There will be many people this month who face this question – “Should I keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve?” It is a reasonable question since the annual fee is $450 and most people have likely already spent their 100,000 point sign-up bonus. But, there are many great reasons to keep this card and one feature in particular makes it a definite keeper for me.
The One Feature That Will Make Me Keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve
I will do another post shortly about whether keeping the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a good deal and outlining the positives, but I wanted to point out the one feature that, for me, makes keeping the Chase Sapphire Reserve an easy decision.
No, I’m not talking about the $300 yearly travel credit, though it is a great reason (it brings the effective annual fee cost down to $150). What I am referring to is the incredible feature of being able to redeem Ultimate Reward points for travel at the rate of 1.5 cents per point.
Redeeming Ultimate Reward Points for Travel at 1.5 Cents Per Point
The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Plus/Preferred offer the bonus of redeeming Ultimate Reward points at 1.25 cents per point and those cards have a much easier $95 annual fee. So, is the extra .25 cents per point on redemption really enough?
Since we got the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I have been “paying” for more travel with Ultimate Reward points than ever before. In fact, for travel in places like Europe, it is a far better deal to pay using Ultimate Reward points than to transfer to United and book partner award flights (because you do have to pay taxes and fees on those award tickets).
Great Deal for Some Business Class Tickets
I have even been paying for business class tickets with this system – even over the Amex Business Platinum card. From some cities in Europe to New York, it is not uncommon to be able to get a business class ticket (one way – which is often more expensive than round trip with Europe) for around $1,000 on Turkish Airlines. Consider this: a United award on Turkish Airlines in business would cost 70,000 miles and some taxes/fees. Instead of transferring those 70,000 Ultimate Reward points to United miles, I chose instead to redeem them from the Chase Sapphire Reserve account, getting 1.5 cents per point in value. This meant I only had to pay 67,000 Ultimate Reward points and no money at all to get a paid business class ticket that earns more miles!
Economy Tickets Are A Steal!
For our family, departing from Europe to the US gives us many, very cheap options almost year round. We have purchased tickets as low as $313 roundtrip from Greece to New York! At those prices, it would be insane to use miles for such a trip. When we book those tickets using Ultimate Reward points from our account with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, we are only paying 20,800 points for such a ticket – round trip! Not only that, but we accrue (some) miles that we pool in our Aegean Together account (one such trip gave us a total of 15,000 miles in our single account).
Running the Math to Make It Work
Ok, but it is costing $355 more in the annual fee to get that .25 cents more over the Chase Sapphire Preferred, so is it really worth it? Here is how I figured it being worth it for us – just if considering this single feature. I look at if we are going to be redeeming 140,000 points, at least, in a card year. If we are, this Chase Sapphire Reserve feature alone will give us $350 more in value from having the redemption power of the Chase Sapphire Reserve than the Chase Sapphire Preferred. We have easily redeemed more than that in this way over the last year and we will definitely do more than that this year.
In fact, we have received more than $650 in value from this single feature in the last year so this has really given us a huge edge over just having something like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus/Preferred.
And this is before we take into consideration the incredible lounge access feature and the $300 travel credit. So, yes, it is safe to say we will continue holding this card – unless Chase devalues the redemption rate (which I do not see happening in the near future).
What feature of the Chase Sapphire Reserve would make you keep this card?