Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Review (2023)

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) card has long been a favorite amongst the points and miles community as a top all-around travel rewards card. It has nice perks, best-in-class travel protections and good bonus categories, all while earning valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Since its launch, Chase has increased the card’s annual fee to $550, but have the benefits kept up with the cost?

a person holding a card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Current Welcome Offer

Card Offer
75K Points ⓘ Affiliate
75K after $4K spend in 3 months
$550 Annual Fee
Recent better offer: Expired 12/1/22: 80K after $4K spend

Chase Sapphire Reserve Review

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a lot going for it. The travel and purchase protections are top-notch, the Priority Pass membership is one of the best offered by a credit card as it still includes restaurants (unlike those issued by Amex and Capital One). Ultimate Rewards is a very valuable transfer currency, unique in that it transfers 1-1 to Hyatt and can be redeemed by CSR cardholders for 1.5 cents each towards travel. The $550 annual fee is balanced by an easy-to-use $300 travel credit that brings the yearly total closer to $250. It doesn’t stand out from the competition like it used to and I wouldn’t consider it a “must-have” card. However, for frequent travelers who don’t want/can’t get the Ritz Carlton card or who often use points for direct travel redemptions, it can be a worthwhile option.

  • Annual Fee: $550
    • Authorized User Annual Fee: $75
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • What points are worth: The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns Ultimate Rewards (UR). Our current Reasonable Redemption Values pegs them at 1.55 cents each.
  • Best Use for Points: Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to travel partners at a 1:1 ratio and this will almost certainly yield the most value. Our favorite transfer partner is Hyatt, but good value can had through airline partners as well; including Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France/KLM Flying Blue and British Airways Avios. CSR cardholders can also be redeem UR for travel through the Chase Portal at 1.5 cents each or use “Pay Yourself Back (PYB)” on certain spending categories at 1.25 cents each (although the PYB program has lost much of its luster in the last year).
  • Earning Categories: 
    • 10X hotels & car rentals booked through Chase, Chase Dining, Lyft (through 3/2025)
    • 5X flights booked through Chase
    • 3X travel and Dining
    • 1x everywhere else
  • Credits:
    • $300 annual travel (cardmember year)
    • $15 monthly Instacart
    • $10 monthly GoPuff
    • $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck (once every 4 years)
  • Additional Perks:
    • Priority Pass Select Lounge Membership: Cardholder and two guests. Unlike many other card-linked Priority Pass memberships, this one includes restaurants in the Priority Pass network.
    • National Car Rental Executive Status
    • 12 months free Instacart+ – Free delivery on orders over $35, 5% credit back on eligible pickup orders and reduced service fees.
    • Free Lyft Pink (through 2024) – Complimentary upgrades to Priority Pickup on Standard rides, savings on Lyft Lux, XL, and Preferred rides and relaxed ride cancellations.
  • Travel Protections:
    • Auto Rental Coverage: Primary auto rental CDW (collision damage waiver). Provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
    • Roadside Assistance: Up to $50 per incident/4 times a year.
    • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.
    • Trip Delay Reimbursement: Covers delays of more than 6 hours or that require an overnight stay. Cardholder and family are covered for up to $500 per ticket.
    • Lost Luggage Reimbursement:  Up to $3,000 per passenger.
    • Baggage Delay Insurance: Covers baggage delays of over 6 hours, up to $100 a day for 5 days.
    • Travel Accident Insurance: Accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $1,000,000.
    • Emergency Evacuation & Transportation: Medical services and transportation up to $100,000.
    • Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit: More than 100 miles or more from home, up to $2,500 for medical expenses for cardholder and immediate family members.
  • Purchase Protections:
    • Extended Warranty: One additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less (US warranties only)
    • Damage and Theft Protection: 120 days against damage or theft; up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year
    • Return Protection: Within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year.”
  • Who’s this card for? Frequent travelers, especially those that can take advantage of bonus spending categories and who utilize the 1.5 cent redemption through the Ultimate Rewards portal (or those for whom the monthly Instacart and GoPuff credits move the needle). The travel and purchase protections are top-notch and it has the best Priority Pass membership around. Pairing it with a 5x earner like the no-fee Chase Freedom Flex, no-fee Freedom Unlimited & no-fee Chase Ink Cash can make it much more powerful.
  • Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve a keeper? I used to be a staunch defender of the “keepability” of the CSR (and wrote a post about it last year). I’m less convinced now, however, partially because of the competition and partly because of the degradation of the Pay Yourself Back program. The Amex Gold card has better category bonuses and includes grocery. The Ritz Carlton card offers the same lounge access and travel protections, but adds $300 in incidental credits AND an annual 85K Marriott free night certificate…for $100 less in annual fees. Even the $95 Sapphire Preferred card offers primary car rental insurance while hanging onto the ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards to partners. Even if you account the $300 travel credit at face value, I’m seeing less and less reasons to keep this card around for $250/year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Best-in-class travel protections, including primary rental car insurance (that I’ve had the chance to use several times…it’s great)
  • $300 travel credit applies to a broad range of categories and is easy-to-use
  • Best-in-class Priority Pass membership
  • Good bonus categories
  • Only major transferable currency (outside of Bilt) that has Hyatt as a partner
  • Points can be redeemed at 1.5 cents each for travel through the Chase Travel Portal

