If you’re looking for the perfect card to keep in your wallet, you’ve likely considered the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. With so many premium credit cards on the market to choose from, it may be difficult to decide if this card is for you.

Let’s unpack everything you need to know about the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card and help you decide if it’s the best option for your needs.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Overview

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is meant for frequent travelers. It offers 3X points on purchases that code as travel and dining and up to 10X points on bookings through Chase Travel. Redeeming your points is easy through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal where every point is worth 1.5 cents. Another option to redeem your points for travel is by transferring them to 14 travel partners at a 1:1 ratio.

While the $550 annual fee scares off many would-be cardholders at first glance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve delivers plenty of value in exchange. Right off the bat, you’ll receive a reimbursement for your first $300 in purchases that code as travel. This brings your net annual fee to $250.

Combined with benefits like complimentary Priority Pass Select membership and an enrollment fee credit up to $100 for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or Nexus, you may recover the full cost of the card before you’ve redeemed your first Ultimate Rewards point.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, let’s cover the basics.

best credit card for frequent travelers

Chase Sapphire Reserve Quick Facts

Annual Fee

$550

Benefits

  • Travel insurances and protections
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription (must enroll by 12/31/2024)

Statement Credits

  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus fee credit
  • $300 travel credit
  • $15 monthly Instacart credit (through July 2024)
  • $10 monthly GoPuff credit (through December 2023)
  • $5 monthly DoorDash credit

Bonus Categories

  • 10X on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • 10X on Chase Dining
  • 10X on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Travel (after earning the $300 travel credit)
  • 5X on flights booked through Chase Travel (after earning the $300 travel credit)
  • 3X at restaurants (including delivery services, takeout and dining out)
  • 3X on travel (after earning the $300 travel credit)
  • 1X on everything else
premium card for frequent travelers

Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

From breezing through security with your newly earned TSA PreCheck to sipping a cocktail at a lounge during a layover, the Chase Sapphire Reserve augments your travel lifestyle no matter how little you spend on it.

Let’s look at all the benefits the Chase Sapphire Reserve has to offer.

Priority Pass Select membership: Enroll in complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, and you and up to two guests have access to more than 1,300 airport lounges in nearly 150 countries.

No foreign transaction fees: You won’t pay foreign transaction fees when using your Chase Sapphire Reserve overseas.

One Year DashPass subscription: Enroll and receive at least 12 months of DashPass subscription through DoorDash. This eliminates service fees and lowers delivery fees, but you need to watch out once the complimentary period is over. This subscription automatically renews at a cost of $9.99 per month. Must enroll by 12/31/2024.

One-year Instacart+ membership: Similar to the DashPass subscription. You’ll receive one year of Instacart+, and you’ll be automatically renewed at a cost of $9.99 per month.

Two years of Lyft Pink All Access: Normally $199 per year, Lyft Pink All Access membership gives you access to relaxed cancellation policies, priority pickups and exclusive pricing among other benefits. Your third year will automatically renew at 50% off.

Travel insurance and trip protections: Use your card to complete rental car reservations or travel tickets, and your trip will be protected.

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance: This insurance reimburses you for prepaid nonrefundable travel expenses interrupted due to sickness, severe weather or other qualified events. Each person on the trip is covered up to $10,000 for a maximum of $20,000 per trip. Just use your card to book your trip and you’re covered.

Auto rental collision damage waiver: If you decline the collision damage waiver offered by the car rental company and use your Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ultimate Rewards account to make your reservation, your rental is covered for up to $75,000 of damage or theft. This is primary coverage so you won’t have to make a claim with your personal auto policy carrier. Keep in mind that this doesn’t cover personal liability to other vehicles or property involved in an accident.

You can use this coverage for any rentals in the United States and in most foreign countries. While Chase doesn’t publish a list of exempted countries, you can call the benefit administrator at 1-888-320-9961 to ensure you’re covered before you travel.

Lost luggage reimbursement: This covers lost, stolen or damaged baggage up to $3,000 per traveler on a common carrier or an occupancy provider (i.e. hotel). As long as you used your Sapphire Reserve card to pay for your reservation, you and members of your immediate family are covered. Just be sure to report the loss to the airline or hotel as soon as the loss occurs. This benefit is in addition to any compensation you receive from a common carrier or hotelier.

Medical services and transportation: If you’re traveling abroad in an area too remote to get medical care or in a country where your health insurance isn’t accepted, this insurance covers the cost of medical expenses and ambulatory or evacuation transportation in the event of a sickness or illness. You’re covered up to $100,000 per year.

Purchase protection: The Chase Sapphire Reserve covers your new purchase for up to 120 days against damage or theft. For instance, if you strutted out of a Verizon store clutching a brand-new iPhone and dropped it in the parking lot, shattering the screen into a billion little pieces (just a hypothetical here), this policy would replace the phone up to $10,000 per claim with a limit of $50,000 per year.

