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2024 Updated Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Posted: 3/4/24 | March 4th, 2024
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The upgraded version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, is one of my favorite premium cards. It offers a lot of fantastic perks for avid travelers. While The Platinum Card® from American Express gets all the fanfare in terms of luxury rewards cards, I personally prefer the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It comes with better points-earning bonus categories; more practical, everyday perks (which I’ll get into below); and more comprehensive travel insurance. Today, I want to share a bit more about this card so you can determine whether it’s the right card for you.

What is the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve (often referred to as CSR) is a travel rewards card issued by Chase. The card comes with a $550 USD annual fee and a host of benefits like lounge access, travel insurance, and an array of statement credits. When used right, these benefits can be worth much more than the annual fee. One of those benefits is a $300 USD annual travel credit that is very easy to get, effectively reducing the annual fee to a more reasonable $250 USD. You don’t need to do anything extreme to receive this benefit either; the first $300 USD per year that you spend on travel is simply erased from your statement. Chase also has a very broad definition of what it classifies as travel, making it easy to take advantage of this credit (even parking garages count towards it). According to Chase, they classify travel purchases as including: “airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.” So, the first $300 USD of purchases you make in any of these categories will be removed from your statement, and after that, you’ll earn 3x points on these purchases. And that’s just one benefit of the card.

When you sign up for this card, you’ll get:

  • 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months)
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 3x points on travel (earned after earning your $300 annual travel credit)
  • 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services and takeout
  • 5x points on flights when booked through Chase
  • 10x points on hotels and rental cars when booked through Chase
  • 10x points on Lyft + 2-year Lyft Pink membership
  • Priority Pass Membership and access to Sapphire Lounges by The Club
  • $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check every 4 years
  • 1 year of complimentary Instacart+ membership (includes up to $15 in statement credits each month through July 2024)
  • Complimentary DashPass membership (includes $5 in DoorDash credits each month)
  • Travel insurance including emergency medical and dental coverage, emergency evacuation insurance, trip delay coverage, primary car rental insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and trip cancellation insurance
  • No foreign transaction fees

Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Insurance

The Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers the most comprehensive travel insurance out of any credit card and is one of the only ones to include any kind of medical insurance. It’s my top pick as the best credit card for travel insurance. As a Visa Infinite® card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel insurance includes the following:

  • Primary car rental insurance up to $75,000 USD
  • Travel accident insurance up to $1,000,000 USD
  • Trip cancelation/interruption coverage up to $10,000 USD per person and $20,000 USD per trip
  • Trip delay coverage of $500 USD after delays of six hours or more
  • Lost luggage coverage up to $3,000 USD
  • $100 per day for up to five days if your baggage is delayed
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage up to $2,500 USD for treatment (minus a $50 USD deductible)
  • Emergency evacuation insurance up to $100,000 USD

While I always recommend purchasing a separate travel insurance policy, having coverage through your credit card is an added benefit that you get at no additional cost.

Using Your Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. You can use those points like you would any other rewards program: to get cash back, book travel directly, or transfer them to travel partners. You can also redeem them for Amazon or Apple purchases, but these are bad redemption values and I would not recommend using points this way.

The easiest option is to redeem your points for travel in the Chase Travel portal, which works like booking through Expedia or any other online travel agency. When you do this, you’re basically using your points as cash, at a value of 1.5 cents per point. So, for example, if you have 50,000 points, they’ll be worth 75,000 points when redeemed through the portal. This is a better value than if you simply redeem your points directly as cash, as you’ll only get a value of 1 cent per point that way. Using your points in the Chase Travel portal is very straightforward, making it an attractive option for points and miles newbies. If this is the only way that you’ll use your points, then using them is better than letting them sit around! Just know that there are pros and cons to using the travel portal.

Taking Advantage of Chase’s Transfer Partners

The ability to transfer to its partners is what makes Chase Ultimate Rewards® points so valuable. You can usually find airline and hotel redemptions where you can get much more than 1.5 cents per point. While the actual value you can get varies greatly based on flight or hotel, a good benchmark is The Points Guy’s monthly valuation chart, which values Chase Ultimate Rewards® points at over 2 cents per point when used as transferable points.

Chase’s current transfer partners are:

Airline Transfer Partners:

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards®
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel Transfer Partners:

  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy®
  • World of Hyatt®

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

By this point, you might be wondering what makes this card different from its sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Both cards currently have the same welcome offer: 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Both also earn 3x points on dining. You also get travel insurance with both cards, though the insurance offered with the Reserve is much more comprehensive. Ultimately, that’s up to you to decide based on your spending, travel habits, and whether you value the Reserve’s extra perks and benefits.

But keep in mind that the real difference in cost between these two cards is only $155 USD per year. Sure, that’s considering the $300 USD annual travel credit on the Reserve, but I’m guessing that anyone thinking of getting a travel rewards card spends at least $300 USD on travel per year. And if you do, you’re likely to come out ahead with the Chase Sapphire Reserve due to the ability to earn points faster, use statement credits, and take advantage of luxury perks like airport lounge access…

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