Talk about ripping off the bandage.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s annual fee is jumping more than 20% — and fast. The increase from $450 to $550 goes into effect this Sunday, January 12.
Like, thanks for the notice, right?
So if you’ve ever wanted to get the CSR, do it now. (The higher fee applies for renewals as of Wednesday, April 1. Y’know, April Fool’s Day.)
The Chase Sapphire Reserve will get some new perks (though nothing astounding, in my opinion), which we’ll talk about shortly.
Is it worth keeping the CSR? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s take a look.
Existing Chase Sapphire Reserve Earnings & Benefits
The Chase Sapphire Reserve was hailed as groundbreaking, awesome, the “it” card and all that when it came out a few years ago.
To be honest, it is a very good product.
The CSR comes with a $300 annual statement credit for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. This includes airfare, hotels, parking, rideshare, tolls, and more. It’s very easy to get the $300 value.
Points-wise, it earns 3X points on travel (immediately after earning your $300 travel credit and 3X points on dining worldwide.
You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a value of 1.5 cents each when booking travel through the Chase travel website. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred, on the other hand, allow cardholders to redeem at 1.25 cents per.
That assumes, though, you’d rather book travel through Chase (and still earn points) as opposed to transferring points to one of their airline or hotel partners.
Plus, its Priority Pass Select membership works at 1200 airport lounges worldwide and still includes some airport restaurant benefits, too (unlike Amex, who 86ed theirs).
And it’s one of the zillion cards also including a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre every four years.
It also has good trip interruption and cancellation benefits.
None of those benefits go away this weekend.
New Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
Starting Sunday, January 12, all Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will be eligible for these new benefits:
Bonus Lyft Earnings and “Pink” Membership
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get two new Lyft perks.
- 10X on Lyft purchases paid for with the CSR (through March 2022)
- Complimentary Lyft Pink membership (through March 2022)
(These should stack with additional cashback and points involving from Lyft.)
Lyft Pink membership — valued at ($19.99/month) entitles CSR holders to:
15% off unlimited car rides.
Priority airport pickups
(Three cancellation fees waived each month if you rebook within 15 minutes.)
Waived lost and found fees
Bikes and scooters
Don’t get CSR/Lyft FOMO, though. The perk — although reduced — is also coming to a host of other Chase cards.
Here’s where this gets interesting-ish.
The American Express Gold Card (which I love) gives cardholders $120 statement credit each year in Grubhub credit. The credits are dispersed monthly in $10 increments. (Hey, $10 off is $10 off.) As much as I love it, the credit isn’t entirely convenient.
All of this “through March 2022” and “through 2022” stuff is kind of fascinating.
Did Chase make these changes impulsively? Is this a “let’s see how it goes and use our clients as guinea pigs” sort of thing?
I’m inclined to say yes.
Will I Keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card?
Probably. (But it’ll be worth a good retention call.)
- I’ll use the DoorDash credit. Whether during a trip, a busy night at home, or hosting friends, it’ll come in handy. So that’s $60 off the $100 increase. And I love that it’s available to use throughout the year.
- I use Lyft enough — especially with client travel — that it offsets some of the remaining $40.
- The Priority Pass Select membership still including airport restaurant credit (ahem Amex) for the cardholder and two guests is great for me. Sometimes it’s my wife, daughter, and me who use it. Other times, it’s work colleagues I can treat to meals or beverages. In any case, I’ll still get my money’s worth.
Plus, the $300 travel credit, 1.5 cents/point redemption, and Chase offers (similar to Amex Offers) make it break even.
Many Rene’s Points readers are Delta loyalists. Naturally, many of us are Amex fans/users/etc. So Chase cards aren’t products naturally lending themselves to our group.
However, Chase cards help in a couple of different ways:
- Ultimate Rewards transfer to several hotel partners. We need places to stay, right?
- We can buy Delta tickets through Chase and still earn points
So it’s definitely worth having a Chase card or two in your arsenal.
Don’t want to pay the $550 annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve? Consider this:
Cash Ink Cash (a no annual fee card)
- 3X on travel (for the first $150,000 each anniversary year — including select business categories) with the Chase Ink Preferred. That’s the same (without the $150k limit) as the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
- 2X on restaurants and gas stations (up to $25,000 each anniversary year) with the Chase Ink Cash. Neither the Chase Sapphire Reserve nor Preferred offer regularly bonused gas station spend.
Plus, Chase Ink Business Preferred cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards at 1.25 cents each through the Chase travel site. Combine those with those your Chase Ink Cash points and you’re doing pretty darn well — all for $95 in combined annual fees.
So that’s certainly a good compromise. And depending on how much you spend each year, a better deal than holding a Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Will You Keep Your Chase Sapphire Reserve? Or Cancel It? Or Will You Sign Up Before Sunday?
Tell us in the below Comments section!
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