Reader credit card question: Do spouses each need their own Chase Sapphire Reserve?

May 4, 2020

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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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We already have a guide on credit card strategies for couples, as well as a recent reader question that considers the best luxury cards based on authorized user fees.

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.

In This Post

Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

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.

Rewards earning rate: 10x points on Lyft rides through March 2022; 3x points on travel and dining (excluding your $300 annual travel credit); 1x points on everything else

Annual fee: $550 ($75 per authorized user)

Card details and primary benefits:

Enrollment required for select benefits

Related reading: Why do Chase and TPG list different values for Ultimate Rewards points?

Why both spouses may want their own Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Seth K. Hughes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Seth K. Hughes/Getty Images)

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

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

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?

Turkish Airlines lounge in Miami (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

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

Terms apply

Lounge access through the American Express Global Lounge Collection

Up to $200 in annual Uber credits

Up to $200 annual airline fee credit(enrollment required).

Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton

Up to $100 in annual Saks Fifth Avenue credits(enrollment required).

Terms apply

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)

Priority Pass Select membership

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

Terms apply

Up to $120 in annual dining credits(enrollment required).

Terms apply

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

Terms apply

Up to $100 annual statement credit for CLEAR membership

Up to $100 annual statement credit for lounge access through LoungeBuddy

Terms apply

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

Terms apply

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)

Priority Pass Select membership

Terms apply

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

Terms apply

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

Complimentary Marriott Gold elite status

Terms apply

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?

Bottom line

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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.