How I’ll use the new Chase Sapphire Perks [On my mind]

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As of August 16th 2021, Chase added perks to their Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards.  I signed up for the Sapphire Reserve when it debuted in 2016 and I’ve kept it since.  Initially, I absolutely loved the card for its 3x travel & dining and 1.5 cents per point redemption value, but I’ve become less enamored since Chase increased the annual fee to $550, and since other cards have added even more compelling category bonuses.  At this point, I don’t know if I’ll keep the card past the next annual fee.  Meanwhile, my wife recently signed up for the $95 Sapphire Preferred card (thanks to the 100K welcome bonus!) and so we currently have both cards in our household.   In this post, I’ll take a detailed look at each card’s new benefits to see which ones are meaningful to me.

Summary of enhancements

Sapphire Preferred

The Sapphire Preferred retains its 2x earnings for all travel purchases, but moves to 5x for travel booked through Chase; 3x for dining (previously 2x); 3x for streaming services and online grocery (excluding Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs); a 10% anniversary point bonus; and a $50 anniversary hotel credit for stays booked through Chase.  Those who had opened the card before August 15, 2021, will have to wait until their next account anniversary to begin earning the $50 hotel credit.

As before, points are worth 1.25 cents each towards travel booked through Chase and through Pay Yourself Back.  The card also retains its 5x earnings for Lyft and for Peloton equipment through 3/31/2022; and $60 credit towards Peloton through 12/31/21.

Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Reserve retains its 3x earnings for all travel & dining purchases, but adds 10x for Chase Dining (take-out dining and prepaid dining experiences); 10x for hotels and car rentals booked through Chase; and 5x airfare booked through Chase.

As before, points are worth 1.5 cents each towards travel booked through Chase and through Pay Yourself Back.  The card also retains its $300 travel credit; best in-class travel protections (details here); $60 DoorDash credit through 2021; 10x earnings for Lyft and for Peloton equipment through 3/31/2022; and $120 credit towards Peloton through 12/31/21.

How I’ll use the new Sapphire Preferred benefits

3x dining: The ability to earn 3x for dining brings the Sapphire Preferred on par with the Sapphire Reserve and the fee-free Freedom Unlimited (which I also have) and Freedom Flex cards for dining spend in the U.S.  Where the Sapphire Preferred outshines the fee-free cards is with no foreign transaction fees.  For dining outside of the U.S., the ability to earn 3x without foreign transaction fees is significant.  That said, I currently have other cards that offer even better rewards for dining spend and with no foreign transaction fees.  These include the Citi Prestige card (5x dining) and the Amex Gold card (4x dining). That said, I’m likely to downgrade the Prestige card when the next annual fee comes due; and many places internationally don’t accept American Express.  So, this new Sapphire Preferred feature (3x dining) is good for me only because it makes the idea of dropping the Sapphire Reserve in favor of the Preferred a little bit more palatable if I ever decide to go that route.

5x for travel booked through Chase: This feature matches the same benefit already found on the fee-free Freedom Unlimited (which I have) and Freedom Flex cards.  This doesn’t do anything for me.

3x for streaming services and online grocery: These category bonuses are unique to the Chase Ultimate Rewards card collection but not particularly interesting to me.  I simply don’t spend enough for streaming services to even bother to switch over how I pay for them.  And for grocery purchases (online or not), I’ll do better with the Amex Gold card which earns 4x for U.S. grocery purchases.

10% anniversary point bonus: The anniversary point bonus sounds interesting, but it’s important to remember that the bonus is based on the amount spent, not the amount of points earned.  For example, if you spend $10,000 on dining, you’ll earn 3x = 30,000 points but the annual bonus will be 10% of 10,000 rather than 10% of 30,000.  Another way to look at it is that this feature moves the 3x category bonus up to 3.1x.  I can’t imagine spending enough on the Sapphire Preferred card to care about earning an extra 0.1x on my spend.

$50 anniversary hotel credit for stays booked through Chase: This is the only new Sapphire Perk that I’d be likely to use if it was available to me.  If my wife had waited until August 15 or later to sign up, this perk would have been enabled right away.  And, if so, the next time we had to book a hotel night (ideally at an independent hotel where we wouldn’t lose out on elite benefits or point earnings), I would have considered booking the hotel through Chase in order to save $50.  Unfortunately, this feature won’t kick in for my wife until after she renews next year.  I think she’ll be more likely to downgrade to a fee free card next year, so even this feature is likely to go unused in our household.

How I’ll use the new Sapphire Reserve benefits

10x Chase Dining: Chase has partnered with Tock for booking dinner reservations at select (mostly high end) restaurants, purchasing take-out from some of these restaurants, and for dining events.  It is only the latter two (where you pay in advance) where you’ll earn 10x with the Sapphire Reserve card.  In my area, only 2 restaurants show up for take-out and none offer prepaid events that I’ve seen.  My guess is that I’ll rarely, if ever, use this benefit.

