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Our Verdict

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is one of the best luxury travel rewards cards available to consumers and it is easy to see why.

When you combine benefits like an annual travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, a Lyft Pink membership, rental car elite status, top-notch travel protections, and much more, you get a card that is perfectly suited for any passionate traveler.

chase sapphire reserve

Pros

  • Earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel (after using the full $300 annual travel credit), and dining purchases
  • Earn 10x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on Lyft purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • Lyft Pink membership (plus Grubhub+/Seamless+ membership via Lyft Pink)
  • DoorDash DashPass subscription and $60 statement credit
  • Ultimate Rewards points are worth 50% more when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal or Pay Yourself Back
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards travel transfer partners
  • Trip cancellation/trip delay/lost luggage insurance
  • Rental car elite status with National and Avis
  • Purchase and extended warranty protection
  • Access to Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
  • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit

Cons

  • $550 annual fee

Current Welcome Bonus

Earn 50,000 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Learn More

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Details

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Photo: Nicole Glass Photography/Shutterstock

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a powerhouse of a card when it comes to combining strong point earning with excellent travel benefits.

Not only does the card earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on all travel and dining purchases, 10x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on Lyft purchases, and 1x point per $1 on every purchase outside of those categories, but the vast number of benefits can deliver so much value to cardholders who are able to maximize them.

For example, a top benefit of the card is the $300 annual travel credit, which effectively brings the annual fee down to $250, and can be applied to a wide variety of travel purchases including airfare, car rental agencies, cruise lines, hotels/motels (including Airbnb), trains, buses, taxis (including Uber and Lyft), toll bridges/highways, and even parking garages.

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders also receive access to the 1,300+ Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide. If there is one way to really upgrade your travel experience, it is having airport lounge access. This way, instead of waiting for your flight at the gate, or paying for expensive airport food, you can relax in members-only lounges that are equipped with free food and drinks and have quiet areas to get work done and charge your devices.

Other great Chase Sapphire Reserve card benefits include a Lyft Pink membership (15% off rides, priority airport pickups, and relaxed cancellations), DoorDash DashPass and Grubhub+/Seamless+ (free deliveries and reduced service fees on orders), and rental car elite status with National and Avis, along with top-notch travel protections and insurance.

Great Card If

  • You are a frequent traveler who can easily take advantage of the card’s best benefits
  • You spend a lot on travel and dining purchases
  • You regularly use Lyft and order food through apps like DoorDash or Grubhub/Seamless
  • You want a card that offers excellent travel and purchase protection

Don’t Get If

  • You don’t travel enough to justify the $550 annual fee
  • You prefer a cash-back rewards card over a travel rewards card
  • You don’t dine out or order delivery often

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Protections

One area where the Chase Sapphire Reserve card really shines is its top-notch travel protections. Here is how they can keep you covered in the event that things go wrong during your trip:

  • Trip Delay Insurance — If your flight is delayed more than 6 hours, or requires an overnight stay, you are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
  • Lost Luggage Insurance — If your checked or carry-on luggage is damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance — Trips that are canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather, and other covered situations, can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for non-refundable travel expenses.
  • Rental Car Insurance — Cardholders receive primary rental car insurance that covers up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage.
  • Purchase Protection — Purchases made with your card are covered for 120 days from the purchase against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.
  • Return Protection — Receive coverage for items purchased that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item and $1,000 per year.
  • Extended Warranty Protection — If an item purchased has a manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less, it is extended up to 1 additional year.

Put simply, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has best-in-class protections that will help keep you covered both on the road and at home.

Best Ways to Use Ultimate Rewards Points

Photo: Maria Savenko/Shutterstock

Naturally, the fun part of earning travel rewards is getting to redeem them! Fortunately, Chase Ultimate Rewards points give you multiple options when it comes to redeeming.

Chase Travel Portal and Chase Pay Yourself Back

The easiest and lucrative way to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for travel is through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, or as a statement credit for select purchases through Pay Yourself Back. For Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, your points are worth 50% more when redeemed this way — giving you a value of 1.5 cents per point.

Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you can redeem your points for airfare, hotels, rental cars, cruises, etc., and with Pay Yourself Back you can redeem your points for statement credits for purchases made at grocery stores, home improvement stores, and restaurants. With these 2 redemption options, at a 50% bonus, 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points would be worth $900 in travel or statement credits.

