Chase is implementing a number of programatic changes to its top-tier Chase Sapphire Reserve travel card beginning this month. The changes were announced earlier in the summer, but will kick in the 26th of this month, affecting both new and existing Reserve cardholders.
The changes overall are a mixed bag, but some may impact user experience and are useful to understand.
First, The Improvements…
Mobile Priority Pass Select
Reserve cardholders already get complimentary Priority Pass membership, which enables complimentary access to more than 1,200 airport lounges. Chase is making a slight improvement to this perk, however.
Previously, Chase cardholders had to activate their Priority Pass membership online and then wait for their Priority Pass card to arrive in the mail. Priority Pass will now afford Chase cardholders digital Priority Pass membership, eliminating the need for a physical card.
To activate the digital membership, cardholders need to input their Priority Pass membership number and expiration date in the Priority Pass mobile app.
Those who do not have a membership card can trek over to the Chase Ultimate Rewards benefits page to first activate your membership, then visit to prioritypass.com/ChaseDMC to create a digital account.
One other thing to note is that digital membership is not accepted at all lounges, so there are still some advantages to carrying the physical membership card (really, is it 1998?)
Expanded Options Through The Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal
Chase is working on expanding their Ultimate Rewards Portal. In particular, they are growing their list of hotels and vacation rentals that you can book using the Ultimate Reward travel portal, which allows cardholders to redeem points toward a cash fare or hotel stay at a fixed 1.5 cent-per-point rate.
Chase says it is working to increase the number of airlines and hotels bookable in the portal. They recently added Iberia and Aer Lingus as transfer partners. Other than saying “coming soon” there is no date yet for when these enhancements will be available.
Minor Negative Changes
1. Somewhat Reduced Reward Points
Cardholders will no longer earn points on purchases that qualify for the $300 annual travel credit. Cardholders will earn 3 points for each $1 spent after the $300 is spent annually when the card is used for purchases in the travel category.
This is a very minor overall change, as it really only affects $300 per year in spend.
2. Price Protection
Price protection benefits are being dropped from the Reserve card.
Previously, the card included protection in the event that prices dropped after purchases were made .
3. Priority Pass Select
Priority Pass Select complimentary access to lounges is granted to both the cardholder and authorized users of the card, and was previously extended to an unlimited number of guests.
There will now be a maximum of two guests per Priority Pass Select membership card. Additional guests will be charged $27 per visit.
These updates and changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are a mixed bag. Chase taketh away and Chase giveth more options and benefits. Always good to stay up to date and know what’s coming down the road.