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Updated April 14, 2022

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review: Is $550 Worth It?

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With excellent rewards and premium travel benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is meant for frequent travelers. Read on to decide if the $550 annual fee is worth it for you.

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Bonus points
  • Annual travel credit
  • Elite travel benefits
  • $550 annual fee
  • No introductory annual fee
  • No intro APR

Bottom Line

Ultra premium credit card for luxury travelers

Chase Sapphire Reserve went viral when it was released in August 2016. Thanks to its massive bonus, increased rewards rate, and long list of travel benefits.

The card has since swapped its original 100,000 points bonus for a 60,000 point bonus. And now comes another big blow - it now has a $550 annual fee (up from $450).

So, is the Chase Sapphire Reserve still worth applying for? Do the new benefits justify the increased annual fee?

Well, it depends. We'll go over the benefits and help you analyze whether this card makes sense for you.

In this article:

Bottom Line:
If you travel frequently, the Chase Sapphire Reserve could still be worth it. The reward rate is excellent and redemption value is strong. Chase also has the strongest lineup of airline and hotel partners, in our opinion. However, you will now have to be a larger spender in order to make up for the higher annual fee.

What is the Best Chase Credit Card Promotion?

ForCredit Card
TravelChase Sapphire Reserve®
Small BusinessInk Business Preferred®
Cash BackChase Freedom Unlimited®

Who This Card is Good For

  • Frequent travelers. You get a $300 annual travel credit and 3x points on travel (after earning your $300 travel credit). Your points can be redeemed for travel on the Chase Travel℠ portal at 50% more value or be transferred to Chase airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio.

    Counterpoint: If you're a casual traveler but still want to accumulate points for a vacation, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® instead. It has a $95 annual fee.

  • Frequent diners. You also get 3x points on dining at restaurants. So even if you're not making a lot of travel purchases, you can still rack up points if you dine out often.

  • International travelers. You get airport lounge access and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry (every four years). Both are useful perks if you often travel abroad.

    Chase Visa is also accepted worldwide, so you can use it just about anywhere.

Did you know: The luxury Sapphire Reserve card was so popular when it was first released that the manufacturer ran out of the materials to make it. Thankfully, that was temporary and metal credit cards were soon mailed out to those approved.

Pros & Cons


  • Large welcome bonus
  • Bonus points on travel & dining
  • High redemption value
  • Annual travel credit can be used for any travel purchase
  • Premium travel perks, such as airport lounge access
  • Excellent travel & car rental protections
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Cool luxurious metal card


  • $550 annual fee, not waived the first year
  • No intro APR
  • New benefits may not be of use to everyone
  • Application rules and restrictions (see below)
  • Need excellent credit

Compare: Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve

Sign-up Bonus

You earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

What is this worth? When you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠, they are worth 1.5 cents each, making those 60,000 point bonus worth $900 in value.

If you transfer points to airline partners, 60,000 points can be worth even more.

Earning Points

The Sapphire Reserve earns 5X total points on flights and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

We love that Chase has made this card rewarding for everyday use. A lot of other high-end travel cards focus on travel perks instead of earning points with purchases.

Chase also has a very broad definition of travel that includes:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels, motels, and homestays (like Airbnb)
  • Timeshares
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rentals and rideshares (like Uber and Lyft)
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies and discount travel sites
  • Trains, buses, limos, and ferries
  • Tolls, bridges, and highways
  • Parking lots and garages

Redeeming Points

You get extra value when you redeem your points for travel purchases.

1. Get 50% bonus on the Chase Travel℠ portal:
Your points are worth 50% more when you redeem points for travel on the Chase Travel℠ portal. So your points are always going to be worth at least 1.5 cents each.

This means that a $450 flight will only cost 30,000 points when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

You can book travel on Chase Travel℠ with any airline, for any dates. You have complete flexibility and don't have to worry about seat restrictions or blackout dates.

2. Transfer points 1:1 to airline and hotel partners:
Points can be transferred to partner airline and hotel programs at a full 1:1 value and with no fees. This will often earn the best value and reward redemption rate.

Airline transfer partners include:

  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • British Airways
  • Air France
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Aer Lingus
  • Iberia Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Hotel partners include:

  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards Club

See our detailed guide on the best ways to use Chase's transfer partners.

