21 Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits (You Should Maximize) [2018]

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits are loaded with value, which is why I still consider it to be the #1 travel rewards credit card on the market. But it pays to know a little about these perks so you don’t miss out on cool opportunities like going to the Emmy’s or valuable travel protections like primary rental car coverage.

Here’s a look at 21 Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits that you’ll want to maximize.

Update: Some offers are no longer available — click here for the latest deals!

1. 50,000 point sign-up bonus

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

At one point, the Reserve came with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 points but I don’t think we’re going to see that bonus return to the public anytime soon.

Still, the 50,000 points bonus is still very valuable.

The value of the sign-up bonus depends on how you redeem your points, though.

Cash back

50,000 points can be redeemed for $500 cash back.

While I don’t usually recommend cashing in Ultimate Rewards for cash back, it’s nice knowing the “base line” value of your points.

Redeeming your sign-up bonus for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point would leave you with $500 worth of value, which isn’t bad at all — it’s just not the optimal way to use your points.

Instead, you’ll get much more value when using your points for travel.

Travel

You can use your points toward travel in a couple of ways.

First, you can transfer your points out to different travel partners. Second, you can utilize the Chase Travel Portal.

I’ll discuss both of these.


2. Travel partners

You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards out to some amazing travel partners all at a 1:1 ratio. 

With these travel partners you can fly all around the world in business and first class while in the comfort of spacious suites while enjoying great dining and fine champagne. While it does take a little but more work to figure out how to maximize your points with these partners, it’s well worth it in my opinion.

Here are all of the current Chase transfer partners:

Chase Ultimate Rewards Airlines

  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
  • Iberia Airways
  • Korean Air SKYPASS
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

I’ve had the privilege to experience some very memorable flights on several of these partners.

Some of the experiences that stick out are:

If you use your Ultimate Rewards to fly on these partners, you’ll end up with with some incredible value in many instances.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotels

  • World of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Hyatt is the best Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel partner because you typically get the most value with them compared to the others.

I’ve enjoyed some great stays at these partners like the Hyatt Ziva in Jamaica (an all-inclusive resort) and the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, among many others.

Chase also has co-branded credit cards with Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Ritz-Carlton which make it even easier to build up balances for these programs.

First Class on the new Singapore Airlines A380.

3. Chase Travel Portal

Chase has its own travel portal where you can book airline tickets, hotels, and more.

But you get the most value from this portal when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

When you hold the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll get 1.5 cents per point of value for your Ultimate Rewards.

Compare that to the 1.25 cents per point you get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the 1.0 cents per point you get with the Chase Freedom cards.

It might not sound like a lot but getting 1.5 cents per point through the portal can make it a lot easier to travel for free, since you don’t have to worry about things like black-out dates and award inventory.

I recently used the Chase travel portal to book a suite at the beautiful St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, which was well worth it. If I used my Marriott points, I would not have been able to cover the suite with points, so the travel portal opened up better travel possibilities.

Read more about the Chase Travel Portal here. 

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London.

4. $300 travel credit

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit is special for a few reasons.

Cuts down the effective annual fee

The $300 credit offsets the hefty $450 annual fee down to $150, which makes the card much more attractive and easier to justify.

When you compare the effective annual fee of $150 to the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee, all of a sudden you see how easy it is to go with the Sapphire Reserve.

Easy to use

The travel credit is also special because unlike the travel credits offered by many other credit card issuers, this travel credit is remarkably broad.

Chase defines what would be considered “travel” in its terms and conditions:

Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.

Anything that codes as travel will automatically kick in the credit, which makes it very easy to use.

Other banks that limit you to things like airline incidentals make it harder to use their credits and sometimes force you to use your credit on expenses that you normally wouldn’t purchase (like airline gift cards).

But since the Reserve’s travel credit is so broad, it’s easy to use that credit on expenses that you normally would make. That’s an important distinction because it means this credit is actually saving you money. 

  • You can read more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit here


5. 3X on dining and travel

The Sapphire Reserve earns 3X on dining and travel which is one of the strongest Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits.

3X on Travel

Once again, the travel category is very broad which means that it’s very easy to rack up tons of Ultimate Rewards with your Sapphire Reserve.

I can’t reiterate enough how broad the travel category is — I’ve even earned 3X on scuba diving on multiple occasions.

3X on Dining

Earning 3X on dining is significant and among the best out of any credit card.

If you value Ultimate Rewards at 1.5 cents per point, it’s like getting 4.5% back on dining which hardly any credit card can compete with.

