Sapphire Reserve. The one credit card I wanted to get more than any other I can remember. I didn’t apply for any other cards for months just so I’d be eligible to apply for one. One year has past and I just received the bill for the $450 annual fee. Is the honeymoon between us over or am I still infatuated with this metal beauty?
I think the most important question to ask is if the Sapphire Reserve is worth the $450 annual fee. Since I give no value to the cachet of having a “hip” card, what matters to me most is if the points I’m earning and the benefits I get with this card are worth the cost.
The biggest ongoing benefit of the Sapphire Reserve is its bonus spending categories. The card earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points for all spending on travel and dining. I hit these categories hard with this card, spending about $11,000 over the past twelve months. That equals 33,000 Ultimate Rewards points. Those points are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal or even more when transferred to partners, like when I transferred points to Hyatt and redeemed them for a room in Key West at a value of 2.5 cents each.
If we split the value difference at 2 cents each point, that means the points I earned are worth $660. Not bad and that’s more than the annual fee. Don’t be fooled by that number because if I used my Sapphire Preferred instead, which earns 2x points in the same categories, I would have earned 22,000 points. So I really only earned an EXTRA 11,000 Ultimate rewards over the card I already had. So if we take the 11,000 times 2 cents per point, you’ll see that the Sapphire Reserve earned me $220 worth of points more over the Sapphire Preferred.
Since the Sapphire Reserve also provides a $300 a year travel credit, I can add that to the value of the card. A $300 credit plus $220 in extra Ultimate Rewards points is $520 in additional value.
There also also other benefits of the card like primary LDW coverage on rental cars. I can’t put a value on this but I get the same coverage from the Sapphire Preferred so it has no additional value. The same goes for a Priority Pass membership (we have three in the household now) and the $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck reimbursement. Since I already have multiple cards that offer these benefits. there’s no added value.
Just with the $300 in travel credits and the $220 in additional points I earned, I ended up making money with the Sapphire Reserve for the first year. I’m keeping the card, for now. I’ll look over the same numbers next year to see if it still makes sense for me to keep it.
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