Why I'm Getting Rid of My Chase Sapphire Reserve® -- and How I'll Replace It - The Motley Fool

Why I'm Getting Rid of My Chase Sapphire Reserve® -- and How I'll Replace It - The Motley Fool


Why I'm Getting Rid of My Chase Sapphire Reserve® -- and How I'll Replace It - The Motley Fool

Posted: 21 Sep 2020 07:00 AM PDT

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® may be one of the most popular travel credit cards, but not everyone will get their money's worth.

If you have even a small interest in travel rewards, then you probably know about the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Chase's most luxurious travel card has been extremely popular since it launched in 2016 with a huge sign-up bonus, a $300 annual travel credit, and several other valuable perks.

Despite all the card's benefits and the fact that I've been a cardholder since the beginning, I've decided to downgrade my Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This was easily my favorite credit card for years, but for a couple of reasons, I'm making a change.

An expensive annual fee

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® originally had an annual fee of $450. Since it also had that $300 annual travel credit, its yearly cost after using the credit was a reasonable $150.

In 2020, Chase raised the annual fee to $550 -- but kept the travel credit at $300. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Chase let existing cardholders renew through the end of the year for the previous $450 annual fee. Even though that's what I was paying before, I don't see the point of paying so much while I'm not traveling.

The upcoming $550 annual fee would also be easier to stomach if I felt like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® had gotten drastically better, but unfortunately, that's not the case for me.

Less versatile new benefits

With the annual fee hike, Chase introduced new partner benefits:

  • Earn 10 points per $1 on Lyft rides through March 2022.
  • A complimentary one-year Lyft Pink membership.
  • Up to $120 in DoorDash purchase credits, including $60 through December 2020 and another $60 through December 2021.
  • A DashPass subscription for a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 through the end of 2021 on qualifying food purchases.

All good benefits, if you can use them. But if you don't use Lyft or DoorDash regularly, then these perks go to waste and you don't get anything extra for the increased annual fee.

The frustrating thing is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® used to be the premium travel card with versatile, easy-to-use benefits. If you traveled regularly, you could get plenty of value from its travel credit, airport lounge access, and TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit.

With these changes, it seems like Chase is creating its version of The Platinum Card® from American Express, offering very specific benefits and requiring more work to get the full value of your credit card. That's disappointing for those of us who chose the Chase Sapphire Reserve® precisely because we liked how it was different from American Express's premium travel card.

Replacing the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

When I replace a credit card, I pick out my favorite benefits and look for other ways to get them. In the case of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, that means finding travel rewards cards with these features:

Instead of keeping the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for what will soon be $550 per year, I could downgrade it to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. I'll still be able to earn and use Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but it will cost me much less at $95 per year.

To get those other travel benefits I like, there's the U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card, which costs less than the competition. The Citi Prestige® Card is another option I like, because it offers a fourth night free on two paid hotel stays per year. That's a high-value perk that's also easy to use.

Finding the right credit cards

To be fair, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is still an excellent travel credit card. The changes Chase has made aren't right for me, but if you use Lyft and DoorDash often, then it's likely a great fit for you. If not, then it's just about picking the best credit cards with benefits that you know you can use to the fullest.

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