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INSIDER SECRET: When you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents when you redeem them for travel through the Chase travel portal. You can even pool your points from other cards to make the Chase points you’ve earned with other cards worth more too.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve consistently ranks as one of the best travel credit cards. I think it’s the best premium card out there, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee is $450 and it’s not waived the first year.
So you might ask yourself: Is paying the annual fee for theChase 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.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Fee Is Worth It If You Love to Travel
Apply Here: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Read our review of the 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 three months from account opening.
You’ll also get:
- 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining worldwide
- 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- $300 annual credit every cardmember anniversary for travel purchases such as airfare and hotels
- $100 statement creditfor Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (every four years)
- Priority Pass Select membership for access to airport lounges
- No foreign transaction fees
- Visa Infinite benefits like a $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 in annual credits for travel purchases. When you use your card for any travel purchase (like Airbnb, airfare, hotels, Uber, tolls, rental cars, parking, etc.), you will automatically be reimbursed until you’ve spent a total of $300 on travel. The travel credit is so easy to use that for most people the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee will only amount to $150 out of pocket because of the $300 you’re getting back for travel purchases you were going to make anyway.
Just note that while you normally would 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 will 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 five 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.
Remember, it’s usually better for folks to apply for Global Entry because it comes with TSA PreCheck eligibility. You can use this perk once every four 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 two guests. If you need to bring a third 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 to get $28 to $32 dollars off your bill per person for up to two people. That’s more than enough to cover a beverage and a meal.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee is $450 which is 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, the 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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