Chase Sapphire Reserve Review: Is the Annual fee worth it?

April 19th, 2018

Chase Sapphire Reserve

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Pros

  • Tons of great perks
  • 3x points on travel and dining
  • Nice metal card

Cons

  • Expensive annual fee of $450
  • Hard to get approved for sometimes

Our Review

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a card that is often talked about in nearly all travel hacking related blogs. When it was first released, it came with a pretty sweet 100,000 point bonus, which has now been reduced to 50,000 for most offers. The 100,000 point bonus was a no brainer and even the 50,000 point bonus is probably still worth it for most people.

While much of the buzz around the card likely came from the coverage on the various travel blogs when it was first announced, the card mostly lives up to the hype. It is super flexible, has a bunch of great redemption options, and can be a good way to earn points pretty rapidly even without a bonus. That doesn't mean that everyone should go pick this card up though. The high annual fee (not waived) can deter people and if you don't spend a lot on travel or eating out you might earn more with other cards.

With that quick intro, let's jump into our Chase Sapphire Reserve review.

What we like

Lounge Access

The card gives you access to priority pass lounges, which is super handy after a long layover. I have personally taken advantage of this perk multiple times and it has been amazing to be able to take a shower during a layover after a long flight. If you are interested in checking out what is available and if there is a priority pass lounge at your airport, check out their site here.

It should also be noted that lounge access means you can bring in up to four guests in most lounges. This can make killing a layover go much faster as you down free drinks and food with your friends in a comfy chair.

3x points on dining and travel

For this perk your mileage may vary, but if you are a high spender on eating out and traveling this could be a huge bonus for you. The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points, but I've personally noticed that points seem to add up faster with the 3x bonus.

$300 travel reimbursement

Every year your first $300 spent on travel (like airfare, baggage fees, etc.) gets reimbursed to you on the card. This is super nice because it is essentially knocking down the $450 fee to $150. If you were going to spend the money anyways on a trip, this is super nice and can make the high annual fee more palatable.

What we don't like

High Annual Fee

While the benefits can be great on this card, it can be hard to stomach a $450 annual fee. Before getting this card make sure that you will get your value out of the card and might not be better suited for a card with a lower (or waived) annual fee.

Other cards have better lounge access

Other cards in the space that are similar often have other lounge perks included. The American Express Platinum for example has access to both Delta and Priority Pass lounges. This can be useful when Priority Pass doesn't have coverage in a city that you are going to.

Who should get it

This question is really hard to answer, particularly for this card. If you are already spending a decent amount on travel, like Chase redemption options, and are under 5 cards in the last 24 months then this card should be on your radar. This card particularly is useful for higher spenders as well. If you are looking for something with similar perks, where you might not earn as much, but don't really care about lounge access then check out the Chase Sapphire preferred which has similar travel insurance and redemption options.

Final Verdict

Overall this card definitely lives up to the buzz that has been around it since launch. The flexibility of points, ability to earn points rapidly, and decent bonus make it a great card and everyday spender (card you use every day). The annual fee may deter some people, but if you can use all of the benefits to your advantage this card can make your next flight comfortable with lounge access and give you a piece of mind with the built in travel insurance.

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