Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth the annual fee?

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve has been an awfully standard bank card because it was first launched in 2016. With the potential to earn 3 factors for each greenback you spend on each journey and eating purchases, together with additional journey perks like airport lounge entry, it’s turn out to be a preferred go-to bank card.

However, the card isn’t low cost. At the begin of 2020, Chase raised the annual price from $450 to $550 a yr, a 22% enhance. While the issuer has been providing a $100 credit score to present Sapphire Reserve card holders throughout the pandemic, new card holders nonetheless get charged the full freight.

Regardless, at both $450 or $550, it’s truthful to surprise if the annual price is worth paying. Let’s check out the execs and cons of the card to see if the Sapphire Reserve ought to have a spot in your purse or pockets.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve initially launched with a wealthy suite of advantages. The checklist begins with two prime bonus classes: 3 factors for each greenback you spend on a really big selection of each journey and eating purchases. The card additionally encompasses a $300 annual journey credit score that works on those self same journey purchases, a Priority Pass Select membership that offers you entry to over 1,200 airport lounges round the world, and a credit score of as much as $100 if you apply for both the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck expedited safety applications.

The Sapphire Reserve additionally comes with a sign-up bonus for brand spanking new card holders. If you’re permitted for the card, proper now you’ll earn 60,000 bonus factors if you spend $4,000 in the first three months after you open the account.

Points earned with the Sapphire Reserve will be redeemed for journey via Chase Ultimate Rewards at a price of 1.5 cents per level, or transferred to any of Chase’s 13 airline and resort companions for probably much more worth. Even in case you simply redeem the bonus factors at 1.5 cents per level, that makes them worth $900 in journey, which by itself greater than offsets the $550 annual price for the first yr.

Related: Get 60,000 bonus points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.

Of course, as the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on airways and inns over the final yr, lots of the journey perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve went unused by card holders. Fortunately, Chase has been proactively including limited-time advantages that you should use at dwelling, on high of a number of different new options that have been added to the card in January.

When it involves incomes factors, the card added a brand new bonus class early final yr. Card holders now earn 10 factors per greenback on Lyft rides via March 2022, up from the regular 3 factors earned for journey purchases (which incorporates ride-shares).

Also on the Lyft entrance, the card comes with a complimentary Lyft Pink membership for one yr. Lyft Pink offers a 15% low cost on all Lyft rides, together with precedence airport pickups, as much as three cancellation price waivers every month in case you rebook inside quarter-hour, three free 30-minute bike or scooter leases in choose cities every month and different perks. Lyft usually fees $19.99 per 30 days for Lyft Pink.

The Sapphire Reserve additionally has two advantages linked to the DoorDash meals supply service. Card holders obtain $60 in annual DoorDash credit in 2021, together with at the very least 12 months of complimentary DashPass membership if you activate it by December 31, 2021. SprintPass presents free supply charges and diminished service charges at choose eating places, and usually prices $9.99 per 30 days.

More not too long ago, Chase has added alternatives to make use of the card whilst you’re not on the highway. From now via April 30, 2021, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3 points for every dollar spent on grocery store purchases, as much as $1,000 in complete purchases per 30 days.

Related: Earn more rewards on your groceries with these credit cards.

Also, card holders rise up to $120 in assertion credit towards Peloton Digital and All-Access memberships via December 31, 2021, and 10 complete factors for each greenback spent on Peloton bike, tread and accessory purchases over $1,800 via March 2022, with a most of fifty,000 factors,

You can get both bonus points and credits for Peloton purchases with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.


You can get each bonus factors and credit for Peloton purchases with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

All these perks come on high of a brand new Sapphire Reserve function that Chase launched final May. The card’s “Pay Yourself Back” tool permits card holders to redeem factors for purchases in classes aside from journey. The present classes are grocery shops, eating institutions (together with supply and takeout) and residential enchancment shops.

