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Chase Sapphire Reserve Full Review (2021) – Premium Perks + High Rewards

Last updated: November 11,2021
Originally Published: November 12,2021
by Jestan Mendame

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is one of Chase’s most successful premium credit cards since the time it launched in 2016. Despite the annual fee increases in the past years, consumer demand for this card steadily increases because it’s packed with elite travel benefits, solid points earning, and great redemption options.

There have been many Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits added since 2020 such as food delivery memberships and ride-hailing service credits this year but who knows what other Chase Sapphire benefits will be added next year. Let’s dive deeper into what the card has to offer.

Key Features Of The Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $750 when redeemed at Chase Ultimate Rewards) after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn up to 10x points your Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card on various travel purchases
  • Get a $300 travel credit every card membership anniversary
  • Get up tp $120 Peloton statement credits
  • Transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to other loyalty programs
  • Free Priority Pass Select membership
  • Memership statement credits for TSA PreCheck/Global Entry 
  • Free DashPass subscription + $60 statement credit from DoorDash
  • Free Lyft Pink Membership + 10X Points Earnings
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Get travel insurance for trip cancellatiions, lost luggages, auto rental collision, and more.

Read More: Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits Guide


Chase Sapphire Reserve Sign-Up Bonus (Valued Up To $750)

New cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve will get a 50,000 welcome bonus after spending $4,000 within three months of card membership. Chase points are worth 1 cent to 1.5 cents apiece so the welcome bonus alone is valued up to $750 when redeemed through the Chase travel portal.

Your points are worth more if you can move them to Chase transfer partners but even if you’re not an expert at it, the $750 is more than enough to compensate the $550 annual fee for your first year.

The welcome bonus used to be 100,000 points but that limited time offer only ran from 2016 to 2017. After that, the 100k bonus hasn’t been offered to the public ever since, but who knows, they might bring it back this year.

Earning Points On Your Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is primarily a premium credit card but it’s also a rewards card that lets you rack up a huge amount of points on various categories. Here is the card’s earning rates:

  • Earn 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after spending the first $300 on your card for travel purchases every year.
  • Earn 5X points on air travel
  • Earn 3X points on other travel and dining
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

The points you earn would be worth 50% more when redeemed for travel purchases on Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Chase Pay Yourself Back tool also increases the value of your points by 50% when you redeem them for statement credits on eligible purchases.

$300 Annual Travel Credit

Aside from the Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus, cardholders will also get a $300 annual travel credit which can be used for car rentals, ride-hailing services, airport expenses, public transportation, toll bridges, parking lots, travel agencies, cruise lines, and many more.

Gast station and grocery store purchases will also count towards earning the travel credit through December 21, 2021. If you think long-term, the $300-annual travel credit actually brings the annual fee down to $250.

Up To $120 Peloton Statement Credits + Bonus Rewards

Cardholders will also earn up to $120 worth of Peloton statement credits which can be used towards the $39/month membership fee (for people with Peloton equipment) or the $12.99/month digital fee (for people without equipment). You’ll have full access to all the workouts available in the Peloton app which is perfect for those who love to work out while traveling for work or vacation.

Through March 2022, cardholders will earn 10x points (up to 50,000 total points) on Peloton equipment for purchases over $1,800. Complimentary Digital membership will also be given once the purchase is made..

Chase Transfer Partners

There are currently 14 Chase transfer partners with Air Canada’s Aeroplan added to the list this 2021. You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to various hotel and airline programs to redeem award flights and stays.

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

All Chase transfers have a 1:1 transfer ratio (in 1000-point increments) so if you plan your transfers right, you can really maximize the rewards you can redeem for every UR point your earn on your Chase Sapphire Reserve card.


Read More: Maximize Your Credit Card Points By Transferring Them To Partners


Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access

One of the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits also includes a free Priority Pass Select membership. This gives you access to more than 1,300 premium airport lounges both in the U.S. and abroad such as the Turkish Airlines Lounged at Washington Dulles, Swissport Lounge at Chicago O’ Hare, and the ANA lounge at Tokyo Narita.

