Wow: Chase responds with new COVID benefits on CSR and CSP

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Greg recently put together a COVID-19 credit card enhancements ultimate guide. In our Frequent Miler on the Air episode that week, we talked about how Amex basically stole Chase’s lunch money in terms of response to the pandemic and Greg predicted that Chase probably would have to respond. In finally breaking his 2020 failed prediction streak, Greg was right: Chase is making some awesome changes for CSR and CSP holders that could be a great deal for many readers.

Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred

New perks for Sapphire cardholders for 2020

Chase has added some very intriguing perks for Sapphire cardholders this year.

Here are enhancements to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card:

  • Redeem points at a value of 1.5 cents each towards a statement credit used to offset purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments from May 31 through Sept. 30.
  • Use any remaining balance from your $300 annual travel credit toward purchases at grocery stores and gas stations from June 1 through the end of the year (automatically applied)
  • Renewal annual fee lowered to $450 after July 1 through 2020 (in place of the $100 credit some cardholders have received)

That is very interesting. First of all, it means that the $300 travel credit will be incredibly simple to use this year. I imagine most readers would organically spend more than $300 at grocery stores and gas stations from June 1st through the end of 2020. If you didn’t previously value that pretty close to face value, it would be hard to argue it much less than face now.

The ability to redeem points at 1.5c each to offset grocery, home improvement, and dining purchases is totally unprecedented. While I prefer to use my points for outsized value toward premium cabin travel, it is hard to ignore the opportunity cost of doing so with this limited-time opportunity to cash out for big value. I imagine that some readers will be thrilled to get excellent value out of points that are otherwise sitting dormant, particularly those will massive balances (Greg, are you listening?).

Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders will be able to redeem points towards a statement credit used to offset purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments from May 31 through Sept. 30 at a value of 1.25c per point.

Keep in mind that both cards currently offer bonus points on grocery store purchases (5x on the Sapphire Reserve and 3x on the Sapphire Preferred). See this post for a full list of COVID-19 credit card enhancements.

Bottom line

This is a big and swift response that seems directly aimed at competing with the enhancements that Amex enacted at the beginning of this month. I’m both surprised and impressed with Chase’s response. I imagine that many cardholders will find these improvements to be both positive and helpful. For CSR cardholders in particular, a reduced renewal fee (for those with upcoming renewals), the $60 DoorDash credit this year and next, and these added enhancements very much increase the value proposition of keeping the card for at least another year.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

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