Chase Sapphire Reserve – to Hold or to Close?

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A year ago the extremely popular Chase Sapphire Reserve was launched. It came with an extremely generous 100,000 point bonus that is unfortunately no longer available. It also came with a hefty $450 fee. So now it is a year later and people’s annual fees are popping up once again. So should you keep the card and pay the $450 annual fee or cancel it and have one less annual fee on your plate?

So Keep or to Cancel?

While this card does come with a $450 annual fee, it also comes with some great benefits. Straight off the bat you receive a $300 travel credit. This travel credit can be used on almost ANYTHING travel related. If you are reading this blog, chances are spending $300 on travel throughout an entire year is not too difficult! So let’s assume everyone would be using the $300 travel credit regardless, that brings the annual fee down to $150. Still on the more expensive side for credit card annual fees, but way more tolerable.

Some unique benefits to this card include:

  • Points are worth at minimum of 1.5 cents per point. Redeem your points through the Chase travel portal and each point is worth 1.5 cents per point. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred (or Chase Ink cards), you only get a 1.25 cents per point value. If you typically redeem your points this way then this can be a huge perk. And remember, you can transfer all of your Chase Ultimate Reward points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve account to redeem all your points at this increased value. I personally like to use my points by transferring them to partner programs where I get at least 2 cents per point value. My typical go-to is Hyatt.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement. While almost all Chase annual fee cards come with trip delay insurance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card kicks in after a 6 hour delay. All other Chase cards don’t have the reimbursement kick in until your flight is 12 hour delay. There are some other non-Chase cards though that have a 4-6 hour window to get the reimbursement benefit. With this benefit, if your flight is delayed 6 hours or more, you’ll get reimbursed for necessary items, such as food, lodging, etc.
  • Roadside Assistance. The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with roadside assistance which could potentially replace you having a AAA card and paying that annual fee.
  • Priority Pass Select Membership. This card comes with Priority Pass Select Membership, which I personally have never used, but depending on which airport you are traveling into/out of, this could come in handy. I personally do not care much about lounge access in general, but if you do this could come in handy.
  • 3x Points on Travel and Dining. This card gives 3x points on travel and dining where the Chase Sapphire Preferred only comes with 2x points. If you spend a ton on travel and/or dining, these extra points can really add up. I also only like using a Chase card when booking travel as it comes with some great travel benefits (such as the trip delay reimbursement that I described above).

While there are some other benefits to the card (and some that come along with most other Chase cards), whether or not to keep the card really depends on the value you put on every single benefit. For me personally, I am keeping the card another year and downgrading the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. The Reserve card ultimately is only $55 more then the Preferred card and for me, the extra benefits of the card are worth the extra $55 for the year.

I will be downgrading the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the no-annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited you get a fixed 1.5 points for every dollar spent. I can then use that card on all purchases that do not have a spend bonus attached to it and then transfer the points earned to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I can then either use my Reserve points through the travel portal or transfer to a travel partner. While I will not be getting sign up bonus points since I am downgrading the card (instead of a new sign up application), it will not count against the Chase “5/24” rule. If you can afford another new application, I do suggest the Chase Freedom Unlimited! It’s a no annual fee card that comes with 15,000 point bonus. While not a huge amount, it is still something and a great card to be combined with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

If you decide to cancel, keep this in mind…

  • You have 30 days to cancel the card after the $450 annual fee hits your statement.
  • Once your 2nd year starts, you can make a $300 travel purchase, get reimbursed, and still cancel the card within that 30 day timeframe.

So for those looking to cancel, it is possible to get two years worth of the $300 travel credit (for a total of $600 travel credit) by just paying the first years annual fee. For those that applied for the card a year ago and through May 20th, you can use this trick as the $300 travel credit is per calendar year, so just make sure to spend the $300 before your December closing date. On May 21, 2017 Chase changed the rules that the $300 travel credit is per cardmember year, not calendar year (so if you applied for the card since then, you unfortunately won’t be able to get the extra travel credit).

So what will you do – keep or cancel?

Comments

  1. Love my CSR! My anniversary date is Monday. I’m not canceling. Love the service, and I use most of the benefits. I travel 15-20 times per year so this card is a great fit for me. I have no issues in paying the $450 because I get way more benefit than $450 thru the year.

  2. It’s a shame scammers are running things what ever happened to loyalty ? Or is life one big scam?

    I am perfectly happy with my card and have renewed.

  3. Definitely keeping. The first time my flight gets delayed 7 hours, I will wish I kept the CSR over the CSP. Also I do a lot of redemptions thru the UR portal, and that 1.5 redemption VERY quickly compensates for the $55 difference. We are also looking very forward to the drinks and food at the lounges on our next flights. We typically spend at least $10 for even bottled water to take on flights since you can’t come thru security with it. Oh, and the 3x rewards on travel and dining! We also downgraded our CSP to Freedom Unlimited. Probably over the next year, we will get another CSP bonus. But I *almost* love our CSR:) and can’t imagine ever getting rid if it.

  4. My DH has the CSR and I have the CSP. After he got the CSR, he downgraded his CSP to the Freedom Unlimited just before the fee was due, about 3 months later. I, unfortunately, was over 5/24. Wahwah.

    We are keeping his CSR because we have gotten a ton of value from it. The renewal isn’t until the Nov. 1 statement but we have already gotten two $300 travel credits, 1 Global Entry fee, saved on a week’s long car rental insurance in Italy, entry into 3 Priority Pass lounges thus saving on meals at the airport, saved on travel insurance on 2 cruises ($250 + $478). plus the 100K points bonus and earned lots more points from spend. Those savings more than cover the fee for several years. I’m just hoping they up the bonus on the card in the future after I’m under 5/24 next February.

    • If you want to downgrade CSP to Freedom Unlimited before the AF is due, you will get a prorated refund for the yearly portion of the AF. I downgraded mine mid-year, and saw a fee credit of $68 in my now-Freedom UL account. Cancel as soon as you make that decision!

  5. The biggest issue for me in keeping the CSR and downgrading the CSP is that with the CSR, you can only transfer ultimate rewards points to a frequent flyer/ hotel loyalty program of a spouse if they are also an authorized user on the card — another $75 per year. For the CSP, the authorized user is free, so this lets me transfer ultimate rewards points to my spouse’s ff programs. That’s an extra $130 a year for the CSR over the CSP (assuming you get the full travel credit). So, I’ll likely close my CSR.

    • That’s a good point. Although since me and the wife have a business cards Ink with free authorized user getting rid of CSP.

  6. I don’t really see benefits of keeping this if a have an Ink Bold aa well and a Citi Prestige card or am I missing anything?

    • The Ink Bold has a redemption of 1.25 cents per point while the CSR has 1.5. I have both and plan to keep the CSR and cancel the Ink after the first year. I also plan to get the Preferred and cancel that after a year, transferring all the point to the CSR. So I got 100K from the CSR signup, got 80K from the Ink signup. will get 50K from the Preferred signup for 230K miles. At 1.5 cents that is $3,450 vs $2,875 at 1.25 cents. For the $55 a year cost difference from the Preferred the additional $575 it is worth keeping the CSR over a Preferred or Ink for at least a year or two even excluding the additional benefits of the CSR.

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