You can also authorize friends and family members to get a Priority Pass Select membership for $75/user. They’ll also receive the same perks that the primary user gets. It’s also worth noting that airport restaurants have also been added to the Priority Pass network making this perk more enticing for potential consumers.

TSA PreCheck/Global Entry Credit

Most travel credit cards include a free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership and the Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of them. You’ll get a credit of up to $100 (every four years) when you apply for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership. The credit can also be used to cover other people’s application fees if you’ve already paid for yours.

The great thing about Global Entry and TSA PreCheck is it gets you past customs and security checks really fast. You don’t have to take off your shoes or take out your laptops for inspection so it’s perfect for business travelers who are always on the go.

DoorDash Subscriptionand + $60 statement credit

Cardholders will get a free annual DoorDash DashPass subscription that’s valued at about $120 since membership fees cost $9.99/month. This means you’ll get free deliveries and lower fees from eligible restaurants for orders that are $12 or more (total bill before fees). The DashPass benefit is also available to authorized users.

Additionally, there’s a $60 statement credit that can be used by the primary user and authorized users. However, it’s not given individually which means all users will only have $60 in total to cover the cost for their purchases.

Lyft Pink Membership + 10x Points Earnings

Lyft Pink membership costs $199/year but Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will get it for free so that’s about $200 per year in savings. The benefits included are:

  • 15% off on transportation services in the U.S. such as priority airport pickup and ride shares.
  • 3 free cancellations per month which comes in the form of a statement credit. Lyft will still charge you with a cancellation fee but it will be refunded after you pay for the ride and rate the driver.
  • Free Grubhub+ membership (worth $9.99/month)
  • Zero lost and found fees when you report a lost item.

Sapphire Reserve cardholders will also earn 10x points on all Lyft rides through March 2022 so you have more earning categories to help you rack up a lot of UR points.

Travel Insurance

Since the Sapphire Reserve is a travel card, it does come with purchase protection and basic travel insurance that covers a wide range of categories. All you need to do is to pay using your card and you’ll be eligible for the benefits below.

  • Primary car rental insurance – The Sapphire Reserve comes with a free loss and damage coverage for car rental incidents.
  • Tripp interruption/cancellation insurance – For trips that have been cut short or cancelled, you can get a reimbursement of up to $10,000 per person and $20,00 per trip for eligible pre-paid trips that were paid off using your Sapphire Reserve.
  • Trip Delay Insurance – Trips that have been delayed for 6 hours or more are eligible for a $500 reimbursement (per ticket). You can use this reimbursement for hotel rooms, food, clothes, toiletries, and other travel essentials.
  • Baggage Delay Insruance – Baggages that have been delayed for six hours or more will entitle you with a $100 reimbursement per day for up to 5 days.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement – Lost or damaged bags will have a reimbursement of up to $3000 per passenger as long as the trip was paid using the Sapphire Reserve.
  • Extended Warranty – Get a one-year warranty extension for eligible items from US manufacturers (valid for warranties that are only three years or less).
  • Purchase Protection – Get up to $10,000 in reimbursement per claim for purchases that have been damaged or stolen within 120 days. Each account is only limited to a maximum of $50,000 in reimbursements.
  • Travel Accident Insurance – Get up to $1,000,000 coverage for accidental death or dismemberment when you use your card for transportation expenses.
  • Roadside assistance – Get up to $50 per incident such as tire change, car tow or locksmith services (up to four times per year).

Image courtesy of CanvaPro from SeventyFour/Getty Images.

Who Can Benefit From This Card?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits business and luxury travelers the most. The earning categories are focused on hotels, car rentals, and airline purchases so it makes a lot of sense to get this card if you’re someone who’s always on to go, whether it’s for business or vacation.

The card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees as well so you can use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card anywhere abroad without having to think about additional fees. Most foreign fees can cost around 3.5% of your purchase. Additionally, the card’s ability to transfer points to multiple airline and hotel programs makes it even enticing for all types of travelers.

