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By Jason Steele
July 31, 2020

I’ve been writing about credit cards since 2008, and I hold over a dozen different cards that I use primarily to earn travel rewards. In the past, I often redeemed rewards to take free trips with my family of five.

But ever since we had to hastily return from an overseas trip in mid-March due the coronavirus pandemic, my family has no plans to travel again this year. Yet I’m still keeping one of the best premium travel rewards cards out there — the Chase Sapphire Reserve — even though it has a very large annual fee ($550).

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Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best Rewards Benefits

I signed up for the Sapphire Reserve years ago largely because of its impressive travel rewards benefits. These include earning 3x Ultimate Rewards points on all travel and dining, and the ability to transfer rewards to airline miles and hotel points or redeem points for 1.5x toward travel reservations made through Chase Travel. You also receive a $300 annual credit towards travel purchases with the card.

But since most of the country is staying close to home due to COVID, Chase stepped up to offer some great non-travel ways to earn and spend rewards.

Through September 30, 2020, here’s what Sapphire Reserve cardholders earn:

  • 5x points on up to $3,000 Instacart grocery delivery services, plus up to $50 in statement credits towards yearly or monthly Instacart memberships.
  • 5x points on your first $1,500 spent at gas stations.
  • 10x points on up to $1,500 spent on on select streaming services, like Netflix and Spotify®.

With Chase’s new Pay Yourself Back program, I can also redeem my rewards for 1.5 cents each towards purchases from grocery stores, home improvement stores and restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services. This offer is also valid just through September 30, 2020

Through the end of 2020, I can also use my $300 annual travel credit for gas station and grocery store purchases, not just travel reservations. But best of all, Chase has announced that it’s temporarily reducing its annual fee from $550 to $450 for those whose cards are renewing before the end of 2020.

And even before COVID, Chase announced that this card would offer a $60 credit to DoorDash in 2020 and again in 2021.

But There Are Travel Rewards I Won’t Use

Without any travel planned, I won’t be using the Priority Pass Select airport business lounge membership (assuming that the lounges I would have visited are open now, and most aren’t) that come with the Sapphire Reserve. I won’t utilize the card’s travel insurance benefits either, although I can still use shopping perks like purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty coverage.

Bottom Line: Is the Sapphire Reserve Worth It Now?

I still can justify paying the Sapphire Reserve‘s annual fee this year due to its recently upgraded reward offers, but there’s another important reason that I feel like keeping it. I’m dreaming of a safer world next year, and I’m looking forward to earning more points and miles so my family and I can return to the skies again sometime next year.

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