Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review: Luxury perks and valuable rewards, now with a 80,000-point bonus
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card overview
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best rewards credit cards of all time. Offering up to 10 points per dollar on travel and dining through the Chase portal, this card earns incredibly valuable Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to hotel and airline partners or redeemed directly for flights at a rate of 1.5 cents per point. Add in a $300 annual travel credit, airport lounge access and a litany of other perks, and this card is guaranteed to upgrade your travel lifestyle. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the card that convinced average consumers that they could come out ahead with a premium credit card even after paying an annual fee of several hundred dollars a year.
In fact, the Sapphire Reserve was so successful from the moment it launched in 2016 (with an initial 100,000-point welcome bonus) that Chase temporarily ran out of the metal slabs needed to produce the cards.
There has been intense competition in the premium credit card space in recent years, as issuers continue to raise annual fees and add new perks such as food delivery and credits for ride-hailing services. Chase has followed this path with the Sapphire Reserve. The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee increased to $550 in recent years, but that fee increase came with new perks.
And it recently launched an elevated sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's the highest publicly-available bonus we've seen in over five years, so now is a great time to apply.
Apply now: Chase Sapphire Reserve with an 80,000-point bonus.
Let’s review the features that continue to make the Sapphire Reserve such an attractive card — one that has earned a permanent spot at the top of my wallet.
Who is this card for?
Even with its annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great card for most travelers.
First, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable currencies out there. They’re easy to redeem, with a wide range of 14 airline and hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. (Because of Chase’s 5/24 rule, you’ll want to apply for Chase cards first before turning to other issuers.)
The Reserve’s $550 annual fee is a valid concern, but the $300 annual travel credit drops your real out-of-pocket cost to $250 before you even factor in other perks. Like the bonus categories, this annual credit is automatically applied to a broad range of travel purchases in the U.S. and abroad.
For those with sticker shock about the $550 annual fee, the little sister of Chase Sapphire Reserve — the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — is a solid option. The Sapphire Preferred is our most-recommended first rewards credit card to get, with an annual fee of just $95 and a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
But the Sapphire Reserve combines strong value with simplicity and a better-earning structure than the Sapphire Preferred. Chase defines travel and dining broadly for its bonus categories that earn 3 points per dollar spent on the Sapphire Reserve (versus 2 points per dollar for travel on the Preferred), so it’s easy to reap the full benefits of your card.
Sign-up bonus: Worth $1,600
With a value of 2 cents apiece for Ultimate Rewards points (according to TPG valuations), the current 80,000-point bonus on the Sapphire Reserve is worth $1,600. That’s equivalent to nearly three years of the annual fee.
Plus, as mentioned earlier, when you factor in the $300 in travel you get each year as a perk, the annual fee is really only $250, because it’s not hard for most travelers to spend $300 a year on airfare, hotels, car rentals or other travel expenses.
Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.
Even if you don’t utilize Chase’s transfer partners, Sapphire Reserve cardholders get a value of 1.5 cents per Ultimate Rewards point when redeeming for travel in the Chase travel portal, making the bonus worth $1,200 when redeemed through the portal. Even if you’re a novice in the travel rewards field and don’t know how to maximize transfer partners, you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth in travel from the welcome bonus if you use your points to book travel through the portal.
Remember, too, that any flight you book this way counts as a revenue booking. This means you’ll earn airline miles and elite credit as well, getting you even more value.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t offer quite as many perks as The Platinum Card® from American Express, but partnerships with providers like DoorDash and Lyft can appeal to a wide range of travelers. Here are the details:
Annual travel credit
One of the biggest benefits of the card is the $300 annual travel credit. Chase will automatically credit your account $300 when you use it to make eligible purchases.
Free DoorDash DashPass subscription
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders qualify for a free DoorDash DashPass subscription through Dec. 31, 2024.
