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Do the new perks make the increased Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee worth it?

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Do the new perks make the increased Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee worth it?

Meghan HunterDo the new perks make the increased Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee worth it?Million Mile Secrets Team

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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 $550 and it’s not waived the first year.

The Sapphire Reserve just had it’s annual fee increased from $450 to $550 and now has new Lyft and DoorDash perks. So you might ask yourself: Are the new benefits enough to make paying the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it? It can be, but not necessarily for everyone.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it? You bet. The welcome bonus alone is enough for two free nights at the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva Cancun. (Photo by Joseph GTK/Shutterstock)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee is worth it if you love to travel

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 be able to earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards on travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining worldwide and 1x Chase points on all other purchases.

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 $250 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 up to in $100 statement credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck also helps offset the card’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 eligible airline 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 Sapphire Reserve, you’ll get the fee reimbursed for one program, up to $100, so it ends up being free. Remember, it’s usually better 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 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 this Priority Pass Select membership, you get unlimited lounge access for yourself and two guests.

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.

DoorDash benefits

DoorDash benefits have been added to a handful of Chase credit cards, but the Sapphire Reserve has the best perks. First you can earn up to $120 in DoorDash credit, you’ll get $60 in credits in 2020 and another $60 in credits in 2021. You’re also eligible for at least one year of free DashPass membership. DashPass normally costs $9.99 a month and gets you waived delivery fees on orders of $12 or more at participating restaurants. You must activate the DashPass membership by Dec. 31, 2021.

Don’t forget, you’ll also be earning 3x Ultimate Rewards points on DoorDash purchases.

Lyft perks

Chase has partnered with Lyft and added increased rewards rates for Lyft rides to certain cards. The Sapphire Reserve will earn an exceptional 10x Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft rides. Not only that, but Reserve members will also be able to receive a year of complimentary Lyft Pink (normally costs $19.99 per month), which comes with the following benefits:

  • 15% off all Lyft rides
  • Three free cancellations a month (if you rebook within 15 minutes)
  • Three free bike/scooter rides per month
  • Priority airport pickups
  • Waived lost and found fees
  • “Surprise offers” — including seasonal discounts and exclusive savings

If you spend $667 on Lyft rides in a year the 15% savings will make up for the $100 annual fee increase by itself. The problem is that the free Lyft Pink membership is only valid for one year from when you register. To take advantage of this new benefit you need to activate the Lyft Pink membership by Mar. 31, 2022.

Travel protections

The Sapphire Reserve has some of the best credit card travel insurance out there. It has primary rental car insurance, which covers damage or theft. It’s also one of the few remaining cards with a complimentary roadside assistance perk.

You’ll also get these coverages when you pay for your travel with your card:

  • Trip delay insurance – You can be reimbursed up to $500 per ticket for delays of six hours or more, or ones that require an overnight stay. Eligible expenses include, lodging, food, incidentals and ground transportation.
  • Baggage delay insurance – Coverage of up to $100 per day for up to five days if a bag has been delayed for six hours or more.
  • Lost luggage coverage – You’ll receive up to $3,000 per person each trip for checked or carry-on luggage that is lost or damaged by the carrier.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance – This perk will provide you with a reimbursement of up to $10,000 per person per covered trip (maximum $20,000 per occurrence) for prepaid expenses if your trip is cut short or cancelled for a covered reason, like severe weather or illness.

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee is $550 which is not waived the first year, but the card’s $300 in annual travel credits are easy to use and effectively bring the cost down to $250. So the question you need to ask yourself is, “will I get more than $250 in value from this card’s benefits?” If you can consistently take advantage of the Priority Pass Select membership that alone could be invaluable. Personally, I use Lyft enough that the 10x points and Lyft Pink savings will offset the recent $100 annual fee increase by itself.

But if the DoorDash and Lyft perks aren’t that useful to you, then it might not be worth getting (or keeping) this card over the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which only has a $95 annual fee. 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®
  • $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✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

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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Everyone is forgetting that the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is the only one that lets you transfer points to United. If you value United and the ability to use their miles for premium cabins to Europe then the additional fee is worth it. I have received well over 3-4 cents value for business class over the years

If you do the math then this card is barely competitive and when you add the $150 fee then it’s terrible. Sometimes I wonder how these types of cards get promoted like they’re some godsend.

If I spend 50,000 per year on whatever credit card I choose then I earn 1%, 1.5% since we’ll assume we are using CC rewards for travel. Ignore the fact that you will be somewhat limited since southwest and some carriers may not be on their website.
This means I earned $750 or $600 once you subtract the $150 fee. I get 3x bonus points on travel but this most likely doesn’t include AirBNB and may have limitations if you want those points. 3X points if I spend $3K on travel a year which has $135 value. So the total is $735.

Now if I have a standard 2% card with no fees. 2% on $53000 (no travel bonus on the $3K). I’ve earned $1060. I can use these funds with any business (i.e. airbnb, southwest, or whatever else isn’t included via chase)

This is all under the assumption that I want travel money. A simple cashback card can go towards anything and I don’t feel like I have to utilize my points to justify my $450 credit card.

You’re right that cash back cards have the nice flexibility in the sense that the rewards can be used for pretty much anything.

How points and miles-earning cards like the Case Sapphire Reserve win out though, is that depending on how you redeem them they can be worth upwards of 2-10+ cents per point.

Hard to bring myself to signup for that spend requirement and the bonus to be received. Would like at least 75000 bonus

Grumpy Texan Travel

CSR is a much more well-rounded card than AmEx plat. That card is only good if you fly all the time.

Agreed – the CSR is a great card! I also have the Amex Platinum, and I’ve found myself using the CSR a bit more frequently because I’ve often found more value out of Chase points compared to Amex Membership Rewards points. But to each their own!

I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred since May 2012. Does anyone know if I would be eligible for the bonus if I try to upgrade to the Reserved?

Grumpy Texan Travel

No bonus when upgrading. 100% certain.

Do you have a Chase Freedom or Freedom Unlimited? If so, you can save any accumulated points in that account. Then cancel your CSP. Wait 30 days and apply for the CSR and earn 50k points.

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