The Chase Sapphire Reserve has been one of (if not the) greatest travel reward cards around since its introduction. Yet, it may be seeing its first major negative changes as soon as next week. Is the reign of this card over or is this an adjustment we can live with?
Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Fee Going Up and More Changes
Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Fee
This is a certainty now with the Chase Sapphire Reserve terms highlighting a $450-$550 annual fee. This will put it in line with the annual fee of the American Express Platinum. This fee may go into affect on January 12 for new members and will be assessed for all members with renewal dates after April, 2020.
As part of this fee change, it appears it is not possible to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve at this time. This will make sure that all new Reserve cardholders will be paying the increased annual fee.
Complimentary Lyft Pink Membership
This is a $19.95 membership that gives some discounts and perks to customers that use Lyft. It appears to be in answer to the American Express Platinum and their partnership with Uber.
Here is what this Lyft Pink membership comes with:
- 15% off unlimited car rides
Save on every car ride you take — any time, anywhere.
- Priority airport pickups
Get picked up faster at the airport when it’s busy.
- Relaxed cancellations
We’ll cover three cancel fees per month if you rebook within 15 minutes.
- Surprise offers
Get seasonal discounts and exclusive savings.
- Waived lost and found fees
We’ll take care of the return fee every time.
- Bikes and scooters
Enjoy 3 free 30-min. bike or scooter rides per month (in select markets).
This could be a big hit for Lyft as it could make it more attractive for Chase Sapphire Reserve holders to choose them over Uber. I like the bike and scooter part as well – if I happen to be traveling in those markets.
Dans Deals also mentions that Chase Sapphire Reserve holders will get 10 Ultimate Reward points per dollar on Lyft rides through March of 2022. That is also not bad!
Annual $60 DoorDash Credit
For those that like food delivery services, this is a $60 credit that members will get each year and will reset at the end of the calendar year.
Too Much or Acceptable?
Ok, I know we all hate anything that takes away value from us but we also like to point out when a product or award is almost too good to be true. With the $300 annual travel credit that works on anything travel, it is pretty easy to just deduct that from the annual fee and look at the Chase Sapphire Reserve as a $150 annual fee card (or close to it if you want to really parse the travel credit value).
That means that, at present, it costs $55 more than the Chase Sapphire Preferred in the annual fee. With that difference, you get a Priority Pass membership for lounge access around the world (for you and two guests), you get access to the Visa Infinite hotel site that gives you better benefits at luxury hotels (kind of an elite-lite option), and, probably the best, you get 1.5 cents per point when redeeming points directly for paid travel. This is above the 1.25 cents per point you get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
With award programs devaluing left and right, paying for travel with points can be a much better option. Having a card that gives 1.5 cents per point on all travel redemptions is definitely a good deal.
Also, you earn 3 points per dollar on travel and dining vs the 2 points per dollar with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
But, now this fee hike means that it is $155 more expensive (after the annual travel credit)than the Chase Sapphire Preferred (at its current fee – don’t be surprised if this goes up to $149 or similar at some point). So, does this new math make the Chase Sapphire Reserve too rich?
If you redeem your points directly with Chase, all it takes is redeeming 60,000 Ultimate Reward points per year to make the Chase Sapphire Reserve keeping over downgrading to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. And that is not even taking into account the lounge access!
I know I will be holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve going forward – unless they demolish the redemption value on the Ultimate Reward points. It is still a very compelling card.