Sunday (March of 2017), we saw the official end of the 100K Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus. It was 100,000 points online and in-branch until January when it went to 50,000 points online and stayed at 100,000 points in-branch. March 12 was the last day of the 100K Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus in branch and now it is all tied up at 50,000 points. So, what now for the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
The Best Approach for the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Limited-Time Bonus Increases
We saw this with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It had dropped to 40,000 points and then had limited-time bonus increases before resuming its bonus at the 50,000 point level. My guess is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve will target certain individuals with 100,000 point offers in the future and will likely see a temporary increase to at least 75,000 points two times a year. I think that fits in with Chase’s pattern on past bonuses on cards. So, if you were unable to get the 100,000 point bonus before, you may be able to get it at higher levels later.
Upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Even with the $450 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, up front, this card still presents a lot of value – even without the 100K bonus! Here are some things you can enjoy with the Chase Sapphire Reserve:
- $300 travel credit each cardmember year
- $100 Global Entry reimbursement
- Priority Pass Lounge access with unlimited guests
- Redemption rate of 1.5 cents per point when used on travel through the Ultimate Reward portal
$300 Annual Travel Reimbursement
There are other benefits as well but those benefits can be a huge reason to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Consider, for example, the travel credit. In your first year, you will receive $600 in travel reimbursements. That more than repays your $450 annual fee and gives you an extra $150 in value.
1.5 Cents Redemption Value
Next, the 1.5 cents in redemption value. The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives 1.25 cents so you will need to think about that. If you were to redeem 100,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points in a year this way, you would get an extra $250 in value by having the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead of the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is actually my preferred use of Ultimate Reward points for many flights now so this is definitely something to consider.
With just those two benefits, in our example, you could come out $400 ahead by having the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead of the Chase Sapphire Preferred – and that does not even touch the lounge access around the world!
Upgrade from Which Cards and How?
Here are the cards you can upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
If you opened the card in the last 12 months, you will not be able to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve as you cannot incur an annual fee change in the first year of your card ownership.
Also, you will need to have at least $10,000 on the card you upgrade (or available to merge from other Chase cards) to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
To upgrade, you can secure message Chase from your online account or call the Chase number on the back of your card to process the upgrade.
What Happens if You Upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve And a Big Bonus Comes Back?
Here is the good thing – an upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve is not a hard pull, so it does not count as a new card application. Also, it does not count as you having received the sign-up bonus (since you won’t receive the bonus for upgrading). This means that you can close/downgrade the Chase Sapphire Reserve if a big bonus comes up and then go ahead and apply for it (if you are under 5/24).
What If You Do Not Have the Above Chase Cards?
If you are able to apply for a Chase card (because you are under 5/24), it would definitely be worth applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred now. I would not suggest to anyone right now to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve when the bonus is the same as the Chase Sapphire Preferred. That is because if you do apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and are approved, you will not be able to get the bonus again (when it goes up, for example) until 24 months after getting the bonus this time.
I would suggest applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred now and then it gives you 1 year of no annual fee to see how well the Chase Ultimate Rewards program works for you. After that year is up, you can upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve (if the big bonus does not come around sooner) and take advantage of all the great benefits above.
Should You Upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
It is certainly up to you but I will tell you that I will be upgrading to the Chase Sapphire Reserve this August. That is because my wife’s will be up for its annual fee and we do plan on keeping a Chase Sapphire Reserve around. I will drop her to the Chase Freedom and upgrade my Chase Freedom to the Chase Sapphire Reserve to get $300 this year and next year in travel credit. This will put us ahead by $300 over keeping my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve.
I think the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers some incredible benefits to encourage travelers to hold on to it for a second year. If you upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it will be kind of like jumping into a second year of the card since you get the bonus. And I think the card is worth it.
Will you plan on upgrading to the Chase Sapphire Reserve?