Return protection: If a store refuses to allow you to return an item and you still have the receipt, this protection covers up to $500 per item with a limit of $1,000 per year.

travel insurance and trip protection

Statement Credits

Statement credits are a great way to take the bite out of an annual fee. Just use your card to complete specific purchases and Chase credits your account for the amount.
Let’s explore all the statement credits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

$300 annual travel credit: Use your card to purchase anything that codes as travel, and Chase automatically generates a statement credit to offset the purchase for the first $300 each card anniversary year. Unlike other premium card travel credits, this travel credit doesn’t need to be spent in a specific portal or with a specific vendor.

Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus fee credit: Use your card when purchasing Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus, and Chase will issue a statement credit to cover the cost up to $100 once every four years.

 

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit

$5 monthly DoorDash credit: If you enroll in the complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription, you’ll receive $5 DoorDash credits in your account each month. You can accrue up to $15 worth of credits to redeem at once, after which they start to drop off $5 at a time.

$15 monthly Instacart+ credit: Enrollment in the complimentary Instacart+ program is required for this benefit. Each month, you’ll receive a $15 credit for any Instacart purchases made with your Chase Sapphire Reserve (through July 2024). These credits don’t accrue.

 

DoorDash Kitchens

Earning Ultimate Rewards

Bonus Categories:

  • 10X on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • 10X on Chase Dining
  • 10X on hotels and car rentals through Chase Travel (after the $300 travel credit is earned)
  • 5X on flights through Chase Travel (after the $300 travel credit is earned)
  • 3X at restaurants (including delivery services, takeout and dining out)
  • 3X on travel (after the $300 travel credit is earned)
  • 1X on everything else

While simply carrying the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers plenty of benefits, the card offers attractive earning potential for those who like to travel. While all purchases earn at least 1X Ultimate Rewards point, several spending categories will give you a boost.

Chase incentivizes its cardholders to book their travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, the bank’s third-party booking site powered by cxLoyalty. Airfare booked through the portal earns 5X points while hotels, car rentals and other experiences earn 10X. If you find cheaper accommodations away from Chase Travel or you prefer to book directly with a hotel or carrier to earn loyalty points, you’ll earn 3X rewards on any charge that codes as travel. These rates apply after you use the $300 travel credit, which applies automatically.

Because of Chase’s partnership with Lyft, you’ll also earn 10X points on all Lyft rides requested through March 2025.

You’ll also receive 3X points on restaurants (dine-in or carry-out), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (except for Target and Walmart).

Priority Pass Select Membership with Chase Sapphire Reserve

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards

Once you’ve accumulated a stash of Ultimate Rewards with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, there’s no shortage of ways to use them to plan your next trip.

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards Through Chase Travel

The easiest way to redeem your Ultimate Rewards is to simply click on “Travel” in the Ultimate Rewards portal. This takes you to Chase Travel where Ultimate Rewards are worth 1.5 cents each.

One of the benefits of carrying a Chase Sapphire product is that you can pool points across any cards that earn Ultimate Rewards. If you carry a Chase Freedom card or a Chase Ink Business card, you can transfer points to your Sapphire card. This increases their value on Chase Travel by 50% with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and 25% for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Using Ultimate Rewards to book your travel is as easy as using any other online travel agency. Simply find the perfect flight or dream hotel and reserve it. If you don’t have quite as many points as you need, you can use the points you have to offset the partial cash price of the reservation and use cash for the remainder.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards to Travel Partners

While Chase Travel offers plenty of ways to use your Ultimate Rewards, a more lucrative opportunity is often to transfer your Ultimate Rewards to a travel partner.

Chase boasts 14 transfer partners (11 airlines and three hotels). Ultimate Rewards transfer to each of these partners at a 1:1 ratio.

Here’s a list of Chase’s transfer partners:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus
  • IHG One Rewards
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • World of Hyatt

Transferring just 14,442 points to Southwest Airlines could score you a one-way ticket from Nashville, Tennessee, to San Jose, Costa Rica.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards to Travel Partners

Or transferring 30,000 Ultimate Rewards to World of Hyatt could pay for a night at the Hôtel du Louvre in Paris.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards to Travel Partners2

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards for Statement Credits

If you hate to travel, at the very least you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards for a statement credit. Ultimate Reward points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for a statement credit. While more lucrative redemption opportunities exist, don’t overlook the power of a simple statement credit to reduce the cost of a trip.

While Capital One is known for its travel-related reimbursements, this is essentially the same as redeeming Ultimate Rewards for a statement credit, except the charge doesn’t have to code as travel to be eligible. For bookings on sites like VRBO, which often don’t code as travel, redeeming Ultimate Rewards to lower or eliminate the cost of your reservation may be just the thing your budget needs.

redeeming ultimate rewards

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Fee Worth It?

While paying $550 for the privilege of carrying a credit card may seem absurd, once you unpack the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it’s fairly easy to recoup the cost of the annual fee.

Assuming you travel at all, you’ll certainly receive the benefit of a $300 travel statement credit. This brings the net annual fee of the card to $250. Throw in the Priority Pass Select membership, which allows unlimited visits for you and up to two guests, and these two benefits alone pay for the fee.

Assuming you seldom find yourself in airport lounges, just one use of a travel interruption or trip delay coverage could recoup the remainder of the fee.