Premium Travel Benefits

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card may not have as many perks as the AMEX Platinum (from American Express, a CreditDonkey partner), but in our opinion, it offers a better balance of earning/redeeming value and practical benefits.

Let's go over the perks:

$300 Annual Travel Credit

This is one of the biggest benefits of the card. Every year, you get up to a $300 travel credit for travel-related purchases. As soon as you make a travel purchase on your card, Chase will automatically credit it back on your statement, until you reach $300.

This credit is eligible for any travel purchase (such as flights, hotels, trains, and even Uber). This is one of the most versatile and generous travel credits offered by premium credit cards. Other cards often have limitations.

In comparison, the AMEX Platinum (from American Express, a CreditDonkey partner) annual airline fee credit requires you to designate a specific airline and only reimburses incidentals.

This is huge. As long as you can spend at least $300 in travel expenses a year, the Reserve is worth considering. This effectively helps justify $300 out of the $550 annual fee.

Airport Lounge Access

The Sapphire Reserve gives you complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. This gives you access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. You can even bring in 2 guests at no extra cost.

Generally lounges offer complimentary food, beverages, work space, and Wi-Fi. So you can also think of it as saving money on expensive airport food and drinks.

Lounges usually cost $50 per entrance, so if you travel at least 2-3 times a year, this perk will more than justify the remaining annual fee (after the $300 travel credit is deducted).

Enrollment is not automatic. You'll need to activate your membership once you open your Reserve account. Learn more here.

Note: Unlike some other cards, Sapphire Reserve Credit Card does not grant complimentary access to certain popular airline lounge networks. If you're a frequent traveler of the below airlines, consider whether another card will be more beneficial to you.

Read more for the best credit cards with lounge access.

$100 TSA Pre or Global Entry Credit

Every 4 years, you can choose to get up to a $100 application fee credit for either Global Entry (expedite customs), NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck (expedite security screening). You're automatically reimbursed when you apply to one of the programs with your Reserve card.

You're credited for 1 application per account. So if you don't need it, you can "gift" it to someone else.

Our tip: between the two, we recommend Global Entry if you qualify. Global Entry is more expensive ($100 for 5-year membership vs. $85 for 5-year membership), but it includes TSA PreCheck. So you kill both birds with one stone.

Visa Infinite Concierge

A lot of luxury card holders forget this is a service available to them, but it really could be a godsend. Visa Infinite Concierge can help with requests such as:

  • Making reservations at busy or international restaurants
  • Getting entertainment and sporting tickets
  • Making travel arrangements

The service is free, but you'll have to pay for anything you want to buy, of course.

Luxury Hotel Perks

The Reserve's hotel perks won't be useful for everyone. But it's a nice bonus if you enjoy splurging on luxury hotels.

  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection:
    Get perks when you book an eligible stay with the Chase's Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. Enjoy perks such as complimentary breakfast, early check-in and late check-out, room upgrades, discounts, and extra gifts and amenities. Varies by property.

  • Accelerated access to Elite Status with Relais & Châteaux:
    When you book 2 nights (over the course of 12 months) with Relais & Châteaux, you'll be eligible for Club 5C status - giving you access to room upgrades, VIP welcomes, special events, and exclusive offers.

    Relais & Châteaux offers luxury properties around the world, including locations throughout the U.S., South America, Europe, and Africa. You'll need to book your stay with your Reserve card, through Visa Infinite Concierge.

Note: Sapphire Reserve Credit Card does NOT give you complimentary hotel elite status, unlike the AMEX Platinum which gives you Marriott Bonvoy Gold and Hilton Honors Gold status.

New 2020 Benefits

On January 12, 2020, Chase Sapphire Reserve increased the annual fee to $550. To justify this increase, the Reserve added 2 new at-home benefits.

Let's go over what the benefits are and see if they're worth it for you.

Authorized User Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve will charge $75 per year for each authorized user. Some benefits include:

  • Get their own Priority Pass lounge access. They can also bring in 2 guests for free. If your authorized user travels a lot, it's GREAT value to get this just for $75/year.

  • They also earn 3x points on travel and dining. All their points go into your account.

  • You can transfer points to your authorized user's hotel or airline loyalty programs.

