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Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve: No Longer A Card for the Masses

Chase Sapphire Reserve: No Longer A Card for the Masses
Anya Kartashova

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card burst onto the rewards travel scene like the Kool-Aid man through a brick wall. Every self-respecting millennial and their mom wanted to hold the card stacked with premium benefits and 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points worth $1,500 in travel to boot.

As expected, the too-good-to-be-true travel card proved to be unsustainable for Chase. Since the card’s launch in 2017, its welcome bonus has been slashed in half, and the annual fee is increasing by 22% in just a few days.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Fee Going Up to $550

Beginning Jan. 12, the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve is soaring to $550 for new applicants. Those who currently hold the card won’t see the increase until April 1. If your renewal date is between now and April 1, you’ll pay the old fee of $450.

So, how does Chase justify increasing the fee by $100? There’s gotta be new benefits, right? Yes, but many cardholders in a subreddit dedicated to credit card rewards hardly consider them “benefits.”

New Benefits to Be Added to the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

DoorDash credits: The Chase Sapphire Reserve cardmembers will receive $60 in DoorDash credits to be used in 2020 and another $60 to be used in 2021. The credits will be available for use in their entirety (unlike Uber credits issued by the Platinum Card from American Express that are allotted in monthly installments).

DoorDash DashPass: In addition to the credits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve holders will receive a complimentary DashPass from the popular food delivery service. The pass usually costs $9.99 per month and qualifies members for free delivery on orders of at least $12 from eligible restaurants.

Lyft Pink status: Lyft Pink membership offers riders a 15% discount on all car rides and scooter rentals, priority pickup service at airports, three free cancelations per month (as long as you rebook within 15 minutes), plus a couple of other minor benefits. The membership normally costs $19.99 per month and is complimentary for the Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders through March 2022.

Increased rewards earning on Lyft rides: Through March 2022, all Lyft rides paid for with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card will earn 10X Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

So, in the everchanging world of credit card rewards, the benefit updates beg the following question.

Is the Card Worth Keeping Anymore?

Short answer, yes, but not for everyone. Once we take the $300 travel credit into consideration, the annual fee effectively goes down to $250, which isn’t outrageous for a premium travel card.

However, the new perks aren’t worth the extra $100 tacked onto the annual fee, especially for members who don’t already use Lyft or DoorDash. The temporary sub-par additions are what’s creating a lot of buzz critical of the card’s overall value.

On the other hand, the card’s triple bonus on travel and dining, $300 travel credit, Global Entry/TSA Precheck credits, Priority Pass Select membership, and various travel protections aren’t going anywhere. Think of it this way—would you sign up for a new premium card that offered all these benefits in exchange for $550?

The remaining $250 can be easily offset by visiting airport lounges and restaurants in the Priority Pass network enough times that it makes sense to keep the card long-term. Plus, you still earn flexible points toward discounted travel.

I will say this, though. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is definitely no longer a card for the masses. It’s a card for frequent travelers, and all it took was $100. No one’s mom will be applying for it just because it looks cool and makes a clanking sound against a money tray anymore. It seems that the bank is weeding out those members who are just there for the bonus points and aren’t necessarily there for the ongoing perks.

If you consider jumping ship and canceling the Chase Sapphire Reserve at your next renewal, that’s a personal choice—no judgment here. But are you bailing because you no longer get the value from the card or simply on principle? Please share your thoughts below.

View Comments (8)


  1. tvon

    January 10, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    This is bad news. Also, on a side note, the Priority Pass membership is a joke. In 2019 i was denied entry almost everytime I tried to get in. The lounges were not full, they simply dont want us in. So this is a non perk to this card.

  2. dhuey


    January 10, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    3x travel on Chase SR does not compare well with 5x points on Amex Plat for pretty much all airline charges, and for a lot of prepaid hotel reservations. I’ll probably keep my CSR, but I’m getting close to dropping it.

  3. edgewood49

    January 11, 2020 at 7:00 am

    The issue now is where would one go? I have used the CSR as my daily card since it’s beginning, while still using my AmexPLT ( mainly business travel) as I slow my travel down allowing the young ones to do the heavy lifting I find myself now sure whether to keep it and or the Amex PLT. If one looks around there is really isn’t much else than the Master Card series Black with a high end at 995 annually

  4. strickerj

    January 11, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    I’m not sure a $450-annual-few credit card was ever intended for the masses. I think of “the masses” as people like my wife’s parents, who pay for everything with cash or debit cards and barely know credit card points or cash back exist. AmEx Platinum, Citi Prestige, and Sapphire Reserve have always been premium travel cards, and when Plat went up to $550 a year, I had a hunch CSR would do the same considering what a loss leader it’s been for Chase so far.

  5. Alex_I

    January 12, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    Costco Anywhere Visa pays x3 on restaurants and travel with no annual fee. I usually go to Admirals Club or OneWorld lounges instead Priority Pass and did not use other “perks” of the card since the very beginning. Why send the money to Chase?

  6. SomeguyinDFW

    January 13, 2020 at 7:55 am

    As someone with both the Chase SR and Amex Plat, I am virtually certain that I’ll be cancelling the SR and keeping the Amex.

  7. vbscript2

    January 14, 2020 at 12:56 am

    Even as a frequent traveler who finds Amex Platinum worth its $550 fee, I’ll be downgrading CSR to CSP (or perhaps closing it and opening CIP) before my AF hits next year. This year should still renew at the same price in March, though, so I’ll hang on to CSR until next March. Perhaps by then they’ll make a change that makes it worth keeping at the new AF, but, if they haven’t I’ll be downgrading.

    The Pre/GE credit is worth $0 to me for the next 3 years because I used it in 2019 (for a friend because I already had GE.)

    I already have Priority Pass lounges from Amex Platinum and they’re a distant second to my Sky Club usage anyway. PP restaurants are nice when they’re around, but it’s relatively rare that I’m in a terminal where they’re available.

    Car rental insurance is basically the same on CSP.

    I purchase flights on Amex Platinum anyway (which now also has trip delay protection,) so that benefit of CSR isn’t a big deal for me.

    I use UR points pretty much exclusively for airline and Hyatt transfers, so 1.5 cents vs. 1.25 cents in the UR portal doesn’t mean much to me, either.

    So, it pretty much just comes down to the 3x points vs. 2x points for CSP vs. CSR. The effective cost of CSR is increasing from $67 more than CSP to $167. (I consider the effective cost of CSR to be $262, since you lose out on about $12 worth of opportunity cost in points when using the $300 travel credit, so $262 – $95 = $167.)

    Break-even point for CSR vs. CSP @ $67 marginal cost is $3,350 of travel and restaurant spend on the card if you value UR at 2 cents/ea (which is about where I value them.) However, at $167 marginal cost, that figure jumps to $8,350 of travel + restaurant spend on the card to break even with CSP.

  8. Superjeff

    April 25, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    the only really important CSR benefit to me is primary rental car insurance coverage – its secondary on Amex unless you pay extra. Otherwise, both cards are pretty similar (except for the Amex Centurion Lounges and the Delta Sky Club access. I have both, and I’ll continue to keep both.

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