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Chase Sapphire Reserve® review: Chase’s premier credit card

This premier Chase card could be a dream come true for travelers who value luxury perks, but its high annual fee makes it a costly choice if you only travel occasionally.

 /  14 min
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Snapshot

5.0

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve stands as one of the best travel credit cards. It has an impressive amount of benefits, including a $300 travel credit, complimentary lounge access and one of the most valuable credit card rewards programs. As long as you can take advantage of all it has to offer, frequent travelers should be able to offset the high annual fee and still come out ahead.

Image of Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Apply now Lock
On Chase's secure site

BEST FOR FINE DINING

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Rewards rate

1x - 10x
Info

Annual fee

$550

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Regular APR

21.24% - 28.24% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Overview

The Chase Sapphire Reserve isn’t just one of the best Chase credit cards. Thanks to its elevated rewards, long list of luxury travel perks and host of travel and consumer protections, the Sapphire Reserve is one of the Big 3 premium travel credit cards.

In head-to-head matchups with the other two stand-out luxury options — The Platinum Card® from American Express and the equally impressive Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card — the Sapphire Reserve does more than just hold its own. Its high earnings and boosted redemption rates through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal help it to stand out as one of the best travel credit cards.

The Sapphire Reserve is a good fit for frequent travelers looking for an upgraded travel experience. But if the combination of travel and dining doesn’t match your spending habits and you don’t plan to take full advantage of the card’s most valuable perks like complimentary lounge access, it may not make sense to put down $550 per year for this card. And if you’re not interested in making a fee that large a part of your budget, you’ll definitely want to look at another travel rewards card.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Comes with some of the highest rewards rates for travel and dining when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards: 5X points on air travel plus 10X points on hotel stays, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases.

  • Checkmark

    50 percent increased redemption value: Points are worth at least 1.5 cents when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

  • Checkmark

    Receive an automatic $300 travel credit each anniversary year, which helps to offset the $550 annual fee.

  • Checkmark

    One of the most robust collections of travel protection benefits available.

Cons

  • In addition to the $550 annual fee, there is a $75 annual fee per authorized user. Some travel cards, including the Venture X, don’t charge for additional users.

  • Doesn’t offer as many luxury airport lounge and hotel perks as its competitors, although new Chase Sapphire Lounge locations are in development.

  • Not currently offering its best sign-up bonus.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 3X points on general travel and restaurant purchases; 10X total points on Lyft purchases (through March 2025); 10X total points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards; 10X total points on hotel stays and car rentals through Ultimate Rewards; 5X total points on air travel through Ultimate Rewards (after earning your $300 travel credit); 1X points on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months
  • Annual fee: $550 for new cardmembers
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 21.24 percent to 28.24 percent variable

Current welcome offer

Chase recently updated the Sapphire Reserve card’s bonus, and unfortunately it’s a bit of a downgrade: You can now earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in your first three months as a cardholder — a 20,000-point decrease to the card’s previous offer, which came with 80,000 points after the same spend during the same timeframe.

That said, this bonus is still a very valuable Since the Reserve card boosts the value of your Ultimate Rewards points to 1.5 cents each when you redeem for travel with Chase, this bonus can be worth $900 for Chase travel bookings. You may even be able to get a higher point value with the right transfer partner. Based on Bankrate’s latest point valuations, which give this card’s points a value of 2 cents each on average when transferred to a top travel partner, this bonus could be worth $1,200 or more.

If you’re comparing luxury travel cards and looking for the highest sign-up bonuses available, however, this card may not be the best fit at the moment. We estimate its bonus value falls short of the value offered by rival cards like the Capital One Venture X (75,000 miles after spending $4,000 in your first three months, valued at around $1,500 based on a 2-cent-per-mile value estimate) and the Amex Platinum (100,000 points after you spend $6,000 in your first six months, valued at around $2,100 based on a 2.1-cent-per-mile value estimate).

Rewards rate

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, one of the most flexible and valuable credit card rewards on the market. In addition to its regular redemptions, the Sapphire Reserve gives cardholders a 50-percent boost in point value toward travel redemptions.

How you earn

The Sapphire Reserve’s rewards program can be quite rewarding—and somewhat confusing. To earn the highest rewards for dining and travel with the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll have to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal. You’ll also need to first spend $300 on travel purchases at the start of each year to earn the travel credit, which will give you boosted rewards rates.

Once you’ve earned the credit, you’re eligible for the following rates when booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal:

  • 10 points per dollar on hotel and car rentals
  • 5 points on flights

All other travel you book elsewhere earns 3 points after you’ve earned the credit.

You won’t have to earn the $300 credit to get the following rewards:

  • 10 points on dining booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3 points on all other dining purchases, including eligible delivery services and take out
  • 1 point for all other purchases

You can also earn 10 points on Lyft rides purchased with the Sapphire Reserve. This is a limited time offer that Chase has extended through March 2025. It’s also one of the largest offers for a rideshare, as most travel cards only offer 3 points back on transit purchases in general, including Lyft or Uber rides.

