For the discerning traveler, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is an excellent rewards credit card. With the opportunity to earn extra points on travel and dining out, you could quickly accumulate enough rewards to pay for your next flight or hotel stay.
While the card offers substantial rewards, the real value rests in the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits. The card’s perks can enhance your travel, allowing you to enjoy a more luxurious experience on your next vacation. Here’s why it earns its spot among the best travel credit cards.
About the Chase Sapphire Reserve
If you spend a significant amount on travel and dining at restaurants, you can earn a high level of return with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
You’ll get 10X points on Lyft rides, Chase Dining purchases, and hotels and cars booked through Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on air travel booked through Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on travel and dining, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else. (Purchases that qualify for the $300 travel credit do not earn points until you’ve used up the travel credit.) There’s no limit to how many points you can earn, and your points never expire as long as your account remains open.
Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points are generally worth about one cent each, and you can redeem them for travel, statement credits, gift cards, or merchandise. You can even transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to loyalty programs at partner airlines or hotels; one Ultimate Rewards point is equal to one point in the partner’s loyalty program. Depending on the specific loyalty program, your points could have a higher purchasing power with this strategy.
When you use your points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program — you can book hotel stays, flights, cruises, and car rentals through the portal — your points are worth 50% more. For example, if you had 50,000 points, that would typically translate to a $500 value. But redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards and those same points are worth $750.
However, that extra value comes at a price. The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card has an annual fee of $550 — that’s pretty high when compared to its sister card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, with an annual fee of $95. If you want to add an authorized user to your Sapphire Reserve account, expect to pay an additional $75.
While those costs may sound steep, the card offers generous benefits and perks that may justify the price tag for some.
9 worthwhile Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is a high-end travel rewards credit card. If you’ve wondered about its comprehensive benefits, here’s a list of the ones that go beyond typical credit card perks.
1. Lucrative sign-up bonus
If you spend $4,000 on new purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, you’ll earn a 50,000 points point welcome bonus. If you redeem those bonus points for travel through the Chase travel portal, they’re worth $750 — more than enough to book a round-trip flight or hotel stay.
If you use your card for routine expenses like gas, groceries, utilities, and shopping excursions, you could quickly hit the $4,000 threshold to take advantage of the signup bonus.
2. $300 annual travel credit
If you use your card for travel purchases, you’ll get a statement credit for the first $300 you spend on travel each year. By receiving the full $300 credit, it will essentially feel like you’ve lowered the card’s annual fee from $550 to $150.
But what counts as “travel” for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card? More than you think! Eligible purchases could include airline tickets, hotel stays, timeshares, car rentals, cruise line tickets, campgrounds, buses, taxis, ferries, and even toll bridges.
3. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
Airport security can be a nightmare; you can easily spend an hour or more waiting in line. But with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can skip the hassle and streamline your experience.
When you apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck — two accelerated airport security programs — you’ll get a statement credit to cover the application fee, up to $100 every four years. Just be sure to pay the application fee with your Chase Sapphire Reserve.
4. Free airport lounge access
As a Chase Sapphire Reserve card member, you qualify for a free Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Plus Select is a program that gives you access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the globe, allowing you to enjoy free food and drinks, WiFi, and more. It’s a great benefit for those who travel often for work, as you can work in peace and relative quiet.
To start using this benefit, you have to manually activate your membership through your Chase account. Then you’ll receive a Priority Pass Select membership card in the mail.
This can be a valuable benefit. If you were to buy a Priority Pass membership on your own, it would cost between $99 and $429 a year, depending on the membership plan you chose.
5. The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection includes more than 900 premium hotels and spas to choose from. Though you’re responsible for your room’s price, you’ll enjoy special perks at these resorts, such as:
- Free room upgrades, when available
- Complimentary meals for two
- Early check-in and late check-out, when available
- Special discounts and credits
- Unique gifts
6. Special rental car privileges
As a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder, you can get special rental car privileges at major companies like National and Avis. Book a reservation through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to access the special perks. When you do so, you can enjoy executive-level memberships, upgrades, and even discounts of as much as 30% on luxury and premium cars.
7. Elite hotel benefits at Relais & Châteaux
Relais & Châteaux is a network of luxurious hotels and resorts all over the globe. The company has properties in Tuscany, England, and California, just to name a few. With your Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll get benefits like a VIP welcome and complimentary breakfast daily when you book a room.
8. Chase experiences and dining
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders also get access to exclusive events and experiences. Past experiences have included a VIP event at the Sundance Film Festival, discounts on ski lift tickets at Deer Valley Ski Resort, and tickets to movie premieres. In late 2021, Chase is also launching Reserved by Sapphire, which will allow cardholders to book exclusive reservations to some of the most popular restaurants in the country.