Cons

  • High annual fee ($550)
  • While 3x on travel and dining is good, it doesn’t stand out like it used to
  • Often has a subpar welcome offer when compared to the Sapphire Preferred
  • The Pay Yourself Back program is much less valuable that it used to be
  • While everyone in these parts loves Hyatt, Ultimate Reward‘s airline transfer partners are less exciting

Chase Transfer Partners

Rewards ProgramChase Transfer RatioBest Uses
Aer Lingus Avios1 to 1Fuel surcharges are sometimes lower when booking with Aer Lingus (Avios.com) rather than British Airways, Qatar, or Iberia. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar.  See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.
Air Canada Aeroplan1 to 1Redeem for Star Alliance flights and/or flights with Air Canada partners (such as Etihad). No fuel surcharges; $39 CAD award booking fee; 5,000 points to add stopover on one-way award. See: Air Canada Aeroplan: Everything you need to know.
Air France KLM Flying Blue1 to 1Monthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards. Air France often offers very good business class award pricing between the US and Europe & Israel.
British Airways Avios1 to 1While flights on British Airways itself often incur outrageously high fuel surcharges, many BA partners charge low or no fuel surcharges. Excellent value can be had in redeeming BA points for short distance flights. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar. See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.
Emirates Skywards1 to 1The best use of Emirates miles has been to fly Emirates itself. Unfortunately fuel surcharges can be steep. See: Emirates Sweet Spot Awards - First class from 30K miles round trip.
Hyatt1 to 1Use for Hyatt free nights, free suite nights, lounge upgrades, or suite upgrades. Hyatt points are often worth at least 2 cents each, but they’re sometimes worth far more. Bonus: award nights are not subject to resort fees.
Iberia Avios1 to 1On their own flights, Iberia offers low award prices and a very reasonable 25 Euro cancellation fee. Partner awards can offer good value under some circumstances as well, but these are usually nonrefundable. Fuel surcharges are sometimes lower when booking with Iberia rather than British Airways, Aer Lingus, or Qatar. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar. See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.
IHG1 to 1IHG dynamically prices their awards and sometimes offer very good value. IHG Premier and IHG Premier Business cards offer the fourth night free on award stays.
JetBlue1 to 1JetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one of these cards.
Marriott Bonvoy1 to 15th Night Free awards. Opportunities to get outsized value exist but can be hard to find.
Qatar Privilege Club Avios1 to 1 via BAQatar has reasonable award prices for flying Qatar itself. Points are now transferable 1 to 1 to British Airways (and from there to Aer Lingus or Iberia). It is now also possible to book JetBlue flights with Qatar Avios.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1 to 1Use to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members), Alaska Airlines economy awards, or for Star Alliance awards (including United Airlines).
Southwest Rapid Rewards1 to 1Award flights are fully refundable. Point values vary due to certain taxes not being charged on awards, but tend to average around 1.5 cents per point.
United MileagePlus1 to 1United offers free award changes and free cancelations. Like Avianca and Aeroplan, United never charges fuel surcharges for awards. Unfortunately, United charges many more miles for international first class awards. Good uses of miles include United's Excursionist Perk awards and (sometimes) dynamically priced United economy awards.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1 to 1Virgin Atlantic offers a few great sweet spot awards including US to Europe on Delta One business class for 50K points one-way. See: Best uses for Virgin Atlantic points (Sweet Spot Spotlight).

Related Cards

Ultimate Rewards Consumer Cards

Card Offer and Details

Ultimate Rewards Business Cards

Card Offer and Details
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Carl S.

How does 3X on Travel not stand out? Only one other personal card (Amex Green) has 3X on travel. (this obviously ignores any “book through my portal” multiplier)

Carl S.

I actually did look at that list again before my post. Citi Premier only gets 3x on airline and hotel whereas Sapphire Reserve has language similar to this:

Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.” 10-27-2022 TPG

Citi Custom Cash limit is pretty small at $500.

I am particular interested in cruise spend but car rentals and other transportation are a factor too.

Amex has similar language on their website:

airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, campgrounds, vacation rentals, travel purchases on third party travel websites, and travel purchases on amextravel.com. You will not earn additional points for purchases of timeshare properties. Transit: You will earn 2 additional points (for a total of 3 points) for each dollar charged on eligible transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways.”

Altitude Reserve Points are not transferrable to Airline or Hotel partners.

Therefore I think Chase Sapphire Reserve (and Amex Green) are pretty much the standouts on travel category spend bonuses. (especially being they are transferrable currencies)

No?

Tom

The value comes down to how much you spend on travel at 3x. You can get dining 3x on freedom unlimited. Or 4x on Amex gold or Capital one savor.

And can you use the door dash credit and instacart credits. Those two combine to 20 dollars a month, but I would only value that maybe 15 dollars.

Primary car insurance is helpful for rentals.

It’s become a bit of a coupon book like the Amex platinum.

