Chase Aggressively Marketing Sapphire Reserve

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Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been such a rich card that in my view there’s been no way for Chase to ever make money on it. When the card was introduced it immediately cut Chase’s profits by as much as $300 million. And high income and assets for the average cardmember suggest they’re unlikely to earn enough on revolve to pay back the bank’s cost to acquire a customer.

It has seemed like the card hasn’t added much (aside from merchant-funded offers such as with DoorDash, Lyft, and Peleton) in several years. They haven’t repeated the card’s big initial bonus offers from when the product was introduced in 2016. And readers relay that it’s been tough to get approved for the card.

So it really struck me that Chase has shifted to a mode where they’re looking to acquire new customers for the card. They’re offering an initial bonus offer that’s higher than what was on offer before by 20%, and you can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. T

Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a $550 annual fee card and comes with a $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.

Earn is 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

You can take your points and transfer them to a variety of airlines and hotel programs, or use your points at 1.5 cents apiece towards travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In addition, with Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.

Current transfer partners include:

  • Airlines: United MileagePlus, British Airways Executive Club, Air France KLM Flying Blue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus AerClub, Emirates Skywards, Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Hotels: World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards Club

The card comes with easy, one-time enrollment for a Priority Pass Select with unlimited visits (including for up to 2 guests) subject only to capacity at 1300+ lounges around the world. They do not exclude participating airport restaurants from the benefit.

It’s been one of the top premium travel rewards products for years, and now that Chase is getting more aggressive acquiring cardmembers it’s time to consider the product if you have had fewer than 5 new cards in the last 24 months, do not currently have a Sapphire card product, and haven’t received a bonus for one in the past 48 months.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. If they want to compete with VentureX, they need to reduce the $550 annual fee. Business travel is down and Priority Pass has retrenched (not a single lounge or restaurant at LAX!), so the value to customers is lower. Even the ability to transfer to airline and hotel points is diminished as devaluation ravages those programs.

  2. I dumped Chase and went to Venture X. I fly through DFW often so the CapOne lounge is quite handy. On the other hand, PriortyPass has turned into a dumpster fire.

  3. Here in Alaska we have Fort Richardson. One day some letters were removed from the sign to read: Fort Hard On

  4. I downgraded my CSR to a $0 AF Sapphire and I don’t regret it. I will miss those Hyatt points transfers, though.

  5. Gary, what happens if we cancel our sapphire reserve but still have upcoming trips paid using the reserve? Will the cards trip delay, etc still work?

  6. When the card was introduced it immediately cut Chase’s profits by as much as $300 million.

    @Gary keep repeating that line from Chase CEO Jamie Dimon as if it meant anything negative. The only thing that was notable with the statement was that, unlike other CEOs, Dimon had publicly disclosed how much the launch of the CSR cost the bank, but (context is always important!) he said it to boast about how well the launch had gone and not to complain about how much it cost the bank, for which $300M is really just change. The launch of the CSR was so successful it spooked the competition into making similar offerings. How much do you think it cost CapOne to launch its VentureX?

    The CSR started it all and is the card that you keep because its benefits are solid and timeless, unlike those of its cheap imitations that introduce and pull benefits, like, every quarter. The card that I used th most overseas for dining and ground transportation, both vert broadly defined, is the CSR, because those are the things that I do most while traveling abroad.

    The biggest surprise here is that the site did not take the opportunity to push CSP…

    G’day.

  7. The Sapphire Preferred card has often had much better bonuses than the Sapphire Reserve. I think not that long ago the Preferred card had an 80k bonus. Why would Chase offer more for the less premium card? I’ve had the Sapphire Preferred for many years. If Chase offers a really compelling bonus on the Reserve, maybe 80k, I might consider canceling my Preferred and applying for the Reserve.

  8. Gina, If you cancel the card and still have upcoming travel look out! It took me months to get my money/points back and no one would even talk to me because they said I didn’t have an account. I had to complain to every last outlet on social media and it took 6 months. My advice, don’t book with them, transfer out to partners.

  9. @Gina only current members can make travel insurance claims. If you want to keep using the CSR benefits, you have to keep paying the fee. I’m not sure what would happen if you downgrade… presumably the insurance coverage of the downgraded card would apply

  10. I agree with nsx. I’m glad that Chase is interested in promoting CSR again, but they need to add some better cash back options and/or drop the annual fee if they’re serious. Otherwise, Capital One Venture X blows this card out of the park.

    For most people, the best category for CSR is 3% at restaurants and that’s already offered by Chase on it’s $0 AF Freedom Flex card).

