Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Review

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From Seek Capital - Best for Travelers

Welcome Offer

Earn 50,000 Bonus Points

Earn 50,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 on purchases in your first 3 Months


Earn 3x points on travel and dining at restaurants
Earn 1 points per dollar on every other eligible dollar spent
$300Travel Credit
Earn $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
50%More Points
Points are worth 50% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

MONEY magazine called the Chase Sapphire Reserve card the best travel card of 2017, and it’s definitely among our top picks for luxury cards with a wide array of perks. It’s a high-end card backed by both Chase and Visa, so you’re going to be able to swipe it confidently just about anywhere. That being said, this is a traveler’s card, and you’re really going to get the best benefits from it if you put it to work in airports, hotels and other travel-related spending.

The right combination of swiping nets you a lot of rewards, including a sign-up bonus potentially worth $750. Plus, simply being a Chase Sapphire Reserve card holder in good standing opens the door to elite travel benefits such as Priority Pass Select membership and special upgrades at certain hotel properties.

To ensure you know how to get the most out of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, we’ve detailed all the most important perks below.

Rewards Highlights

  • No Introductory Annual Fee
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • 3x Points on Travel and Dining
  • 1x Points on Everything Else

Expert Review

The Pros

  • No Introductory Annual Fee
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • 3x Points on Travel and Dining
  • 1x Points on Everything Else

The Cons

  • High Annual Fee

Recommended Credit Profile

Rates & Fees

  • Annual Fee$450 each user; $75 per year
  • Regular APR17.99% to 24.99%
  • Great ForShoppingDiningTravel
  • Regular Purchase APR17.99% to 24.99%
  • Regular Balance Transfer APR17.99% to 24.99%
  • Cash Advance APR26.99%
  • Balance Transfer Fee$5 or 5%
  • Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee0%

Excellent Sign-Up Bonus from the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Let’s start with the big headline for new Chase Sapphire Reserve card holders, which is the excellence of the sign-up bonus. It’s 50,000 points, which you can use for a number of things (more on that in a minute), and when you’re smart about it, you can get about $750 in value from those rewards.

Before you can redeem, you have to earn, and you do that by spending $4,000 in the first three months after opening the account. That’s about $1,333 per month, or less than $45 a day. Simple, right? All you have to do is pay with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card whenever you’re at the register — cover your grocery, fuel and dining out expenses with the card and you’ll likely hit the bonus amount before the three months is even over.

Once you do score those bonus points, you can redeem them by:

  • Redeeming them for gift cards or cash back on your statement
  • Booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards program
  • Transferring them in 1,000-point increments for a 1:1 ratio with other loyalty and travel rewards programs

Keep Racking Up and Redeeming Rewards

Now let’s talk about how you keep earning rewards and, more importantly, how you maximize the value you get from them.

You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards just about every time you swipe the card, though cash-like transactions (such as withdrawals, advances, wire transfers and money orders) don’t count. For every dollar you spend on regular purchases, you get one point.

Since this is a traveler’s card, you should expect more rewards on travel-related spending, and Chase delivers. You get three points for every dollar you spend with businesses that categorize themselves in the travel categories, as well as spending with participating dining establishments. That means you earn 3x points on:

  • Airfare
  • Hotel stays
  • Dining out
  • Taxi and other transportation
  • Travel agencies
  • Certain vacation packages, including cruises

How many points can you really earn?The limit is up to you, but here’s a hypothetical look at the rewards a routine traveler might stack up in a year.

  • Perhaps you spend $1,400 in month expenses such as groceries, clothing, home upkeep and fuel. That’s $16,800 a year, or 16,800 points. Plus, that level of spending ensures the sign-up bonus of 50,000. Total: 66,800 points.
  • You might also spend $500 dining out in your home city each month. That’s $6,000 a year, and since you get 3x points, 18,000 points.
  • Perhaps you travel four times this year, spending an average of $3,800 per trip. That’s $15,200 and another 45,600 points.

Total points? 130,400

Total value of points? It depends on how you redeem them.

You can redeem them for a statement credit or gift card vouchers, which is a value of a penny a point, or $1,304.

You can redeem them for a 1:1 transfer to travel partner programs. Chase partners with Hyatt, IGH, Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotel rewards programs, and you can also transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline miles programs, including Southwest, United, Singapore, Flying Blue, Korean Air, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia and Aer Lingus.

