Reader credit card question: Do spouses each need their own Chase Sapphire Reserve?
TPG reader Laurie recently emailed us and asked for tips on managing cards once you’re married, including whether she and her husband each need their own Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Specifically, she asked:
My husband and I both have the Sapphire Reserve, which in light of increased fees, I’m really wondering if that was a smart move. Should one of us get a different premier card when it’s time to renew?Laurie
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So, for today’s reader credit card question, I’ll focus on whether Laurie and her husband should each keep their own Chase Sapphire Reserve cards, as well as how to proceed if one decides to switch to a different premium travel rewards credit card.
Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. If you redeem for travel through the Chase travel portal, you’ll get $900 of value from these points. But, if you instead transfer your points to airline or hotel partners, you can get about $1,000 in value from these points.
Annual fee: $550 ($75 per authorized user)
Card details and primary benefits:
- $300 annual travel credit
- Redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for 1.5 cents each
- 1:1 points transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years
- Up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases ($60 in statement credits in 2020 and another $60 in statement credits in 2021) and DashPass subscription for at least one year when you activate by the end of 2021
- One year of complimentary Lyft Pink when you activate by March 31, 2022
- Access to book hotel stays through Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
- Travel protections
- No foreign transaction fees
- Visa Infinite concierge
Enrollment required for select benefits
Why both spouses may want their own Sapphire Reserve
Here are some common reasons why both spouses may want their own Sapphire Reserve Card.
Multiple sign-up bonuses and double the perks
One of the biggest reasons both spouses may want their own Sapphire Reserve is for the sign-up bonus. But, as Laurie and her husband are finding, although the sign-up bonus is a good catalyst for getting both cards, it isn’t a reason to keep them.
Having two cards means double the perks, such as a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years and limited-time perks such as DoorDash credits, complimentary DashPass and one year of complimentary Lyft Pink. But, for many couples, these perks won’t justify paying two Sapphire Reserve annual fees each year.
Related reading: One year of earning and burning with Chase Sapphire Reserve
Keeping finances and/or rewards separate
Some couples choose to keep their finances separate, which could mean they each need their own Chase Sapphire Reserve for the earnings and benefits. Likewise, couples who don’t tend to agree on when and how shared rewards should be used may benefit from having separate credit cards.
Access to card benefits
I don’t have my own Chase Sapphire Reserve, so I use my husband’s card for most travel purchases. This works well except when I need to pay for travel in my name. In these cases, I use my Ink Business Preferred Credit Card since it earns 3x points on travel (on the first $150K in combined purchases each account anniversary year) and offers competitive travel protections that are almost as good as those offered by the Sapphire Reserve.
Considerations if only one spouse keeps a Sapphire Reserve
If only one spouse decides to keep their Chase Sapphire Reserve card, there are various things to consider before closing the other account.
Transfer Ultimate Rewards points into the account you’ll keep
Chase allows you to move your Ultimate Rewards points to another Chase account that belongs to you or a member of your household. So, before closing one of the Sapphire Reserve cards — or downgrading to another card — it’s best to transfer your points to the Sapphire Reserve account that your spouse is keeping.
Consider downgrade options
You may want to downgrade one Sapphire Reserve to another Chase card to preserve your credit line and minimize the impact on your credit score. You may be able to downgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the no-annual-fee Chase Sapphire (no longer available), Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) or Chase Freedom Unlimited. However, be sure to consider how doing so may affect your ability to earn a sign-up bonus on these cards in the future.
The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Set up mobile wallet for the spouse without a Sapphire Reserve
I’m often able to make purchases on my husband’s accounts using his cards that are stored in my mobile wallet. So, both spouses may be able to share a Sapphire Reserve for some earning purposes. However, some merchants still don’t offer mobile payments and some merchants may require that your name match the one on the card. So, you won’t be able to share a Sapphire Reserve for all purchases.
Related reading: How do mobile wallets code for credit card bonus categories?
Should I add my spouse as an authorized user on my Sapphire Reserve?
The primary reason to add an authorized user to your Chase Sapphire Reserve is so your spouse can have his or her own Priority Pass membership, shopping and travel protections. But, since it costs $75 per year, adding your spouse as an authorized user won’t always make sense.
In short, you have to decide whether the benefits afforded to Sapphire Reserve authorized users are worth $75 per year, as well as whether there’s a different card that may be a better fit.
Related reading: Credit cards with the greatest value for authorized users
Other premium cards to consider
If one spouse is looking to close or downgrade their Chase Sapphire Reserve and open a new travel rewards card, the exact card you choose will depend on your travel needs and lifestyle. As such, one of the following premium travel rewards cards may be particularly appealing.
If you’re looking to apply for a new card, it may also be worth checking the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for an elevated welcome bonus.
|Card||Welcome bonus||Annual fee||Earning rates||Key benefits|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.||$695 (see rates & fees)||5x points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting Jan. 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on purchases per calendar year)
5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
1x on everything else
|Lounge access through the American Express Global Lounge Collection
Up to $200 annual airline fee credit(enrollment required).
Up to $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits(enrollment required).
|Citi Prestige® Card||50,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening||$495||5x points on air travel and restaurants
3x on hotels and cruise lines
1x on everything else
|Complimentary fourth night up to twice each year on bookings of four nights or more through ThankYou.com
$250 annual travel credit (can be used on supermarkets and restaurants through the end of 2020)
Reduced annual fee for qualifying Citigold clients
|American Express® Gold Card||Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.||$250 (see rates & fees)||4x points at restaurants
4x at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year)
3x on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
1x on everything else
|Up to $120 in annual dining credits(enrollment required).
|American Express® Green Card||30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership||$150 (see rates & fees)||3x points on restaurants, transit and travel
1x on everything else
|Up to $100 annual statement credit for CLEAR membership
|The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||150,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership||$450 (see rates & fees)||14x points at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton portfolio
12x at U.S. supermarkets (from May through July 2020)
7x points for flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
3x on everything else
|Hilton Diamond elite status
One weekend night reward with your new card and every year after renewal
Up to $250 Hilton resort credit each year of card membership (eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, qualify toward this credit from June through August 2020)
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus free night award (redemption level worth up to 85,000 Marriott points) after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Resort fees may apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021.||$450 (see rates & fees)||6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
3x at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
2x on all other eligible purchases
|Up to $300 Marriott property statement credit each year of card membership on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
1 Free Night Award every year after your card anniversary that’s valid for one night costing 50,000 points or less at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. Certain hotels have resort fees
The information for the Amex Green Card, Hilton Aspire Amex card, Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Remember that Amex is currently offering limited-time promotions on many of its cards, as well as three extra months to complete the minimum spending requirement if you’re approved by May 31, 2020. Citi is also offering a few perks on some of its rewards cards.
There are also premium cobranded airline cards such as the United Club Infinite Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card that could make sense if you frequently fly a specific airline. But, I didn’t include these cards in the above table since they are less compelling currently, with most lounges closed and many travelers staying home.
Related reading: What are some alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
Laurie shouldn’t feel that she and her husband made a mistake in both signing up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. After all, they likely got a lot of value out of the Ultimate Rewards points they earned during their first year. But, she’s also right to re-evaluate whether they each need to keep the Sapphire Reserve long term or whether another card might be better for one of them. This way, they can make an informed decision before paying another annual fee on both of their cards.
The decision as to whether both spouses need their own Chase Sapphire Reserve will vary from couple to couple. So, my goal in this article was to provide some aspects to consider when making the decision that’s best for your lifestyle and travel needs.
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve with a 50,000-point bonus
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex card, click here.
Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.
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