The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is an excellent premium card from Chase, offering a top set of spending and travel benefits.
The main question most people will face with this card will be whether it is worth the $450 annual fee. We believe that it is – especially for the higher spending frequent traveler who can maximize the great range of benefits. This article will highlight the main benefits and show why you should get the Chase Sapphire Reserve® in 2019.
1. Top sign up bonus – worth at least $750
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers an excellent sign up bonus for new cardholders of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for initial spending of $4,000 within the first three months.
This may initially seem lower than the alternative Sapphire Preferred card (with a sign up bonus of 60,000 points for the same spending). Points are worth more with the Sapphire Reserve card though. This bonus is worth at least $750 when redeemed for travel (at a rate of 1.5 cents per point).
2. Save with no transaction fees on purchases overseas
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers zero transaction fees for foreign exchange. The savings here can really add up when using the card overseas, or online in a foreign currency. Many other credit cards add a surcharge of around three percent on foreign purchases.
Note though that this only applies to purchases with the card and not to cash advances. ATM withdrawals will incur charges.
3. Participate in Chase Ultimate Rewards points
All spending on the Sapphire Reserve card is rewarded with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. We really like Ultimate Rewards – it is one of the strongest of the financial rewards schemes. The program has built up a good choice of airline and hotel partners. And earning, redeeming and transfer rates are reliable and high.
Points earned never expire as long as the account remains open.
4. Earn points on all spending globally
All spending on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, in the US and overseas, is rewarded with one point per dollar – more for travel and dining spend! There is no upper limit to how much you can earn.
As there are no transactions fees for foreign purchases you are free to use the card wherever you travel and benefit from both no fees and points earning – an excellent advantage for the frequent traveler!
5. Earn triple points for travel and dining spend
The Sapphire Reserve card is an excellent choice for the frequent traveler, with many valuable travel benefits. Potentially the most rewarding of these is an earning rate of three points per dollar on all spending on travel and dining globally. This is about the best easy to use earning rate you will find for travel spend!
To make this even better, Chase employs a wide definition of travel and dining. Travel is not just limited to flights, hotels and car hire – it also includes cruise liners, all travel agency spend, car hire, trains, buses, taxis, parking and road toll fees. And dining includes not just restaurants, but food delivery too.
6. Simple to use rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are good value and simple to redeem. There are two main fixed value easy to use redemption options. You can either redeem for a fixed one cent per point as cashback statement credit or, for better value, at 1.5 cents per points towards booking any travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
This is a higher rate than you will receive with other Chase cards – the excellent Chase Sapphire Preferred card, for example, offers a rate for travel booking of 1.25 cents per points.
7. Get better value rewards – even from other Chase cards
One of the good features of Chase Ultimate Rewards is that you can combine points from multiple cards that you hold in the one account. The redemption value (for travel booked through the Chase portal) are then set at the higher level of 1.5 cents per point for any points you redeem if you hold the Sapphire Reserve card.
There are many cases where you may want to hold multiple cards and split spending between them – such as separating business expenses, or taking advantage of higher earnings for some areas with other cards. With a Sapphire Reserve card, you can do this and still get top value from your points!
8. Get even more value by transferring points to airlines and hotels
One of the best features of Chase Ultimate Rewards is the option to transfer points to other airline and hotel loyalty programs. You can then use them within these programs for flight and hotel awards. The value of points used this way can vary widely – but used right, it is possible to get some excellent value use!
Chase offers nine airlines and three hotel partners. Points can be transferred to all partners at an excellent 1:1 rate – better than many other financial rewards schemes.
Airline partners are currently:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Iberia Airlines Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
And hotel partners:
- IHG Rewards Club
- Hyatt, World of Hyatt
- Marriott Bonvoy
9. Access some great value premium travel awards
There are many options possible when you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airlines or hotels. For more details on these transfers and ideas for some of the best uses, see our guide to redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
One of our favorite options though, and likely the best value you can get for your points, is to use for premium business and first class flight tickets.
