Update 2: Chase has pushed off the deadline to apply with a $450 annual fee until tomorrow at about 8:30am ET! As long as the application shows a $450 annual fee then you can apply for the card with the lower fee!
Update: The annual fee on this application link is still $450, but will be changing to $550 shortly. You can still apply now with the 50K bonus and pay the $450 fee, plus you’ll get $300 in travel reimbursement and $120 in DoorDash reimbursement before your next annual fee is due!
The fee for new applicants next week will be $550 and the bonus will remain at 50K points.
Originally posted on 1/7:
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card represents the best value in hybrid cards today. It costs $450/year, but its $300 annual travel credit credit is very easy to attain, making its effective annual fee just $150.
Per my Chase banking source, things will be changing shortly.
On the heels of AMEX and Citi raising the annual fees on their cards, Chase will hike the Sapphire Reserve annual fee to $550 effective 1/12/20.
If you apply for a Sapphire Reserve card before 1/12 you’ll pay a $450 annual fee for your first year.
Note that you can only get the bonus if you haven’t received a bonus on a Sapphire card in the past 48 months and that Chase has 5/24 restrictions.
You can’t change another Chase card to Sapphire Reserve until 1/12.
Existing cardholders will be billed $450 if their card renews before April and $550 when their card renews as of 4/1/20.
Chase is adding benefits to make up for that:
- Staring today you can enroll in a complimentary DoorDash DashPass Membership through 12/31/21. That’s a value of $9.99/month.
- Starting on 1/12, you will get a $60 annual Doordash statement credit that will refund your first $60 in Doordash spending. You have until 12/31/20 to finish the $60 of spending credit and you’ll get another $60 of spending credit in 2021.
- Starting on 1/12, you can enroll in a complimentary 1 year Lyft Pink membership, a value of $19.99/month. With that membership you’ll save 15% off all Lyft rides, get priority airport pickup, get waived cancellation fees 3 times per month when you rebook a ride within 15 minutes, get waived lost and found fees, and enjoy 3 free bike or scooter rides per month.
- Starting on 1/12/20, you’ll earn 10 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft ride spending through 3/31/22! That will stack on top of earning Hilton points and Delta miles on Lyft.
There’s certainly value to be had in those items. I doubt I would pay $100 for them, but some people will certainly come out ahead. I’m just hoping to break even on the changes.
The good thing is that unlike Citi, Chase is maintaining card benefits. Citi recently nuked nearly all of their card benefits, even on their ultra-premium cards. Luckily, Chase does not appear to be joining them down that path.
Those benefits include:
- 50,000 point signup bonus.
- $300 in annual refunds that post automatically whenever you charge something that is categorized as travel, which includes airfare, Airbnb, car rentals, cruises, hotels, Lyft, subways, taxis, tolls, trains, Uber, UberEats, etc. It’s pretty easy to spend $300 over the course of a year given the wide range of eligible categories.
- 3 points per dollar on all travel or dining spend.
- All of your Chase points (and household member points) can be used for a minimum value of 1.5 cents each towards airfare, hotels, car rentals, and other travel redemptions. You can also transfer points into airline miles and hotel points where you can get even more value out of your points. When you redeem your points you can check which will be cheaper, giving you the best of both worlds via hybrid points.
- Priority Pass lounge membership that allows you to bring 2 guests with you into over 1,000 airport lounge. There are now many airports with restaurants that have $28 credit per person with Priority Pass membership. I’ve used that to get free granola bars, potato chips, and drinks to go!
- You’ll get a full rebate every 4 years when you buy Global Entry/Pre-Check membership. That means you can skip the lines and forms when flying back from abroad and you can leave your shoes on, laptops in their bags, and go through metal detectors when flying from the US. It makes flying so much easier!
- Free roadside assistance, including free battery boost, flat tire service, 2 gallons of fuel delivery, towing, or lockout assistance.
- Primary car rental CDW coverage worldwide.
- Extended warranty coverage on purchases.
- Purchase protection on items up to $10,000 that are damaged or stolen within 120 days.
- Return protection up to $500 per item.
- Lost luggage insurance of $3,000 per person per trip.
- Baggage delay reimbursement of $100 per day per person (max of 5 days) for essential items needed (Clothing, toiletries, charger, etc) for delays more than 6 hours.
- Trip delay reimbursement of $500 per person for reasonable expenses (Hotel, food, toiletries, medicine, etc) required for delays more than 6 hours.
- Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance of $10,000 per trip or $20,000 per trip with multiple travelers.
- Emergency medical and dental insurance when traveling more than 100 miles from home.
- $100,000 in emergency evacuation insurance when traveling more than 100 miles from home.
- $1,000,000 in travel accident insurance.
- Repatriation of remains insurance.
- No foreign transaction fees.
The real question is will these benefits provide enough of a reason to keep the Sapphire Reserve card, which will now have an effective $250 annual fee after the $300 in travel credits (or $190 if you also include the Doordash credits) instead of the Sapphire Preferred card, which costs just $95/year?
The Sapphire Preferred card provides a minimum value of 1.25 cents per Chase point, 2 points per dollar on dining/travel and doesn’t have all of the protections found on Sapphire Reserve. However it’s a very solid card offering that allows you to transfer all of your Chase points into miles and it starts to look very attractive compared to Sapphire Reserve with a higher annual fee.
Or if you want to maintain triple Chase points on travel without Sapphire Reserve, you can still get the Chase Ink Preferred, which has a $95 annual fee and comes with 80,000 signup bonus points.
But the killer Sapphire Reserve benefits, especially the 1.5 cents per point value, but also other the plethora of other benefits like roadside assistance and travel protections, is what will likely keep many people on the Sapphire Reserve gravy train.
Will you stick with Sapphire Reserve with these changes?