Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Worth It? I’ll Explain Why This Card Is a Must-Have for Many

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Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Worth It?  I’ll Explain Why This Card Is a Must-Have for Many

MeghanIs the Chase Sapphire Reserve Worth It?  I’ll Explain Why This Card Is a Must-Have for ManyMillion Mile Secrets Team

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve consistently ranks as one of the top credit cards for travel.  I think it’s the best premium card out there!  But the card has a $450 annual fee that’s not waived the first year.

So you might ask yourself:  Is paying the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it?

I think so, because you can easily offset the annual fee with the credits and perks you’ll get.  I’ll explain.

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Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $750 in travel) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  

You’ll also get:

  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel (excluding $300 travel credit) & dining worldwide
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards point per $1 on all other purchases
  • $300 annual credit every cardmember anniversary for travel purchases such as airfare and hotels
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Free Priority Pass Select membership for access to airport lounges
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Visa Infinite benefits like $25 food and beverage credit at the Luxury Hotel Collection and complimentary car rental elite status with Silvercar
  • Rental car discounts with National Car Rental and Avis

There’s a $450 annual fee that’s not waived the first year.

But the perks of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can far outweigh the annual fee, especially in the first year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Fee

Let’s look at how the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits add up.

Annual Travel Credit

One of my favorite Sapphire Reserve perks is the card’s up to $300 annual credit for travel purchases.  When you use your card for ANY travel purchase (like Airbnb, airfare, hotels, Uber, etc.), you will automatically be reimbursed, until you’ve spent a total of $300 on travel.  It’s that easy and a great way to “save” on purchases you were going to make anyway.

Just note, while you normally earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases, the $300 in travel that is reimbursed as part of the credit won’t earn any points.

I usually end up using my annual travel credit within the first few weeks of the year!  And most people spend much more than $300 combined in qualifying travel categories.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit

The $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck also helps offset the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee. And it’ll save you time at the airport!

Once you’re approved for either program, you can use the TSA PreCheck expedited security line (if your airport has one) when you’re flying with any of 65 eligible airlines.  And you won’t have to worry about removing your shoes, belt or laptop.

Normally TSA PreCheck costs $85 and Global Entry costs $100.  Both are valid for 5 years, but if you pay either of those fees with your Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll get the fee reimbursed up to $100.  So it ends up being free.

Avoid Long Lines at the Airport With Global Entry or TSA PreCheck

Remember, it’s usually better for folks to apply for Global Entry because it comes with TSA PreCheck eligibility.  And you can use this perk once every 4 years.  So when the time comes to renew, it will be free as long as you have your Sapphire Reserve card.

Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access

The Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you a Priority Pass Select membership for access to airport lounges.  That can save you hundreds of dollars per year if you fly a lot and use lounges frequently, because a one-day lounge pass can easily cost $50+.

With Priority Pass Select membership, you get unlimited lounge access for yourself and 2 guests.  And if you need to bring a 3rd person along it’s only $27 extra.

Another perk of Priority Pass membership is that there are a growing number of airport restaurants that will accept your Priority Pass membership.  The rules vary slightly depending on the location, but in general, you’ll just need a same-day boarding pass and proof of your Priority Pass membership, and you’ll get $28 to $32 dollars off your bill per person for up to 2 people.  That’s more than enough to cover a beverage and a meal!

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee is $450 that’s not waived the first year.  It’s worth it for many!

You can easily offset the annual fee with perks you’ll get from the card.  These benefits include the up to $300 travel credit each calendar year, up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and airport lounge access with Priority Pass Select.

Depending on your spending and travel habits it should be easy to decide whether keeping the card long term makes sense for you!

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I haven’t even had this card for a year and it’s paid itself off over an over with lounge access for myself and family. Even though when I signed up it was for 50k points, it’s still the top card in my arsenal.

If you travel even half-way frequently, this card’s annual fee pays itself off and more. We received 100,000 points as a bonus when we signed up, and that paid for a ticket and a half to Japan. The sign-up bonus is not as generous any more, but the handsome payoff still is on the plate for taking for anyone who travels regularly. We are well on our way to another free ticket to Japan from the points earned!

On the other hand, if you do not travel much, e.g., just one airline trip a year, then do not bother. This card is strictly for people who travel regularly.

Have had the CSR for 2 years, and it’s an excellent card if you can utilize enough of its [many] benefits.

One benefit you didn’t mention is primary rental car insurance (although certain countries are excluded), which could be worth a lot to some travelers.