Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Review (2023)

Full Review of Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

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  • Large bonus for new cardholders

  • Excellent point rewards rate for travel and dining

  • Exceptional luxury travel benefits

  • Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Ultimate Rewards


  • $550 annual fee

  • Limited high-rewards categories

Pros Explained

  • Large bonus for new cardholders: Few travel cards offer a bonus as substantial as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which partly explains the card's popularity. New members can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.That can be worth $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Excellent point rewards for travel and dining: At three points per $1 spent for travel and dining purchases, this card offers one of the best rewards rates among premium travel cards—better, even, than its lower-priced sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
  • Exceptional luxury travel benefits: Earn up to $300 in statement credits annually for travel purchases. Plus get $100 in statement credits (every four years) towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, complimentary access to more than 1,000 VIP airport lounges worldwide, and benefits with the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.
  • Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Ultimate Rewards: The point value increases from one cent per point to 1.5 cents per point when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That boost gives you an effective rewards rate of 4.5% on travel and dining purchases since you earn three points per $1 in those categories. While the Chase portal allows points to be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, and transfers to Chase hotel and airline partners, the bonus only applies if points are used to make travel purchases.

Cons Explained

  • $550 annual fee: With its $550 annual fee, this is among the priciest cards on the market. This card's cost means you need to figure out the likelihood that you'll travel and dine out enough to have the investment pay off.
  • Limited high-rewards categories: Some cards offer their best rewards in a range of categories, and some offer strong earnings on many or most purchases. The Chase Sapphire Reserve isn't such a card. Chase limits this card's three-points-per-$1 rewards to travel and dining. Beyond that, all other purchases earn just one point per $1 spent—the exceptions are that airline, hotel, and rental cars booked through Ultimate Rewards earn substantially more (airline bookings earn five points per $1; hotel, car rentals, and Lyft rides all earn 10 points per $1).

Who This Card Is Best for

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a compelling choice for frequent travelers with excellent credit. Yet it can also be a good option for occasional wanderers who want to enjoy luxury benefits when they're on the go. The annual travel credit of $300 plus another $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement (once every four years) adds to the card's value. Complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges boosts travel comfort.

With the $300 annual travel credit, you will break even on the card's annual fee if you spend $8,334 annually ($694.50 per month) on a combination of travel and dining—both of which earn three points per $1 spent. You'll break even sooner if you redeem those points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, where they are worth 1.5 cents each (with only $5,556 in annual spending).

If you make use of the $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (once every four years), you'll get an average value of $25 per year. In that case you'd need to spend $7,500 per year in the three-point bonus categories to offset the fee if you redeem for one cent per point, or $5,000 per year if you redeem for 1.5 cents per point.

This card is particularly rewarding for those who also hold, or are open to getting, other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. That's because you can transfer points back and forth between those cards within your Ultimate Rewards account. For each transaction, simply choose the Chase card with the best earnings rate, and then transfer points you earn to whichever account has the best redemption options.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card One-Time Offer

New cardholders can receive 60,000 bonus points after making $4,000 or more in purchases within the first three months of opening the account. That's a value of $900 when the points are used to book travel through Ultimate Rewards (at 1.5 cents per point). After you qualify for the bonus, points are credited to your balance within six to eight weeks.

Rewards Earning Details

At base you'll earn three points per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases (including takeout and delivery) and one point per $1 spent on everything else. Chase adds a few additional earnings rates for purchases made through Ultimate Rewards:

  • Earn 10 points per $1 on Chase Dining purchases
  • Earn five points per $1 on flights
  • Earn 10 points per $1 on hotels and car rentals

You'll also earn 10 points per $1 spent on Lyft rides (through 03/2025).


Travel purchases do not earn points on the first $300 in annual travel spending. That's because those purchases qualify for the annual travel credit, instead, which is much more lucrative at a dollar earned per dollar spent.

Chase has broad definitions of the spending that qualifies as travel. Eligible purchases encompass not only those from airlines, hotels, and motels but timeshares, discount travel sites, campgrounds, car rental agencies, and cruises (not counting purchases made aboard the boat). Public transportation, limousines, taxis, ferries, highways, toll bridges, parking lots, and garages are also included, but not spending on gasoline or other fuels. Dining includes fast food outlets and fine-dining restaurants and everything in between.


