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Not Chasing Me Away – The Sapphire Reserve Devaluation & Why I’m Keeping It

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Chase Sapphire Reserve Devaluation

I’ve written ad nauseum about how Chase bores me.  If that (or this) is my biggest complaint about Chase, it’s fine enough with me.  Since I gave up on the 5/24 rule years ago, Chase has hung around my periphery.  I still earn solid, if not otherworldy, rewards with the Ink Business Cash, Freedom, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve cards.  And I can’t forget our on-and-off relationship with our IHG Premier cards.  Chase is in my rotation, but they’re like the third starter with an ERA hovering around 4.50.  And that pitcher’s getting hit hard recently, in the form of a Chase Sapphire Reserve devaluation.  But I’m not putting in a reliever yet.  Here’s why I’m holding on to my Reserve.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Devaluation


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Minimal Devaluation (for Me)

Priority Pass

Up until recently, the Sapphire Reserve was one of the few ultrapremium cards which offered access to Priority Pass restaurants.  A “free” meal sounds great, right?  So let’s take a look at what was truly lost.  Despite a network offering over 1,500 lounges, Priority Pass offers just under 40 restaurants.  I can count on one hand how many Priority Pass restaurants I’ve visited.  None were particularly memorable.  I don’t have one at my home airport, and I don’t pass through many who have them.  I’d rather visit other true lounges at those airports, anyway.  And, at the risk of stating the obvious, Chase didn’t exactly take away fine dining with this change.  Indeed, Chase is probably doing me a favor by removing this benefit.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Devaluation
Yes, please.

Pay Yourself Back

Chase continues keeping me on my heels with Pay Yourself Back, leaning into the uncertainty of categories which may or may not change on a quarterly basis.  And they just took away grocery stores as an option for redeeming Ultimate Rewards against charges for 1.25 cents per point.

While I’m sad to see grocery stores depart Pay Yourself Back, Chase lessened the blow by adding wholesale clubs.  And gas stations survives as a PYB option.  At the end of the day, I’m happy to redeem UR’s at a solid rate on everyday expenses.  (No, I don’t care if I’m “missing out” on other cards’ bonus earning rates by doing so.)

Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection “The Edit”

I can’t think of anything more terribly-named in recent memory than Chase’s “The Edit.”  I preferred when it was called the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection – wordy, but clearly stating what it was.  Now, we get “The Edit” – trying too hard to sound cool while describing nothing.  I’ll get over it – here’s why.

Like its more ornately-named predecessor, The Edit provides cardholders Amex FHR-like benefits such as daily breakfast, property credits, complimentary early check-in and late checkout, and room upgrades.  Even better, this stacks with the Reserve’s 50% extra point value on Chase Travel redemptions.  I’m up for redeeming Ultimate Rewards at 1.5 cents per point at a variety of luxury properties while receiving these benefits.  Think of it as elite status a la carte.  Enhancing the flexibility, cardholders can pay with a combination of points and cash, customizing the amounts during the booking process.  Check out more on why I love this benefit here.

No-Fuss Travel Credit

The Reserve’s $300 travel credit is perhaps the easiest benefit of its kind.  Unlike versions from other banks, no huge strings are attached in our experience using Chase’s credit.  While we book most all of our flights and hotels with miles and points, we naturally have $300 in random travel expenses over the year, and this credit has simply satisfied in those cases.  This takes a big bite out of, dare I say it, the now-relatively-cheap Reserve’s $550 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Devaluation

Chase Sapphire Reserve – Conclusion

I must acknowledge that unlike before, I can no longer value the Reserve’s Priority Pass benefit at all, as it’s now akin to the basic version offered by other ultrapremium cards we hold.  But I’ll keep renting the Reserve for another year, paying a net $250 fee for access to the current Pay Yourself Back categories (until the end of June) and the ability to redeem at 1.5 cents per point on Chase Travel, including The Edit.  It’s still not a long-term keeper for us like the Schwab Amex Platinum, though.

The recent changes are shrewd ones by Chase.  I suspect the Priority Pass devaluation is inconsequential enough for many to not care or not notice.  I don’t think it’ll play a major role in why too many people will close the card, and Chase has probably calculated the same.

How are you feeling about the Chase Sapphire Reserve these days?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

17 COMMENTS

  1. i love the Instacart credit. I have a local Wegmans liquor store with competitive prices and i do pickup so i value the $15 monthly credit in full. I also like the $5 monthly door dash credit, again with pickup so i value that close to full.

    Not sure how long Chase keeps those credits though.

  2. I was excited to hear that the EDIT was just like AMEX’s FHR, until I compared the rates quoted by them. For the exact same stay at the same hotel on the same date, the price by EDIT was almost $100 more, negating the $100 credit they gave.

  3. I will feel the loss of the PP restaurants. I just completed a trip in the course of which I enjoyed a giant Cobb salad (outbound) and a delicious burger (inbound) at JFK’s Bobby Vann’s and a tummy-filling bagel sandwich (both ways) at PDX’s Capers Cafe. Saved me over $100 and MUCH better food than what was available in any of the clubs. Visiting the Chase Sapphire lounge in Terminal 4 @ JFK was simply not practical since neither my inbound or outbound flight used T4. It’s ludicrous to use the claim that Chase is building out its own club network as a justification for eliminating this benefit as there are so few such clubs.

    • The benefits he mentions do not make much sense unless you really have tons of miles and want another year to work them away.

      CSR is a useless card now.

  4. The main benefit I get from the card is the 50% bonus when redeeming points in Ultimate Rewards but I have noticed that sometimes the prices are higher than on other OTA’s like Expedia. This is outrageous and completely negates the biggest benefit of the card!!!!!!!!!

    • **EXACTLY!!**
      I tried to use Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal last year, for the promise of “1.5x” rewards. The problem is that their portal was charging more than other portals, so, IIRC, it was less than 1:1, so I ended up just buying our reservations. instead of using points.

      • We all need to complain about this once annual fee renewals are due. This is ridiculous how they are able to get away with this!!!!!

        • Daniel and CardShark,
          Bummer that y’all are experiencing that! In my experience, rates have been comparable. Perhaps I’ve been lucky.

          • Sometimes they do not even show American Airline fares on the travel portal period!!!!! Even though they were the cheapest option for the route I wanted to take. The next day I checked on the travel portal and they appeared at a higher price than booking directly on American’s website….

  5. I am usually never have a layover long enough to use Priority pass restaurants. Or the restaurant is in a terminal that is not convenient. I do not have the Chase Sapphire card, but another $550 annual fee credit card.

  6. I can never find a priority pass lounge at the airports I’m at regularly (DEN, TPA, JFK, AUS, RDU). And all PP lounges I’ve been to recently sucked. While the PP restaurants I visit at DEN, TPA and JFK are quite decent.

    I’m keeping the card anyway for the ability to transfer to Hyatt & Southwest plus the 1.5 c point value. Easily justifies the annual fee.

  7. If nobody was using the Priority Pass restaurant benefit then it wouldn’t cost Chase much to keep offering it. That’s one of the main reasons I was keeping this card.

  8. Your point would be more persuasive if there were PP lounges available in at least all main airports. The fact that places like San Francisco and Chicago are left out of that list, at least for domestic flights, weakens your argument.

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