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).
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.
Here's a list of Sapphire Reserve cardholders benefits:
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit.
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit.
- 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, and 1 point on all other purchases
With Chase's new Pay Yourself Back program, I can also redeem my rewards as statement credits for 50% more (1.5 cents each) against existing purchases in select rotating categories.
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.