In addition to rewards earnings rates, the Chase Sapphire Reserve rewards cardholders with subscriptions and credits with popular service providers including Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Gopuff.

Rewards Redemption Details

This card offers many ways to redeem rewards. Any points you earn can be used to directly book travel and a range of other experiences via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. But you can also redeem points for cash back, gift cards, orders, and Apple purchases.

Points are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and one cent each for cash back, experiences, and gift cards. You get a little less—0.8 cents per point—on redemptions for and Apple purchases. That makes these transactions a poor option.

Ultimate Rewards points don't expire as long as your card is open.

Transferring Points

Points can be moved at a 1:1 ratio to any of Chase's travel partners. Chase's airline travel partners are:

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • Air France KLM Flying Blue
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Its hotel travel partners are:

  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

How to Maximize Your Rewards

First, make sure you take advantage of the card's introductory bonus. That may take some planning, such as moving up some anticipated big purchases, since you need to spend at least $4,000 in your first three months with the card to earn the 60,000-point bonus reward. (Be careful to consider when and how you will pay back the purchases to avoid having interest charges eat into your net gain from the bonus.)

Next, if you have any other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, look carefully at the rewards you receive from those. Compare them to the rates you're earning with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Because you can transfer points from those cards to this one, consider using the Chase card that offers the best reward for any particular purchase. In the long run, you may even want to acquire another Chase card that offers higher points in categories you frequently spend.

If you're a member of a loyalty program, look into transferring points to Chase's travel partners. While using points to buy travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal earns you a 50% bonus in their value, you may get greater value still by transferring points to partners.Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

Remember to use this card's other benefits, as well. It offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance, for example, which are somewhat rare finds.

Average Case

Let's estimate spending and rewards for an average household which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, spends $3,030 on dining out annually, according to the latest data from the Consumer Expenditures report. Those meals would earn 9,090 points (dining earns three points per $1). Adding a vacation per year that costs $1,500 in airfare would earn 3,600 additional points, also at three points per $1 spent (the travel credit covers the first $300 of airfare). We've omitted earnings at the one point per $1 spent for non-category purchases, and are just focusing on this card's strengths.

In total, then, our family might earn 12,690 points with this card in travel and dining rewards. Those points would be worth $126.90 if exchanged for cash. If exchanged for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards they would be worth $190.35. With the additional $300 travel credit, that brings the earnings to $426.90 for cash back and $490.35 for travel booked on Ultimate Rewards. Even with relatively modest spending, the bonus category rewards come close to the card's $550 annual fee—and that doesn't include any non-category spending at one point per $1 spent.

Aspirational Case

Avid travelers who take more than a few trips per year and dine out at restaurants regularly will reap higher rewards with this card. They'll also be able to take full advantage of its travel benefits.

Let's calculate the benefits for a household that spends triple the typical amounts on both dining and travel—a plausible scenario for a family who pays for a premium travel and dining card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

They would spend $9,090 on dining, earning 27,270 points. Additionally, they would spend $4,500 in airfare and earn 12,600 points (again, with the $300 travel credit accounting for the first $300 worth of travel spending before points earning begins). With these 39,870 points, they would have earned $398.70 in cash-back value or $598.05 in travel value at Chase Ultimate Rewards. The $300 travel credit brings these figures to $698.70 and $898.05 for cash back and Ultimate Rewards travel bookings, respectively, both well exceeding the card's $550 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card's Outstanding Benefits

  • Primary auto rental collision insurance
  • $3,000 in lost luggage reimbursement
  • Trip delay reimbursement up to $500
  • Emergency medical/dental and evacuation benefits
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement
  • Free towing and other roadside services

Standard Benefits

  • Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
  • Purchase and return protection
  • Extended warranties
  • Sports, music, and event ticket presales, plus VIP access at some events
  • Travel and emergency hotline

Cardholder Experience

Chase ranked 4th out of 11 national card issuers and scored one point below the average score in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.

Cardholders get a number of free features that are also standard with most other cards,including 24/7 access to a customer service specialist from anywhere in the world. You get a free credit tool, which Chase calls Credit Journey, that automatically alerts you of potential fraud. There's also a free credit score with the card.

