Questions and Answers About the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Aug 22, 2016

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By now you’ve very likely heard about the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. Chase announced this incredible new premium rewards card in August 2016, and although the sign-up offer has dropped, you can still sign up for a card — here’s the link. To recap, this card offers a 50,000-point sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 within the first three months, a $300 annual travel credit (more on that below), 3x points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining, (some) Visa Infinite benefits (including a $100 Global Entry fee credit), Priority Pass Select lounge access and much more.

I’ve spent much of the last week answering hundreds of questions about the card (some over and over and over again), so it’s clear that there’s a lot of details that need to be cleared up. I’ll be addressing many of those questions here, along with a few that surfaced after the card was released. We’ll add more questions and answers throughout the week — if you have a question that hasn’t been addressed below, please leave a comment and we’ll be sure to ask for clarification from Chase.

Question: When can I sign up for the card?

Answer: Right now! The application is currently live — here’s our link.

Q: Does 5/24 apply?

A: While Chase has not officially acknowledged its “5/24 rule,” there are many data points that suggest that once you’ve opened five or more new accounts within the past 24 months (with any issuer), you are no longer eligible for certain Chase-issued credit cards. It does appear that Sapphire Reserve is affected as well, but please share your experience in the comments below.

Q: What can I do if I’m not approved for the card?

A: After not being approved following an online application, some readers have managed to secure an approval at a branch. It appears that if you’re “pre-approved” for the card, it may be possible to be approved despite 5/24. Visit a Chase branch and ask a banker to check for pre-approvals.

Q: How much is the annual fee?

A: It’s $450, but remember that there’s a $300 annual travel credit receive each account anniversary year, in addition to other perks, like a $100 Global Entry credit.

Q: Will I pay foreign transaction fees?

A: Nope!

Q: How do I earn the 50,000-point sign-up bonus?

A: You’ll need to sign up for a new account and spend $4,000 on purchases (excluding the annual fee) within the first three months. Balance transfers, cash advances, etc. will not count toward this requirement, nor does the annual fee. Update: To clarify, the three-month period begins when you open your account, not when you receive or activate your card.

Q: Am I eligible for the bonus if I already have Chase Sapphire Preferred?

A: Yes! Although you’ll need to apply for a new account (link here) rather than upgrading from another Chase card in order to be eligible for the bonus.

Q: How many bonus points will I earn on purchases?

A: With Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn a whopping 3 points per dollar spent on all travel and dining — that’s a 50% jump over Chase Sapphire Preferred! TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2.1 cents each, so you can think of that as getting a 6.3% return on flights, hotels, rental cars, fancy restaurant meals, Starbucks purchases, drinks with friends at a bar… the list goes on and on.

Q: What’s the minimum credit limit for a Visa Infinite card?

A: You’ll need to open the Reserve card with a limit of at least $10,000. If Chase won’t extend that much in additional credit, you can call to request that credit be “moved over” from one of your existing personal card accounts.

Q: How often does the $300 annual travel credit apply?

A: You can take advantage of the $300 credit once per account anniversary year.

Q: Which expenses are covered by the $300 annual travel credit?

A: Several premium credit cards offer an annual travel/airline fee credit. Most cover things like lounge day passes, checked bag fees and in-flight meals, but Sapphire Reserve’s also applies to general travel purchases, including airfare, taxi rides, rental cars, hotels — even bridge and tunnel tolls. If you travel (even only within your own state), there’s a very good chance you’ll have no problem using up the credit.

Q: Which expenses are coded as travel?

A: According to Chase, “Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.” This isn’t an exhaustive list, however, since other expenses (such as Airbnb stays and Uber rides) do qualify as well.

Q: Once I’m approved, when will I receive my card?

A: With many Chase cards, you can call and request that your new card be expedited, in which case it should arrive within 2-3 business days. However, with Sapphire Reserve, Chase is not offering expedited shipping. Multiple agents confirmed that cards are expected to ship within a week and will arrive 3-5 business days after that. Update: Some readers have been able to confirm expedited shipping by calling customer service after being approved for the card.

Q: What is Visa Infinite?

A: Visa Infinite is fairly new in the US, and we didn’t know much about it until the refreshed Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card launched earlier this month. Here’s a full rundown of the benefits (only some of which apply to Chase Sapphire Reserve).

