Chase adds limited-time Sapphire benefits to help grounded travelers

May 28, 2020

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While some TPG readers are considering booking trips down the linein some cases, even this summer — many continue to stay close to home, with outings limited to restaurant pick-ups and unavoidable grocery store runs. All the while, credit card annual fees become due, leaving customers to question whether or not it makes sense to continue paying them, especially for premium perks they can’t use.

Earlier this month, American Express added a slew of limited-time benefits aimed at making the issuer’s lineup more appealing for would-be travelers currently stuck at home. These included very generous statement credit options available with certain cards.

Now, Chase has detailed its own coronavirus perks plan — for two of its most popular cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

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

New limited-time perks:

  • Pay Yourself Back, with each point worth 1.5 cents towards a statement credit used to offset purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments through April 2021
  • Expansion of $300 annual credit, with remaining balance automatically applied to purchases at grocery stores and gas stations from June 1 through the end of the year.
  • Renewal annual fee lowered to $450 after July 1 through 2020, replacing the current $100 statement credit.

Relevant existing perks:

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

While customers have likely struggled to use the $300 annual travel credit, considering many of us aren’t booking flights and hotels at the moment, Chase has now expanded that to cover purchases many of us are making right now, at grocery stores and gas stations.

Additionally, Chase has reduced the renewal annual fee by $100 — either through a statement credit through July 1, or with a fee reduction after that date — bringing the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s net cost down to $150 for existing cardholders. Assuming you’re able to utilize the $60 in annual DoorDash credits, the fee drops to $90. That’s before factoring in the complimentary DashPass, which you’ll receive for a minimum of one year.

On top of that, I certainly plan to make use of the new option to redeem points at 1.5 cents apiece for groceries, dining and home improvement store purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

New limited-time perks:

  • Pay Yourself Back, with each point worth 1.25 cents towards a statement credit towards purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments through April 2021.

Relevant existing perks:

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

With a far lower $95 annual fee, it’s much easier to justify hanging on to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card than the far more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve. In fact, I continue to recommend the Preferred Card for anyone looking for a versatile, traveler-friendly option that accrues valuable transferrable points. With the current welcome bonus of 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, it could even be worth applying for the card even if you’re under 5/24.

Personally, I’d be far less inclined to redeem points via Pay Yourself Back at 1.25 cents apiece, compared with the 1.5-cent option you have with Chase Sapphire Reserve, but it’s certainly a better alternative to redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for a statement credit at the standard 1-cent rate.

Bottom Line

Chase clearly had some catching up to do, following Amex’s sweeping benefit update earlier this month. Chase’s offer of up to 5x points on groceries and the $100 renewal statement credit helped make a small dent in the meantime, but there was still much left to be done.

With an expanded annual credit offering and discounted renewal fee for Chase Sapphire Reserve — plus Pay Yourself Back, available with both cards — the issuer has landed on a perks package that should keep would-be travelers satiated until they’re able to get back on the road once again.

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

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