By now you’ve read hundreds of headlines about the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and you’ve been well conditioned to hit the “apply” button on your favorite blogger’s links. Undoubtedly, the Sapphire Reserve’s 100,000 point sign-up bonus is huge and a great reason to get the card. The $4,000 spending requirement is easily met and the sign-up bonus alone justifies the $450 annual fee not being waived the first year. All signs point to “get this card!” but what about keeping it for long-term use?
To summarize, the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card are as follows:
- 100,000 point sign-up bonus after $4,000 spent in 3 months
- $300 statement credit for flights and hotel charges (per calendar year)
- $100 credit towards Global Entry application fee
- Priority Pass Select membership
- 3 points per $1 on travel and dining
- 1 point per $1 on all other spending
- $450 annual fee, not waived the first year
- Some Visa Infinite benefits (excluding the $100 airline companion fare credit)
It’s also worth noting that points are worth 1.5 cents each towards travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Normally, with Ultimate Rewards credit cards like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Sapphire Preferred card, points are worth 1.25 cents each. This is even more significant considering the incredible deals that can be found on the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. So this benefit, more than anything else, makes this card somewhat appealing to me for long-term use.
Most of us will easily spend at least $300 annually on flights and hotels, so charging them to the Sapphire Reserve card not only partially off-sets the $450 annual fee but may also reward us with 900 Ultimate Rewards points. This is more generous than what most other reward credit cards offer for travel purchases. So really, the annual fee is $150, which is a mere $55 more than the annual fee on the Sapphire Preferred card. Factor in the Global Entry application fee and the fact that you can get the $300 travel statement credit twice during your first year, you’re coming out way ahead.
These are all great reasons to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, but are they worth the annual fee past the first year? If you’re not getting the Global Entry application fee covered through another rewards credit card and spend enough on travel and dining to really milk those 3 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 paid out in those categories, then it may be worth it. Personally, I’m not finding a compelling reason to keep paying even $150 for this card because Chase isn’t the most manufactured spender-friendly bank, so I can’t justify the cost based on the amount of points I can generate from credit card spending. The lack of meaningful category bonuses makes it even less compelling.
However, if you’re a big spender in the travel and dining categories and you plan on making use of the Priority Pass Select membership and don’t have another card that offers a $100 credit towards Global Entry application fees, then this card might be a good fit for you in the long run. In my case (if I can even manage to qualify for this card in spite of the 5/24 rule) I’ll probably use the Sapphire Reserve for its sign-up bonus and then cancel it after the first year.
If you’re interested in getting the new Sapphire Reserve credit card, Chase will begin accepting applications for the Sapphire Reserve card on August 21, 2016. If you’ve largely stayed out of the credit card churning game over the past 24 months, you’re about to get rewarded for it in a big way…
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