  11. Otherwise, Capital One Venture X blows this card out of the park.

    Nonsense. The C1 VX card is just a cheap imitation of the CSR that will soon realize that it bit more than it could chew and start to drop benefits, like other hyped cards before it.

    The hype or the CSR? Those who play the game with a “full deck” go with the latter…

  12. When CSR was introduced, the big signup bonuses and new benefits at justifiable (at least for some consumers) annual fee brought in a huge demand. Now these initial customers are canceling the cards and/or using other cards for spending. Business travel spending is also down. CSR is no longer an everyday card and the number of cards in circulation is likely smaller than ever. Now with high inflation and the shifts in customer expenditures, the banks are hoping for more customers carrying balances but not going bankrupt. Chase should figure out what to do with CSR before it fades away.

  13. Downgraded my CSR to a Freedom Flex today and applying for the CSP since it’s been over 4 years since a got a bonus. The CSR just isn’t competitive nor compelling anymore. The CSP is a better card for most people.

  14. I had my Hertz rental car stolen in the middle of the day off a busy street in San Francisco (talk about a dumpster fire!) and CSR (Allianz for primary car rental insurance) covered it. I had a side scrape on a rental car, and CSR covered it. I just had a missed connection, and it looks as though CSR will pay for my missed hotel night charges (trip interruption insurance), whereas AMEX Platinum wouldn’t cover my wife. I got CSR at the very beginning and I’m still getting huge value from it!

  15. Another vote for the C1 VX card over the CSR, because –

    – Over $150 cheaper annual fee – the CSR, at $550/year, is just overpriced

    – 2x on all spend for me is better than the 3x on travel and restaurants, as I already put those charges on a travel card.

    – Better lounge access- everyone in the family now has the free supplementary cards, meaning everyone can access the lounge with friends when we travel

    – Better travel portal- both interfaces are bad, but C1 has better inventory, and I’ve gotten $50 numerous times when booking flights, and been able to call through to customer service. The Chase travel portal is the worst.

    – 10,000 points on renewal

    Clearly the better card, except for those missing a few cards in their deck…

  16. @Jeff actually the Preferred had a 100,000 bonus not too long ago. So anything less than 100,000 is peanuts

    I’m also one of these people who cancelled my CSR after five years with it and got a Cap1 VX and I’ve never been happier.

  17. Early adopter of the CSR and have loved it. Years of flying up front but the landscape has changed dramatically and saver awards are no longer either predictable or attainable. This summer we flew to Israel. United wanted 750,000 miles for the two of us in Business. We used the CSR to “purchase” El Al Business class for around 425,000 for the two of us. Eight other family members were on the same flight so we did not want to do our typical point flight with layovers.

    That said, I use the CSR for restaurants and some travel. I use the Cap One Venture X for most other things for the two points per dollar. Works for me. And I have been an AMEX holder for over 50 years, going from Green up to Black and now back at Platinum. That’s the card I should give up as I hardly ever use it.

  18. DCS you are obviously in the minority when you say the CSR is superior to the Cap One Venture X especially on this forum. The X has a lower AF and better perks that can actually be used. If Chase really wants to get aggressive they need to get rid of 5/24. Many people such as myself avoid Chase products because of this rule.

  19. @CMorgan sez:

    DCS you are obviously in the minority when you say the CSR is superior to the Cap One Venture X especially on this forum.

    Well, no surprised there, as I am invariably among the few (or the only one) who retains a clear head to see through propaganda (and garish wallpaper in the case of VX One), when others get taken in hook, like and sinker.

    What you complain about Chase has no impact on me. I am almost always at 0/24 because I do not go for every new imitation-card that is touted as “better than the CSR”, and I travel primarily overseas where the CSR remains unbeatable due to how broadly it defines the categories of travel and dining.

    Keep drinking the kool-aid.

    G’day.

  20. I am getting ready to cancel my CSR. I have had the CSR for 5.5 years. The annual fee (net $250) is just not worth it. I have one trip booked with the card in Nov. Then I’m gone! May I apply for the CSR in the future? Perhaps, if Chase makes the SUBs better. As it stands now, I cannot see the reasoning for getting the CSR over the CSP.

    The insurances offered by the CSR are a joke, with the exception of car rental coverage. CSR left us stranded in Barcelona in March 2020. We had to get our own way back home. Don’t trust the CSR insurances, they will find every and any reason to not pay claims. Another reason the CSR has not proven valuable to me.

  21. CSR pays 3x on travel and dining, then pays back 1.5 cents per point in cash for dining. An effective 4.5% cash rebate is very worthwhile and much better for me than accumulating points I struggle to use or having to use a travel portal with horrid customer service. YMMV.

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