Home Airlines Credit Card Review: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Credit Card Review: Chase Sapphire Reserve

by joeheg

While I have many credit cards, the majority of them don’t get used on a regular basis. Occasionally they’ll get pulled out of the drawer when I get a specific bonus offer or if I need to use it to buy airfare so I can get a free checked bag, but there are only a few cards that earn an everyday spot in the wallet.

I recently realized that while this card has stayed in rotation since I’ve had it, I never wrote about all of the benefits the card provides.

I’m speaking of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Here’s my review of the card that shook up the travel credit card market when it was introduced in 2016 (The card, not my review). You can also check out my articles about how happy I was when I finally got the card or why I decided to keep it past the first year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Annual Fee

$450 per year. Additional Cards for authorized users are $75 each.

Sign Up Benefits

This card currently has a 50,000 point bonus if you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Per Chase’s rules, this product is only available if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.

$300 Annual Travel Credit

Every account anniversary year you get reimbursed for the first $300 of travel charges made with the card. This is good for any charges coded in the travel category. While I don’t think of statement credits like cash, this is money you would have spent anyway. Since these credits are broadly applied, show up quickly on the statement, and take no effort to redeem, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they lower the effective cost of the card to $150.

Spending Bonus Categories

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3X points on travel worldwide – from airfare and hotels to taxis and trains (not including charges covered by the $300 travel credit).  Unlike the American Express Platinum card, the travel expenses do not have to be directly from the airline. Chase rewards 3x points from any travel provider. It also earns 3x points on dining worldwide (as long as the establishment is coded as dining). My experience is that Chase is pretty good at giving proper credit for purchases as charges made I’ve at bars, food trucks, street fair booths, and theme park restaurants have all coded correctly as dining expenses. The card earns one point per dollar for all other charges.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

As you would hope a card that’s marketed to travelers would, the Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Another great feature of this card is that it acts as primary coverage when you rent a car. In normal terms, if you get into an accident in your rental car, you can use the coverage from Chase before filing a claim with your own insurance. Most other companies offer secondary coverage (where you need to file a claim with your auto insurance first).

Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection

If you’re looking to stay at a nice hotel, you can get some wonderful bonuses when booking through The Luxury Hotel and Resort Portal, exclusive to Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders.

For example, if you wanted to stay the Hotel Goldener Hirsch, one of my most memorable hotels ever, you’d get these additional perks.

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Customer Service

Chase markets this as a card that provides 24/7 direct access to a dedicated customer service specialist from anywhere in the world.

Priority Pass Select Membership

Priority Pass Membership (with guesting privileges) – We’re past the stage of planning to get to the airport early just so we can go to an airport lounge. However, there are times when you happen to get to the airport really early or have a long layover, and sitting in a lounge is a nice perk. Priority Pass has relationships with lounges around the world and we’ve used this benefit to get us into lounges from Heathrow Airport in London to Miami Airport while waiting for our flight to Cuba. The Chase Sapphire Reserve allows you to bring 2 guests into the Priority Pass lounge with you, with additional guests costing $27 each. You do need to enroll with Priority Pass after getting your Reserve card; just showing your Chase card isn’t good enough.

Club MCO Airside 1

Points are worth 1.5 cents each when using the Chase portal

If you book travel through the Chase portal, your Ultimate Rewards are worth 1.5 cents each. This isn’t the best value for your points but it’s better than the 1 cent that you’ll get redeeming them for a statement credit.

Chase Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to other programs at a 1:1 value

Several programs partner with Chase allowing you to transfer points to other programs. This allows you to take advantage of the values in multiple programs without being locked into any particular one. Here are the partners of Chase Ultimate Rewards:

  • AerLingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Iberia Plus
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards®
  • World of Hyatt

We redeemed Ultimate Rewards to book a room at the Hyatt Centric Key West.


$100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® credit

Every four years you can get up to a $100 statement credit for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. 

Trip Delay Reimbursement

If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket. The Sapphire Reserve provides some of the best trip delay coverage available

Additional Coverages

The Sapphire Reserve also provides several other types of travel protections like luggage delay, lost luggage, trip cancellation, emergency evacuation, and purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty coverage.

Final Thoughts

Right now, I’m a big supporter of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card for people who are looking to upgrade to a top tier travel credit card. It provides a good multiple for spending on travel and dining while also providing excellent coverage for car rentals and other travel mishaps. You’re paying $150 a year for those additional benefits and I think that’s fair. If you’re looking for an entry-level card from Chase, the Sapphire Preferred is a better card with no annual fee the first year and then only costs $95. Since you can only have one card or the other and need to wait four years between getting a signup bonus once you’ve had the other cards, you need to decide if the extra $55 a year is worth it for you.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Featured Photo by www.ccPixs.com


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