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By Paul Brady
January 09, 2020
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Courtesy Chase

UPDATE (April 6, 2020): Chase is amending its annual fee policy, offering an automatic $100 credit to those whose Sapphire Reserve card renews between April 1 and July 1, 2020. This change was communicated to select Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders online. “We recognize this is a difficult time for everyone. As a way to help, we’re providing you a one-time $100 statement credit toward the 2020 $550 annual fee on your Reserve credit card. On an upcoming billing statement (based on your renewal date), you’ll see a $550 charge for the annual fee, followed by a $100 statement credit. We will continue to bill the $550 annual fee in 2021,” the message read.

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the world’s most popular credit cards for racking up travel rewards. But now, it’s getting a little more expensive. Chase will raise the annual fee for the card from $450 to $550 on January 12, making it one of the priciest rewards cards out there.

Still, it remains one of the best options for travelers.

Here’s why: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card combines powerful points earning potential with top-notch customer service benefits and protections when trips go awry. You can use the points to score business-class upgrades, stellar hotel rooms, and awesome travel deals. Plus, you can fall back on the card’s concierge services, including trip delay reimbursement and airport lounge access, when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Chase has also announced new perks for the card. Starting this month, users will get premium access to DoorDash, the delivery service, through DashPass, which “offers unlimited $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on orders of $12 or more,” Chase said in a statement. Cardholders will also get “one free year of Lyft Pink, a membership that provides 15 percent savings on all car rides, three free 30-minute scooter or bike rentals per month (including CitiBike in New York), priority airport pickups, surprise offers, a more flexible cancellation policy, and some other benefits. The membership typically costs $19.99 per month and is best suited for those who take at least two or three rides per week,” according to NerdWallet.

All that said, $550 is a lot of money to spend on a credit card. The good news is all the stuff you get with it. The perks start with a $300 statement credit toward travel expenses, including airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, cabs, and train rides. Cardholders also get a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment (worth up to $100), and a Priority Pass Select membership that gets you into hundreds of airport lounges worldwide. (The Priority Pass Standard Plus membership, which shares some benefits of the Select membership, starts at $299.) In other words, simply using the many perks of the card makes the annual fee worth it.

Of course, the other major benefit of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the ability to earn valuable points. Cardholders earn three points for every dollar spent on travel, three points on dining and restaurants, and one point for everything else. (You can also earn 10 points for every dollar spent on Lyft, through March 2022, NerdWallet reports.) Those points can in turn be redeemed for a wide range of things — airfare, upgrades, hotels, and more — thanks to Chase Ultimate Rewards, a booking portal that helps you maximize points or transfer them to your existing loyalty accounts.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card also has many ancillary benefits. For example, cardholders get trip cancellation or interruption insurance of up to $10,000 per person, auto rental collision damage waiver up to $75,000, and lost luggage reimbursement up to $3,000 when booking trips with the card. Chase also includes a helpful trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 to pay for things like a hotel overnight or meals, in the event your flight (or other transportation) is delayed by more than six hours.

It's little wonder that this valuable card inspired unboxing videos and fawning social media reactions when it launched back in 2016. And while the famous 100,000-point sign-up bonus may be a thing of the past, the card still has a rich 50,000-point bonus for those just getting it now.