Customers can use Chase's credit card resources center to get answers to common questions about their credit card, access education information about credit cards, learn what to do in case of fraud, and take steps to dispute a charge.

The self-service tool kit can help you perform tasks like signing up for automatic payments, verifying and replacing your card, adding authorized users, and setting up account alerts.

The customer service call center is available 24/7 at (800) 432-3117. Customers can also message Chase on Facebook, Instagram, or X (formerly Twitter) at @ChaseSupport.

Security Features

Credit card customers at Chase get a number of security benefits, all fairly standard among card providers. Chase offers safety precautions like multiple authentication checks when you're logging in via the website or mobile app. It also monitors your profile to detect fraud and encrypts your username, password, and other personal account information.

For its credit cards, Chase provides 24/7 fraud monitoring—the bank will alert you if any unusual activity occurs on your account. It also provides card replacement services in case your card is lost or stolen, and it doesn't hold you responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card.

This card comes with chip-enabled technology to provide enhanced security when making purchases.

Fees to Watch Out for

There's a fee of $75 for each additional authorized user of your Chase Sapphire Reserve card; while it’s not uncommon for premium cards to impose such charges, not all do.Other fees are in line with industry standards.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Sapphire Preferred

Chase offers a less expensive alternative to the Sapphire Reserve Card in the form of the Sapphire Preferred card. The cards are quite similar in their general rewards structure, offering bonus Ultimate Rewards points on worldwide travel and dining expenditures, although the Sapphire Preferred only offers two points per $1 of travel spending versus the three points per $1 for the Sapphire Reserve.

In addition to the enhanced earning rate, the Sapphire Reserve card offers premium travel benefits such as airport lounge access and a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit every four years whereas the Sapphire Preferred does not. Both cards do provide primary auto rental insurance coverage, though.

Another important thing that distinguishes the two cards is on the redemption side. While both offer a redemption bonus when using Ultimate Rewards to book travel through Chase, the Sapphire Reserve offers a 50% bump in value compared to only 25% for the Sapphire Preferred.

To truly understand whether one is better than the other, you must determine the value of the rewards earned and redeemed from the one-time bonus, your annual spending, and the value of the travel credits and airport lounge access. Once you arrive at the number for each card using your annual category spending, simply subtract the cost of the annual fee in each scenario to see which card best fits your situation and rewards aspirations.

Below is a head-to-head comparison of the rewards and benefits of each:

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
FeaturesSapphire ReserveSapphire Preferred
One-time Bonus60,000 Points80,000 Points
Bonus on Travel/Restaurant Spend3X Points2X-3X Points
Bonus on Lyft Spending10X Points5X Points
Points on All Other Spending1X Point1X Point
Point Value for Travel Redemption1.51.25
Annual Fee$550$95
Annual Travel Credit$300$50 for hotels booked via Ultimate Rewards
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck App Fee CreditYesNo
Airport Lounge AccessPriority Pass SelectNone
Authorized User Fee$75$0

If you're trying to decide on which Chase Sapphire card to apply for, start by determining how your likely annual rewards earning will compare between the two cards and whether the one-time bonus and any other perks justify the cost of the annual fee.

Our Verdict

With premium perks, generous rewards, and an outstanding bonus offer, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a top entry among premium travel cards. Travel maximalists will get the most benefit from this card, but its rewards and perks are substantial enough that even typical diners and travelers should come out ahead after paying the $550 annual fee.

Chase's redemption program adds to this card's appeal.Extremely flexible, the plan allows cardholders to redeem points for nearly any purchase type or transfer points to a loyalty program. There's also an outstanding 50% bonus when points are used to buy travel from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Yet another plus: People who hold this card and other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards can transfer their points to this card's account to buy travel through Chase, thus enjoying the 50% point-redemption bonus of the Sapphire Reserve.

Yet if your travel and dining habits are merely typical, the Chase Sapphire Preferred might be a better option. Its benefits and rewards aren't quite as robust as with the Sapphire Reserve, but they're decent, and it's more likely you'll be able to justify its lower ($95) annual fee. This sibling card comes with a comparably substantial bonus.


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