Chase Sapphire Reserve Review: Best-in-Class Rewards With Premium Perks

With an outstanding welcome bonus and high redemption values, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers exceptional value.
10/29/19 | By Kat Tretina

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Travelers looking for a premium card will have a hard time finding something better than the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

Named “Best Premium Travel Credit Card” for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine, it offers generous rewards and a substantial sign-up bonus, along with a slew of luxury benefits that can help you earn significant rewards towards your next vacation.

Although it’s not for everyone, this top-tier metal credit card could be a smart addition to your wallet. Here’s what to consider before submitting your card application.

#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

Drawbacks

  • High annual fee
  • Excellent credit required

Who should get this card?

If you enjoy traveling and spend a decent amount of money on dining out, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is a wise choice to consider.

On top of offering $300 in travel credit each year, you’ll be able to take advantage of perks like the fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and access to Priority Pass lounges — both of which can help ease the pains of airport travel.

To qualify, you’ll need to have very good to excellent credit. If your credit is on the low end of being “good,” you may need to start with another credit card first to build up your score.

One thing to consider before applying is the card’s annual fee of $450. While higher than some other travel credit cards, it’s thankfully offset by the $300 annual statement credit and other travel benefits.

Card basics

Annual Fee $450
Intro Bonus Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Recommended Credit Score Excellent
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Top card benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers robust benefits and perks. A higher-end version of the Sapphire Preferred, this card goes beyond basic travel and shopping protections.

  • Enjoy a stunning sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • $300 annual travel credit: Receive $300 a year as a statement credit as reimbursement for travel expenses.
  • Stretch your points further: Redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and they’ll be worth 50% more. For example, 50,000 points would be worth $750 rather than just $500.
  • Breeze through airport security: Apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and get reimbursed for the cost of the application fee every four years. Just be sure to use your card to pay for the fee.
  • Relax with airport lounge access: Get access to over 1,000 VIP lounges in airports nationwide with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Indulge with the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Enjoy benefits at partner hotels, such as complimentary room upgrades, free WiFi, and complimentary breakfast.
  • No foreign transaction fees: There are no foreign transaction fees, making it a great choice for those who travel internationally.

Earning & redeeming

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, you can earn rewards rapidly.

Best ways to earn

Restaurants 3X
Travel 3X*
All other purchases 1X

*Earn 3X points on travel after earning your annual travel credit.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, you earn 3X points per $1 spent on travel after earning your $300 travel credit on travel purchases.

The travel category includes the following (and there are some expenses you may not think of right away):

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Timeshares
  • Car rental agencies
  • Campgrounds
  • Toll bridges
  • Parking lots and garages

You’ll also earn 3X points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants. This category includes everything from fast food establishments to fine dining restaurants.

While the rewards you can earn on travel and dining are already substantial, you’ll also earn one point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Maximizing your redemptions

Redemption Method Value
Statement credits 1 cent
Chase Ultimate Rewards 1.5 cents

Points earned with the Chase Sapphire Reserve can be redeemed in several different ways, including statement credits, travel, gift cards, or Pay With Points with Chase Pay at select merchants.

Points earned with the Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth one cent each. However, you can get more bang for your buck by redeeming them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. By doing so, your points are worth 1.5 cents each — a 50% increase. The Chase Ultimate Rewards program can be used to book your next vacation, including airfare and hotel stay.

Booking your travel through the program is simple; just log into your Chase Ultimate Rewards account and search for flights, hotels, or cruises.

Another way to stretch your points even further is to transfer them to a number of Chase travel partners at a 1:1 rate. Doing so can give you even more value for your points.

Common questions

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it?

If you spend a sizable amount per year on travel expenses and dining out, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card should be on your shortlist of travel credit cards to consider. If you take advantage of its other perks, such as its statement credit for travel and airport security, you can get even more value from it.

What credit score do you need for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

While Chase doesn’t publicly list what the minimum credit score is for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, you’ll generally need very good or excellent credit. According to FICO, that means you’ll likely need a score between 740 and 850.

Who can get a Chase Sapphire Reserve card?

As mentioned, to qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your credit should be very good to excellent. You’ll also want to take Chase’s 5/24 rule into consideration. If you’ve opened five or more cards in the past 24 months — regardless if they were with Chase or not — you won’t be eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

It’s important to note that you can only hold one Sapphire credit card at a time, meaning you can’t have both the Sapphire Preferred card and the Sapphire Reserve card.

If you’re a Sapphire Preferred cardholder and upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll be ineligible for the sign-up bonus. In order to qualify for the bonus again, you’ll have to cancel your card and wait 48 months before applying for a different Sapphire card.

Do my Chase Ultimate Rewards points expire?

As long as your account remains open and in good standing, your points won’t expire.


Other credit cards to consider

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is among the best for premium travel credit cards, but not everyone will qualify or want to stomach the annual fee.

If you’re looking for a travel rewards card with a lower annual fee, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®.

#1 Premium Travel Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Special Offer

Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
  • 70,000 bonus miles sign-up offer
  • Earn 2X unlimited miles on every purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees

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