Airline and Hotel Transfer Partners

If you’re wanting to optimize for value, instead of convenience, then redeeming your points with Chase airline and hotel transfer partners is without a doubt the way to go. This option has an extra layer of complexity and requires a bit more effort than simply redeeming through the travel portal, but those who are willing to do so can receive thousands of dollars worth of value via nearly free business class flights and luxury hotel nights.

So how does this work? Say you’d like to fly in business class from New York City to Paris. You log on and do a flight search through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal only to find out that the flight would cost $2,800, or 186,000 Ultimate Rewards points including the 50% bonus — a steep price either way you slice it.

Fortunately, there is a better way! Instead of redeeming your points through the portal, you could transfer them to the United MileagePlus program where the very same ticket would cost you just 60,000 points instead — a savings of 126,000 points! In other words, you could make 3 one-way trips between New York and Paris, and have 6,000 points left over, for the price you would have paid through the Chase travel portal.

Photo: Unaccompanied Media/Shutterstock

Here is the full list of all of the Chase transfer partners along with which programs we think are the best for getting the best value possible out of your Ultimate Rewards points:

Chase Transfer Partners
Our Top Choices British Airways Executive Club United Airlines MileagePlus
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer World of Hyatt
Solid Options Air France/KLM Flying Blue Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
Emirates Skywards Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Iberia Plus
Not Recommended Aer Lingus Aer Club JetBlue TrueBlue
IHG Rewards Marriott Bonvoy

While you can certainly get decent value out of any of the above programs with the right redemption, some are significantly easier and more useful than others — which is why we’ve divided them into the above 3 tiers.

Our Top Choices are programs where it is easiest to regularly get excellent value out of the program, oftentimes due to how generous the award chart is. Take the World of Hyatt program for example, where award nights start at just 5,000 points per night for Category 1 hotels and top out at just 30,000 points for its very best Category 7 hotels.

Solid Option programs are exactly what they sound like — the value that you can get from them is unlikely to blow you away, outside of a few sweet spots, but can still offer solid value that is easy to rely upon. A great example is the Southwest Rapid Rewards program where the number of points needed for a flight is tied to the cash cost of the ticket, so you’ll almost always get between 1.5 to 1.6 cents per point in value.

Finally, our Not Recommended options are programs where it is very difficult to get outsized value for the Chase Ultimate Rewards points. For instance, top-tier Marriott Bonvoy award nights cost 85,000 points on standard nights and 100,000 points on peak nights, and while these hotels can cost upwards of $1,000 per night, you’d be better off just redeeming your points through the Chase travel portal, as a $1,000 hotel night would cost cardholders just 66,667 points (with the 50% bonus) instead of the 85,000 to 100,000 that Marriott Bonvoy charges.

You should keep in mind that these are just examples, though, and the best way to redeem your points is whatever works best for you and your travel needs. Everyone is different when it comes to what they are looking for out of their travel experience, and at the end of the day, you’re getting free or deeply discounted travel no matter what!

Other Ways To Use Points

Chase also allows cardholders to redeem their Ultimate Rewards points for things like cash-back, gift cards, towards Apple and Amazon purchases, or for unique experiences through its own Chase Experiences portal. These options usually provide less value than travel redemptions, so we generally advise against using them unless they make more sense for your needs.

Alternative Cards To the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Platinum Card® From American Express

When you think of premium credit cards, chances are the Amex Platinum card is one of the first cards that comes to your mind. The Amex Platinum card is absolutely loaded with travel and lifestyle perks that most would find quite valuable, including annual airline fee, Uber, and Saks Fifth Avenue credits, access to excellent airport lounges like American Express Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs, and the card even offers elite status at Hilton and Marriott hotels; all for an annual fee of $550 (see rates and fees).

So if you prefer a card that offers more credits, more elite perks, and more lounge access, the Amex Platinum card might be a perfect fit for you.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If you want a card that is very similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card but doesn’t charge a $550 annual fee, then you will love the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. From a point-earning perspective, you’ll earn 2x per $1 on travel and dining and 5x on Lyft rides, though you won’t receive the travel credit, a Lyft Pink membership, or Priority Pass access. But you’ll still get a DoorDash DashPass subscription, great travel protection, and access to all of the Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. This makes the card quite the bargain at just a $95 annual fee.

For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® From American Express, click here.

Advertiser Disclosure: We’ve partnered with UpgradedPoints.com to help make recommendations on our favorite travel credit cards. We may receive a commission from card issuers if you choose to apply for cards through these links. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.