10x for hotels booked through Chase: When booking hotels through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you don’t get hotel points or elite benefits on your stay.  But, the ability to earn 10x instead of the usual 3x for this type of travel is significant.  If you consider that points can be used each for 1.5 cents value, then the extra 7 points per dollar is like an extra 10.5% rebate on your hotel spend.  I will look to use this benefit when booking independent hotels where I wouldn’t get hotel points or elite benefits anyway.  But I won’t use this benefit if booking direct or through other channels gives me a significant discount over Chase’s pricing.  So… the question is whether I’ll use this benefit often?  My guess is that it will happen often enough for this benefit to be worth at least 10K extra points per year (about $150 in extra value).  It will be interesting to look back next year to see.

10x for car rentals booked through Chase: Due to my car rental habits, I’m very unlikely to use this benefit.  I usually book car rentals through National Car Rental (because I like the ability to choose any car from the Executive Aisle — you can unlock this capability by using the Sapphire Reserve’s car rental benefit to sign up for National Executive status for free).  I then use AutoSlash to see if they can find a better deal.

5x for airfare booked through Chase: I won’t use this benefit.  I don’t like booking airfare through Chase or any other online travel agency.  When things go wrong or when I need to make travel changes, it’s much easier to do so if the airfare had been purchased directly from the airline.  Plus, Amex Platinum consumer cards offer 5x for airfare purchased directly from airlines.  So, I’m content either paying with my Platinum card to earn 5x, or paying with my Sapphire Reserve to earn 3x plus best in class travel protections.

Bottom Line

The new Sapphire Preferred and Reserve benefits aren’t exciting to me at all.   The Sapphire Preferred enhancements are significant when looked at on their own, but I have other cards that give me equal or better benefits.  Only the $50 hotel benefit is interesting to me and I won’t even have access to it unless my wife renews her card next year.  Meanwhile, I find the Sapphire Reserve enhancements to be underwhelming.  The only one that is possibly meaningful to me is the ability to earn 10x for hotels booked through Chase.  And its unclear to me how often I’ll use that feature.  Yes, it might be worth a lot if I use it often, but it won’t surprise me if I end up not using it at all.  How often will I book independent hotels?  And when I do, how often will Chase’s price be competitive with the best price I can find elsewhere or by booking direct?  Only time will tell.

How about you?  Are you excited by any of the Sapphire enhancements?

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[…] So, both my kids got the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because it is the best solid keeper travel rewards card out there imho. If you just got it or plan to get it before Chase pulls the offer, this post will help you: How I’ll use the new Chase Sapphire Perks. […]

Morris

Is there a differences between CSR and CSP for car rental benefits other than using the Chase portal

wanderlust

“These include the Citi Prestige card (5x dining) and the Amex Gold card (4x dining). ” $495 fee and $250 fee vs Preferreds $95

kathy (willrunformiles)

In this post, you say that the CSR gets National Car Rental Executive Status (as opposed to Executive Elite from Plat Amex). I can’t find any links for a CSR cardholder to sign up for this. I see some older posts saying Visa Infinite cardholders (CSR is a Visa Infinite) were entitled to Executive Status with National but I’m not sure if that offer is current.

kathy (willrunformiles)

I found the answer via Chase Support on Twitter – here’s what they wrote: We appreciate you reaching out to us about the benefit of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. To help you, we recommend you call National at 1-800-227-7368. For reference, you can save up to 25% on qualifying rentals at participating locations and receive complimentary Emerald Club Executive level membership. You must enroll in the Emerald Club program or link existing account to Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card through Ultimate Rewards.

A B

My CSR only earned 1X at restaurants in France and Italy over a recent trip. No forex fee but no bonus earning either.

Oliver

Have you contacted Chase

John

I’ve downgraded my CSR to Preferred last week. I have both Platinum and CSR and don’t see the value in CSR anymore.

The rep told me that “there will be more changes coming for CSR”. I’m not sure if he was referring to the recent CSR benefits or more changes are coming.

Paul B

Are there any current retention offers for the CSR?

Peggles

About 2 weeks ago I called Chase regarding the renewal of my CSR, to see if they’d waive the additional $100 annual fee for now. I was transferred to someone who supposedly had more authority on the issue, but that person said he wasn’t able to help either. I downgraded to the Preferred.

JAR46

Not strictly on this topic, but I have had CSP for 8 yrs or so. Can I cancel current card and get a new one in a few weeks to get the signup bonus? I have couple Freedom Cards. Do I need to transfer my Ult Rewards to my wife’s CSP in order to preserve them before canceling?