Chase states that “Merchants in the restaurants category are merchants whose primary business is sit-down or eat-in dining, including fast food restaurants as well as fine dining establishments.”

So a lot of establishments can fall under the restaurant category (sometimes even bars and lounges do).

The Sapphire Preferred earns 2X on dining and travel but depending on how much you spend, the Reserve can be the clear-winner.

Supplement your earnings

I think it’s a good idea to combine your Sapphire Reserve earnings with Chase Freedom cards and perhaps a small business credit card like the Chase Ink.

For example, in my wallet, I use the following:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on dining and travel)
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5X on every single purchase)
  • Chase Freedom (5X on quarterly purchases)
  • Chase Ink Cash (5X on office supply stores, telecommunications, and 2X at gas stations)

Utilizing these four credit cards allows me to earn an insane number of Ultimate Rewards each year on purchases that I would normally make in any event.

What’s even better is that only three of these cards have annual fees, so I’m only paying the effective $150 annual each year for all four of these cards which is a major bargain.

Unfortunately, all of these cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 Rule (read about 5/24 here) and other Chase credit card restrictions, so you really need to make sure that you’re not violating any of those Chase application rules.

3X on dining adds up quickly.

6. Priority Pass airport lounge access

Priority Pass will get you access to a network of over 1,000 airport lounges all around the world.

With these airport lounges you can get free wifi, drinks, food, showers, nap rooms, and comfy and quiet areas to relax in when waiting for your flights. Some of these Priority Pass airport lounges have been life-savers on our around the world trips and other times, they’ve just been a nice place to relax.

While the quality of the airport lounges can differ dramatically in many instances, it’s always a good feeling to have a Priority Pass card on-hand in the wallet because you never know when you might need to use it.

Guest access

The Sapphire Reserve used to allow you unlimited guests in Priority Pass lounges. So for example, you could bring in a huge group of over 10 people if they were traveling with you.

That’s no longer the case now that you’re limited to only two guests per visit.

In my opinion, that’s a good thing since it means thinner crowds and getting to bring in two guests is still a nice privilege. This is especially true when you consider that a $400 Priority Pass membership doesn’t even allow you to bring in guests.

Priority Pass lounge in Cape Town, South Africa.

7. Global Entry or TSA Pre✔ Fee Credit

With the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll receive a statement credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card for Global Entry and TSA-Pre Check.

Global Entry will get you expedited entry back into the US through immigration and customs. For $25 per year, that’s a bargain. And if you’re approved for Global Entry, you’ll also get TSA-Pre Check, which will allow you to breeze through security at the airport.


8. Primary rental car insurance

One of the top Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits has to be the primary rental car coverage.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides primary rental car insurance (collision damage waiver) which is a huge perk.

Why does this matter?

Well, it means that you probably won’t have to file a claim with your auto insurance company if you wreck a rental car.

That’s significant because it means that your monthly premium wont spike after your incident and you’ll probably be able to avoid a lot in fees.

And all because you used your Sapphire Reserve….

For some people, this benefit alone could justify the annual fee because paying for rental car coverage can get expensive. It’s worth pointing out that the Chase Sapphire Preferred also has this benefit as well.

Primary rental car coverage is a major benefit.

9. Travel and purchase protections

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers some of the strongest travel and purchase protections out of any credit card.

These include:

Lost or damaged Luggage

For checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000.00

Trip Interruption

If your trip is canceled or cut short by covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.

Trip Delay Reimbursement

If delayed more than 6 hours you are covered for expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.

Baggage Delay Reimbursement

If delayed more than 6 hours, you are covered for essential expenses, such as toiletries and clothes for up to $100.

I recently used this perk when our bags were delayed while traveling through New Zealand. While the claims process can be tedious, I was happy that our claims were eventually honored.

Purchase protections

Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Extended Warranty Protection

Extends the time period of the original manufacturer’s written U.S. repair warranty by 1 additional year on eligible warranties of 3 years or less, up to a maximum of $10,000.00.

Return Protection

You can be reimbursed for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year.

Note: this card is losing this benefit as of August 2018.

Travel accident insurance

Travel Accident Insurance consists of two benefit types, Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance and 24-Hour Travel Accident Insurance, which provide coverage for accidental death or dismemberment, or a combined loss of speech, sight or hearing, experienced on a covered trip.

Roadside assistance

Free for up to $50 and up to 4 times per year.

If you ever get into a jam out on the roadway this benefit can be a life-saver.

You can read more about these in the official Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits guide here.


10. No foreign transaction fees

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has no foreign transaction fees.

Now-a-days, this benefit is not nearly as special as it once was but it’s good to see that it is offered nonetheless.