This doesn’t include all the monthly statement credits from DoorDash, Lyft and Instacart that total $360 if you use them all, the TSA PreCheck statement credit or the extra value the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives to your Ultimate Rewards points.

While not all benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve are easy to use for every cardholder, offsetting the annual fee should be easy for virtually anyone that travels.

Lyft Ride Sharing

Am I Eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Perhaps you’re ready to add the Chase Sapphire Reserve to your wallet. But can you even get it? A few factors go into determining whether or not your application will be approved.

What Is Chase’s 5/24?

Chase automatically declines any applicant who has opened five or more personal credit cards within the last 24 months. This includes consumer cards opened with other banks. Keep in mind that most business cards don’t count toward 5/24, except business cards issued by Capital One or Discover.

Check your credit report and ensure you’re under 5/24 before applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Am I Eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Welcome Bonus?

Even if you are eligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you may be ineligible for the promotional welcome bonus. If you have received a Sapphire product welcome bonus within the last 48 months, you won’t be awarded the welcome bonus. Note that this includes the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The four-year clock starts from the welcome bonus award date, not the card issue date.

In addition, if you already have a Sapphire product, you’re not eligible for a second card. You may upgrade or downgrade your card between the two products, but you can’t carry both. For those in two-player mode, it can work well to carry one of each Sapphire cards. That way you can seamlessly transfer points between the two without paying the annual fee twice.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Compared to Other Cards

If you’re ineligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve or it doesn’t quite match what you’re looking for, you’re not out of luck. The premium travel card market is competitive right now, with cards throwing generous offers and more benefits onto their cards.

Let’s look at some of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s closest competitors.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card®

If you just can’t get over the $550 fee of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. You’ll earn the same Ultimate Rewards that you can transfer to the same 14 transfer partners, with fewer bells and whistles and a more reasonable $95 annual fee.

The earning potential is slightly less attractive. You’ll still earn 3X on dining and 1X on all other purchases, and the following rates on other purchases:

  • 5X travel through Chase Travel
  • 2X on all other travel
  • 3X on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 3X on streaming services

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, your Ultimate Rewards will be worth 25% more instead of 50% more. This could make a huge difference. If you plan to use the $300 credit and redeem at least 62,000 Ultimate Rewards through the portal every year, you may be better off with the Sapphire Reserve card, whose annual fee is $155 higher than that of the Sapphire Preferred (after the travel credit is exhausted).

You’ll still get the benefits of all the travel insurance though some have lower benefits or stricter requirements. You’ll also keep the Instacart+ and GoPuff monthly statement credits. Instead of the $300 travel credit, you’ll get a single $50 hotel credit for bookings through Chase Ultimate Rewards only.

If you can’t decide between the two, check out our Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve article.

grocery shopping with sapphire card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the newest player in the premium travel card space. Capital One Miles are known for allowing you to redeem points and miles for a statement credit on any transaction that codes as travel.

The miles earning scheme is easy to remember:

  • 10X on hotels and cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5X on airfare booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X on everything else

For a $395 annual fee, you’ll receive a $300 hotel credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel.

Cardholders are entitled to the following benefits:

  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Access to Capital One Lounges
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry statement credit (once every four years)
  • 10,000 anniversary miles
  • Auto rental collision coverage

If you find that you rarely use travel portals to book your travel, the Venture X Card may be a better fit for you.

hotel stays using Turkish Miles&Smiles

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the highest-priced card on the market. This card has a number of lifestyle benefits, but

With it, you’ll earn:

  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 5X on flights and prepaid hotels purchased on American Express Travel
  • 1X on all purchases
Clear credit for The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders

While its $695 annual fee (see rates & fees) might make your eyes water, the card is packed with up to $1,500 of statement credits. While not every cardholder will likely capitalize on all the benefits, picking just a few may offset your annual fee.

  • Up to $200 in airline fee credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®
  • Up to $200 in hotel credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card® 2 night minimum stay required
  • Up to $240 digital entertainment credit (Up to $20 monthly credit, when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required)
  • Up to $155 Walmart+ credit ($12.95 monthly credit for Walmart+ membership, use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) and receive a statement credit that covers the full cost each month. $12.95 plus applicable taxes. Plus Up Benefits not eligible)
  • Up to $100 Saks credit (Get up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.)
  • Up to $200 Uber Cash (up to $15 monthly credits and up to $35 in December, credits don’t roll over month to month)
  • Up to $300 Equinox credit (Get up to $300 back per calendar year on an Equinox+ subscription, or any Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required, issued as statement credit.)
  • Up to $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 100+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.

In addition to statement credits, you’ll gain complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, travel insurances that rival the Sapphire Reserve and access to American Express’ luxury lounge collections.

airport lounge

Final Thoughts

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a stalwart in the travel credit card space. The lucrative earning potential, a plethora of travel benefits and plenty of statement credits to offset its annual fee make it a great addition to your wallet.

If you travel regularly, plan on redeeming Ultimate Rewards through Chase Travel and qualify for a Chase card, this card is likely the card for you. Of course, it may not be a fit for everybody, in which case check out the 10xTravel Best Credit Card Offers for the card that’s the best fit for you.