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HighlightsCredit Card Feature
Things We LikeSigning bonus of 50,000 bonus points
Our Least Favorite The $450 annual fee
Our Verdict Great card for 1:1 point transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs

Chase Sapphire Reserve® is arguably Chase's most impressive credit card ever. Built on the popularity of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, this new and exclusive card comes with a great welcome offer and durable metal crafting. In many ways, the benefits which you get with this card are reminiscent of Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but at the same time, Chase manages to squeeze in a slew of perks (and an annual fee) which call to mind high-end American Express cards.

So does Chase Sapphire Reserve® live up to its hype? How difficult or easy is it to get approved for it? I'll dig deeper into this card in this Chase Sapphire Reserve® review.

Things We Like About Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. No, that is not a typo. This card really does have a welcome offer of 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points for new cardmembers! That translates into $750 towards hotels, airfare, cruises or car rentals when you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel program because when you redeem that way you get 50% more value (normally 50,000 points are worth $500). If you transfer those points to a frequent flyer program at a 1:1 points transfer rate, that is 50,000 airline miles. Hawaii, here we come!

Get a $300 Annual Travel Credit. Here is one of those exclusive benefits I mentioned earlier. Every year you get up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases (airfare, hotels and more) which you charge to this card. That means you can save up to three hundred bucks on flights, hotel stays, checked luggage fees and any other purchases categorized as "travel". If you travel every year, this perk alone makes up for much of the difference in price between this high-end card and the regular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Earn points fast. Every time you use your card to make a purchase you earn points. You earn 3X points on travel purchases worldwide (airlines, hotels and more) and dining at restaurants.

Get airport lounge access. No matter how often or rarely you travel or whether you travel for business or pleasure, relaxing in airport lounges on your way makes the difference between a travel vacation and a travel chore. This card gives you complimentary access to 1,000+ lounges worldwide. All you have to do is perform a simple, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and pay using this card. Chase will cover your membership fee. You will receive a Priority Pass membership card which you can show at receptions of eligible lounges for free entry. Although exact benefits vary between lounges, most provide complimentary drinks, snacks and refreshments as well as complimentary Wi-Fi. Some lounges even make business facilities available or offer free spa treatments.

Get 1:1 points transfer to frequent travel programs. The Ultimate Rewards points in your account can be transferred to a number of leading airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 points transfer rate. Eligible frequent flyer programs include Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus®, British Airways Executive Club, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM, Korean Air SKYPASS and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. Eligible hotel loyalty programs include Hyatt Gold Passport®, Marriott Rewards®, IHG® Rewards Club and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®. If you have other Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards you can combine your points earned on that card to your Chase Sapphire Reserve® account so that those, too, can be transferred to frequent travel programs.

Get up to 50% more value. Although transferring your points to a frequent flyer program is a good way to get more for your money, you may in some cases come off better booking travel straight through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel service. When you do, you get 50% more value, so 100,000 points are worth $1,500 toward travel instead of just $1,000 when you redeem them that way. Whether or not this is the best-value redemption option will depend on what deals they are running on Chase Ultimate Rewards' travel program, but it is definitely worth checking what you can get for your points there before you book travel. One strong point of this travel service is that you don't get blackout dates when redeeming points for travel. Some similar rewards program travel services limit you to certain dates when you book award flights or hotel stays.

Get a Global Entry or TSA Pre ✓® application fee statement credit. If you travel outside of the U.S. at least once a year, this card is worth its weight in gold just for this benefit. Although getting approved for either Global Entry or TSA Pre ✓® is a total headache, once you get through the process you will enjoy returning from your travels almost as much as leaving for your vacations. Think breezing through an automated immigration kiosk instead of spending hours standing in queues. Once you've been approved, use this card to pay the $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre ✓® fee and you will get a statement credit to cover the payment. You'll get this credit every 4 years.

Receive special perks at select hotels. The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection from Chase is highly reminiscent of The Hotel Collection from American Express, and provides similar benefits. Basically, when you stay at hotels which participate in The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, you enjoy room upgrades at no extra costs, late check-in and early check-out, when available. You have to make reservations through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection travel service and pay with this card to enjoy these perks.