NK3

Regarding the 10x on hotels booked through the Chase portal using the CSR, it is important to highlight what you are missing out on by earning those extra 7 UR points per $. Like many people here, I tend to book directly through hotels for the elite credit/benefits, earnings, etc. For independent hotels, as you mention, sometimes booking directly could save you money over the Chase portal. But you may lose out on great stacking opportunities through other portals. On a recent trip to Greece, there were a couple times where I did book independent hotels, but the Chase portal would not have been the best option. For example:

  1. Booked a hotel through Hotwire, where the rate was 15-20% less. Added a promo code for an extra 5% off. I still used my CSR (3x) and went through Rakuten (5x), so I still received 8x earnings for the booking.
  2. Booked a hotel through Expedia. Used Citi Premier (3x), which had a merchant offer (10% off). Went through Rakuten (3x back), plus earned Expedia rewards (it was a VIP hotel, so even with the devaluation I earned a decent amount back).
Aloha808

Right on. I like your method better than buying discounted Hotels.com GCs (for independent hotels).

Mary Jane

Greg, Referring to your wife’s $50 hotel credit, I wonder if you were booking at least two nights under separate rez (first night rez w/loyalty program status and 2nd ngt booked with $50 credit) and then when you got to the hotel, asked the hotel front desk to combine the rez, if they would grant you loyalty perks for the entire stay…work around?

Jeff

I echo Paul’s question on car rental through chase and receiving National choose your aisle. I always use my CSP for car rentals as I thought it had the best credit card insurance coverage for rentals. If that’s still so, wouldn’t using the CSP and the Chase portal be a great win? That said, if the Chase Portal doesn’t recognize your National status then I could see why it would one would not use it.

Great post and appreciate your thoughts!

Paul

Thanks Greg. If a car is booked through the Chase website for 10x, are we sure that will not receive National benefits? Is there a way to add the Executive # to the reservation? Are we sure it works like a hotel reservation (no benefits)?

Captain Greg

Can you use the $50 hotel credit upon renewal then downgrade before 30 days are up?

Ryan

Great recap. The new perks are underwhelming with all the catches (only if booked through Chase, etc.)

Rbrownlo

In fairly early with CSR four years ago. Recently downgraded to CSP (not under 5/24). Plan is to use the $50 hotel benefit to cut effective annual cost of CSP to $45/year and keep card indefinitely so I can transfer points earned with Freedom/Unlimited/Flex cards to Hyatt. If my first $95 annual fee posts in late August/September, will I be able to use $50 hotel benefit next month? Any other commentary on this approach?

DaninMCI

They should have made the dining credit 4x on the CSR. We have both cards and do spend money on dining. I’d rather get Chase points but I’ll keep my Amex Gold for dining instead. I will be interested to see if they make the Peloton credit as an annual feature. It might be enough to make me keep both cards in the future.

Jon

My wife and I have almost the exact situation as you. I have had the Reserve for 5 years, and she just opened the preferred for the 100K bonus. I was considering cancelling the Reserve, and opening a new preferred myself for the 100K bonus. I have about 350,000 points and it would devalue them 25% for booking through the portal, but the 100K bonus would make it worth it. Thoughts?

Last edited 9 months ago by Jon
Jon

I think with the AF going up to $550 on the Reserve, and the tempting 100K bonus with AF waived 1 year, I don’t value the other perks enough to keep the reserve. I can also upgrade back to Reserve down the road.

Sirish

Hello. A question. I don’t want to lose the ultimate rewards on my CSR card (about 300K in the account). If i open a CSP card and get the 100K bonus, will i be able to then transfer my ultimate rewards points to CSP and cancel my CSR card after that??

I know it devalues the points, but i almost always transfer to an airline partner to get an international business class ticket. So i dont think that will matter in the long run.

What do you guys think?

Susan4

You can transfer ultimate rewards between cards on the same account. Fast and easy online. You never lose points as long as you have any UR earning card open, even a fee free Freedom card where the points are worth only cash.

Susan4

Transfer points out before closing a card.

Corey

You cannot get the CSP while holding a CSR. Change the CSR to a freedom first, then after a few weeks apply for the CSP. Then transfer the points.

Sirish

Thank you Susan and Corey. Very useful.

Jan W

Also keep in mind that you’re only eligible for a Chase Sapphire bonus 48 months after you received (not opened card) a Sapphire bonus, so make sure you hit that 48 months. I find it strange they lump CSP and CSR together for bonus requirement, but they do. They will usually deny your application if you are not eligible for SUB but I keep track of it myself just in case.

Oliver

If you find you really want a CSR, you could product change another card into a CSR after getting your new preferred.

PS if you can only product change a preferred card, you will need to wait until you have held the card for a year.

PPS You will need a 10k CL to product change.

Brutus

Not that I’ll ever use it, but I believe Chase partners with Tock for its dining program, not Resy.