Seek tip: The value you get with a transfer depends partly on your status with the other rewards program. If you’re at a high level in your other rewards programs, you may get more out of each point, and if you’re right on the cusp of a higher membership level, check to see if transferring your Chase points will get you above the line.

While all these options are great, the best way for most people to maximize points value is to use them to book travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel center. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, each point is worth 1.5 cents toward travel, which means those 130,400 points from our example cover $1,956!

That’s enough for first-class airfare for one or two people to New York or other exciting locations in the United States, and you could cover airfare for a family of four to many locations in the contiguous states. It’s also enough for a nice round-trip international flight, so you can explore or do business on Asia, Australia, Africa or other continents.

And you’re not tied to certain airlines or hotel chains, which makes the Chase Sapphire Rewards card a great option for non-loyalists who love luxury travel.

Some of the Best Travel Perks in the Business

Here’s another reason we fall hard for this card: you start getting extreme value as a high-end traveler even before you start swapping.Consider the $300 travel-related statement credit you can score. Every year, you can get up to $300 in credits to reimburse you for qualifying travel purchases on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card; that includes things like airfare, baggage fees or even in-flight meals.

Some other perks you get with this card include:

  • An increased value on your points when redeeming them for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards programs — only Sapphire reserve card holders get that extra 50 percent in value
  • A credit every four years to cover the cost of a TSA Precheck or Global Entry application — up to a $100 value
  • Complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges (that’s some serious VIP treatment) across the world — a free Private Pass Select membership lets you enjoy snacks, beverages, Wi-Fi and comfortable seating while you wait for flights
  • Unique privileges with numerous rental car agencies after you enroll in rewards programs — book through Chase’s travel rewards site to get promotional discounts and luxury upgrades from vendors such as Avis, National Car Rental and Silvercar
  • Special treatment at the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties, including complimentary upgrades and meals
  • Elite benefits at Relais & Chateaux properties
  • Trip cancellation insurance that reimburses you up to $10,000 per trip for pre-paid expenses if illness, disaster or another qualifying situation gets in the way of your travel
  • Rental car collision coverage, so you can decline the company’s plan and get up to $75,000 in coverage if you pay for the rental with your card
  • Baggage delay insurance that reimburses up to $100 a day for up to five days if your baggage is delayed six hours or more
  • Trip delay reimbursement that credits you for expenses associated with hotels and food if your flight is delayed over six hours — a value of up to $500 per ticket
  • Lost luggage reimbursement that credits you up to $3,000 per passenger if luggage is lost or damaged during air travel

These aren’t even all the perks that come with this card, but already you can see how carrying the Chase Sapphire Reserve card in your pocket lets you travel more comfortably and with greater peace of mind. Some other benefits you get when you’re a cardholder include travel accident insurance, emergency evacuation and transportation insurance, 24/7 access to an emergency assistance hotline, and emergency medical and dental benefits up to $2,500 per event when you’re 100 or more miles from home.

Seriously, we adore this card. So many complimentary upgrades you can’t help but travel in the lap of luxury. Plus, with all those peace-of-mind benefits, we think international travel and adventuring is a lot more enjoyable.

You can earn enough perks the first year to get an almost complimentary trip to somewhere like Paris, and if you want a more adrenaline-filled adventure, swap your rewards for airfare to Africa and enjoy a safari.

Surprising Math When It Comes to the Fees

Usually “surprise math” is a bad thing with it comes to credit cards, but when you start stacking the numbers on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, things definitely look great for your wallet.

First, you’re not going to get hit with foreign transaction fees when you swipe this card outside of the United States. That saves you 3 to 5 percent over some other cards, or at least $150 when you spend $5,000 on a trip overseas.

Second, while you pay $450 for an annual fee, you know you can get that back in perks and rewards value twice, thrice or even four times over (or more). The annual travel credit alone brings the net on the fee down to $150, and when you factor in the complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, you’ve already made out with this card.

If you travel regularly, enjoy a luxury lifestyle, and don’t like to be tied down to a specific airport or hotel chain, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a great choice. Between the perks and the priceless peace of mind, you’ll love having this one in your wallet.

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