Last Updated: March 15 2017
The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, introduced in August 2016, may be the single best travel rewards card available in the United States. Here is everything you need to know…
Chase Sapphire Reserve Summary
- Standard Signup Bonus: 50,000 points after $4K spend
- $450 Annual Fee
- $300 in annual travel credits automatically applied to account for travel purchases charged to card
- Points worth 1.5 cents each when used to purchase travel
- Earn 3X points per dollar for travel and dining; 1X elsewhere
- Airport Lounge Access via Priority Pass Select
- Primary car rental collision damage waiver
- Rental car privileges and discounts
- Global Entry or TSA Pre Fee Credit
- No foreign transaction fee
- Points transferable 1 to 1 to selected airline and hotel programs
- Authorized User Fee: $75 per year
- Issued as Visa Infinite
Getting the card
- Standard Signup Bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $4,000 spend in 3 months.
- Better signup bonuses? None that we’re aware of.
- Does the 5/24 rule apply? YES. As with many of their other cards, Chase will not approve your application if you’ve signed up for 5 or more cards (with any bank) in the past 24 months. Suggestions for getting approved despite being over 5/24, can be found here: How to get approved for the Sapphire Reserve.
- Can I get the card even though I signed up for the Sapphire Preferred less than 2 years ago? Yes. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is considered a different product from the Sapphire Preferred.
- Is there an ideal time of year to get the card? If you think you may cancel the card before paying the second annual fee, then yes. In that case, it is best to signup for the card mid-year so that you have plenty of time to get the $300 in travel credits twice: once this calendar year and once next calendar year before cancelling the card. Note that the charge must show up the current year’s statement in order to get the current year travel credit. In other words, charges made in late December, after your December statement close, will count towards the following year’s travel credit.
- If approved, can I get the card right away? Yes. Chase will send your card immediately if you request expedited delivery.
Earning the 50,000 point signup bonus
- You must spend $4,000 within 3 months in order to earn the signup bonus
- When does the clock start? Upon approval.
- Does Chase offer a grace period? Yes,. In practice, Chase allows up to 115 days to complete the minimum spend requirements, but I don’t recommend waiting that long unless you get an explicit OK from Chase.
- Does the $450 annual fee count towards the minimum spend requirement? No! No! No! In general, fees imposed by your credit card do not count towards spend bonuses.
- Can I buy gift cards to meet the spend bonus? Yes
- Will Chase shut down my account if I buy $4,000 in gift cards? While I can’t predict what Chase will do, I believe that is extremely unlikely.
- Do you have advice on how to meet the spend requirements? Yes, please see: 9 ways to increase credit card spend without leaving home and 3 easy ways to meet the Sapphire Reserve minimum spend requirement.
- What about the $300 travel credit? Will that increase the spend requirement? Suppose you spend exactly $4,000 within 3 months and receive $300 in travel credits (because some of your spend was on travel expenses). Will you then have to spend $300 more to meet the spend requirements? Answer: No. Chase counts the $300 in travel purchases towards your minimum spend even if they were reimbursed.
- I’ve earned a bonus for signing up for the Sapphire Preferred card less than 24 months ago, can I get the bonus for this card? Yes. The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred cards are considered separate products.
Info about Authorized User cards
- Annual fee: $75 per authorized user
- $300 travel credit? Authorized users do not get their own travel credits. Travel purchases made on authorized user cards do get reimbursed but it comes out of the same $300 per year bucket as the primary card.
- Airport Lounge Access? Authorized users will get Priority Pass Select membership like the primary user.
- Primary car rental collision damage waiver? Yes
- Global Entry or TSA Pre Fee Credit? Authorized users do not get their own Global Entry or TSA Pre reimbursements. Enrollment fees charged to authorized user cards do get reimbursed but it comes out of the same single reimbursement every 4 years as the primary card.
- Why even consider paying for authorized user cards? Many may find that it is not worth adding authorized users. However, assuming lounge access is useful, the $75 annual fee may be worthwhile. More worthwhile, for many, is the ability for authorized users to earn 3X for travel & dining. See also: The Sapphire Reserve Couple Conundrum.
Best Options for Earning Ultimate Rewards Points
- Signup bonuses: Chase has many cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points and each card has its own signup bonus. The best bonuses are for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred, and Sapphire Preferred cards. All up-to-date Chase Ultimate Rewards signup bonuses can be found here.
- Category bonuses: With a combination of Chase cards, it’s possible to earn far more than 1 point per dollar. Once points are earned, they can be moved to another card (Chase calls this “Combine Points”):
- Ink Plus or Ink Cash: Earn 5 points per dollar for cell phone service, cable TV, internet, and office supply purchases
- Freedom: Earn 5 points per dollar in rotating categories each quarter. 5X earnings are limited to $1500 spend per quarter, so it is often advantageous to get more than 1 Freedom card. This is usually accomplished by downgrading a Sapphire Preferred card to the Freedom card.