Note that authorized users do not get their own Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit or the $300 travel credit.

Is the Sapphire Reserve Worth It After The First Year?

After you've already collected your welcome bonus, is the Reserve still worth the $550 annual fee past the 1st year?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve was one of the best value travel rewards cards. It was super easy to justify the annual fee as long as you use up the travel credit and use airport lounges a few times a year. But what about now?

It's nice that Chase added some benefits you can use at home, though they may not be exciting to everyone.

Chase Sapphire Reserve could still be worth it if you're a very frequent traveler. After the $300 annual travel credit, the annual fee effectively reduces to $250. This means that to break even, you'll have to spend $5,555 per year in travel and dining purchases. That's equal to 16,665 points, which is worth $250 when redeemed on the Chase Travel℠ portal. And if you visit airport lounges a few times, you'll get more than the annual fee's worth.

To recap - even if you don't plan on using the new benefits, the Reserve could be worth it if you spend a lot in travel and dining purchases every year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Application

  • Credit score: This card is for those with excellent credit. Most Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders have "excellent" scores over 720, with an average of around 750.

  • 5/24 rule: Chase has a rule that if you've opened 5 new credit card accounts (with any bank) in the past 24 months, your Chase credit card application will not be approved for a new card, even if you have amazing credit.

  • Sapphire rules: You cannot own more than one Sapphire-branded card. You're only eligible for the Reserve if you do not have another Sapphire Card AND have not received a bonus for a Sapphire card in the past 48 months. In other words, if you opened a Preferred card, got the sign-up bonus, and then closed it all within the past 48 months, you will not be eligible for the Reserve.

    If you have had a Sapphire Preferred card for over 4 years, you can cancel or downgrade it (like to a Freedom) first, and then wait 30 days to apply to the Sapphire Reserve. You'll be eligible to receive the sign-up bonus. If your Preferred is less than 4 years old, you can call to see if you can upgrade it to a Reserve, but you will not get the sign-up bonus.

Reserve Travel & Purchase Protections

Chase Sapphire Reserve offers many of the same travel protection and purchase protection benefits that Chase Sapphire Preferred users enjoy. This can potentially save you money on travel hiccups.

Travel Protection Benefits:

  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance: Do you need to cancel a trip because of sickness or severe weather? With trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, you can be reimbursed for up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses, including airfare, tours and hotels.

  • Primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Get primary coverage when you rent a car and decline the rental company's collision insurance. The coverage provides reimbursement for up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for most rental cars. Learn about this benefit in detail.

    You also get rental privileges with National, Avis, and Silvercar. Benefits may include discounts and upgrades.

  • Roadside Assistance: Chase's roadside assistance covers up to $50 per incident, up to 4 times a year. Available services include towing, jumpstarting, tire changes, locksmith services, or gas fill-ups.

  • Trip Delay Reimbursement: If your flight is delayed by more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses (such as meals and lodging) for up to $500 per ticket.

  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: If your carry-on or checked luggage is damaged or lost by your carrier, you can be reimbursed up to $3,000 per person (up to $500 per person for jewelry, watches, and electronics).

  • Emergency Medical Care: Sick on a trip? If you are at least 100 miles from home, you can get reimbursed for emergency medical care up to $2,500 for you or immediate family members. This includes coverage for emergency evacuation up to $100,000.

Purchase Protection Benefits:

  • Return Protection: You can be reimbursed for eligible items that the store won't take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year.

  • Extended Warranty Protection: This benefit extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer's warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of 3 years or less.

  • Purchase protection : For your new eligible purchases, you will be covered up to 120 days against damage or theft, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.

See the full list of Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits.

How It Compares

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs AMEX Platinum:
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a worthy contender against the Platinum Card from American Express (a CreditDonkey partner). Both are popular cards in the high-end travel card category.

The Platinum card offers more benefits and credits. However, many of the discounts are geared towards booking premium travel, so it's definitely more ideal for luxury travelers.

The AMEX Platinum shines with its Platinum Concierge Service, access to Centurion Lounges and Delta SkyClub lounges, premium Uber benefits, complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, and complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status. Added together, the value of these Platinum benefits make up for the steep $695 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), for luxury travelers.