11. Authorized users

With the Sapphire Reserve, you can add authorized users for $75 each.

That’s not bad considering that they’ll each be getting an airport lounge membership (Priority Pass) worth $400!

Compare that to the Amex Platinum which allows up to three authorized users for $175 and the Citi Prestige which allows you to add authorized users for $50 each.

You can read more about the Sapphire Reserve authorized user benefits here


12. Chase shopping portal

The Chase Shopping Portal is a great way to supplement your earnings.

You can earn extra Ultimate Rewards everywhere you shop with the portal and these earnings are in addition to what you earn with your card.

The shopping portal has over 290 stores to choose from. The stores in the Chase online shopping portal are very popular retailers, including:

  • Macy’s
  • WalMart
  • Sam’s Club
  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Nike
  • Under Armour
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Kohl’s
  • Walgreens
  • Staples
  • And many, many more…

You can read more about the portal here


13. Best Buy and WalMart promos

Sometimes Chase runs special promotions where you can earn extra rewards by using Chase Pay or by shopping at select stores like WalMart and Best Buy.

These allow you to earn up to 10X on purchases for a small amount of spending which can give your Ultimate rewards a good boost.


14. Chase Experiences

Chase offers exclusive access to certain events like sports events, concerts, and many high-profile events like the Emmy’s.

You can gain access to these events simply by being a Chase Sapphire member. Read more about Chase Experiences here. 

There’s also Chase Select Experiences where you can get preferred seating, VIP access, and other perks at special events in several major cities.


15. The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection will allow you enjoy special benefits at a variety of top hotels and resorts worldwide, such as:

  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • Complimentary meals for you and a guest
  • Early check-in and late check-out
  • Special discounts and credits
  • Extra amenities, gifts and more

You can use the link above to search for luxury properties in the program but you shouldn’t have trouble finding some world class properties all around the world like the Park Hyatt.

The Park Hyatt Bangkok is part of the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection

16. Visa Infinite Concierge Service

With the Reserve, you’ll get access to Visa Infinite Concierge who can help you with requests, like dinner reservations, or Broadway, music and sporting event tickets.

  • Simply call 1-877-660-0905 to reach the Visa Infinite Concierge

17. 24/7 Direct Access to a Customer Service Specialist

One of the most underrated benefits of the Chase Sapphire cards is the ability to talk directly to a dedicated specialist anytime.

Simply call the number on the back of your card and you should have your call answered by a live person. I love this perk as it takes a lot of the stress and frustration out of the calling process and has saved me a lot of time over the past couple of years.


18. Elite Hotel Benefits at Relais & Châteaux

You’ll get access to Relais & Châteaux, which is a “prestigious collection of independently owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants, representing approximately 500 establishments globally.”

At these properties, you can receive a VIP welcome which includes things like a bottle of champagne in room on arrival and also free breakfast (at some properties).

You can also get accelerated access to Club 5C status with Relais & Châteaux after staying just 2 nights at qualifying properties in a 12-month period.

I recently stayed at a Relais & Châteaux property in Rome, right next to the Coliseum, and it was one of my most memorable hotel stays.

  • Read more about this perk here
I loved my stay at the Palazzo Manfredi, a Relais & Châteaux property.

19. Sapphire Reserve rental car benefits

Enroll in leading car rental rewards programs from National Car Rental, Avis, and Silvercar.

Enjoy enhanced benefits, such as upgrades and car rental discounts, savings on luxury and premium rental car rates, plus promotions and other offers.

The discounts are usually around 25% to 30% but it’s always a good idea to compare multiple sources so you know that you’re getting the best discount available.


20. Referrals

One way to rack up points that people also forget to consider is referrals.

With your Chase Sapphire Reserve card you can earn up to 10,000 Ultimate Rewards per referral that you have and up to 50,000 points per year.

That’s potential for $500 or more in value per year for simple referring friends to Chase so don’t underestimate the value of this benefit.

You can find out more about this program here.


21. Metal

So metal credit cards aren’t quite the novelty they were a few years ago but the Sapphire Reserve is still a pretty sleek card that feels good to whip out.

But since it is a little bit thicker, it is prone to getting stuck in some parking payment machines so keep your eye out for it.


Final word

As you can see the Sapphire Reserve is a beast of a credit card and just loaded with all sorts of valuable benefits and perks. But because there are so man perks it can be easy to miss out on some of the value so make sure that you have a good grasp on all of the perks afforded to you.

If you’re curious about your approval odds for the Reserve you can read on here about the credit scores needed for approval.