In addition, you’ll receive $5 per month in DoorDash credits that roll over two months before expiring, meaning you can save up to $15 to use all at once before expiration.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders receive 10 points per dollar on Lyft purchases through March 2025. This is akin to getting a whopping 20% return on Lyft rides, since TPG values Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece.
Cardholders also receive a complimentary Lyft Pink All Access membership for two years, worth up to $199 annually.
Priority Pass lounge access
Although you won’t have access to Delta Sky Clubs (as you do with The Platinum Card® from American Express when flying Delta) or American Airlines Admirals Clubs (as you do with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®), the Sapphire Reserve does include a Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you into more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world. In addition, authorized users receive a Priority Pass Select membership of their own.
If you pay $75 to add each authorized user to your CSR account, they’ll be able to take advantage of one of the card’s nicest perks.
The Priority Pass network includes some premium lounges, both in the U.S. and abroad. In recent years, Priority Pass also added airport restaurants to its network (you can see the full list here). American Express cut these restaurants from its Priority Pass benefit, but Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will continue to get free food (usually ~$28 per person) at all of these locations.
Note that Chase is planning to open its own, branded lounges in 2023; from now, you’re limited to Priority Pass locations.
Application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
Like many other premium cards, the Sapphire Reserve will reimburse you when you charge the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck to the card. Remember that Global Entry includes PreCheck, so that’s the smarter choice.
This benefit is available to cardholders once every four years, and if you have already enrolled, you can use the credit to cover the application fee for a friend or family member.
Cardholders receive a $10 monthly statement credit from Gopuff, a delivery service offering drinks, snacks and other household essentials. That offer is valid through Dec. 31, 2023.
Visa Infinite perks
Because the Sapphire Reserve is a Visa Infinite card, you’ll receive the perks that come along with the program. Highlights include primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation and delay coverage, lost luggage reimbursement, a concierge service and access to the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.
Besides the welcome bonus, the bonus earning categories will also help build your Ultimate Rewards account. Here’s an overview of what you’ll earn on the card:
- 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel.
- 10 points per dollar on dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025).
- 5 points per dollar on flights purchased through Chase Travel.
- 3 points per dollar on all other travel (excluding the $300 travel credit) and dining purchases worldwide.
- 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Note that you won’t earn any points on the first $300 spent on travel purchases each cardmember year, as that will trigger the card’s $300 travel credit.
Once you factor in the $300 travel credit, the annual fee difference between the two cards is $155 ($250 versus $95). That means you’d need to earn an extra 7,750 Ultimate Rewards points a year with the Reserve to come out ahead (based on TPG’s valuations and without considering any other perks and benefits). You can hit that mark by spending as little as $650 a month on travel.
The ability to redeem with several partners is one of the most important aspects of a travel rewards credit card, and that’s definitely the case with the Sapphire Reserve. If you choose to transfer your points to one of Chase’s 14 travel partners, there’s potential for some amazing redemptions. You could get a two-night stay at a Category 7 Hyatt property or a flight to Europe in Delta One business class (by transferring to Virgin Atlantic) with this bonus alone.
In addition to redeeming with transfer partners, you can also book travel through the Chase travel portal with your points valued at 1.5 cents each. While it’s not always the best value, this is a great option for boutique hotels that don’t belong to a larger brand such as Marriott or Hyatt. It’s also great for booking flights when cash prices are low.
Chase did add a new redemption option in 2020 with the Pay Yourself Back program. You can currently redeem your points at a value of 1.5 cents each at select charities through Dec. 31, 2022.
If you’re new to Chase Ultimate Rewards, make sure to see our guide to redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards for maximum value.
Which cards compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
American Express Platinum
The Amex Platinum, with its $695 annual fee (see rates and fees), is a strong pick when it comes to airfare purchases, since it earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly through airlines and with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). You’ll also earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
However, for other travel purchases, as well as dining spending, you’re getting just 1 point per dollar, compared to the Sapphire Reserve’s 3 points per dollar.