Q: Is the Visa Infinite $100 flight discount available with this card?

A: No, unfortunately this is only a perk of the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card.

Q: Is United Club access included?

A: No, this is only a benefit of the United MileagePlus Club Card. You do, however, receive a full Priority Pass Select membership, which grants instant access to 900+ lounges around the world.

Q: Does the Priority Pass Select membership include guests?

A: Yes, Chase has confirmed that guests are included.

Cardholders have access to Priority Pass lounges, including the Air France lounge at JFK. Image courtesy of Air France.
Cardholders have access to Priority Pass lounges, including the Air France lounge at JFK. Image courtesy of Air France.

Q: Can I “upgrade” from Chase Sapphire Preferred?

A: You may be able to, but you’ll need to meet the requirements for a Visa Infinite card (see above).

Q: Will I earn the bonus if I upgrade from Chase Sapphire Preferred?

A: No, the bonus is only available if you sign up for a new account.

Q: Can I have both Chase Sapphire Preferred and the new Reserve card?

A: Yes.

Q: Should I have both Chase Sapphire Preferred and the new Reserve card?

A: Nearly all of the Preferred card’s benefits (and then some) are available with the Reserve, so you may not find it necessary to keep both cards.

Q: What should I do with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card?

A: Your best bet will likely be to “downgrade” this card to a no-fee alternative, such as the Chase Freedom Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited. Closing this card may negatively impact your credit score, so keeping the card open (via a no-fee alternative) may make more sense for you.

Q: Can I transfer points from my other Ultimate Rewards cards to Reserve?

A: Yes, you can move points instantly from one account to another. You can also transfer points to (or from) a spouse or domestic partner.

Q: Does Sapphire Reserve offer primary rental car coverage?

A: Yes, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you get primary rental car coverage with Reserve. If you decline the rental agency’s insurance, you’ll be eligible to receive up to $75,000 in reimbursement for theft and collision damage when you charge the entire rental cost to your card. If you’re renting from a smaller agency, be sure to confirm eligibility with the benefit provider (by calling the number on the back of your card) before driving away from the lot.

Q: Do I get elite status with rental car agencies?

A: Yes, cardholders receive National Emerald Club Executive Level status in addition to the discounts listed below.

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Q: What about flight delay and cancellation benefits, purchase protection, etc.?

A: If your trip is delayed six or more hours (or overnight), you’ll be covered up to $500 per ticket. If your bags are delayed 6+ hours, you’ll be able to get expenses reimbursed for clothing, toiletries, etc., up to $100 per day for five days. Purchase and price protection, extended warranty, etc. apply as well. See full details on benefits here.

Q: What are the authorized user benefits?

A: You can add authorized users to your account for $75 per cardmember year. Authorized users receive a full Priority Pass Select membership, but there don’t appear to be any other major benefits.

Q: Do authorized users get rental car insurance and trip delay benefits when traveling without the primary card holder?

A: Yes, authorized users will be eligible for the rental car insurance and trip delay benefits when purchasing the travel through the card.

Q: Do I get instant elite status with a hotel chain like I do with Hilton and Starwood via Amex Platinum?

A: Unfortunately no, but Reserve does offer elite-like perks when you book stays through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection and at Relais & Châteaux properties.

Q: Is there a concierge service?

A: Yes, you’ll have access to the Visa Infinite concierge, which can help book travel, restaurant reservations, provide activity suggestions and so on.

Q: Should I keep the Amex Platinum or Citi Prestige card if I’m signing up for Reserve?

A: While Chase Sapphire Reserve is superior to these $450 premium cards in many ways, you’ll still receive benefits from Amex and Citi’s top credit cards that you won’t get with Reserve. We’ll be digging into this more within the next few weeks, but this post should help answer some of your questions for now.

Q: Is it Chip + PIN?

A: No, Chase Sapphire Reserve is a Chip + Signature card.

Q: How much does it weigh?

A: While we haven’t yet had a chance to weigh it, Sapphire Reserve has a very similar feel to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

For more on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card:

Have a question about Chase Sapphire Reserve? Please share it in the comments below.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.