Chase Sapphire Reserve: Answers to 26 Common Questions

This premium credit card could pay for itself with amazing travel perks, generous rewards, and other benefits.
11/23/19 | By Lee Huffman
Woman traveling with the Chase Sapphire Reserve

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card has been extremely popular since its launch. Consumers love the combination of benefits and the value of the points it earns.

Our team has poured over the benefits guide to extract all the best details and compared the Chase Sapphire Reserve with the Sapphire Preferred — and now we want to share as many of the most common questions (and answers!) you might have before applying.

What are the main benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has many benefits that make it such a great credit card to have in your wallet. Valuable perks include:

  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning $300 travel credit, 3X points at restaurants and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else
  • 50% more value when redeeming points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to a dozen travel partners

Learn more about the eight most valuable Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits.

How do I apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

You can apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve online or by visiting a local branch to apply in person.

How long does it take to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Your application may be approved instantly. If it isn’t, you might receive a notice saying your application is under review. This doesn’t mean you've been declined. Instead, it means your application requires a manual review by a Chase employee because the computer wasn’t able to instantly approve you.

Once the manual review is complete, you'll receive an email or letter informing you of the decision.

How can I increase my chances of being approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

As with any credit application, you want to improve your credit score as much as possible before applying. Here are five quick tips to boost your credit score:

  • Reduce balances on credit cards: Banks like to see that you aren't maxing out your credit limits.
  • Increase credit limits: If you can't reduce your balances quick enough, increasing limits on existing credit cards will also lower your credit utilization.
  • Limit credit inquiries: There are always enticing credit cards available, but you need to be strategic about your credit inquiries. Don't miss out on a great card because you applied for too many good cards.
  • Make all payments on time: Ideally, you’ll pay off your credit cards in full each month. When you can't, at least make the minimum payment to avoid fees and a negative mark on your credit report.
  • Dispute incorrect information: Mistakes happen — and they can hurt your score. Get your credit report for free from AnnualCreditReport.com and review for accuracy. If you find errors, dispute them with the appropriate party.

Learn more about what makes up a good credit score.

How long does it take to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve in the mail?

Cards should be expected within five to seven business days from approval, though there have been reports of people receiving their cards in as little as one to two days.

What’s the Chase 5/24 rule I keep hearing about?

Many banks have implemented rules to keep people from churning credit cards just to receive the sign-up bonus. Chase's version of this is the unofficial "5/24 rule," which suggests that applicants won’t be approved for a new credit card if they've opened up five or more cards in the last two years.

In 2018, Chase expanded the rule specifically for the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred credit cards. If you've received the bonus for one of these cards in the last four years, you likely won’t be approved for either card.

What’s the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve is $450.

Unlike many credit cards, this fee isn’t waived the first year. An additional annual fee of $75 is charged for each authorized user.

When is the annual fee charged?

The initial annual fee is typically charged on your first statement. After the first year, the annual fee will be charged on the anniversary of opening your account.

If you’re worried about being surprised by the charge, set a calendar alert to remind you when the fee will be due.

Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve have foreign transaction fees?

Nope! You won’t be charged extra fees when you use this card abroad or shop online with an international retailer.

How do I meet the minimum spend to earn the sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

To earn the 50,000 point sign-up bonus, you'll need to spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within three months of opening your credit card.

For many cardholders, spending $1,333 a month won’t be difficult if you use the card for all of your household expenses. Normal costs like groceries, gas, dining, and utilities can add up quickly.

If you're having trouble hitting the minimum spend on your credit card, consider these options:

  • Submit your credit card application right before a planned big purchase, the holiday season, or other time you anticipate spending more than normal
  • Prepay insurance policies or other bills
  • Pay your taxes with your credit card

Check out 31 more ideas to meet your card’s minimum spend requirement.

Can I get the Chase Sapphire Reserve if I already have the Sapphire Preferred?

You cannot hold both of these cards at the same time. If you have one and would like the other, you can request a product change through customer service.

Because of this limitation, if you’re looking to earn more Ultimate Rewards points, consider adding either the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited. (Business owners may consider applying for the Chase Ink Business Preferred.)

All of these credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards, which can be easily combined into your Chase Sapphire Reserve’s balance of points — helping you rack up rewards even faster.

If I upgrade my Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Reserve, am I eligible to earn the sign-up bonus?

When you switch from one Sapphire card to another, you will not earn a sign-up bonus.

How do I earn rewards with the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns a lot of Ultimate Rewards points, which makes it very popular in the travel community. You can earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning $300 travel credit, 3X points at restaurants and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else.

Are there other ways to earn rewards?

Not only can you earn Ultimate Rewards points by spending with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can also receive bonus points when you shop online. The Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal offers the opportunity to earn as many as 20 extra points per dollar spent at dozens of online merchants.

You might also add an authorized user to your card so you earn points on their spending as well.

How can I redeem rewards with the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

There are many options to redeem Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Sapphire Reserve, including:

  • Booking travel in the Chase travel portal
  • Transfering to hotel and airline partners
  • Redeeming for cash and gift cards
  • Shopping at Amazon with points
  • Booking exclusive experiences and events

When you book travel in the Chase travel portal, your points are worth 1.5 cents each with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, they’re only worth 1.25 cents apiece. However, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points from select Chase cards to the Sapphire Reserve to enjoy the 1.5 cents redemption rate.

