Oh the pitfalls of writing these posts. I sat down tonight with the intention of writing a simple “Keep, Cancel Downgrade” post about the Chase Sapphire Reserve and now I have this mess… I thought this post was going to be simple, I’d talk about how great the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is and how you’d be silly to ever consider getting rid of it. Instead, I’m now filled with confusion and doubt as to whether or not the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is worth paying a second $450 annual fee.
How Much Value Have I Received From The Chase Sapphire Reserve
First, let’s look at how much value I’ve received from the Sapphire Reserve so far. For starts I’ve earning two $300 travel credits. So right off the bat I’ve made $600 from my card’s single $450 annual fee. Next, I earned the 100,000 point Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus. If you value that bonus at $0.015/point (what Chase says they are worth) that’s $1,500 of value. However, I transferred 110,000 points to United and booked a Lufthansa First Class flight. That flight retails for approximately $8,800 so I’ll say I got an additional $8,800 of value from the card within the first year.
In total, I received approximately $9,400 of value from the Chase Sapphire Reserve card within the first year of card membership. Not bad considering the card only came with a $450 annual fee.
What Value Do I Receive Going Forward?
This is where things started to get extremely tricky. I’ve been so high on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card for the past year that I don’t think I’ve ever really sat down and thought this through. Sure, I’ll earn another $300 travel credit, but I still have to justify the remaining $150 annual fee!
First, I started to justify the fee with airline lounge access. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a complimentary Priority Pass membership. That’s great, but I already get Priority Pass from my American Express Platinum card. Additionally, the Platinum card gives me access to Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, Airspace Lounges, and Escape Lounges around the world.
Next, I started to think about all the bonus points I earn from travel and dining purchases. However, then I came up with another issue. I earn 5X points on airfare from the American Express Platinum card. I book all of my airfare directly with the airlines anyway, so there’s no benefit of keeping a card that only earns 3X on airfare. Luckily, the Chase Sapphire Reserve also earns 3X points on other travel categories, but so does my Citi ThankYou Premier card which only has a $95 annual fee.
That leaves the 3X points I earn on dining. That’s the only benefit that isn’t redundant from other cards. I earn 2X on dining from the Citi ThankYou Premier, so at what point do I say I get at least $150 of value from the Chase Sapphire Reserve? According to the math, that break even point is about $10,500 of dining in a calendar year. I do dine out a lot, but I’m not sure that I spend nearly $30 a day at dining establishments! Pubs count, so that helps…
Other Travel Benefits?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card also comes with other benefits such as waived foreign transaction fees, travel protection, and access to exclusive travel packages. The issue is that my American Express Platinum card also comes with all of those benefits.
Is There Any Value Of Keeping The Sapphire Reserve?
Overall, it’s simply very difficult to pinpoint a single area, other than 3X dining, that the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is the clear winner. Granted if I didn’t have any other cards this would be a very different process. I still maintain the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best all around, one size fits all, travel rewards credit card. Unfortunately, if you have multiple cards, it doesn’t make as much sense to carry as it would alone.
This is an extremely difficult decision. Before today I hadn’t given this topic much thought. I simply assumed keeping the Chase Sapphire Reserve was an easy decision. Now, as I fully evaluate My Wallet I’m wondering if keeping the card is my best option.
One of the things I miss the most right now is Admirals Club access. The only way I’m going to get Admirals Club access is by opening the Citi Executive AAdvantage card for $450 a year (no credits). Perhaps that’s why I’m starting to justify getting rid of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
My apologies, if this didn’t lead to the answer you were hoping for. As I mentioned, I fully planned on doing a Keep, Cancel, Downgrade post and ended up with the above mess. Hopefully over the next few days I’ll be able to come up with a more definite answer.