5 reasons why I'm sticking with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card through the pandemic
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- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a top choice for luxury travel, but its travel benefits are less useful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Chase has added temporary perks and rewards to keep the card relevant while people stay home.
- These new benefits include the ability to redeem rewards for groceries, home improvement, and restaurant purchases.
- You can also use the card's annual travel credit of up to $300 for purchases at grocery stores and gas stations.
- See Business Insider's guide to new credit card perks that you can use during quarantine »
Travel credit cards aren't as exciting in a time when most people aren't traveling. While we'll hopefully be able to get back to air, hotel, and other regular travel experiences that many of us enjoy soon, we're not quite there yet.
While I'm mostly at home, I'm still getting quite a bit of value from my premium Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. Chase has updated the Sapphire Reserve to include a group of useful temporary benefits including the ability to use rewards for groceries.
We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.
Regular Chase Sapphire Reserve rewards and benefits
During normal times, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is ideal for travel. It offers up to a $300 annual credit for travel purchases, 3 points per dollar on dining and travel purchases (after earning the $300 travel credit) worldwide, a 1.5-cent-per-point value when redeeming rewards for travel through the Chase website, and the ability to transfer points to partners including United, Southwest, and Marriott, among other benefits.
It gives you a credit to cover the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and a long list of travel and purchase protections. It also includes a complimentary one-year subscription to DoorDash's DashPass and up to $120 in DoorDash credits. When you're out and about, the card makes local trips cheaper with a complimentary one-year Lyft Pink membership and 10x points on Lyft rides.
The card usually charges a $550 annual fee, which is a lot for many people. However, once you take into account the $300 travel credit and other benefits, this card offers a ton of value that's easily worth more than the annual fee to frequent travelers.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
- Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
- Strong travel insurance
- Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
- Very high annual fee
- The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify
5 reasons I'm keeping the Chase Sapphire Reserve
For a limited time, Chase is giving Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders extra flexibility to use benefits outside of the typical travel category. Here are five reasons I'm keeping this card even though all of my travel plans are on hold.
Ability to use $300 travel credit for gas and groceries
The up to $300 annual travel credit is good for purchases at grocery stores and gas stations through the end of the year. This helps you use one of the card's most valuable benefits where most people are currently shopping most.
Option to use points for pandemic-essentials like groceries
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can use a new Pay Yourself Back feature to redeem points for recent purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores, restaurants, and eligible food delivery services. Points are worth the same 1.5 cents each as when redeemed for travel.
Value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the bank
Ultimate Rewards points are worth at least 1.5 cents each for Sapphire Reserve cardholders. You can redeem for 1.5 cents for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal any time, and right now you can use the points for the same value to reimburse yourself for popular purchase categories. But points are often worth a lot more when transferred to travel partners and redeemed for premium travel.
I'll still like airport lounges after the pandemic
I'm not going within six feet of friends right now, let alone strangers in an airport. But when I can safely go back, you can bet you'll find me enjoying a complimentary scotch before boarding a flight at one of the 1,200-plus lounges included in the card's Priority Pass Select membership.
A $100 break on the annual fee for some cardholders
For those who already have the card, the annual fee is temporarily lowered to $450 for those with account renewal dates between April 1 from July 1. This comes in the form of a $100 statement credit, which acts as discount on the card's typical $550 annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Reserve packs a lot of value for frequent travelers
If you travel regularly, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is one of the best premium credit cards around. Right now, new cardholders can earn a 50,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That's worth at least $750 in travel or any Pay Yourself Back category.
I've had this card for years, so I can't get a new-customer bonus. But it isn't going anywhere soon. Despite the significant annual fee, this card is a winner for my needs. While I'm not traveling right now, this card is my ticket back to the world of travel when the pandemic comes to an end.
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.
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