Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Review

Disclosure: We are committed to recommending the best products for our readers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products, but this never affects our reviews or recommendations.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a top contender among premium travel rewards credit cards. If you spend a lot on traveling and eating out, you can quickly earn free travel, and the card’s impressive perks can more than make up for its hefty annual fee. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

overall rating
4.3
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 18.99% - 25.99% variable
Annual Fee $450
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3x points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3X points on dining at restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.9
for Fees
1.9
for Rewards
4.8
for Credit
3.7

50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Top Rated For

  • Best Overall Credit Cards
  • Best Chase Credit Cards
  • Best Hotel Credit Cards
  • Best Airline Credit Cards
  • Best Visa Credit Cards

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things
    Adventure Seeker
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker

If you have excellent credit and spend a lot of money on dining and travel, this credit card could be great for you. For instance, if you spend $3,334 per year ($277 a month) on any combo of travel and dining, plus another $300 a year just on travel, you can break even on the annual fee. That’s not hard for many people who travel frequently or with family. But you’ll need to spend more to come out ahead. 

Pros

  • Triple points for travel and dining purchases

  • Lots of purchase types that count as travel spending

  • Lucrative redemption options

  • $300 annual travel credit

Cons

  • Big annual fee

  • High APR

Pros Explained

  • Triple points for travel and dining purchases: Very few travel cards attach the highest possible reward earning rates to both of these categories. Getting 3 points per $1 spent on dining expenses makes it easy to earn points while indulging during your travels and on dinners out when you’re home. 
  • Lots of purchase types that count as travel spending: Chase defines travel spending more broadly than many competitors. It includes everything from airlines and hotels to campgrounds and parking garages (more on that below). That makes it easier to earn rewards.
  • Lucrative redemption options: You have two stellar choices: transferring to other loyalty programs on a 1:1 basis and booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal at a great redemption rate. 
  • $300 annual travel credit: Statement credits wipe out travel charges and partially make up for the annual fee. 

Cons Explained

  • Hefty annual fee: As is with many premium rewards cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a big annual fee. There are ways to offset it, but you’ll mostly need to travel and dine out fairly frequently. 
  • High APR: Because this card requires a large volume of spending to earn rewards, it’s important to note the high annual percentage rate (APR). If you don’t pay off your balance each month, you’re looking at an APR of 18.99-25.99%, based on your credit. 

If you run a balance, interest charges will quickly negate the value of any rewards you earn. Don’t use this card unless you can pay off the balance in full every month. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Sign-up Bonus

You’ll get 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000—about $1,333 a month—on purchases in the first three months after opening a new account. That’s not bad, considering the bonus is valued at $750 if you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for airfare, hotels, rental cars, and cruises. 

The bonus could be worth even more if you transfer your points to an airline and find a good redemption on an expensive hotel room or long-haul flight. Pair that with the $300 annual travel credit offered by this card and you’ve got a great value compared to other premium travel card bonuses that range from $500-$1,000 in value.

This sign-up bonus is available to new Sapphire cardholders only. If you’ve held another Sapphire credit card within the past 48 months or are an existing cardholder, you won’t be eligible.

Earning Points & Rewards

Your first $300 of travel purchases annually with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card will be refunded in the form of a statement credit, essentially giving you an extra $300 of travel rewards each year. Once you meet that limit, you’ll earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points for each $1 spent on travel-related purchases, including some you might not expect, such as bus fares, highway tolls, and parking fees.

You’ll also earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining purchases, which makes it even easier to earn rewards with this card than with other premium travel cards. All other purchases will earn 1 point per $1 spent. 

There’s no limit on the number of points you can earn, and points never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.

If you’re a Chase Freedom account holder, you can combine Ultimate Rewards points on that card with those you earn on the Sapphire Reserve to reach reward goals even faster.

