Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Review: 50,000 Points Bonus, $300 Annual Travel Credit, $450 Annual Fee

chasereserve200newChase has a new “ultra-premium” credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which has headline features of Visa Infinite benefits, 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus, and a $450 annual fee. Is this expensive travel-focused card worthy of your attention?

Card highlights:

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • $300 annual travel credit. Each year, automatically receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases such as airfare and hotels charged to your card.
  • Up to a $100 statement credit towards your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • Priority Pass Select membership. Provides free access to 900+ VIP lounges in over 400 cities worldwide.
  • Earn 3X points per $1 spent on travel & dining worldwide.
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar in other purchases.
  • 1.5 cents per point value when redeemed towards travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 1:1 points transfer to various frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Annual fee is $450, not waived the first year. Additional cards are $75 per year, each.

Details on Ultimate Rewards points redemption:

  • Cash rewards. Cash redemptions are a bit ordinary but easy… 100 points = $1.
  • Points redeemed towards travel are worth 1.5 cents when applied towards any hotel, flight, car rental, or cruise available on their travel portal Redemptions can also be maximized because you can book wherever you want and simply pay the difference. For example, 25,000 points can be used for any ticket up to $375, but if say you wanted a $400 ticket you could just pay the $25 difference. You’re able to use every last point on this program, and you don’t have to worry about room or flight availability.
  • This means the 100,000 point sign-up bonus is worth $1,500 towards any travel booked through Chase.
  • This also means your existing Ultimate Rewards points balance could be increased in value by getting this card.
  • This also means that if you also have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you’d be getting 2.25% back on all purchases when redeemed towards travel through Chase.
  • This also means that if you also have the Chase Freedom card, you’d be getting 7.5% back on the quarterly rotating categories when redeemed towards travel through Chase.
  • Points can be converted to frequent flyer miles a 1:1 basis to the following airlines: United Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, and Air France.
  • Points can be converted on a 1:1 basis to the following hotel loyalty programs: Hyatt, IHG, Ritz-Carlton, and Marriott
  • Sharing points. Ultimate Rewards points are instantly transferable to other accounts like family members, as long as they have their own Chase card with Ultimate Rewards as an authorized user (free with Chase Freedom). This way, you can pool points together for transfers and redemptions if you like.

Other card benefits:

  • Dedicated customer service line with a live person that answers the phone 24/7. No waiting or complicated phone trees.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Primary car rental collision damage waiver insurance. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. Most other cards only offer secondary coverage that kicks in only after the deductible of your individual insurance policy is used.
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement. If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket
  • Enjoy special car rental privileges from National Car Rental, Avis, and Silvercar when you book with your card.

Note that Chase has a widely-reported but unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years (aka the 5/24 rule). This rule is designed to discourage folks that apply for high numbers of sign-up bonuses.

As for the $300 annual travel credit, “annually” means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and each 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date. So it’s not exactly by calendar year, but roughly close and you can likely get this twice under the first year’s annual fee.

In terms of first-year value, this card is probably one of the highest in recent memory. You get 50k points worth $750 towards travel booked through Chase, $300 in travel credit that can be used once in 2017 and again in 2018, Priority Pass Select membership, up to $100 Global Entry application credit, and more…. all for $450 annual fee. Your potential net value for the first year is easily over $900. If you spend enough to trigger the sign-up bonus and the annual travel credit, can redeem the points for something you want, and haven’t racked up 5 new credit cards in the last 24 months, this is quite a deal.


  1. Only downside I see is the Priority Pass Select. Fine if you are in some major cities but sucks if you are in some smaller cities with Delta Sky lounges.

  2. So basically, if you travel enough to use $300 more on travel vs your points, this is effectively $150/year vs the preffered card’s $100 per year, you get all the same benefits plus club access and 3 points per dollar on travel (which based on my experience includes airbnb) and food vs 2, 1.5:1 reimbursement rate vs 1.25:1…. seems like a pretty damn good deal for travelers. I was even considering signing up for global access this year…

  3. 5/24 is a very real thing with Chase. The old days are over.

  4. And keep in mind “5” means total new cards for you, which includes Authorized User cards. If you got 3 cards and were added as AU for two cards, in Chase’s eyes you are at 5.