Bonus category purchases are the main methods to earn Ultimate Rewards, but there are also Chase Offers and Shop Through Chase programs that can net you a few extra points. Both allow you to earn additional points on limited-time promotions (up to a threshold) with participating retailers.

Chase Offers focus more on retailers in your everyday categories like Starbucks, Panera, Groupon and Chipotle among many others on a rotating basis. Shop Through Chase retailers lean more toward apparel. You won’t earn a fortune in bonus points, but maximizing your spending with these deals can rack up sizable rewards over time and rewards rates can sometimes climb as high as 20 percent back.

How to redeem

Ultimate Rewards points are more flexible than typical frequent flyer miles since they can be redeemed for a wide variety of options, such as gift cards, merchandise (including shopping with points on eligible Amazon and PayPal purchases), travel experiences, cash back or statement credits. One of the main draws with the Sapphire Reserve is that your points receive a 50-percent boost by redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

But if you’re not planning to travel any time soon, Chase has extended the Pay Yourself Back feature through March 31, 2025. With this feature you can redeem points toward statement credits for non-travel purchases like charitable donations or internet, cable or phone services.

These redemption options aren’t as flexible as redeeming for travel through the Chase portal or transferring to Chase’s partners. The Pay Yourself Back feature is only good in select, rotating categories. You also won’t be able to take advantage of Chase Dining at any restaurant of your choice, as not all restaurants participate in the program, and most are based in larger cities like Boston and New York.

How much are the rewards worth?

Value-wise, your points are worth 1 cent when you redeem for cash back, travel, gift cards and merchandise through the Ultimate Rewards store. But paying with rewards on Amazon.com slightly devalues your rewards to 0.8 cents per point.

To get the best value for your points, take advantage of the 50 percent boost by booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, where each of your points will be worth 1.5 cents. Or you can transfer your points to Chase travel partners. Based on the latest valuations by Bankrate, the right transfer partner could boost the value of your points up to 2 cents per point.

Other cardholder perks

As a top-tier travel credit card, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better collection of travel perks than the Sapphire Reserve benefits. Here’s a look at the best luxury features that come with the Sapphire Reserve.

$300 annual travel credit

Every 12 months from your account anniversary, you’re eligible for up to $300 in statement credits on qualifying travel purchases. This annual credit can cover anything that falls within your travel bonus category, including airfare, hotels, ride-shares, vacation packages and more.

Just remember: You won’t earn 3X points on general travel purchases until you’ve collected your $300 travel credit.

Complimentary Lyft Pink and DoorDash DashPass membership

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will receive a complimentary DoorDash DashPass if activated using your card by Dec. 31, 2024, and 12 months of complimentary Lyft Pink membership if activated using your card by March 2025.

Luxury travel benefits

With the Sapphire Reserve you’ll receive the following valuable travel benefits:

  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit: By using your card, you’ll receive a statement credit of up to $100 to cover the Global Entry application fee or up to an $85 credit for the TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: You’ll have complimentary access to over 1,300 VIP airport lounges across more than 500 cities worldwide. What’s more, your Sapphire Reserve and Priority Pass membership will admit you to lounges in the Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club network.
  • Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection amenities: When staying with a property in this portfolio, you’ll have access to exclusive amenities and guest privileges like early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability).
  • Travel insurances: The Sapphire Reserve is one of the best cards for travel insurance and luxury benefits, offering coverage like trip cancellation/interruption insurance (up to $10,000 per person, $20,000 per trip), emergency evacuation and transportation coverage (up to $100,000) and primary rental car insurance.
  • Reserved by Sapphire: Available through Chase Dining, Chase’s new program exclusively for Sapphire Reserve cardholders will help you secure reservations at some of the highest-rated restaurants in the nation.

Buy now pay later plan

If you have some upcoming purchases that will take some time to pay off, the My Chase Plan lets you break up purchases of $100 or more into fixed, smaller payments. This lets you avoid having to deal with interest charges, though you’ll have to pay a fixed monthly fee, which is currently 1.72 percent of the amount of the eligible purchase.

Rates and fees

The Sapphire Reserve has a variable APR of 21.24 percent to 28.24 percent, which is typical for a premium rewards card. As long as you can pay your credit card balances in full and on time, you can avoid interest charges, which can cost you more than you would earn in rewards and make it harder to justify the high annual fee.

On the bright side, the card carries no foreign transaction fees, which is always a nice feature to have with a travel rewards card.

Since the Sapphire Reserve is a premium travel rewards card, its annual fee is one of the highest you’ll find. It sits right in the middle, between the other two top contenders for best premium travel card. The Amex Platinum Card takes the top spot  with an annual fee of $695 and the Capital One Venture X with a $395 annual fee.

Another fee to look out for with the Sapphire Reserve is for authorized users. You’ll have to pay $75 for each additional user added to your account. This charge is quite a disadvantage, as there are plenty of travel rewards cards that don’t charge for additional users.

If you have family members who use the card often, this factor might work out, as their travel and dining purchases could help you rack up points faster. But each user you add increases the amount of fees you owe, which slowly decreases the card’s value, making it difficult to offset what you’re paying with what you’re earning with rewards.