Redeeming Rewards

Ultimate Rewards points are most valuable when redeemed for travel. For example, 20,000 points buys you $300 worth of travel, compared to only $200 in cash. All of the following count as travel redemptions: airline tickets, hotel accommodations, car rentals, activities, and cruises. 

There are also several other ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points: 

  • Get cash via statement credit or electronic deposit
  • Buy gift cards and experiences
  • Pay with points via Chase Pay at participating retailers
  • Shop with points online 

There’s no limit on how many Ultimate Rewards points you can redeem each year, and no minimum requirement for how many points you must use when redeeming them for travel, cash back, or through Amazon.com.

Transferring Points

You may get even more value by transferring your points to the loyalty programs of one of the 13 hotel and airline partners, including Hyatt Hotels and United Airlines. You can transfer points at an impressive 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments with all partners—much better than the ratio some competitors offer.

According to our analysis, your points are worth the most (1.57 cents each on average) when you transfer them to the United MileagePlus program. If you’re able to book a very expensive flight or hotel with points transferred from your card, your points might be worth even more.

Note: If the airline is part of an alliance, your redemption options expand even further. For instance, United points may be used for flights on most of the 28 Star Alliance partners.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Start by spending $300 on travel ASAP to use up the annual travel credit right away, as you won’t earn triple points on travel until that happens. Next, focus on reaching the rest of the $4,000 spending requirement within the first three months to get your sign-up bonus points. Reaching both thresholds will easily make up the $450 annual fee the first year. 

Boost your points on regular purchases by shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Lastly, redeem points for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal or, even better, transfer them to partner airlines or hotels and book expensive flights or hotel stays with points that way. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve’s Excellent Perks 

This card has a slew of benefits that we think go beyond what’s often offered by travel rewards cards. Besides the travel purchase credit, just some of the others include:

  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck fee reimbursement: Global Entry and TSA Precheck can speed your way through airports. Use your card to pay the application fee for either to get one statement credit—either $100 for Global Entry or $85 for TSA Precheck—every four years. 
  • Airport lounge access: Unlimited access to Priority Pass Select lounges, cafes, and markets—a $343 value. This benefit is free for primary cardholders and authorized users, but additional guests cost $27 each. 
  • Coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay: If your trip is canceled or cut short due to circumstances beyond your control, you can get reimbursed for non-refundable travel expenses. And if your travel is delayed for more than six hours or overnight, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses. Both plans are subject to limits.
  • Coverage for lost or delayed baggage: Damaged or lost luggage is covered up to $3,000 per passenger. A separate plan reimburses for essential purchases you if your baggage is delayed over six hours. 
  • Primary auto rental collision damage waiver: This benefit is unusual among credit cards because you don’t have to use your own insurance policy first if your rental car is lost or damaged in a collision. You’ll be covered for up to $75,000.

Chase Sapphire Reserve’s Other Features 

  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
  • Extended warranties

Customer Experience 

In 2019 J.D. Power ranked Chase ranked No. 4 for customer satisfaction, scoring 807 on a 1,000-point scale. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders have several resources at their disposal that reinforce the high ranking. 

You can view your FICO Score online and on the Chase mobile app for free, at any time after a one-time enrollment. Track your credit health via Credit Journey, a credit dashboard that summarizes your credit report and credit score insights. 

Security Features 

Other than standard security features like alerts about suspicious transactions, Chase also allows you to easily lock your card via the Chase mobile app if you misplace your card, to avoid potential fraud. Lost or stolen cards are replaced for free, too. 

Fees to Watch Out For

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a standard lineup of fees, most of which won’t apply if you make on-time payments and only use the card for purchases. There’s no foreign transaction fee, which is great for travelers, but the card still touts a $450 annual fee. High annual fees are common among premium travel rewards cards, but still, be prepared to pay for the value you’re getting. You also have to pay a $75 annual fee for each authorized user.

For Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Compare This Card

See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
overall rating
4.3
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 18.99% - 25.99% variable
Annual Fee $450
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3x points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3X points on dining at restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.