The Chase Sapphire Reserve is arguably one of the best travel credit cards out there, at least in the premier travel space. What made it so appealing for many is that while it has a $450 annual fee, it is pretty easy to bring that effective fee down with it’s $300 travel credit. When compared to the Sapphire Preferred card, you’re only paying an extra $55, after the travel credit, and getting a lot more in the way of benefits and perks. However, it looks like the gravy train may be ending for the Sapphire Reserve as Chase is making some changes that may impact your decision to keep the card long term.
There is never an easy way to say this, but the annual fee of the Sapphire Reserve will be going up to $550, an increase of $100 per year. For new applicants to the card, the increased fee will show up after January 12th, 2020. If you already have the card, the annual fee will increase after April. This means if your annual fee was due in March, you would have 1 more year left until the annual fee increases to $550. If your annual fee hits after April, you’ll have to pay the $550.
Surprisingly, for the increase in annual fee, we are not seeing an increase in any reward categories; dining and travel will still remain at 3x. However, there will be a few additions to the card.
The first being Complimentary Lift Pink Membership. Lyft Pink is a new reward program from Lyft that costs $20 per month. For that price, you are getting 15% off on your Lyft rides, priority pickup from airports, 3 free scooter rentals, and even 3 cancelations a month. The one thing to note here is that you only get 1 free year of Lyft Pink, so wait until you actually need it to activate it. Speaking of Lyft, whenever you pay with the CSR, you’ll be earning 10x on Lyft rides until 3/31/2022.
The other benefit we are getting comes from DoorDash. For starters, when you link you Sapphire Reserve to DoorDash, you will be given up to two years of DashPass, which normally costs $10 per month. DashPass offers discounted services fees and free delivery from certain restaurants. In addition to DashPass, there will be an annual credit of $60 on DoorDash. On the bright side, the credit is not broken up into small increments like we see on many American Express cards.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was upset. In it’s original form, the Chase Sapphire Reserve was one of the very best deals out there. Even if you weren’t a big traveler, it was easy to recommend to most people, because of how much value you could get from its easy setup. With the increase of its annual fee, it actually brings it right up against the competition, namely the Citi Prestige and American Express Platinum.
The Platinum card actually has the same annual fee now, so if we compare the two directly, I’d almost argue that the Platinum card offers more value. Even though my personal spend doesn’t make the Platinum card viable, I think there’s a really good case to be made against the Sapphire Reserve.
For those of you out there that are big ride share and/or food delivery spenders, the Sapphire Reserve has gotten even better. Earning 10x on Lyft rides (even if it’s a temporary deal), is no laughing matter. For me personally, I don’t really use either of these services. In both cases, I’d rather just drive myself to wherever I’m going or to go pick up food.
My initial reaction was definitely anger, especially at the lack of increase in reward categories. Not only that, but also the added benefits don’t really benefit me in any way. Once you cool down from this news, take a look back at your spending the last year or two, and see if you can still get value from the card. If you get positive value, keep it. If the value is negative, then I’d consider downgrading and switching to a different card. For me personally, I am getting value still, even at the new price. For the time being, I’ll keep it open, but I’ll definitely be re-evaluating every year to see if it’s the right move.
What do you think about this news? Are you inside the target audience that can get benefit from Lyft and DoorDash being added? Let us know in the comment section below what you plan to do with your Sapphire Reserve.