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Chase has announced some significant changes to its top Ultimate Rewards earning travel credit card. In a few days, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card’s annual fee is increasing by $100 and a handful of new benefits are being added.
Chase Sapphire Reserve changes
Annual fee increase
For applications received on or after Jan. 12th 2020 the annual fee will be $550, a $100 increase. You can only hold one Sapphire card at a time and you can normally product change your account between the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Sapphire Reserve (as long as the account is 1+ years old), however reports are that product changes to the Reserve card currently aren’t being allowed until after Jan. 12.
If you currently have the Sapphire Reserve card, this fee increase will impact account renewals beginning on April 1, 2020. But existing cardholders will have access to the new benefits starting Jan. 12th.
Lyft perks being added
Sapphire Reserve cardholders will earn 10x Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft rides (Sapphire Preferred cardholders will earn 5x points on Lyft rides) and receive a complimentary Lyft Pink membership. Lyft Pink is a membership that normally costs $19.99/month and comes with perks, like:
- 15% off all 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
DoorDash perks being added
This week Chase added complimentary DoorDash DashPass memberships to certain Chase credit cards and the Sapphire Reserve is eligible for up to two years of free membership. A DashPass normally costs $9.99/month and comes with lower service fees and free delivery on orders of $12+. In addition, the Reserve is also getting up to $120 in DoorDash credits, but it’s divided up over two years — you’ll get $60 in credits in 2020 and $60 in credits in 2021. These credits will automatically be applied to eligible purchases and you’ll have access to the full $60, it won’t be divided out month-by-month, like with the American Express® Gold Card.
What should you do?
For many people this is a devaluation, especially if you don’t live in an area where you can use DoorDash or Lyft enough to make it worthwhile. Personally, I don’t use Lyft enough to make it worth paying almost $20/month for a Pink membership, but 15% off Lyft rides will easily save me $100 in a year. I don’t value the DoorDash credit that highly, especially if it’ll be doled out month by month.
However for frequent Lyft and DoorDash users, these new benefits could easily provide more than $100 in value, therefore more than negating the annual fee increase.
It’s hard to avoid the trap of thinking that this card “is not what it used to be.” Instead, I have to ask myself, given the easy to use $300 travel credit, would I pay $250 a year for this card’s perks? The Sapphire Reserve is still one of the absolute best cards for travel insurance and comes with a Priority Pass membership, but is it that much better than the Sapphire Preferred, which only costs $95 a year to keep and still gets you access to Chase’s transfer partners?
Overall, this brings the Reserve card a notch closer to the level of The Platinum Card® from American Express, which has the same $550 annual fee (see rates and fees), up to $200 in yearly Uber credits, up to $200 in annual airline fee credits and exceptional airport lounge access.
What are your thoughts on these changes?
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Featured photo by Summer Hull.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.