However, the Amex Platinum does offer complimentary Gold elite status with Hilton and Marriott, along with access to Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection In addition, cardholders can enjoy up to $200 in annual statement credits for prepaid reservations at FHR and THC resorts (the latter of which requires a two-night minimum stay). Meanwhile, the Sapphire Reserve only offers access to the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.
That said, the Platinum Card’s annual airline fee credit of up to $200 is much less flexible than the Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit since you can only use the Platinum’s with one designated airline and only for specific ancillary fees. It’s not even valid for actual airfare — a notable difference from the credit on the Sapphire Reserve.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the Amex Platinum has added a slew of additional lifestyle perks over the last few years — including a monthly digital entertainment credit, a monthly credit for Walmart+ and an annual credit for Clear membership. You can also access up to $200 in annual statement credits for Uber rides and Uber Eats purchases in the U.S. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Another formidable competitor to the Sapphire Reserve is the Capital One Venture X Rewards card. The premium rewards card launched in November 2021 and carries an annual fee of $395, much lower than both that of the Reserve and Platinum Amex.
The Venture X is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. According to TPG’s valuation, this sign-up bonus is worth up to $1,388.
Both the Venture X and Sapphire Reserve provide application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. And while the Sapphire Reserve charges $75 per authorized user, the Venture X allows for four authorized users at no additional cost — and gives those travelers a slew of perks.
While both cards offer a $300 travel credit each year, the Venture X limits cardholders to purchases made through Capital One Travel — whereas the Sapphire Reserve will automatically apply its annual credit to any travel purchase charged to the card.
When it comes to earning rates, the Venture X also incentivizes cardholders to book travel through its portal, with identical earning rates to the Sapphire Reserve (10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals, and 5 miles per dollar on flights booked with Capital One Travel). And while the Sapphire Reserve provides bonus points on travel and dining, the Venture X stands out for awarding 2 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases.
While the Venture X is a great pick for a premium travel card, there are certain limitations to this lower annual fee card. Its inflexible travel credit can seem restrictive when compared to the Sapphire Reserve. And while Capital One has great transfer partners, there is still room for improvement when compared to Chase.
Citi Prestige® Card
There’s also the Citi Prestige Card — though it’s no longer open to new applicants. The Citi ThankYou Rewards program’s selection of transfer partners isn’t as impressive as Chase’s list, but the Prestige does stand out for its fourth night free benefit.
Unfortunately, this benefit is capped at twice per year. Even so, if you make paid hotel stays at high-end properties, it could be worth using the Citi Prestige Card for that perk but still using the Sapphire Reserve for the majority of your travel and dining spending. Also, note that Citi cut most of the card’s travel and purchase perks as of September 2019.
Other premium cards, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card are harder to compare because they are cobranded cards that focus on providing high-end benefits and status to travelers within specific loyalty programs rather than premium perks that aren’t tied to a specific brand. Plus, the points the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns are more valuable.
The information for the Citi Prestige and Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Who’s eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
It can be difficult to get approved for some Chase cards because of the issuer’s restrictive application requirements — specifically, the 5/24 rule. While not a formally-published policy, numerous reports indicate that if you’ve opened five credit card accounts with any issuer in the past 24 months, your application will be automatically declined.
Related: The best ways to use your 5/24 slots
Additionally, the Sapphire Reserve is not available to either current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, nor is it available to previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.
If you currently have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can call Chase to see if you are eligible to upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve — though you won’t earn a sign-up bonus for upgrading.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a complete no-brainer credit card for those who love travel rewards — especially for more frequent travelers. This is especially true with the current sign-up bonus: 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Beyond that, the $300 travel credit effectively brings the true card’s annual fee down from $550 to $250. This means the annual fee can be justified even for smaller spenders if the primary goal is points earning. With 3 points per dollar on travel and dining categories, industry-leading travel protections, valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and various perks, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our best credit cards.
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve, with 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Madison Blancaflor and Christina Ly.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.