9. Lyft and DoorDash perks
Beginning Jan. 12, 2020, Chase added benefits that make this card even better for travelers and those living in urban areas. Cardholders will receive $60 in annual DoorDash statement credits in both 2020 and 2021, as well as the option for free DashPass delivery services. And rideshare lovers will appreciate the complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership. That gets you 15% off unlimited rides, priority airport pickups, a relaxed cancellation policy, and a few free scooter and bike rides in certain markets every month as well.
And there are more benefits
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers some unique travel benefits, but it also offers comprehensive perks you’d expect of a good travel rewards card.
- No foreign transaction fees: This is one of the credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, making the Sapphire Reserve a smart option for international travelers. Plus it’s a Visa, which is widely accepted all over the globe.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: If your trip is canceled or interrupted due to covered reasons — such as sickness or weather — you could be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for non-refundable travel bookings.
- Auto rental collision damage waiver: Turn down the rental agencies' insurance and use your Sapphire Reserve to pay for the booking, and you’ll get primary car rental coverage. It will provide reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for rental cars.
- Baggage delay insurance: If your flight is delayed by more than six hours, Chase credit cards will reimburse you up to $100 a day for up to five days to pay for essentials like new clothes or toiletries.
- Trip delay reimbursement: If your travel is delayed by more than six hours, your family is covered up to $500 per ticket to pay for food and lodging.
- Roadside assistance: Whether you lock your keys in the car or get a flat tire, you can get up to $50 worth of free roadside assistance four times a year.
- Lost luggage reimbursement: If the airline lost or damaged your luggage, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
- Travel and emergency assistance: If you need help while traveling internationally, you can contact the Benefits Administrator for legal or medical referrals.
- Travel accident insurance: You’ll get up to $1,000,000 in coverage in the case of accidental death or dismemberment.
- Emergency evacuation and transportation: If you’re injured or sick while traveling and need emergency transport, you’re covered up to $100,000.
- Emergency medical and dental benefits: If you’re more than 100 miles away from home, you can get reimbursed for up to $2,500 to pay for medical expenses.
- Purchase protection: New purchases are covered for up to 120 days against theft or damage, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.
- Return protection: If a store won’t take back an eligible return, you could qualify for return protection. You can be reimbursed up to $500 per item and up to $1,000 per year.
- Extended warranty protection: On eligible warranties of three years or less, your card will extend the warranty by an additional year.
- Reserved by Sapphire: Chase plans to add this benefit soon, which gives cardmembers access to exclusive dining opportunities at popular restaurants nationwide, including SingleThread Farms in Healdsburg, California and One Off Hospitality in Chicago.
What credit score do you need for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
You typically need an excellent credit score to qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The required credit score number may vary depending on which credit scoring model you use. For FICO Scores, an excellent credit score is 800 or more. But on the VantageScore model, it’s above 780.
How do you get the most value from your Chase Ultimate Rewards points?
The most valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points redemptions largely depend on what’s valuable to you, whether it’s travel, cash back, or using the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature on qualifying purchases.
However, redeeming your points for travel is often one of the most recommended redemption options if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred cards. These cards receive a bonus redemption value of at least 25% for airfare and hotel stays. In addition, your points can be transferred to major airline and hotel transfer partners, including United, JetBlue, Hyatt, and Marriott.
Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer a Peloton benefit?
Yes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a Peloton benefit of $120 back on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through Dec. 31, 2021. This includes full access to the Peloton workout library through the Peloton app, which has workouts for cardio, strength, yoga, and more.
Which is better, the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express?
The best travel credit card between the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card® from American Express depends on what you’re looking for. Both cards offer complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge access and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee reimbursement. But the Sapphire Reserve has $300 in annual travel credits while the Amex Platinum doesn't have annual credits with such a broad travel scope. Select benefits require enrollment.
Both cards also have different airline and hotel transfer partners, and it’s important to consider the card issuers as well. Chase typically works with Visa and Mastercard payments networks, while American Express has its own network. Because of this, Chase cards are generally more accepted worldwide than Amex cards.
Maximizing the Chase Sapphire Reserve's value
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers benefits that are significant and provide incredible value to regular travelers. While it does have a high annual fee, its rewards and substantial perks make it worthwhile for many. If you travel at least a few times a year, it’s one of the best credit cards out there.
#1 Premium Travel Credit Card
up to 10X points per dollar
- 50,000 point sign-up bonus
- 10X points on hotels and cars booked through Ultimate Rewards
- $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2021
- Priority Pass airport lounge access
- High annual fee
- Excellent credit required
- Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- 10X points on Lyft rides, Chase Dining purchases, and hotels and cars booked through Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on air travel booked through Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on travel and dining, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else