If you spend 10k a year on travel on this card, that’s an extra 10k chase UR per year.

If you don’t do most of those things you are probably better with the chase preferred.

chris

thanks for the review, I am debating keeping it and the Ritz Cartlon card is looking better and better.

Lee

Only unique-and-valuable transfer partner (other than Bilt) is Hyatt. And, with Bilt, at some point . . . (ask Greg to finish the sentence).

Andrew

United still has some minor uses… Before the recent devalue, 35k in polaris to peru was a steal. You can still get to South Africa for 88k in business class which isn’t great, but definitely not horrible. Plus you get free cancellations with United if you cancel 30 days before departure which isn’t horrible but does provide some flexibility compared to say Aeroplan.

Andrew

If you’re a 2 player household really hitting the Southwest Companion Pass hard then that can still be a valuable and unique transfer partner for UR. Being able to book all your tickets as BOGO brings the value of transferred points to Southwest up to around 2.6 cpp.

You have to be taking a lot of Southwest flights to justify that though since you’d want to use up your existing SW point balance first. You can bounce back and forth between P1 & P2 opening up 2 cards a year to indefinitely earn about 200K SW points and continuous companion pass coverage. If you’re not burning all 200K of those SW points first then you’re not getting that elevated value from using the points while holding a companion pass.

Nick Reyes

Greg set me straight on this years ago: having a Southwest Companion Pass doesn’t bring the value of points transferred to Southwest up to around 2.6cpp any more than it brings the pennies in your bank account up to a value of 2c per penny.

If one Southwest point is worth 1.3c toward airfare, a point transferred to Southwest buys you 1.3c in airfare whether you have the Companion Pass or not.

To clarify that, let’s say that you want to buy a ticket that costs $130 or 10,000 points (to stick with your 1.3c valuation). If you don’t have the Companion Pass, and you need two tickets, your options are to pay $260 or 20,000 points. Points are worth 1.3c per point. If you do have the Companion Pass, the same two tickets will cost you either $130 or 10,000 points — you get the same 1.3c per point. Those 10K points aren’t saving you $260 since you wouldn’t have to pay $260 for the tickets — you’d only have to pay $130 since you have the Companion Pass. The cash savings is $130 as that is the price you would pay as a Companion Pass holder, so you’re still getting 1.3cpp. Essentially, the Companion Pass is a repeatable discount code that makes the tickets cheaper, it doesn’t make your cash or points more valuable.

Again, to imagine that 10,000 points are worth $260 is to imagine that $130 in your bank account is worth $260 since you have the Companion Pass. It isn’t — you couldn’t go to the grocery store and buy $260 worth of stuff with your $130. The Companion Pass halves the price you pay, but it doesn’t increase the value of the dollars in your pocket nor the points in your Ultimate Rewards account.

And so that brings me back to your main point: that Southwest is a valuable and unique transfer partner. You are of course correct that they are unique. To call them a valuable transfer partner is, at least in my mind, inaccurate. The value is fixed at that ~1.3cpp. I’ll grant you that Southwest certainly can be useful in the right circumstances — like if you need to top off to book an award (since you can’t book partially with points, so you’ll need the full amount of points to book an award) or perhaps in a scenario where you don’t have Southwest points but really want a flexible ticket with points that won’t expire if you need to cancel, or Southwest is your best flight option from a timing or routing perspective, etc. I still wouldn’t consider Southwest to be a particularly valuable transfer partner since you can’t really get better than 1.3cpp in value (or whatever it is right now, I can’t recall for sure so I’m using what I assume is your number). You are essentially trading your points for a cash savings of 1.3c per point. In that spot, I might rather use the cash and save the points for more outsized redemptions assuming that’s an option for me.

Again, I’m not saying that you should never transfer to Southwest, but rather that you are accepting a fixed value that I think is lower than the value of many other uses of Chase points and thus not what I’d generally describe as “valuable”. Whereas many other airline and hotel awards could potentially get far outsized value, the value when transferred to Southwest is completely fixed.

Andrew

Thanks for that explanation Nick! I see where my mistake in valuation lies from that – booking with points isn’t required to use the Companion Pass, so that 50% off discount is independent of the points used. If Southwest had a restriction that the Companion Pass could only be used with award bookings then you could argue that it would boost the point values (going with your example, in that scenario tickets for two passengers would have a cash cost of $260 since you couldn’t use the Companion Pass but a points booking for the same tickets would only be 10,000 points).

An interesting thought I had reading your post – I’ve read before that it is possible to book Southwest flights through the Chase travel portal but you have to call in to do it, it’s not available online. I’ve never tried it so not sure if it is still possible. If a flight’s pricing is the same as direct then from a UR value perspective you would be better off booking the flight through Chase if you have the Sapphire Reserve to redeem at 1.5 cpp rather than transferring if the Southwest points cost is going to be at a lower value like 1.3 cpp. Would you still be able to add the companion ticket to this booking afterwards since it would look like a revenue booking to Southwest? If so that makes the value of transferring UR to Southwest even worse than I thought when holding the CSR, since there are times you could do better just booking the ticket through Chase at 1.5 cpp (and earning some points for the flight on top of that).