Through September 30, 2021, Chase Sapphire Reserve card holders get 1.5 cents per level on these “Pay Yourself Back” redemptions, which is an identical to the worth you get when utilizing factors for journey through Chase’s journey portal. That’s a strong return on your factors and an possibility worth contemplating in case you aren’t utilizing your rewards on flights or inns proper now.

Finally, due to the present restrictions on journey, Sapphire Reserve card holders have entry to further limited-time options for using the card’s $300 travel credit. From now via the finish of 2021, gasoline and grocery retailer purchases additionally rely towards the journey credit score, together with the ordinary eligible journey fees.

Let’s be frank: $550 is quite a bit to pay for a bank card. The 60,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $900 in journey (and probably extra), which makes the first yr a no brainer. But what about the second yr and past? Some folks will have the ability to make the most of all the card’s options, however not everybody. And whereas the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a well-liked card, it’s not worth it in case you can’t use its perks.

The $300 journey credit score is comparatively simple to make the most of, and much more so proper now. It covers not simply airfare, resort rooms, automobile leases and the like, but additionally every day journey bills comparable to transit prices, tolls, taxis, rideshares and even parking. And with the credit’s limited-time expansion, you too can at present apply it to gasoline and grocery retailer purchases via the finish of December.

Even in case you’re not touring, it’s extremely seemingly you’ll spend $300 on gasoline and groceries between every now and then. So, assuming you should use the complete $300 credit score, that brings the efficient annual price on the Sapphire Reserve down from $550 to $250, a big drop.

The query then is whether or not the remainder of the card’s options and advantages are worth $250 a yr. If you’re utilizing DoorDash much more now attributable to the pandemic, that’s one other $60 in worth for 2021. The free supply charges which might be a part of the SprintPass membership are a bit more durable to calculate, however in case you usually use DoorDash, you’ll see a couple of dollars in financial savings there as properly.

Related: Are you using the right credit card when ordering food for delivery?

If you have DoorDash in your area and can use it, the $60 in credits in 2021 can help make the Sapphire Reserve annual fee worthwhile.


If you’ve got DoorDash in your space and may use it, the $60 in credit in 2021 may also help make the Sapphire Reserve annual price worthwhile.

The as much as $120 in credits toward Peloton memberships can be probably extra helpful at the second than it may need been earlier than. You’ll must make the most of it by December 31, however you may apply it to your new or present membership and get your Peloton service without cost for a number of months.

It’s much less seemingly that you simply’re a daily Lyft rider proper now, however if you’re, you’ll additionally get some use from the Lyft Pink membership, in addition to the further 7 factors for each greenback you spend on Lyft. Again, it will depend on how a lot you utilize Lyft, however common or heavy customers of the ride-share service might rating a pair extra {dollars} in financial savings.

The $100 software price credit score for both Global Entry or TSA PreCheck isn’t terribly helpful at the second, and since membership in these applications is sweet for five years, it solely involves $20 a yr when you prorate that $100 over 5 years.

Also, many different bank cards function the similar Global Entry/TSA PreCheck rebate, so it’s not as helpful to you if you have already got the similar $100 credit score with one other card (although be mindful you should use this credit score for the software price of a good friend or member of the family if you have already got your personal Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership).

It’s unattainable to place a exact greenback quantity on the Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, as you may use this profit every year or fifty instances a yr. If you paid for these lounge visits individually utilizing a “pay as you go” Priority Pass membership, they’d price you $32 a go to plus $99 for the yr (or you would pay for a $299 membership that features the first 10 visits).

But at these costs, you’re nearly definitely higher off simply getting the Sapphire Reserve or one other bank card with Priority Pass if you would like lounge entry as an alternative of paying for a membership.

Add all of the above advantages collectively and in case you use every of them at the very least just a few instances a yr, you’re seemingly getting your $250 worth. But let’s say you solely use half of them, which means you solely get $125 in worth from the card’s perks. How a lot would it’s essential spend on the card in a yr to make up that remaining $125 in additional factors?

