Should I Keep My Chase Sapphire Reserve?
Chase recently announced a fee increase of $100 for their Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
That takes the annual fee from $450 to $550 per year.
Because of the fee increase, a lot of people have been wondering if the card is worth keeping recently. I’m definitely in that boat.
My Current Situation
My husband and I recently got into credit card hacking. Chase was my intro to the world of credit card points. I signed up for the Reserve when the sign-up bonus was 100,000 points, which was awesome. We used those points for several trips. It has certainly served me well for several years now. I love the 3x point accumulation of travel and dining. The $450 fee was really not felt at all.
Next, my husband signed up for the Preferred card for that sign-on bonus. That costs $75 per year.
A year or so later, I signed up for the American Express Platinum and got their 60,000 point sign-on bonus. Amex Platinum has a fee of $550 per year.
Travelling with points: Pregnant and happy in Sienna, Italy
Which card will we keep?
We are currently paying $550/year for the Amex Platinum, $450/year for the Chase Reserve, and $75/year for the Preferred, bringing total credit card fees to $1075 per year. That will go up to $1175 in October, 2020 when my reserve card renews.
Being able to pay these fees is, thankfully, a non-issue, but I did start wondering if keeping all three cards is bringing us added value.
So, I decided to do a head to head analysis.
Here is the breakdown. For best viewing, use a desktop. I gathered this data from the Amex and Chase sites. I’m by no means a points expert, so please feel free so correct me. I can’t promise I’ll fix the table because it was a pain to make, but I’ll add an addendum in the end!
*** Correction: The Preferred fee is $95, not $75.
Similarities between Amex and Chase Reserve
Both cards are top tier, luxury travel cards that include benefits that make life a lot more comfortable while travelling. They both have bonus points for sign up and point accumulation for travel. The points can be redeemed for travel on their site or can be transferred to travel partners. They both have some lounge access, hotel upgrades, car rental company memberships so you can skip the counter and pick your car and go, a discount on transportation in town, and some insurances against travel related losses (baggage, car rental, etc). Also, both cards are made of metal instead of plastic, which is you know… bad ass.
Travelling with Points: Dominical, Costa Rica
An Extensive Selection of Airport Lounges
When I only had Priority Pass, I felt like there was never a lounge available on the concourse I was on.
With the addition of Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky club lounges, I have found myself utilizing lounges a lot more while traveling.
These are great for traveling with kids. We do a fair bit of traveling, so this benefit is definitely worth it.
Automatic Status Upgrades
It is really cool to have the automatic status upgrades at Hilton and Marriott, as well as the rental car services.
Late checkout, in itself, makes a stay so much more enjoyable.
Chase tries to match this with Relais & Chateaux VIP welcome and late checkout but there are only 6 or so hotels on this list, which makes it much less usable.
Using Points to Upgrade An Existing Reservation
This is a cool feature that is unique to Amex. You can use your points to upgrade an existing reservation with an airline (if it qualifies).
I have a hard time seeing myself paying 3-4x extra to fly first class. But, I’d do it if I were able to upgrade with points.
Travelling with points: Udaipur, India
Amex charges an additional $175 for added members. Chase doesn’t charge extra for a card for my husband.
Also, not all vendors accept Amex because of their high merchant fees. So, it’s good to have a VISA card around.
Ultimate Reward Points
I feel like I can accumulate a lot of points on Chase because of the 3x dining and travel benefits (2x for Preferred).
Amex doesn’t have any extra multiplier for regular (non-travel) spending.
Also, Reserve points are worth 1.5 cents per point, Preferred is 1.25 cents per point, and Freedom is 1 cent per point. Amex is a 1:1 ratio. So, Reserve points go father.
It is really easy to get the $300 Travel Credit for the Reserve. We usually hit it in the first quarter.
The credit actually brings the price of the card down to $250 (from $550). Add to that $60 Doordash credit/year ($120 for 2 years), the price comes down to $190.
Chase offers Roadside assistance credit, extended warranty protection, emergency evacuation and emergency medical/dental coverage. Amex doesn’t offer these. However, I don’t think the emergency medical/dental coverage is enough and buy extra travel insurance anyway for overseas trips.
Travelling with points: Wandering a vineyard in Tuscany
What is clear to me is that the Preferred card is bringing no extra value to us right now, so Josh is going to downgrade that card to Chase Freedom. Downgrading to a no-fee card is better than canceling in my opinion because that preserves the credit history and doesn’t hurt our credit score.
The next question is what to do with the Reserve.
I think the Amex brings more value to my family for $550/year than the Chase currently. There is a lot of redundant coverage between the two cards. I think if Chase wants to charge as much as Amex, they are going to have to step up their lounge game.
But, if I get rid of the Reserve, I’d add Josh to the Amex Platinum which is $175. Keeping the Reserve is essentially only $190/year, so it really doesn’t make a huge difference. But, for $15/year less, Josh gets more lounge access, which could be important to him if he’s travelling without me.
I paid the yearly fee for the Chase Reserve in October 2019, so before my next billing in October, 2020, I am going to downgrade the reserve card to Freedom. I’m still able to get the Doordash and Lyft benefits until then so I will definitely utilize that (more benefits for no additional cost? Yes, please!).
I’ll then add Josh to the Platinum card so he can have all the lounge access and status upgrades. That will bring our credit card fees down to $725/year.
That may be a great time to sign up for another Chase card that has a nice sign on bonus, maybe the Chase Sapphire Preferred….lol and here we go again!
Stay Frugal, ya’ll!
What do you think I should do? Comment below!
Addendum: Added Trip Cancellation/Interruption protection to Amex Platinum in chart above!
Chase Preferred Fee is $95.
Standard Disclaimer: Not meant as individualized financial or medical advice. This post contains referral links.
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