Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Too Lucrative?

Jul 28, 2017

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The Wall Street Journal reported today that senior JPMorgan employees familiar with the Sapphire Reserve have questioned whether the card will make money at all, and if it does, when. In fact, the company is pushing for $200 million in cost cuts for the unit that oversees the card, which will likely come in reduced marketing spend and potentially a lower sign-up bonus in the future. (I definitely don’t foresee it going back to 100,000 anytime soon, so sorry to those who are holding out for a higher offer!)

As of now, it comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, worth $1,100 based on my most recent valuations. Ultimate Rewards points are one of my highest-rated point currencies. Plus, you get the strength of Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, such as Hyatt, United, Southwest, British Airways and more. In my opinion, it’s the best credit card that’s ever been available for American consumers. It also just won the Battle of the Premium Cards.

Image courtesy of Michael Nagle via Getty Images.
Image courtesy of Michael Nagle via Getty Images.

The test for Chase will be the renewal rates since we’re coming up on the one-year launch. My guess is that a very high majority of people will renew because it’s an absolute no-brainer.  Yes, the fee is $450, but you get $300 in automatically reimbursed travel credits, which really brings the fee down to $150 a year for a card that offers best-in-class earning and redeeming and some solid perks — only $55 more than the $95 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred. With the Reserve, you get:

  • 3x points on travel and dining
  • 1x points on everything else
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • $100 fee credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • A Priority Pass membership
  • No foreign transaction fees

If you spend money on travel and dining, the Reserve card is a total no-brainer that has been and will continue to hold a spot at the top of my wallet. And, even given this news, in the long run I think the card will be a major win for Chase, as it lures people in to the premium credit card market who have been hesitant in the past. Plus, Chase has been able to bring in those looking for a mortgage with 100,000 bonus points and banking customers. I do all of my banking with Chase and have done car loans. In general, maximize your rewards, but let’s also be good customers so they keep offering rich rewards.

Do you plan to renew the CSR when it comes around to your first year anniversary?

2020 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve

SIGN-UP BONUS: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners and Reserve cardmembers will earn 3x points on grocery purchases until the end of April.

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Regular APR
16.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.