NCS Underscored’s benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card, has no annual price and earns 2% money again on every little thing you purchase — 1% if you make a purchase order, and one other 1% if you pay your assertion. In comparability, every level earned with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth at the very least 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed immediately for journey through Chase Ultimate Rewards or utilizing the “Pay Yourself Back” software, which means you’re getting 1.5% on all purchases you make, and 4.5% on journey and eating purchases because you earn 3 factors per greenback in these two classes.

Related: Earn 2% cash back on everything with the no-annual-fee Citi Double Cash credit card.

So in case you spend $2,000 a month general in your bank card and one-third of that’s on journey and eating, you’d earn $120 extra in rewards in a yr than you’d with the Citi Double Cash, which is sort of the complete the rest of the annual price. Spend greater than that every month on journey or eating — or in any of the different currently-available bonus classes — and also you’re popping out forward. Spend lower than that, and the card is costing you greater than it’s worth.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred credit cards.


The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred bank cards.

If you’re in search of a Chase journey bank card however don’t wish to pay a excessive price, there’s another choice. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card doesn’t include all the fancy perks or the $300 journey credit score. It solely earns 2 factors for each greenback you spend on journey and eating as an alternative of three factors, and 5 factors per greenback for Lyft rides via March 2022. It presents the similar limited-time grocery store bonuses and Peloton credits, however at decrease charges. But it solely prices $95 a yr, so it could possibly be a greater match on your price range.

Related: Read NCS Underscored’s review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

The Sapphire Preferred additionally has a sign-up bonus, and it’s even increased than the Sapphire Reserve — you’ll earn 80,000 bonus factors if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months after you open the card, plus as much as $50 in assertion credit for grocery retailer purchases in the first yr you’ve got the card.

If you solely have the Sapphire Preferred, the factors are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for journey as an alternative of 1.5 cents every, which means these 80,000 factors are worth $1,000, solely $100 greater than the Sapphire Reserve regardless that there’s 20,000 extra of them.

But you may switch factors earned with the Sapphire Preferred to the similar 13 airline and resort companions as the Sapphire Reserve, which makes the factors simply as versatile, regardless of which of the two playing cards you resolve to hold. And Chase Sapphire Preferred card holders even have entry to the “Pay Yourself Back” software, so you too can at present redeem factors for grocery shops, eating institutions (together with supply and takeout) and residential enchancment shops at 1.25 cents apiece.

Related: 6 reasons to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card.

Not positive which card is best for you? You may think about signing up for the cheaper Chase Sapphire Preferred to start out because it has a better bonus, after which changing to the Sapphire Reserve after the first yr. You received’t get all the perks of the Reserve in Year #1, however you’ll pay quite a bit much less and may take that point to contemplate whether or not paying for the additional perks is smart.

If you do find yourself changing to the Reserve in Year #2, any factors you earned with the Preferred that you simply haven’t already used — together with the sign-up bonus — shall be redeemable for journey through Chase Ultimate Rewards at 1.5 cents every after you have the Reserve in hand. (Note which you can’t get a second sign-up bonus for changing from one card to the different.)

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which is best for you?

It all comes all the way down to how a lot you’ll make the most of the advantages of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. in case you don’t take numerous Lyft rides, the Lyft options received’t be of worth to you. If you don’t fly a lot, you received’t want airport lounge entry fairly often. And in case you dwell in an space with out DoorDash service, you received’t see any profit from having a SprintPass membership or credit. That’s why it’s essential to contemplate what number of options of a bank card you’ll really use when deciding if it’s best for you.

Also, in case you’re already struggling with debt, now isn’t the time to exit and get an costly journey bank card. Get your monetary home so as first — then you may discover the world of bank card rewards.

But in case you’re in strong monetary form and see your self utilizing some or all of the Sapphire Reserve’s options or spending a big amount of cash every year on journey or eating purchases, the math can work out in your favor. So in case you’ve been contemplating whether or not a premium bank card is an effective alternative, take a look at the Chase Sapphire Reserve and see if it suits your present and future wants.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Find out which playing cards NCS Underscored selected as our best credit cards of 2021.

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