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A few weeks back, I wrote about how there were a few rumors swirling around about changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This week, we’re getting more information about the same and I sense that we’ll probably hear from the official channels soon. Given the multitude of sources, it seems like something is on the horizon.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Right after Chase launched their Sapphire Reserve product, it featured prominently in the lists of premium credit cards in the market. The 100,000 points sign-up bonus made a huge splash and served as a major driver for new card acquisitions. However, it has been over three years since this product launch. We were all expecting some changes. Today, we have some more details about those changes.
If you head over to the ‘Card Benefits section in your Chase account, you’ll see that these benefits are already listed on the page. You need to activate the benefit in order to use it. I looked at my Chase Sapphire Preferred account benefits and saw this.
Similar benefits show up for the credit cards in the Chase Freedom family.
Annual Fee Increase
Doctor of Credit reports about possible new card benefits and an annual fee increase. Please note that these are still not confirmed from official Chase channels. However, given some of the moves Chase is making, it does seem like we’ll see some announcements soon. The DoorDash benefits seem to be a step in that direction.
The article highlights a few key points with regards to changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve:
- New Annual fee will be $550 for new users on January 12th, 2020
- Annual fee will be $550 for existing cardholders in April, 2020
- You’ll not be able to product change to the card until after January 12th, 2020 (new $550 annual fee will be applied)
- $60 DoorDash credit to be added for 2020 and 2021
- Complimentary Lyft Pink membership to be added on January 12th, 2020
Analysis and Data Points
Reader Stacy provided this data point on this post confirming these upcoming changes:
They’re raising it to $550 on January 12. Just got off the phone with them. Adding Doordash and Lyft benefits only. Not worth it IMO.
If these changes indeed go into effect, it signals a worrying trend. Chase has essentially copied Amex’s breakage strategy. With Citi also removing key travel protections from the Citi Prestige, 2020 has started with a decline in value of products that we all considered to be of premium value.
Chase truly innovated by introducing the Sapphire Reserve. It’s sad to see them simply copy Amex in just three years after the product’s launch.
My Strategy Going Forward
I’m glad that I downgraded my Chase Sapphire Reserve more than a year ago. Going forward, I’ll continue to carry these credit cards as part of my points and miles maximizing strategy:
- Amex Gold Card: With Amex’s new travel protections, I’ll use this card to book flights and get 3x Membership Rewards points on each booking. I’ll continue to earn 4x on dining and on US groceries.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: This is my go-to card which ensures that I have to ability to use Chase’s transfer partners. It also allows me to redeem them at a flat 1.25 cpp value through Chase’s portal. I use this as my go-to card when I travel internationally, especially in countries where Amex card acceptance is particularly lower.
- Hilton Aspire Card: Given that most of my hotel stays are with Hilton, this is my go-to card for Hotel stays around the world. The card also give me Priority Pass select. Other benefits like the annual free night, airline credit and the resort credit pay for the annual fee of $450 each year easily.
The Pundit’s Mantra
All in all, I’m happy that I didn’t end up upgrading my card. If the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve goes up, I’ll continue sticking to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Also, the standard sign-up bonus on this card is also higher than that on the Reserve. Currently, you’ll earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. The Chase 5/24 rule does apply to this card.
If the annual fee goes up to $550, would you still continue holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve in your wallet? Let us know in the comments section.