- Sapphire Reserve: Earn 3 points per dollar for travel and dining.
- Chase Ink Business Preferred: 3 points per dollar for travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year)
- Ink Plus or Ink Cash: 2 points per dollar at gas stations
- Freedom Unlimited: Earn 1.5 points per dollar for all spend.
- Other bonuses: Ink Plus: 2X hotels; Ink Cash: 2X restaurants; Sapphire Preferred: 2X travel & dining
- Shop through Chase: Chase operates an online shopping portal available to anyone with a Chase Ultimate Rewards card. By starting your shopping here, you’ll earn bonus points for purchases you would have made anyway.
Best Options for Using Ultimate Rewards Points
With any Chase Ultimate Rewards card, including the Sapphire Reserve, points can be redeemed for cash at a value of 1 cent per point. However, with the Sapphire Reserve card it is possible to get much better value by using points for travel.
There are two ways to use points for travel at better than 1 cent per point value:
- Book through Chase (1.5 cents per point value): You can redeem points for travel by calling the number on the back of your card, or by logging into Chase.com, clicking “Ultimate Rewards“, and then selecting: Use Points.. Explore & Book Travel.
- Transfer points to an airline or hotel program, then book award flights or award stays (point value varies). Chase currently supports the following transfer partners:
- Airlines: Air France, British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic
- Hotels: Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton [Note: IHG, Marriott, and Ritz points are usually worth less than a penny each towards hotel stays. Therefore, you would usually be better off booking through Chase]
You can move points from other Chase cards to your Sapphire Reserve account. This can make the points more valuable when used for travel. It is always possible to move points from one card to another if you own each of the cards, but it is also sometimes possible to move points from one person’s card to another. For full details see: Chase point transfer rules made simple [Infographic].
Card Perk Details
Points worth 1.5 cents each when used to purchase travel.
With most bank programs, points are worth 1 cents each. For example, usually a $300 car rental would cost 30,000 points. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, though, points are worth 50% more. So, a $300 car rental would cost only 20,000 points.
You can redeem points for travel by calling the number on the back of your card, or by logging into Chase.com, clicking “Ultimate Rewards“, and then select: Use Points.. Explore & Book Travel.
$300 in annual travel credits
- Those who signed up for the card prior to May 21 2017:
- The $300 in travel credits is available each calendar year.
- The calendar year is determined by your statement closing date, not by the date of purchase. For example, if your statement closes on December 15th, then a travel purchase made on December 16th would count towards next year’s travel credits. Chase statement close dates for personal credit cards are typically 3 days after the next month’s due date. For example, if your January due date is January 25th, then your statement close date is most likely December 28th.
- Those who sign up for the card on or after May 21 2017:
- The $300 in travel credits is available each membership year.
- Membership year is defined as follows: “Annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first statement date after your account open date anniversary, and the 12 monthly billing cycles after that each year.“
- Authorized user travel charges are reimbursed, but they count towards the same $300 travel credit per account. In other words, you cannot get more than $300 back in total by adding authorized users.
- Any charge that codes as travel will be reimbursed (up to $300 per calendar year, total).
- Both large and small travel purchases count. Small purchases will be reimbursed until a total of $300 has been reimbursed in a calendar year. Large purchases will be reimbursed up to $300.
Merchants that count towards 3X travel rewards and $300 travel credits
- Airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.
Global Entry or TSA Pre Fee Credit
- Simply pay the $100 Global Entry application fee or $85 TSA Pre application fee with the Sapphire Reserve card and the fee will be automatically reimbursed.
- You can get reimbursed once every 4 years
- Authorized user cards do not get additional fee credits
- You can gift the once per 4 year fee credit to another person, but they would have to be an authorized user on your account, or you would have to let them use your credit card number to pay for their application.
Airport Lounge Access
- Cardholders are granted membership to Priority Pass Select.
- Guests: Unlimited number of travel companions are allowed in for free to most lounges. However, some lounges impose their own limit to number of guests.
- Authorized Users: Authorized users get their own Priority Pass Select membership and can bring in travel companions as well.
How to sign up for Priority Pass Select once you have the Sapphire Reserve card:
- Log into your account
- Click “Go to Ultimate Rewards”
- If you have multiple Ultimate Rewards cards, select the Sapphire Reserve card (otherwise you won’t be asked to select a card)
- Select Use Points… Card Benefits, from the menu at the top.
- Find the box labelled “Airport Lounge Access” and click “Activate Now”
Rental car privileges and discounts
- National Emerald Club Executive status (which lets you select car from Executive aisle when you book a mid sized car)
- National save up to 25%
- Avis save up to 30%
- Silvercar save 30%
Have questions about the Chase Sapphire Reserve? Please comment below.