Why Do I Keep My Chase Sapphire Reserve?

by joeheg

I recently reviewed the posts about the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards that I had written on Your Mileage May Vary. Both cards had recently undergone significant changes, which could determine if a card is worth keeping or if it no longer has a place in your wallet.

When I’m updating posts, I’m doing it for the benefit of the website, but at the same time, I’m forced to think about our situation. That happened when I broke down the differences between the two cards. I previously found it was worth paying extra for the Sapphire Reserve. However, the card now has a $550 annual fee, and with the positive changes to the Sapphire Preferred, I was no longer confident about that decision. Is it worth an extra $155 per year?

I asked myself, “Why do I keep the Sapphire Reserve?”

I compared the card to the Sapphire Preferred, which we already have. Here’s a list of the extra benefits you get with the Reserve and how much I value them:

  • Priority Pass Membership
  • Global Entry, NEXUS or TSA Precheck reimbursement
  • Extra value primary rental car coverage
  • Trip Delay coverage starts at six hours
  • $100,000 Emergency medical evacuation coverage
  • $10,000 per item purchase protection coverage
  • Return Protection
  • Earn an extra point per dollar on travel and dining
  • Points worth 1.5 cents on Chase Travel Portal

Eliminate the perks I already get with other cards

I already get Priority Pass membership and Global Entry/TSA Precheck reimbursement with several other cards so those benefits aren’t worth anything. I can earn 3 points per dollar on travel and dining expenses with several cards (with lower annual fees.)

Consider extra benefits that sound good (until you think about it)

Both cards provide primary rental coverage but the Preferred’s coverage maxes out at $75,000. I can’t think of any time I rented a car worth over 75K so it’s extra coverage I don’t need.

The same for the Reserve’s $10,000 limit for purchase protection. Not many 10K purchases in this household.

And while it sounds nice to get trip delay coverage at 6 hours instead of 12 hours, both coverages are good if you’re stuck overnight. That’s when I’d likely have significant expenses, such as a hotel room, travel to the hotel and meal expenses.

Put a value on the remaining benefits

When using the Chase Travel Portal or Pay Yourself back with the Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each. They’re only worth 1.25 cents each using the Sapphire Preferred. You’d have to redeem more than 62,000 points using this method to get an additional $155 value.

I have no other card with emergency evacuation coverage, so this could be a reason to keep the Sapphire Reserve. However, whenever we travel outside of the US, I always purchase travel/medical insurance and I make sure the policy includes evacuation coverage.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t plan on this when I looked at the Chase Sapphire cards closer. Since I was approved for the Sapphire Reserve, it’s been my go-to travel card. The combination of travel coverage and points earning meant the card hardly ever left my wallet.

But that’s why you need to reevaluate the cards in your wallet every once in a while. With changes to annual fees, benefits, other cards you’ve picked up and your spending patterns, what previously seemed like a slam dunk now becomes more of a toss-up.

Fortunately, I have several months until my renewal date to come to terms with the decision I think I’ve already made. That is, unless something changes between now and then.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


dgary October 11, 2022 - 3:56 pm

What about the annual $300 travel credit?

joeheg October 11, 2022 - 4:06 pm

I considered that when looking at the price of the cards. I view the Sapphire Reserve $300 credit as like cash, so the annual fee is an adjusted $250. $250 – $95 = $155 difference in yearly fee between the Reserve and Preferred.

NOTTABOT October 20, 2022 - 8:51 pm

Why do you purchase emergency evacuation insurance? Most insurance is a rip off and esp if you already gave that coverage. What are the odds?

joeheg October 20, 2022 - 8:53 pm

When it comes to getting evacuation insurance, it’s usually included in the travel insurance policy.

ntw2012@gmail.com October 11, 2022 - 4:49 pm

You missed a few big ones:
– $5k emergency medical / dental insurance
– Baggage delay reimbursement
– Lost / damaged baggage insurance
– Extended warranty protection

And the big one I hope you never need, but which influences my flight purchase decisions the most:
– $1M accidental death and dismemberment policy

joeheg October 11, 2022 - 9:45 pm

For Baggage Delay, Lost/damaged bags and extended warranty, the Sapphire Reserve and Preferred provide identical coverages so there’s no value keeping the Reserve. I haven’t looked into the emergency medical/dental coverage but my insurance would cover me in the US and I buy insurance when we leave the country. I have life insurance so the only thing not covered is accidental dismemberment. Not worth paying $155 extra per year for that coverage.


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