It’s official: All Chase Sapphire Reserve cards will increase to a $550 annual fee next month
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However, the onset of the pandemic — and subsequent slowdown in travel –. put a temporary pause on the increase from happening. For over a year, existing cardholders saw a $450 annual fee instead of $550. But with travel back with a vengeance, that is set to end.
A Chase spokesperson told TPG that “card members who had their Chase Sapphire Reserve before Jan. 12, 2020 and whose renewal was April through July 2021 will receive a $100 credit applied to their account.”
Starting August 1, expect to see all Sapphire Reserve cards — both new and existing — to be charged the new $550 annual fee.
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A quiet extension
Earlier this year, Chase confirmed with TPG that existing cardholders would continue to have their Chase Sapphire Reserve renewals at $450 through March 2021. It was meant to be an extension of a benefit offered in the second half of 2020 to help convince cardholders to hold onto their cards while travel was on hold.
From April through July, Chase has quietly continued offering a $450 renewal — but that is expiring later this month.
A $450 renewal, again
That means some fortunate Sapphire Reserve cardholders will receive a second renewal at a lowered $450 annual fee, after already receiving this rate last year.
For the second consecutive year, Frye was charged $550, quickly followed by a $100 statement credit. In July 2020, Frye was also charged a net $450 on her Sapphire Reserve.
And Frye isn’t the only one. Numerous TPG readers also had their Sapphire Reserves renew earlier this summer at $550, followed by a $100 statement credit adjustment.
The $550 renewal is coming
Over the past several weeks, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders — all with renewal dates August 2021 or later — have been given notice of the official changeover to a $550 annual fee.
While this is not new news, many weren’t even aware — or perhaps, had forgotten — about Chase’s announcement in early January 2020. Here’s the mailed letter that TPG Executive Editorial Director Scott Mayerowitz received.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of Chase’s top-tier travel credit cards. Still, many cardholders have considered canceling or downgrading in light of the pandemic — and this now official increase in the annual fee.
However, it’s certainly not been all bad news.
Throughout the past year-plus, Chase has made many adjustments to help cardholders continue to get value from its travel-centric products.
That includes extending the $300 travel credit to also cover gas and grocery purchases through Dec. 31, 2021 and allowing cardholders to redeem points through the Pay Yourself Back program at 1.5 cents each for eligible non-travel purchases.
We’ve known for over 18 months that an increase to the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee was coming for existing cardholders. But now it’s official: The $550 fee will kick in for existing cardholders in August 2021.
In the meantime, if you’re a cardholder with a renewal date before July 31 — and had a Chase Sapphire Reserve account open before Jan. 12, 2020 — you should be receiving a $100 statement credit towards the annual fee.
For some lucky folks, that means two renewals at $450. Even if you don’t qualify, it never hurts to call customer service to ask for the lowered rate.
Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor and Victoria Walker.
Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.
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