However, the Sapphire Reserve may be better for everyday use.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has more flexible annual travel credit, and its 3x points on dining offers great value for those who don't travel as frequently. The AMEX Platinum offers only a $200 airline credit for incidentals with a selected airline of your choice (enrollment required), while the Sapphire Reserve's $300 credit can cover any travel purchase.

Remember, too, that American Express is not accepted everywhere, while Visa is accepted pretty much worldwide. Here is a side-by-side comparison:

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred:
The Preferred has long been a favorite of travelers for its flexibility of use and good rewards rate. Compared to the Reserved, it's like a baby version, with a way smaller annual fee.

However, that smaller annual fee also gets you smaller rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth 1.25x more value when used to book travel through Chase Travel℠ (as opposed to the Reserve's 1.5x value). They can also be transferred 1:1 to partner travel programs. Unlike the Reserve, the Preferred does not offer any ultra-premium perks such as lounge access, annual travel credit, or TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the Sapphire Reserve and Preferred:

In our opinion, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great stepping-stone for people not yet ready to commit to a $550 annual fee. If you travel only occasionally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is easier to justify. Read our in-depth Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Reserve article to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much is each Sapphire Reserve point worth?
    This depends on how you redeem them. If you purchase travel through the Chase Travel℠ portal, each point is worth 1.5 cents. Since you get 3x points on travel (immediately after earning your $300 travel credit) & dining purchases, this means that each of your dollars spent on travel and dining can be redeemed for as much as 4.5 cents if you redeem them for travel through Chase Travel℠. You can make each point worth even more by transferring your points to airline and hotel partners.

    Redeeming for statement credit or direct deposit makes each point worth only 1 cent.

  • What airline and hotel partners can you use with Chase Sapphire Reserve?
    Here are the current Chase Sapphire Reserve airline transfer partners:

    Hotel partners are:

  • What counts as travel to use the $300 annual credit?
    Chase considers the following as travel: airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, rideshares (such as Uber), car rentals, cruises, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds, trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferries, highway & bridge tolls, and parking lots and garages. Though not specifically stated, community-powered services, such as Uber and Airbnb, count as travel too.

    Things NOT considered travel include: real estate agents, in-flight services, on-board cruise services, sightseeing activities & tourist attractions, excursions, and merchants within hotels and airports.

  • How does this credit work?
    It's automatically credited to your statement after a travel purchase. If you make a lot of small purchases, you'll get credited back until you reach $300. If you make a large travel purchase, you'll be credited up to $300 of it.

    This credit resets on each anniversary year (for applications submitted on or after May 21, 2017), and leftover amounts are NOT rolled over.

  • Can the $300 travel credit count as part of the minimum spend?
    Yes. You can purchase travel items as part of your minimum spend period, and get the $300 annual credit reimbursement. You do not need to spend another $300 to meet the $4,000 requirement.

  • Is it worth it to add authorized users?
    It depends on how frequently your authorized user flies, and whether you need help meeting the spending minimum or earning points. If your authorized user flies frequently, they can make up for the $75 fee by taking advantage of the Priority Pass Select lounge access. Chase also lets you transfer points to your authorized user's hotel or airline loyalty programs, so you can gift them points if they need a little bit of help to get a free night or flight.

  • Does the authorized signer have access to the Global Entry Credit?
    No, however, all authorized users do get access to the card purchase protection.

  • Can I transfer or pool the points with other cards?
    Yep. The Sapphire Reserve is part of the Ultimate Rewards family of cards. So you can pool your points with any of the following cards: Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Ink Business Cash®, and Ink Business Preferred®.

    You can also transfer your points to Ultimate Rewards cards belonging to anyone in your household, as long as they share the same address. Head over to our review of Ultimate Rewards for more info regarding earning, pooling, and redeeming your points, along with step-by-step guides on making a transfer.

Bottom Line

Is a $550 annual fee credit card worth applying for? I think the answer depends. Some people may find the new benefits valuable, while some may feel disappointed. Overall, for frequent travelers - especially internationally - the Sapphire Reserve is worth it. It offers an excellent sign-up bonus and rewards, strong airline and hotel partners, and a wide array of travel perks.

If you don't spend enough annually on travel, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred instead.

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

For rates and fees of the American Express Platinum card, please click here.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom and Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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