Credit Cards The Basics

The One Feature That Makes the Chase Sapphire Reserve a Keeper for Me

upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Written by Charlie

There are many great features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. But, this single feature is the one that will make me keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve another year.


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?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • 2 things for me: Primary Rental coverage and trip insurance. Add in the other benefits and it’s the only card we use for pretty much everything.

  • So the way I do the math is that if I’m earning enough points to cover the annual fee ($150 in this case since I will always use the $300 credit) as a statement credit, then I’m good. Anything over that is gravy. Obviously, a statement credit is one of the worst ways to redeem these points, but I prefer being conservative in my math and want to make sure I’m not losing out by keeping a card.

    Compared to the Sapphire Preferred, the extra point earned on travel and dining definitely covers the additional $65 in annual fees – by a large margin, for me. Moreover, getting that $0.25 per point more than the Preferred is a huge bonus. I know I’ve already saved enough on domestic flights to cover the whole $150.

    Of course, the value that can be extracted by transferring points to partners and redeeming award tickets may be higher, but for a baseline, I think these two features for anyone who travels and eats out a fair amount every year makes this card worth it.

  • The break even threshold is much lower with the CSR vs CSP thanks to the x3 category and the 1.5x vs 1.25.

    Obviously though we don’t want to break even, we want to come out ahead, otherwise get a no fee card.

    I am keeping mine. I want Chase to do well! Better opportunities in the future, I think, than if there was a massive cancel

  • Maybe if all you guys cancel, they will drop the 5/24 rule that kept me from getting the card.
    Sincerely yours,

  • “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! ”
    Can you explain what this means in terms of “earns more miles”? So when you get a business class ticket with your Ultimate Reward points (through Chase travel booking system), you still earn more miles? Through Turkish airlines, or??