advantage of all the cardholder perks. If you’re not quite convinced the Chase Sapphire Reserve is still worth keeping, read on for a breakdown of each of the cardholder benefits and what they’re worth below.

Annual fee credit for 2020

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Chase began notifying select cardholders in early April that they may be eligible for an annual fee credit worth $100 to cover the recent annual fee increase.

Sapphire Reserve cardholders with a renewal date between April 1 and July 1 are eligible for this offer,  and the waiver should apply automatically when your annual fee is charged. According to the messaging Chase sent to cardholders, you will see a $550 charge for the annual fee on your renewal date, followed by a $100 credit. The fee will renew at $550 beginning in 2021.

If you close your account or request a product change before your renewal date, you won’t receive the $100 credit. This waiver also doesn’t affect your access to any of the recently added card benefits.

Check your inbox to see if you received a message from Chase directly regarding your eligibility. If you’re facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, you should also reach out to using the number on the back of your card to work out a personalized solution.

Chase Sapphire Reserve card details and benefits

  • Earn 3x points on travel (after earning your $300 travel credit) and dining and 1x points on all other purchases; also earn 10x points on Lyft purchases
  • Qualify for 50,000 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 over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide
  • Get a credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership
  • Score primary auto rental coverage and rental elite status
  • Earn up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases – up to $60 in 2020 and another $60 in 2021
  • Free Lyft Pink membership for one year

Score $750 in travel

The first-year value of this card is hard to beat thanks to the initial signup bonus you can earn right away. Once you’re approved, you’ll have the opportunity to earn 50,000 points worth $750 in travel when you spend $4,000 on your card within the first three months of opening your account.

The $750 in value comes into play because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 50 percent more 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 credit 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 work, 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 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 wifi 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 immigrations when you re-enter 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 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 $120 in statement credits for DoorDash food delivery

In early 2020, the Chase Sapphire Reserve added in a complimentary membership to DashPass for one year, which includes free delivery for DoorDash orders of $12 or more. You’ll also get up to $120 in DoorDash statement credits, including $60 toward DoorDash purchases in 2020 and another $60 in credits in 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 ridesharing at least a few times per month.

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. That means you’ll earn 500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $50 you spend with Lyft, which could add up quickly if you 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 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 perks otherwise.

When you add in other benefits like the $120 in DoorDash credits, the signup bonus, the rewards you can earn and the valuable travel protections you receive, this card is a real 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.