Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Review 2020

Rating:
4.5/5
4.5 stars out of 5

The Smart Investor has collected card information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a travel rewards card issued by Chase Bank. This is a premium travel card that offers many benefits that your average reward card does not. 

You’ll receive 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening the card, which is about $750 in travel rewards if booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

In addition, you earn 3X the points when spending on travel or restaurants and 1 point for $1 spent on other purchases. However, you’ll be eligible for the 3X points on travel or restaurants just after you receive your first $300 in annual travel bonuses. As cardholder, you’ll also enjoy $300 annual travel credit. There are many other benefits as well as you can read below.

On the other hand, the main drawback is the highly annual fee which is $550.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve cardis easy to use and understand unlike many competitors in the high-end luxury card market and built for those road warriors who spend much of the year traveling.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

On Chase’s Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

  • Perfect Travel Card But Expensive

Credit Rating Requirements

  • Good – Excellent Credit

PROS

  • 50,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus
  • 3X points on travel or restaurants

CONS

  • $450 Annual Fee
  • Low Merchandise Rewards

Highlights

  • 50% More Ultimate Chase Rewards
  • Airport Lounge Access
  • Annual Travel Bonus
  • Protection
  • 16.99%–23.99% Variable APR

Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):

Pros

Cons

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card – Benefits

Let’s take a look at the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.

  • 50,000 Point Sign-Up Bonus

You can get 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening the card. This is about $750 in travel rewards if booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

  • 3X Bonus Points

You earn 3X the points when spending on travel or restaurants. You also earn 1 point for $1 spent on other purchases. 

You’ll be eligible for the 3X points on travel or restaurants just after you receive your first $300 in annual travel bonuses.

  • Annual Travel Bonus

You can earn $300 in annual travel credit for any travel costs used with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. This annual reward can help offset the annual fee. The $300 bonus is easy to get, all you have to do is spend $300 on travel. 

This can include airlines, hotels, Airbnbs, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rentals, cruises, buses, trains, Uber and Lyft rides, and parking costs.

  • 50% More Ultimate Chase Rewards

Your points go further when you book through Ultimate Chase Rewards. These rewards include all things travel-related, such as flights, hotels, cruises, and car rentals.

  • No Blackout Dates

There are no dates when the points cannot be redeemed. They can be redeemed at any time of the year. There is also no expiration or use limits.

  • No Foreign Transaction Fee

Chase Sapphire Reserve has no transaction fee while traveling in other countries. Many other cards have fees when you make purchases outside of the United States.

  • Protection

Chase Sapphire Reserve card has zero liability, purchase protection, chip-enabled security, and an auto rental collision damage waiver. It also has travel insurance that covers canceled flights and baggage delay insurance for lost luggage reimbursement. 

This card also has roadside assistance, emergency transportation, and emergency medical coverage. These features help give you peace of mind while traveling at home and abroad.

  • Airport Lounge Access

You can have access to exclusive airport lounges with the Priority Pass Select membership that comes along with being a Chase Sapphire Reserve card holder. This membership is a $399 annual value.

  • TSA Precheck or Global Entry Reimbursement

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card will reimburse your application fee for TSA Precheck or Global Entry once every four years. This cost is usually around $80 to $100.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card – Drawbacks

Here are the most important cons you should consider before applying to the Reserve card:

  • $550 Annual Fee

Chase Sapphire Reserve has a high $550 annual fee. Many other credit cards do not have annual fees. This fee can be offset with the annual travel reward bonuses. There is a $75 annual fee for each authorized user.

  • No Introductory 0% APR Balance Transfer Fee

This card does not offer an introductory rate like many other credit cards do.

  • Chase Restrictions

Chase Bank has a well-known rule that does not allow customers to sign up for multiple cards and receive multiple sign-up bonuses within a 24-month period. 

That means some who want to apply for the large sign-up bonus may not be eligible if they have received another Chase card with a sign-up bonus previously.

  • Balance Transfer Fee

Along with not offering an introductory APR, Chase Sapphire Reserve has a large balance transfer fee of 5%.

  • Low Merchandise Rewards

If you are looking to use some of your reward points on merchandise, be aware that the conversion of points to reward for merchandise is low. The rewards should be used on travel.

  • High APR

The APR for the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a 19.99%-23.99% variable rate, which is high for a card that requires borrowers with excellent credit histories. 

Alternatives to Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

There are other credit cards that do offer comparable cash back rewards – we’ve summarized the most popular cards which can use as an alternative to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card:

The Chase Sapphire Credit card is in their top spot in regards to the best traveling and dining cards as they offer you 2X more points compared to other cards. In addition, Chase Bank offers a 25% point’s bonus, whenever you redeem the points for travel.

The card offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points when you spend more than $4,000 on any purchases in the first 90 days. This is equivalent to $750 in travel costs when you redeem your travel rewards.

You shall also earn 2x points while traveling and dining at a variety of restaurants around the world and one point on the dollar on any other purchases. If you use any Lyft rides from now up to March 2022, you shall earn 5X points.

However, with all of these rewards, you should note that the card has an annual fee of $95. The APR range between 15.99%–22.99%, depends on your credit worthiness. 

The Black Platinum Card from American Express has a larger sign up bonus than the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It is 70,000 points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, which is about $1,000 in rewards. This bigger bonus also comes with a bigger annual fee of $550. 

The Platinum card does come with other annual bonuses such as $200 airline credit, $200 Uber credit, and $100 hotel credit. The Platinum Card also has higher spending rewards – 5 points on all airfare and hotels booked through American Express. All other purchases earn 1 point for every every dollar spent. All points must be redeemed through American Express.

The Citi Prestige Card is very similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You get 50,000 bonus points at sign up, but with Citi they go a little further and are worth about $500 in rewards. 

The Citi Prestige Card offers more points on air travel and dining at 5 points per 1 dollar spent. You can also get 3 points on cruises and hotels. All other purchases are 1 point per 1 dollar spent. 

The Citi card has a slightly higher annual fee at $495. The annual travel credit is smaller, which means you will fork out more for the annual fee. The Citi Prestige Card offers $100 for Global Entry, none for TSA pre-check.

 

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Right for You?

Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best travel reward cards for those with excellent credit. It was named Best Premium Travel Credit card in 2018 by Money Magazine. 

If you spend much of your time traveling and eating out, this is an excellent card offering the best travel rewards in the market. Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a very large sign-up bonus and many travel perks. 

The large annual fee may scare off some consumers and this may not be the right travel reward card for those who travel only a couple of times a year. This card is for consumers who do a lot of traveling and that want to maximize rewards.