How to maximize Chase Sapphire Reserve® benefits

Young couple on a safari adventure paid for by maximizing the benefits of Chase Sapphire ReserveImage: Young couple on a safari adventure paid for by maximizing the benefits of Chase Sapphire Reserve

In a Nutshell

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® benefits outweigh the expensive annual fee. From travel statement credits to dining and lifestyle perks, the card pays for itself.
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These offers are no longer available on our site: Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Freedom Flex℠, Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

What are the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® boasts a number of travel, dining and lifestyle perks. If you can take advantage of a handful of these features, it might make this premium rewards card worth the expensive $550 annual fee.

$300 travel credit

What you’ll get: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a $300 annual travel credit, which covers travel expenses from a wide range of travel providers — including airlines, hotels, rental car agencies, cruise lines, ferries, trains, buses, taxis, limousines, timeshares, campgrounds, tolls and parking.

Our take: The $300 travel credit goes a long way toward offsetting the $550 annual fee. It’s also more practical than the travel credits offered by other premium rewards cards because it’s so flexible. Even if you’re not traveling right now, you can still use it for commuting.

Top-notch rewards

What you’ll get: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® features a robust rewards program. You’ll earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first three months from account opening.

Plus, you’ll get …

  • 10 points per $1 on Chase Dining
  • 10 points per $1 on hotel and car rentals booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the $300 travel credit)
  • 5 points per $1 on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the $300 travel credit)
  • 3 points per $1 on all other travel purchases (after the $300 travel credit)
  • 3 points per $1 on all other dining purchases
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases

Our take: What makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve® so special is not just the number of points you can earn, but the ways in which you can use your points. When you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel or to “Pay Yourself Back” for qualifying purchases in other rotating categories, they’re worth 50% more. Or you could roll the dice and transfer your points to any of Chase’s hotel or airline partners for a potentially better value.

Chase Trifecta

What you’ll get: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® pairs well with the Chase Freedom Flex℠. The latter offers gas, drugstore and rotating bonus categories that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® doesn’t. And if you’re self-employed or own a small business, you could toss in the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card for good measure to earn rewards in bonus categories like internet, cable and phone services. These three cards form what’s known as the Chase Trifecta.

Our take: Combining the Chase Sapphire Reserve® with one or both of these other cards could increase your earning power. Among these three cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives you the best value when you redeem your points for travel. But it doesn’t always offer the highest bonus categories. What you might not realize is that you can transfer points you earn from the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card to your Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

A more comfortable airport experience

What you’ll get: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® could make your flight more comfortable. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® will reimburse you up to $100 every four years for the cost of applying for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. While you’re waiting for your flight, you can also take advantage of your complimentary Priority Pass™ Select Membership, which gets you into thousands of airport lounges around the world. You’ll also have access to exclusive Sapphire Lounges.

Our take: Airport lounges typically serve complimentary food and drinks. So while you might not normally consider paying out of your own pocket, Priority Pass could help you save money on overpriced airport food. It’s also a great way to get away from the crowds while you wait for your flight.

Is Chase Sapphire Reserve® still worth it?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® pays for itself with a range of travel and lifestyle perks.

Whether you find yourself traveling around the world or prefer to exercise and enjoy a meal from the comfort of your own home, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers different types of value depending your priorities.

Not sure if this is the card for you? Read more to find out.

We know applying for a new credit card — especially one with such an expensive annual fee — requires a big commitment. So before you decide, we recommend you read more to see how the Chase Sapphire Reserve® compares to other premium rewards cards:

About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.