Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review: Is It Worth the Annual Fee?

chase sapphire reserve

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the flagship travel credit card from Chase, offering premium travel benefits that are ideal for frequent travelers.

The Reserve card offers a generous welcome bonus and hundreds of dollars in travel credits per year. It also gets you access to plenty of airport lounges around the U.S.

Plus, score premium dining reservations and higher redemption rates when using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Quick Facts: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Rewards rate: 10x points on hotel stays and car rentals through Chase Travel℠; 5x points on dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards and on Lyft purchases (through March 2025); 5x points on flights booked through Chase Travel℠ (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually); 3x points on restaurants and travel; 1x points on everything else
  • Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $550

. . .

Overview of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the top-tier travel rewards card offered by Chase. Although the annual fee might seem steep, the benefits far outweigh the costs — assuming you travel frequently and can take advantage of the perks.

Your points may gain even more value by transferring them to travel partners like Hyatt, Marriott, Southwest Airlines, and British Airways. This can yield 2 cents per point or more — surpassing the 1.5 cents per point from booking through Chase Travel℠.

If you're a frequent traveler or want to add some luxuries to your trips, the Chase Sapphire Reserve stands out among the top cards in the market.

Pros

  • Earn up to 10x points on bonus categories
  • Flexible rewards points that can be cashed out or used for travel
  • $300 annual travel credit and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit 
  • Global lounge access through Priority Pass and Chase lounges

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • No hotel or airline status matching

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Welcome Offer

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is currently offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

While not the highest bonus that’s been offered on this card, it’s worth a whopping $750 in travel rewards when booking through Chase Travel℠. 

Earning Rewards

You can earn 1 point per dollar spent on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. However, several bonus categories pay much higher rewards, including:

  • 10x points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel℠ (excluding travel qualifying for $300 hotel credit)
  • 10x points on Chase Dining through Chase Ultimate Rewards 
  • 5x points on air travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x points on other travel and dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out)
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases (through March 2025)

The 10x points on travel through Chase Travel℠ is a great bonus. As is earning 10x points on Chase Dining purchases — however, your options are limited, and the included restaurants are likely to be high-end (think: Michelin star rather than McDonald’s).

If you typically spend a lot on eating out and plan on traveling quite a bit, you can earn thousands of extra bonus points by simply spending daily on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Redeeming Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the best travel rewards programs available, and there are several ways you can redeem your points.

Chase Travel℠ portal

Within the Chase Travel℠ portal, you can redeem points for statement credits, gift cards, and partner shopping. Or book hotels, car rentals, flights, experiences, and cruises.

To cover your travel expenses, consider using your credit card and earning up to 10x rewards. Or, you can use Ultimate Rewards points, which are valued 50% higher than a standard cashback redemption.

You can access real-time pricing for all of these travel options, but make sure to check the prices against booking directly. Prices may sometimes be inflated and not worth it, even with the boosted redemption rate.

Transfer partners

Chase partners with 14 different loyalty programs, including three hotel chains and 11 airlines, and allows you to transfer Ultimate Rewards directly to a partner program for travel. This can be a great option for booking with a specific airline or hotel and can lead to even better travel redemptions than using the Chase Travel℠ portal.

Here are the partners currently available with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada
  • Air France KLM
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Hyatt
  • Iberia
  • IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • JetBlue
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Some of the best redemption partners are Hyatt Hotels, British Airways (for short-haul flights), and Southwest Airlines with their “Wanna Get Away” fares. You can earn up to $0.03 or $0.04 per point, depending on the redemption.

It’s important to find your redemption option first before transferring points to a partner program. Once your Chase points are transferred to a partner, you can’t transfer them back.

Cashback

Chase lets you “pay yourself back” by choosing purchases to pay for with points. You can also choose to get a statement credit on your card. Both of these options are redeemed at a rate of $0.01 per point. 

This is a decent redemption rate, especially considering American Express points and Capital One points offer much less than $0.01 per point on cashback redemptions. That said, booking travel offers much better value for your points in most cases.