Chase Ultimate Rewards are some of the most valuable points in the travel world because of Chase’s transfer partners. Cardholders can transfer points to nine different airlines and three hotel chains on a 1:1 basis.

This means that for every 1,000 points you transfer, you'll receive 1,000 airline miles or hotel points. Partners include United Airlines, British Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Ultimate Rewards can also be cashed in for gift cards, statement credits, or direct deposit into your bank account. For statements and direct deposit, you'll receive one cent per point.

When shopping at Amazon, you can use your Ultimate Rewards points to pay at checkout. However, you'll generally only receive 0.8 cents per point redeemed. In that instance, you may be better off cashing out your points, then paying for your Amazon purchase with that money to avoid the 20% reduction in value.

Chase also offers unique experiences that are exclusive to cardholders. These include scenic tours, sporting events, privately hosted dinners, and access to VIP music and entertainment events.

How do I transfer rewards in my Chase account?

When you log into your Chase account, click on Ultimate Rewards and, if you have more than one Ultimate Rewards-earning card, select the credit card you want to transfer from.

Once the Ultimate Rewards portal loads, you can transfer points to Chase's partners or among your accounts. If you haven't linked your desired transfer partner account previously, you'll be asked to do that first.

Can I pool all my Chase Ultimate Rewards points together?

Yes, you can pool points from multiple Ultimate Rewards accounts into one — and you can transfer them back if you ever change your mind.

You also have the option to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to a household member’s account. Additionally, if you have a business partner, you can transfer points to them from a Chase Ink Business card.

How does the $300 annual travel credit work for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Unlike the Chase Freedom quarterly bonuses, there’s no need to register for this benefit. All you have to do is use the card on purchases coded as travel, and the amount (up to $300) will be refunded to your account.

The statement credit will post the same day as the purchase and will appear on your statement within one to two billing cycles.

You won’t earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points on the $300 in travel expenses offset by this benefit. This perk renews on the anniversary date of your account opening.

What expenses does Chase code as travel?

As long as the merchant is coded as travel on your statement, the purchases are eligible for the travel credit. Examples of travel expenses typically include:

  • Airfare
  • Hotel reservations
  • Taxis and rideshares
  • Checked bag fees
  • Inflight food
  • Airport lounge day passes
  • Rental cars

Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer Global Entry or TSA PreCheck?

Yes, cardholders receive up to $100 reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees every four years.

Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer airport lounge access?

Yes, one of the benefits I love the most is the complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership. With Priority Pass, you can access over 1,200 airport lounges and restaurants around the world.

Cardholders and authorized users are allowed a maximum of two accompanying guests each. Additional guests are charged $27 per guest, per visit.

What type of rental car insurance comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Many premium credit cards offer secondary rental car coverage, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve's coverage is better. This credit card offers primary rental car coverage when you decline the rental car company's collision insurance and charge the entire purchase to your Reserve card.

This primary rental car coverage provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage to rental cars in the U.S.

Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer elite status at rental car agencies?

Yes. Because the Sapphire Reserve is a Visa Infinite card, you’ll receive elite status and perks at several rental car companies.

  • National Emerald Club Executive Level status and discounts of up to 25%
  • Avis Preferred Plus status and up to 30% off
  • Up to 30% off at Silvercar

Does the Sapphire Reserve offer instant elite status at hotels?

Not at this time, unfortunately. But it does offer elite-like perks at Relais & Chateaux and The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties.

Relais & Chateaux offers a VIP welcome and complimentary breakfast daily at select properties in over 60 countries worldwide. When staying at any hotel in The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, cardholders receive benefits like complimentary room upgrades, meals, special discounts and credits, and extra amenities.

What types of travel protections are offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

No matter how much you plan, things can go wrong when you travel. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has built-in protections to assist when problems occur.

  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: Covers non-refundable travel expenses in case of sickness, severe weather, and other covered situations. You can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. This coverage includes passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
  • Lost Luggage Insurance: If your bags are lost or damaged, you and immediate family members could receive up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement: If you’re delayed more than six hours or an overnight stay is required, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses. This protection includes both meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
  • Roadside Assistance: During a roadside emergency, you can call for a tow, jumpstart, tire change, locksmith, or gas. Calls are covered four times a year, up to $50 per incident.
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation: You and immediate family members are covered if you become injured or sick during a trip far from home that results in an emergency evacuation. Coverage for medical services and transportation is up to $100,000.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve right for you?

If you love to travel, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a powerful tool to earn rewards, enjoy elite benefits, and redeem points for travel. The $450 annual fee is higher than most travel credit cards, but maxing out the $300 annual travel credit brings the net cost down to just $150.

Perks like primary rental car insurance, Priority Pass Select membership, and the Global Entry application credit may be well worth $150 to regular travelers.

#1 Premium Travel Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Benefits

  • 50,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X on travel after earning your $300 travel credit
  • 3X points at restaurants
  • Access to Priority Pass airport lounges
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