You do not pay a foreign transaction fee. This benefit, like the benefits below, are perks which Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card users will be familiar with, as similar benefits come with that card. When you use this card to make purchases in foreign countries, you do not pay a foreign transaction fee.

Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance. This is similar to the travel insurance which many travel websites and airlines try to pawn off on you at an extra fee. When you use this card to pay, you get it for free. If your trip is canceled or cut short by bad weather, sickness, or a number of other covered hazards, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses such as passenger fares, hotels and tours.

Trip delay compensation. Ever been stuck at an airport due to a delay and ended up spending a fortune on food and other pastimes? When you pay for your trip with this card, you can get reimbursed up to $500 per ticket for food, lodging and other necessary expenses.

You get rental car insurance. Using this card to pay for car rentals saves you money because it gives you a complimentary auto rental collision damage waiver. Just turn down the collision insurance which the rental company offers you and charge the full cost of the rental to your Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This card is one of a handful which give you primary coverage (up to $75,000 reimbursement for theft and collision damage). Most rental cars are covered, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Purchase protection. Using this card to pay for purchases not only earns you good rewards, it also protects your wallet with benefits like purchase protection - 120 days coverage against theft and damage - up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year. Price protection helps you get the best deal by reimbursing you with up to $500 per item (max. $2500 per year) to make up the price difference if you find the same things being advertised for a lower price within 90 days. Return protection lets you return items up to a value of $500 if the retailer won't take it back, up to a maximum of $1,000 per year. When you use this card to pay for stuff, you also automatically get manufacturer warranties extended by one extra year on qualified warranties that are 3 years or less.

This is a Visa Infinite card. This is no ordinary Visa card. You do not get a preset spending limit, and you get access to the Visa Infinite Concierge service. You also get a number of special lifestyle perks which are not available to Visa and Visa Signature cardholders.

Medical evacuation coverage. Here is another one of those exceptional insurance benefits which so far have been reserved for the most prestigious cards. The emergency evacuation and transportation insurance covers up to $100,000 of medical expenses and transportation costs if you or a member of your immediate family fall ill or get injured during a trip to a far away location for which an emergency evacuation is required. This perk is a literal life-saver for outdoor enthusiasts. Make sure to charge your travel expenses to this card to enjoy this benefit. The cost of a helicopter evacuation, for example, can easily climb into the tens of thousands.

Our Least Favorite Things About Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Don't bother applying if you have opened more than 5 cards in the past 24 months. Known as the Chase's 5/24 rule, this requirement was first stated on Chase's online application page initially before it was removed. The 5 cards total threshold includes cards from other issuers, not just Chase, and this rule may apply even if you are an authorised user on the cards. Hence, we don't think it's worth it to risk a hard pull on your credit by applying for this card as you will most likely be rejected immediately.

The high annual fee. At $450, this card is a lot of dollars away from some of the no annual fee credit cards out there that also let you earn good rewards. But the outstanding travel benefits and the high rate of rewards can more than make up for this fee if you travel fairly often.

No introductory APR. If you don't have a problem with the annual fee, then chances are you won't have a problem making your payments in full and on time every month. If you don't, you will have to deal with a 17.49% - 24.49% variable APR on purchases from the start because this credit card does not have an introductory low APR rate.

How Other Cards Compare With Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Earn 60,000 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®
Intro APR:N/A
Regular APR:17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee:$95
Credit Required:Excellent/Good
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Intro APR:N/A
Regular APR:N/A
Annual Fee:$550
Credit Required:Excellent/Good

Our Verdict

Chase Sapphire Reserve® has definitely raised the bar by combining both best-of-class benefits with generous rewards. The bonus offer alone is enough to put a smile on anybody's face, but the benefit and the points earning go much deeper than the initial bonus. One could be forgiven for thinking that Chase was aiming to outdo the recently introduced Citi Prestige® Card, which in turn was Citi's attempt to outdo The Platinum Card® from American Express. All three of these cards are excellent, and all offer sizable welcome offers and high-end travel and lifestyle perks.

That said, the welcome offer which you get with Chase Sapphire Reserve® outshines those which come with the other two top runners in this category. Now is the best time to apply for this card, while that 50,000-point welcome offer lasts, but only if you've got excellent credit and haven't gotten close to Chase's 5/24 rule.

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