Chase Dining

The Chase Dining program allows you to book exclusive dining experiences through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Plus, paying with your card earns you 10x bonus points. Some experiences are unique to Chase, and you can use the “Reserve by Sapphire” restaurant booking service for elusive reservations.

Note that you can only earn 10x rewards on dining that is fully pre-paid ahead of the reservation. However, not all dining options in the portal have these options, so make sure to find one that allows you to fully prepay if you’re hoping to score the 10x bonus.

Perks and Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Outside of bonus points and rewards, there are a host of benefits offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

  • $300 annual travel credit: You automatically get up to $300 reimbursed when booking travel, including airlines, hotels, car rentals, timeshares, and even campgrounds.
  • Up to $100 credit for airport security screening: Get a statement credit of up to $100 every four years to cover the application cost for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS. 
  • Global lounge access: Get a free Priority Pass membership for access to hundreds of lounges, as well as Chase Sapphire lounge access in select locations.
  • Travel protection: This card offers coverage for trip delays, trip cancellation/interruption, baggage delays, and lost baggage. It also offers primary auto coverage insurance.
  • DoorDash $5 monthly credit: In addition to a free Doordash DashPass membership, you get up to $5 in monthly Doordash credits.
  • Instacart+ membership: You get a 12-month Instacart+ membership (activated by July 31, 2024) and up to $15 in monthly statement credits (through July 2024).
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Get extra perks at Luxury Hotel Collection properties, including complimentary breakfast, free upgrades (when available), late checkout, and more.

Who Should Get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is ideal if you're a frequent traveler who can take advantage of all of the travel credits and bonus point categories.

If you travel for work or simply fly a lot, having airport perks, like lounge access, faster security screening, and travel credits can more than make up for the annual fee.

And if you prefer to book travel with points, the 50% value bonus can help your points stretch further, allowing you to book more travel for less.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Who Shouldn’t Get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

If you don’t travel much and won’t use the credits available with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, then it’s probably not worth the annual fee.

This card is designed for regular travelers and those who can offset the hefty fee through travel credits and bonus spending categories.

If you’re only a casual traveler, there are several other cards available with much lower fees that can still give you some perks but won’t cost hundreds per year.

Alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Reserve

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premier reward card with outstanding perks, its substantial annual fee may not suit everyone.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Rewards rate: 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries; 2x on all other travel purchases; 1x on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Annual fee: $95
chase sapphire preferred

. . .

Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card let you earn insanely valuable Ultimate Rewards points, and both offer the same welcome bonus. However, the annual fee varies quite a bit between the two cards, as do the benefits.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or read our full review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Rewards rate: 5x points on directly booked flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel (up to $500,000); 1x on all other spending
  • Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $8,000 in the first six months
  • Annual fee: $695 (rates and fees)
American Express Platinum Card

. . .

The Platinum Card® from American Express is the flagship Amex card that offers the most perks. However, it also comes with an eye-watering annual fee. Whether or not the fee is worth it depends on how many of the card’s perks you’ll actually use.

Learn more about the The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards rate: 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel; 2x miles on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • Annual fee: $395

. . .

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers quite a few perks in addition to the sign-up bonus. Plus, it has similar benefits and a significantly lower annual fee. Opt for the Venture X if you're seeking travel perks without the Sapphire Reserve's high fee.

Learn more about the Capital One Venture X Credit Card or read our full review.

FAQs

Is it worth getting Chase Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve targets frequent travelers; however, its high annual fee may be justified for those who maximize benefits. If you don't travel much, a lower-fee card is more suitable.

How much do you need to spend to make Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it?

It’s not about how much you need to spend, but rather a question of your ability to use all of the perks of the card. If you value lounge access and travel frequently, you should easily be able to get more than $550 worth of value from the card. 

To earn the welcome offer of 60,000 points, worth $900 in travel, you need to spend at least $4,000 within 3 months of card opening.

Is Chase Sapphire Reserve hard to get?

Approval for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card requires having a solid income. Additionally, you must not have applied for five personal credit cards within the last 24 months to be approved.

To Sum Up…

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a premium travel credit card for people who travel a lot. You'll get great perks, like lounge access and a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry — but you'll pay a hefty annual fee to access those benefits.


Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.