Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review: Luxury perks and valuable rewards, plus a 60,000-point bonus
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.
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.
Right now, it has a welcome offer of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening — and since Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable out there, this can go a long way toward your next vacation.
Apply now: Chase Sapphire Reserve with a 60,000-point bonus.
Let’s review the features that continue to make the Sapphire Reserve such an attractive travel credit card — one that has earned a permanent spot at the top of my wallet.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Sign-up bonus
With a value of 2 cents apiece for Ultimate Rewards points (according to TPG valuations), the current 60,000-point bonus on the Sapphire Reserve is worth $1,200. That’s equivalent to more than two years of the annual fee.
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 $900 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.
That said, it's important to keep in mind Chase's application restrictions, especially as it pertains to the Sapphire cards. And because of Chase’s 5/24 rule, you’ll want to apply for Chase cards first before turning to other issuers. That's why it's so critical to pick the right Sapphire product for your situation.
Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits
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 on the main benefits of the Sapphire Reserve:
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 — which cover a wide variety of travel providers:
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.
This perk alone lowers your effective annual fee to just $250.
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. Activate by December 31, 2024.
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 — though it's an extra $75 per year for each additional cardholder.
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 in 2019, and Capital One removed this perk as of Jan. 1, 2023, 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 more of its own, branded lounges in 2023 after the Hong Kong location began welcoming guests last year. Until then, you’re largely 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 up to $100 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.
Earning points on the Chase Sapphire Reserve
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).
- 10 points per dollar on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases (through March 2025) of $250 or more, with a maximum of 50,000 points.
- 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 Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 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.
Redeeming points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve
The ability to redeem rewards 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, 2023, and you also have the option to use your points to cover gas purchases, dining purchases or your annual fee at a rate of 1.25 cents apiece.
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?
The Sapphire Reserve’s most natural competitors are another card earning the same points but with a lower annual fee and two other premium travel credit cards.
- If you want a mid-tier card with a lower annual fee: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a good choice for earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points but with a lower annual fee of $95. You’ll get numerous travel protections, and you’ll have access to all the same hotel and airline partners as you would with the Sapphire Reserve. For more information, please read our full review of the Sapphire Preferred.
- If you want a premium travel card with a lower annual fee: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers access to Priority Pass, Plaza Premium and Capital One lounges but has a lower annual fee of $395. You’ll also enjoy insurance protections and earn a minimum of 2 miles per dollar on all purchases and up to $300 in travel credits each year. For more information, please check out our full review of the Capital One Venture X.
- If you want more lounge access and bigger spending credits: The Platinum Card® from American Express offers over $1,500 in annual credits, if you can use all of them. Plus, it offers access to not just Priority Pass lounges but also dozens of others, including the Amex Centurion Lounge network. However, the card does have a higher annual fee at $695 (see rates and fees). For more information, check out our full review of the Amex Platinum.
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. This is especially notable for anyone who got the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card in 2021 during its 100,000-point bonus (since expired).
If you currently have the Sapphire Preferred, 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 nearly a no-brainer credit card for those who love travel rewards — especially for more frequent travelers.
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 to earn points. 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 60,000 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.