Four opinions: What the big Chase Sapphire Reserve changes mean to MMS editors
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As we wrote yesterday, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is receiving some invasive surgery. Both its annual fee and its benefits guide will soon go under the knife — and it may wake up to far fewer friends than when it was anesthetized. Here’s a reminder of what’s changing:
- Annual fee increased from $450 to $550 (starting on Jan. 12 for new applicants or April 1, 2020 for current cardholders)
- Annual $60 in DoorDash credits (through 2021)
- Free DashPass membership (through 2021)
- Lyft Pink membership added
- Earn 10 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar with Lyft (through March 2022)
Remember that while the annual fee is increased, you’ll still receive all of the current benefits (like the $300 travel credit and Priority Pass membership) in addition to the new perks.
Here’s what MMS editors think of the changes.
I’ve long considered the Chase Sapphire Reserve to be the top premium travel card. Its $300 travel credit is much easier to use than that of The Platinum Card® from American Express, and the travel protections blow other premium travel cards out of the water. But these changes are definitely a devaluation and bring it more in line with other cards with high annual fees.
I live in a big city, and don’t own a car, so it’s realistic that I will take full advantage of the DoorDash credit and the Lyft perks. But I’m in a very specific situation, and because of these changes I’m much more likely to downgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card when my annual fee comes due this fall. My decision will come down to keeping either the Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Before this change, I was definitely keeping the card. But with the increased annual fee and the Amex Platinum’s addition of trip delay insurance, I’m gonna have to crunch some numbers to see which card I’ll be keeping going forward.
I’m disappointed in the changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I’ve had this card for a number of years, partially because I love earning and using Chase points, but also because the card’s annual $300 travel credit offset the card’s annual fee in a big way. I understand that with the changes come additional card benefits, but DoorDash and Lyft perks are virtually useless to me. I don’t live in a big city and therefore rarely use a meal delivery service or a rideshare service.
The only reason I can think to keep the card is for the 1.5 cent per point redemption value I get through the Chase Travel Portal. But I’ll have to do some math to see if that even makes sense going forward.
Let’s get one thing straight — Chase isn’t adding these benefits as a heartwarming gesture of philanthropy. They’re betting that most cardmembers will fail to take advantage of these new card perks while still paying a higher annual fee:
- DoorDash credit and DashPass membership: These perks will be available through 2021. I don’t use DoorDash, but the $60 credit is easy to redeem. I’ll take a couple overpriced meals comped by Chase each year, sure.
- Lyft Pink: The primary benefit of this membership is 15% off all rides. You’ll need to spend at least $667 per year with Lyft to make up for the $100 annual fee increase of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Personally, my rideshare spending doesn’t even approach that figure.
- 10 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft: This is the most intriguing benefit of all, though it’s also limited-time (through March 22, 2022).
Yes, if those benefits will save you money on purchases you’ll make anyway, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth keeping for another couple years. For most of us, it’s a firm goodbye, and a downgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Read our post on how to downgrade a Chase card here.
At first I was pretty sad to see these changes to what I consider the best all around travel credit card, at least for those who don’t want to jump through many hoops to get good value from a premium card. However, as someone who lives in a big city and routinely uses ride-hailing and different food delivery services — I think these changes could easily get me more than $100 in value every year. Even if you value all of the new perks at just 50% of their face value (Dashpass/DoorDash credit/Lyft Pink), that’s still worth $210, which more than outweighs the $100 jump in the annual fee.
On the other hand, this could be seen as a pretty massive devaluation for those who are in areas where Lyft or DoorDash are unavailable. And for someone like myself who travels a lot internationally, it’s too bad they couldn’t have partnered with Uber, which operates around the globe — as Lyft is only available in the U.S. and a few cities in Canada.
The most beautiful thing about the Chase Sapphire Reserve was the ease of using the annual $300 travel credit which made the $450 annual fee effectively $150 (now $550 and effectively $250) — this made it so easy to get great value out of the card without having to deal with weird airline incidental credits or a $15 Uber credit that expired at the end of every month (looking at you, Amex). It’s sad to see that era of the card laid to rest.
While some may be able to take full advantage of the new benefits, the calculations of if the card is worth it will likely change for many.
As with just about everything in the travel card industry, the value of these changes vary dramatically from person to person. We’re skeptical as to whether the average traveler will embrace these changes, despite the fact that it’s possible to save much more than you’re spending — especially if you utilize ride-sharing apps with any regularity.
Let us know what you think of this card overhaul. And subscribe to our newsletter for more miles and points news and analysis.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®APPLY NOW
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 including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
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! :)