Chase Sapphire Reserve VS Other Cards

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card for you? The only way to know that is if we compare it against other cards. Here are some of our card selections that can serve as an alternative for the Sapphire Reserve.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred Card

For those who can’t afford the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the cheaper alternative since it’s basically the lower-tier version of the former.

The Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee is only $95 which is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the Sapphire Reserve. However, this means that there are major features missing as well such as the $300 annual travel credit and Priority Pass lounge access.

Here are the key features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred(R) Card:

  • 5x points on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points on all other purchases

The big difference between the two cards is the annual fees. If you’re not a big spender and just want basic travel perks, then the Sapphire Preferred is a better option.

However, it will be a better option for you to get the Sapphire Reserve if you can utilize the $300 annual travel credit from the Sapphire Reserve. In a sense, you’ll only be paying $250 for your first year which is just a $55-difference from the Preferred Card’s $95 annual fee. Imagine losing premium traveler perks such as lounge access and higher earning rates for only a small difference in price.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs American Express Platinum Card

The main distinction between The Platinum Card from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve is lounge access, annual fees, rewards earning, and welcome bonuses.

The former has a $695 annual fee and focuses more on providing consumers more lounge access because it includes Delta Sky Club, Centurion Lounges, and also Priority Pass Select. Meanwhile, the latter has a $550 annual fee and only provides Priority Pass Select lounge access.

In terms of rewards, there’s not much of a difference between the two but the Sapphire Reserve has an edge on general travel and dining purchases which is at 3x points per dollar. Meanwhile, the rewards earning rates for the Amex Platinum are as follows:

  • 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases within 6 months of Card Membership).
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

For bonuses, the Amex Platinum currently has a 100,000-point bonus for new cardholders who are able to spend $6,000 within 6 months of card membership. That’s double to what the Sapphire Reserve offers.

Both cards have premium features that you can benefit from so it’s important to think about the ones that you can really use. Do you need more lounge access? Do you want to earn more earning categories? Ask yourself these questions. It’s also important to know the transfer partners of each card and see which ones you often use.


Read More: Amex Personal Platinum vs Business Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve


Credit Card Advice: Chase Sapphire Reserve + Cashback Cards To Maximize Points Earning

You can maximize earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points by pairing your Chase Sapphire Reserve to a Chase Freedom Unlimited Card which earns 5% on all grocery store spending, 5% on Chase travel purchases through Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

But cashback points are lesser in value compared to Ultimate Rewards points?

True, cashback points have lesser value when converted to actual cash so what you need to do is to convert your cashback points to Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to premium cards such as the Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Sapphire Reserve. You’ll get up to 50% more value with this strategy.

If you have 10,000 cashback points or $100 worth of travel on your Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, it will be worth 12,500 points or $125 worth of travel when transferred to a Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred card. If it’s transferred to a Sapphire Reserve card, it would be worth 15,000 points or $150 worth of travel.

The key here is to use your Freedom Unlimited card to earn as many points as you can on bonus categories that are not available on your Sapphire Reserve or other premium Chase cards.

Another Chase cashback card that you might want to consider as well is the Chase Freedom Flex. You can also earn 5% cashback with it on rotating categories every quarter.

Thoughts From Points Panda

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is packed with a lot of premium travel perks which makes the $550 annual fee worth paying for. In fact, the $300 annual travel credit is the major game changer here because it cuts down the annual fee to more than half of its original price. The Chase Sapphire Reserve sign up bonus is also worth $750 so getting the card is a no-brainer if your spending is focused on airport lounges, hotels, car rentals, and dining.

Welcome Offer: 100,000 Membership Reward Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months of your membership when you sign up for the New American Express Platinum

Special Bonus: Earn 10x on restaurant spend worldwide in the first 6 months of your membership, up to 225,000 additional points, this is in additional to the record high welcome bonus.

Every traveler should have this card in their wallet, and the welcome offer of 100k is the highest offer Points Panda has seen in many years!

Annual Fee: $695

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Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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