One of the best uses, for example, is with Singapore Airlines. They offer market leading business and first class products. Booking award tickets on the best are only possible through their KrisFlyer program – a 1:1 transfer partner with Ultimate Rewards! From 125,000 miles you can fly First Class from London to Singapore, or from 132,000 miles from New York to Singapore.
British Airways Executive Club is another of our favorite options. They operate their mileage program slightly differently from many other airlines – each flight is priced separately based on the cabin flown and the flight distance.
There are many cases where this can work out excellent value compared to cash prices – including short and medium distance international business class flights with any of the OneWorld airlines.
10. Make use of the $300 credit towards travel – every year
Each year of card ownership, you can receive up to $300 rebate for spend on travel. This will automatically be applied against any travel spend with the card.
This is an excellent benefit. Anyone using this card should easily be able to spend this on travel (especially with Chase’s wide definition of travel spending). And this effectively reduces the annual fee paid for the card to just $150!
11. Enjoy complimentary airport lounge access with Priority Pass
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card comes offers a free membership with Priority Pass. This gives the cardholder unlimited access to airport lounge at over 1,200 locations worldwide.
There are many great options here in most of the main airports globally. You can also enjoy this together with family or travel colleagues – up to two guests can join the cardholder free of charge (with further guests possible for a fee). For more details see our Priority Pass guide.
12. Travel easier with free Global Entry membership
Another great benefit for US travelers is free enrollment with the Global Entry, or the TSA PreCheck, scheme. These allow faster and easier transit through airports, with expedited security and immigration.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers up to a $100 application fee rebate when you apply for membership with Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. This is offered once every four years and needs to be paid using the card. It can be for someone else if you already have a membership!
13. Upgrade hotel stays with the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
The Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection is a network of over 900 top end luxury hotels globally. Access to this is provided as the card is part of the Visa Infinite card benefits. Booking these hotels using the Sapphire Reserve card brings extra in stay benefits – these can be very valuable if you need them!
Offers vary by property and can be checked through the Visa Infinite site. These include:
- Complimentary breakfast
- Room upgrades
- Early check-in and late checkout
- Property-specific amenities – including benefits such as spa treatments, welcome gifts, food and beverage credit or airport transfers.
14. Travel safer with several included travel insurance and auto benefits
Travel insurance and trip protection is a frequently overlooked benefit provided with many mid-range and premium credit cards. Nobody wants problems when they travel, but such cover can be very valuable however in the event of travel disruption, personal or other problems.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers some of the best travel protection and insurance cover available with a credit card. More is covered, and limits are often higher than with many other cards. As with any insurance, you should check the details of insurance cover in full to make sure it matches what you need.
The card offers:
- Trip interruption and cancellation cover (up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip)
- Trip delay reimbursement (up to $500 per person to cover expenses when a trip is delayed for over six hours)
- Emergency medical cover (up to $2,500)
- Travel accident insurance
- Baggage delay (up to $100 per day. Cover applies after six hours baggage delay)
- Baggage loss (up to $3,000 per person)
Whenever you rent a car using the card, in the US and overseas, you will receive free Collision Damage Waiver cover. This covers theft and damage up to $75,000. You can decline any Collision Damage Waiver covered offered by the rental company, saving money!
Note as well that the Collision Damage Waiver provided with the Sapphire Reserve card is primary coverage. This will pay out before any personal insurance cover you may have, another useful benefit!
15. Make safe purchases with purchase protection and extend warranty – with high cover limits
This is another area that is often overlooked with credit cards. Many cards offer some level of protection on purchases made with the card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card certainly does this, and you may well find the levels of cover better than with many other cards.
The card includes purchase protection on new purchases for 120 days – covering damage and theft. Cover is up to a huge limit of $10,000 per claim – making this a great card for larger purchases.
Extended warranty is also offered on all eligible purchases with the card. This extends the original warranty of a US manufacturer by one additional year, for original warranties of three years or less.