    • Good point. It just doesn’t make any sense to be an authorized user. You get zero bonuses and still get a hard hit on your credit history. In my view, and what Jonathan has been saying for years, hard credit hit = $500. So, unless you are getting $500, don’t do it. That’s why you should never be an authorized user.

  5. Do you know if business credit cards in my name (my name as the business and as the primary account holder) count towards the 5/24?

    • I think it depends on if those business cards are listed on your personal credit report. Some biz cards are, some are not. There are many free credit services now that tell you what lines are being reported for each of the three major credit bureaus.

    • Yes, any card in your name counts.

      • “Purchase cards” backed by a corporate entity directly where the company has agreed to claim full liability (they just take it out of your paycheck and/or fire you instead ;)) don’t show on your credit report, even if they have your name on it. I have had one from my work for about 10 years, and it has never showed up with any of the bureaus. There was never a consumer credit check or account information on my personal credit.

        By my understanding even if the company informs you you will have some personal liability for a purchase/corporate card, if the base account is corporate it may show a credit check when you get authorized, but not a new credit line on your history, just a delinquency if there were a late payment or other issue. This is very fuzzy and dependent on particular banks and account types.

        In any case, you always can use your free annual credit check to see if the account shows on your consumer credit info. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t count towards the 5/24 (if you can’t see it, neither can the bank).

  6. For the 5/24 rule, is it to the day or is it the whole year? For instance, if I applied for a Chase Freedom in Juuly 2014, does that mean it no longer counts? Or is Chase counting the year, so I would have to wait for 2017?

  7. which credit reporting agency does chase use?

  8. So if I charge a $300 flight on the card the first week of opening it, i’ll be able to go into my account and offset the charge with points?
    Also, if I hit the $4,000 minimum spend by October, I’ll have $1800 worth of travel to spend ($300 before 2017)? Does that sound right?

    • According to the term on the Chase website, the credit is automatic. It’s not point based, it’s just a straight $300 credit per year. The bonus is point based. The “Offer Details” links on the card website linked in the article covers everything.

  9. If i have Chase sapphire, can i still apply for this card and be eligible for the bonus?

  10. Do you get to keep the UR points after you close the card. I have access to Chase Rewards portal through another card. Would those points remain in my account?

  11. I have 6 hard credit inquiries, one for a refi and another for a credit card in which I was denied (Chase applying their 5/24 rule). Does this mean that I technically only have 4 new credit card accounts and I should meet the 5/24 rule? Thanks for the help!

    • If you’ve had that many hard inquiries, a refinance (new credit line and account closure), one denial, and 4 new credit cards (4 new credit lines) in your recent history, odds are good you will be denied for this credit card even disregarding the 5/24 rule. It requires excellent credit score and approval for a minimum of an additional $10,000 credit line. I would recommend letting your credit settle to bring up your score, or at least check your score directly so you are certain what it is, before risking another denial.

  12. I have CSP and got my CSR a couple of weeks ago. Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to keep both, so I decided to downgrade CSP to Chase Freedom Unlimited card. I called customer service and they told me that the only downgrade option would be to a regular no AF Chase Sapphire card. I went to a local branch and got the same result (actually, the guy just called a number on a back of my card). Customer service rep told me that I can downgrade to Freedom Unlimited only if I have CSP for over a year (technically, making me to pay AF). Does anyone have any experience downgrading CSP to Freedom Unlimited? That would be an optimal solution rather that closing CSP or downgrading to Chase sapphire and opening new Freedom Unlimited.

    • Perhaps downgrade to basic Sapphire with no annual fee until you’ve had the card for a year, and then switch to Freedom Unlimited?

      • I was thinking about downgrading to basic Sapphire and opening Freedom Unlimited with a sign-up bonus (I have a large expense coming up soon). Though $150 bonus may not be worth a hard credit pull. I really like your idea. Thank you, John.

      • John, I followed your advise and downgraded to basic Sapphire. I’ve put it in a drawer for a month and now I’ve just got off the phone with Chase rep that agreed to change Sapphire card to Freedom Unlimited. I had both Sapphire cards for less that a year. So, it works!
        Thank you!

  13. Canela Marketing says:

    This card seems to be very good. The benefits are awesome since I love traveling.
    Thanks for the post 😉

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