Chase Says Sapphire Reserve Retention Rate Is Better Than Expected

Oct 12, 2017

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

When the Chase Sapphire Reserve burst onto the scene just over a year ago, the credit card industry — and all of us points and miles junkies — were taken by storm. Not only did the card offer an outstanding 100,000-point sign-up bonus, but the earning potential on the card is also fantastic. If you’re even a little like me, you’re traveling. A lot. Which also means that you’re eating out. A lot. The ability to earn three points per dollar spent on both of those categories is incredible. Throw in a $300 annual travel credit and other lucrative perks and the value proposition becomes even more appealing. Plus, the Ultimate Rewards points earned with the card are some of the most valuable ones around and are able to be transferred to a multitude of partners, which allow you to redeem for some incredible travel experiences.

One night at the Park Hyatt Maldives will cost you just 25,000 Chase points transferred to Hyatt. Rooms usually go for $1,000+ per night.

The card has been scrutinized heavily, with some wondering if it was too lucrative for consumers. I said that we’ll truly be able to gauge the success of the CSR once the time to renew came along — despite all the perks, there were bound to be some people turned off by the $450 annual fee. Apparently, however, not that many feel that the high annual fee is unjustified. According to a report from Bloomberg, JP Morgan Chase has said that many cardholders are renewing the card for another year, and that it’s had a positive effect across Chase’s range of cards — spending on all cards rose 13% over last year and card revenue rose 3% according to Chase’s CFO Marianne Lake.

Honestly, I’m not surprised. It’s just so easy to get a ton of value from this card — in just over a year of earning and burning with the card, I’ve leveraged the plentiful transfer partners to book incredible awards, like a one-way flight from Bali (DPS) all the way back to New York (JFK) in Korean Air first class for just 95,000 Ultimate Rewards points that were transferred to Korean Air’s SkyPass program. Plus, I’ve been saved by the card’s built-in purchase protection, taken advantage of special access and events provided by the card and more. The easy-to-use annual travel credit effectively reduces the annual fee to a reasonable $150, and the additional perks like a Priority Pass membership and a $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck are the icing on the cake.

I'm flying Korean Air first class thanks to my Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus.
I flew first class on Korean Air thanks to the CSR’s sign-up bonus.

There’s no doubt the card has been tremendously popular for the issuer — Chase ran out of the metal it uses to make the card after it first launched, and now it’s now begun to clamp down on access to the card. You’re no longer able to apply for new accounts with both the CSR and its sibling the Chase Sapphire Preferred, likely because Chase knows just how valuable its points are. With the issuer taking steps to limit access to the card, it’s not unreasonable to believe that if you canceled your account you wouldn’t be able to get the card again, or at the very least get another sign-up bonus. It’d also be hard to go back to earning less than 3x on dining and travel — I’ve found that I’ve earned significantly more points with the CSR than I would have if I had only been using the CSP (which offers 2x on dining and travel).

Hearing that Chase is seeing these kinds of numbers is great news for consumers. If the issuer wasn’t making money on the card, or if people were ditching the product en masse, that could lead to Chase changing the value proposition of the card. Hopefully these findings will encourage Chase to stay in this game for the long-haul. As long as this card presents such as strong value, it’ll be the workhorse in my credit card arsenal.

Finally, the card has become a cultural phenomenon and pushed the battle of the high-end credit cards into the limelight. Having the CSR permits you to join “the cool kids club” in a way — whenever I’m out  to dinner with friends or even on a date, if the person isn’t paying with CSR I can’t help myself but give them a lesson on why the Sapphire Reserve is a no-brainer — maybe that’s why I’m still single!

Did you decide to renew your Chase Sapphire Reserve for another year?

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.

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