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Last updated on Jan 21, 2020

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review

Good rewards for frequent travelers with excellent credit and high monthly travel and dining expenses ​
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Three points per dollar on travel worldwide, $300 annual credit for travel purchases.
  • Free airport  lounge membership
  • Application fee credit every four years to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
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Chase Sapphire Reserve Review

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is one of the best travel rewards credit cards available for frequent travelers who have excellent credit. The 50,000-point welcome reward, bonus points for travel and dining, travel credits, and ongoing bonuses for travel and dining, plus perks that serious travelers would appreciate, make it an ideal credit card for frequent travelers, despite the $550 per year annual fee.

Pros
Cons
Three points per dollar on travel worldwide, $300 annual credit for travel purchases
Free airport lounge membership
Application fee credit every four years to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
Excellent credit required
High annual fee
Not an ideal card for non-travelers

Chase Sapphire Reserve Overview

  • Card Type: Points
  • Rewards Rate: Earn one to three rewards points for every dollar spent. Travel and dining expenses will earn three rewards points per dollar.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months after the account is opened
  • Annual Fee: $550 per year for the primary cardholder, $75 per year for each authorized user
  • APR:
    • Purchase APR: 16.99% to 23.99% 
    • Balance Transfer APR: 16.99% to 23.99% 
    • Cash Advance APR: 24.99%
  • Intro APR: N/A

Perks

  • Earn 50,000 points for spending $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account, which can be converted to $750 travel credit via the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal
  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel expenses
  • Earn three points per dollar on travel expenses immediately after earning the travel credit
  • Free access to more than 1,000 airport lounges in the Priority Pass network
  • Application fee credit every four years to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • No foreign transaction fees

Best for

Frequent travelers with excellent credit who have high monthly expenditures on travel and dining and who spend enough to qualify for the points

Not for

People who spend less, who carry credit card balances, or who don’t travel or dine out often

The Competition

Chase Sapphire Reserve Chase Sapphire Preferred The Platinum Card From American Express Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Rewards rate
3X points on travel and dining 10X points on Lyft rides 1X points on all other purchases 5X points on Lyft rides 2X points on travel and dining 1X points on all other purchases 5X points on flights and hotels 2X points on all purchases
Sign-up bonus
50,000 points for spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of opening the account ($750 maximum value if converted to travel credits through Chase Ultimate Rewards) 60,000 points for spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of opening the account ($750 maximum value if converted to travel credits through Chase Ultimate Rewards) 60,000 rewards points for spending $5,000 on the card within the first three months of opening the account 50,000 bonus miles for spending $3,000 within the first three months of opening the account
Annual fee
$550 for the primary cardholder and $75 for each authorized user $95 $550 $0 the first year, $95 per year after
APR
Variable 18.49%-25.49% Variable 17.49%-24.49% N/A Variable 17.24%-24.49%
Other
If you’re approved, the credit line will be at least $10,000 No minimum daily interest fee No foreign transaction fee If you’re approved, your credit line will be at least $5,000 Earn up to 85,000 bonus points for spending $20,000 in eligible purchases No foreign transaction fees Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
View details View details View details View details

All information accurate as of January 21, 2020.

Main Benefits

Promotional bonus points

The 50,000 bonus points within the first three months of account opening is an enticing welcome incentive for new cardholders. It should be no problem for frequent travelers to qualify for the $300 travel reimbursement credit before the anniversary date of opening the account; this credit also makes them eligible to earn three points per dollar spent on travel.

Interest fee, accrual

There’s no minimum daily interest fee, and interest does not accrue according to the APR unless cardholders carry balances past 21 days from a purchase date. This card is great for people who can pay their balances off within 21 days of a purchase date.

Possible Drawbacks

High annual fee

The $550 annual fee could be a deterrent for cardholders who may not spend enough on travel to qualify for points and travel credit eligibility. This card is not for you if you don’t travel or you don’t spend very much each month.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Compared to Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit cards are ideal for frequent travelers with excellent credit. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a slightly lower interest rate but a more manageable $95 annual fee. You’ll also get 10,000 more in bonus points for hitting the $4,000 spending goal within the first three months of opening your account than you would with Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better choice if you’re spending a moderate amount each month on travel, since, if you’re approved, you’ll gain access to a credit line of $5,000 or higher. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card will give you access to a credit line of at least $10,000, which may account for the higher annual fee and the higher APR. Both cards have no minimum interest charge. The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s additional traveler benefits include access upon registration to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass and an application fee credit of $100 every four years to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

How to Earn Points

The best way to earn points quickly with this card is to use it for air travel, car rental, hotels, dining out, and other expenses. If you’re a big spender when it comes to travel, you should be able to meet the $4,000 expenditure minimum within the first few months of opening your card to get you the 50,000 points, which you can redeem for up to $750 in travel credits by registering on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. When you make enough travel purchases within the first year to qualify for the $300 travel credit, you’ll also start earning three points per dollar on travel-related purchases.

How to Redeem Points

There are several ways to redeem Chase Sapphire Reserve points, including redeeming for cash, transferring points to other frequent traveler points programs, combining points with other eligible Chase credit cards that have Ultimate Points programs, paying for expenses with a statement credit for Chase Pay merchant purchases, or redeeming them for gift cards.

The redemption value for cash and gift cards equals 1 cent; 100 points equals $1 in redemption value. Points can be redeemed for cash or gift cards, or for airline tickets, hotel accommodations, cruise tickets, travel activities, or car rentals. All redemption requests can be made by calling Chase or by visiting Chase Ultimate Rewards. When using points for a statement credit, each point is worth 80 cents in redemption value for every 100 points. Statement credit redemptions will reduce the total amount due during the statement period. You can view the points you’ve earned by logging into your Chase account or by viewing your monthly statement.

The Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is best for frequent travelers with excellent credit who spend a lot on travel and dining out and who pay their monthly credit card bills before the due date to avoid paying a moderately high interest rate. Cardholders who can hit the $4,000 minimum expenditure goal within the first few months of opening their account will be eligible for the 50,000 points if they aren’t already a Chase Sapphire customer. This is not the best card for people with less-than-stellar credit or for infrequent travelers, since using the card for travel and dining out often will qualify cardholders to earn three points on the dollar and other types of expenditures only qualify for one point on the dollar.