The only other noteworthy fee to look out for is the balance transfer fee. Chase charges a $5 or 5 percent fee for balance transfers, whichever is greater. This fee is on the high end, considering the best balance transfer credit cards typically only charge 3 percent.

First-year value vs. ongoing value

The most intimidating aspect of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is its $550 annual fee. You’ll need to take advantage of as many of the card’s features as possible to help offset its yearly cost, but if you can manage this the rewards will certainly pay off.

Maximizing the card’s offers shouldn’t be a problem in the first year. The 60,000-point sign-up bonus alone is worth $900 toward Chase travel, which more than makes up for the annual fee in the first year.

After the first year, it will take a bit more work to ensure the card’s long-term value. But if you’re a frequent traveler, you should have no problem. Benefits like the $300 annual travel credit and complimentary memberships alone can nearly recover the cost, and the card’s rewards program gives you plenty of chances to make up the rest.

Since your points are worth 1.5 cents when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you would need to spend about $1,019 per month in your 3X-point categories to break even at $550 in rewards. Taking advantage of the higher bonus categories can greatly reduce that spending to just $612 in monthly flights or about $306 per month across hotel stays, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases instead.

Benefits and Costs First-year value Ongoing value (no welcome offers)
Yearly rewards* +$510 +$510
Welcome offers +$900 value (60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months)
Perks (of monetary value)
  • +$300 (Annual travel credit)
  • +$25 (TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application credit; up to $100 every four years)
  • +$299 (Priority Pass Select membership)
  • +$199 (One year of complimentary Lyft Pink membership; must activate by Mar. 31, 2025)
  • +$120 (One year of complimentary DoorDash DashPass; must activate by Dec. 31, 2024)
  • +$300 (Annual travel credit)
  • +$25 (TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application credit; up to $100 every four years)
  • +$299 (Priority Pass Select membership)
Annual fee -$550 -$550
Total value $1,803 $573

*Based on our formula used to calculate each card’s average rewards rates and average ongoing rewards value, using Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data and an assumed $15,900 yearly spend over three years ($1,325 per month).

How the Chase Sapphire Reserve compares to other travel cards

The Sapphire Reserve is a standout option for frequent travelers looking for top-of-the-line perks. But depending on your spending habits and the features that matter most to you, it may not be the best option. Here’s a look at how the Sapphire Reserve stacks up against a travel rewards card with a much smaller annual fee and one with a higher annual fee.

Image of Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
On Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$550

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

1x - 10x
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (740 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
On Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$95

Intro offer

60,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

2x - 5x
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of The Platinum Card® from American Express
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
On American Express's secure site

Annual fee

$695

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

5X - 5X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Sapphire Reserve is a leading travel credit card, but a much smaller annual fee and a chance to earn rewards on more than just travel and dining make the Chase Sapphire Preferred an appealing choice.

If you’re on the fence about the Sapphire Reserve versus Sapphire Preferred debate, the better choice boils down to whether you’ll utilize the rewards and benefits enough during your travels to offset the Reserve’s $550 annual fee. The Sapphire Preferred offers a better value if you travel less, but its upgraded dining category and new online grocery, select streaming service and Chase Ultimate Rewards travel categories make it a better all-around card for everyday spenders who aren’t looking for top-of-the-line perks like complimentary lounge access.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express has a number of features that help justify its high annual fee of $695. The welcome bonus, extensive lounge access, elite hotel status and incredible number of travel and consumer credits give it a clear edge over the Sapphire Reserve for the right cardholder who plans to use all of these added perks.

But the Sapphire Reserve gets a leg up over the Amex Platinum in a few key areas. You get far more chances to earn valuable points for your travel and dining purchases. And the card’s 50-percent earning boost when redeeming for travel through the Ultimate Rewards Portal tops the one-cent value you get when redeeming rewards through Amex’s travel portal, though both provide great value when transferring your points to travel partners.

Best cards to pair with the Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Reserve card works best with other Chase credit cards. Since many earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, they can all be channeled into one pool and redeemed at a higher value with your Sapphire Reserve.

One of the cards in the Chase Freedom family can gather points from non-travel purchases like groceries or gas, and then you can add the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card if you have a business and want to complete the Chase trifecta. Although the travel-oriented categories are a little redundant, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may also be a good candidate to pair for its new streaming service category, online grocery category and $50 annual hotel stay credit.

Thanks to the help of the Chase Freedom Unlimited® with its 1.5 percent rewards on all purchases and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Ink Business Preferred’s bonus category rewards, you can maximize your Ultimate Rewards earnings across the broadest array of categories possible.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it?

As Chase’s premier travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve delivers the best the issuer has to offer for frequent jet setters. Its rewards on travel, dining and transit set up fantastic reward-earning combos, not to mention luxury travel benefits and top-of-the-line travel protections.

Despite its perks, the card still might not be the best fit for everyone. If you don’t travel much, the $550 annual fee is steep and could be hard to recoup if you won’t max out the card’s perks. However, if you do take several trips a year or you’re a fan of the Chase credit card portfolio, this card should definitely be on your list of considerations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Credit Card Reviews Writer

Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.

Edited by Credit Cards Editor
Reviewed by Former Senior Director of Content

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.