Chase Adding Major Benefits on Sapphire Cards – Pay Yourself, Annual Fee Changes, and Travel Credits

With the closures and lockdowns that we are all experiencing due to coronavirus, it makes it difficult to justify the travel related credit cards with an annual fee. It gets even harder for those premium credit cards that charge in excess of $450 per year with travel being the main focus. Both American Express and Chase are in trouble because of that, below you’ll see what Chase is offering for their premium travel credit cards!

The Benefits/Changes

There are 3 changes that impact the Sapphire lineup.

1.5 or 1.25 CPP Cashout

If you want to normally cashout your Ultimate Reward points, you’ll be able to do so at 1 cent per point. But with the Sapphire Reserve offering 1.5x and Sapphire Preferred 1.25x for using the travel portal, why would you do that? Well, Chase is offering the ability to cashout at those rates, sort of.

If you spend money at: grocery stores, dining, home improvement stores, and select charities, you’ll be given the ability to “pay yourself back” with the points used. Any credits applied towards these types of transactions will show up within 3 business days and will “Cancel out” the charges.

$450 Annual Fee Change

Towards the end of 2019, Chase announced that it would be increasing the annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve up to $550 from $450. If you have been charged a $550 annual fee,   chances are that you already received a $100 credit. The lower $450 fee will stay into effect for any renewals for the rest of 2020.

$300 Travel Credit Options

Chase’s $300 travel credit usually offsets a wide array of travel related purchases including hotels, flights, and public transportation among other things. From June until the end of 2020, additional purchases will also trigger this credit. Grocery Store and Gas purchases will count toward the credit, however, be aware that you will not earn 3x on these until the credit is spent up.

Final Thoughts

As a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder myself, I think these are all really good changes! I was already worried about the annual fee increase at the beginning of the year. While many rushed to close theirs after hearing the news, I held on because I was still getting positive value from it (even if it was small). Not only will I get another year at the $450 price point, but there’s also other benefits too!

The Travel credit was already pretty easy if you traveled at least once a year; if you don’t, why are you carrying a Sapphire card? Either way, Chase including groceries is a great substitute for restaurants, while being aren’t able to dine in anywhere. It’s a shame they still don’t include gas for travel at 3x, but what can you do? Maybe after the end of the year when it expires, they’ll decide to keep it?

Finally, we’ve got the Pay Yourself Back Feature. I think this is a great idea. While I would advise people to keep their points for when things start to open up again, some may not have that luxury. Some people need the cash now, and for those people with a high amount of points, using them instead of cash may be a no brainer.  At least you’re getting point valued at whatever you would be able to use them for the travel portal, whether that be 1.25 (Preferred) or 1.5 (Reserve).

What do you think about all of these changes? Have these convinced you to keep your Sapphire card another year? Let us know down in the comment section below.

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