Are New Perks Worth The $100 Hike On The Chase Sapphire Reserve?

by Sam Grabel

Changes are a-brewin’ on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Starting on January 12, all new applicants will pay an increased annual fee of $550, while existing cardholders will wait until April 12 before the new fee kicks in. Are the new perks on the card worth it?

Furthermore, Chase won’t allow any product upgrades until January 12. If you want to get the card at the lower fee, you now have just a couple days left in order to apply before the bump up in price.

The move will put the Chase Sapphire Reserve on par with the American Express Platinum Card in terms of annual fee, but will the increased perks make the Chase Sapphire worth it? Here’s my take. First, let’s go over the changes.

DoorDash Perks for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

chase sapphire perks

There are three main new perks that will come with the increased annual fee. The first of which is the DashPass from DoorDash free for two years.

Normally the service costs $9.99 per month and includes free deliveries from select restaurants. This benefit is already live for Chase Sapphire Reserve customers and holders of other cards as well.

Next, Chase will provide a $60 credit to DoorDash, given in one lump sum at the beginning of the year (each year). For clients whose annual fee will straddle 2020 and 2021 (those who just signed up or will sign up between January 12 and the end of the year) will receive the credit in both 2020 and 2021.

In my opinion this is a far better way to give credit rather than installments like the American Express Gold Card’s food credit. Although it’s only valid at DoorDash rather than the various options the Gold Card affords, like Seamless, Grubhub, Ruth’s Chris and Shake Shack, I’d rather have the lump sum instead of be given $10 food allowance per month by American Express.

Lyft Pink and the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Lyft passenger and driver

In addition to the DashPass, Sapphire reserve holders will receive a complementary Lyft Pink membership, which will kick in on January 12 and be eligible for one year. 

Among the Chase Sapphire perks are 15% off Lyft rides, priority airport pickups, waived cancelation and lost and found fees, free bike and scooter rides and “surprise offers.” It would normally cost $19.99 per month, so to have this as an included perk is a nice to have, but I’m not sure that it’s a must have like some of Chase’s other perks on the card.

Chase has also partnered with Lyft to offer 10x points on all Lyft rides purchased with the card. However, this is only temporary, and the perk will expire in March 2022.

This is a great play from Lyft, and one that could pick off Chase’s Uber loyalists until March 2022.

Now, Should I Keep The Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Frankly, I don’t know yet. I’m not thrilled about the annual fee increase, effectively changing it from $150 to $250 (subtracting the $300 travel credit). Previously it was a no brainer, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred at $95, the difference was only $55. Now at a difference of $155, I will have some pause when my renewal comes up.

While there is value to be had in the perks if you can use them completely, it remains to be seen just how easy they are to use.

Food Delivery & DoorDash Usage

Personally, these Chase Sapphire perks aren’t particularly helpful to me. I don’t live in a big city, so the only options for delivery food are chains like Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Taco Bell, Chili’s, Popeyes and…well, you get the idea. There are times where I will order things like that, but I can usually muster the energy to peel myself away from the couch to visit these fast-casual locations just a few miles from where I live.

Ridesharing & Lyft Usage

lyft laguardia

I use ridesharing a few times a month, and will convert to Lyft from Uber to save the 15% and earn the 10x rewards. Additionally, by starting your ride through the Rakuten (formerly Ebates) app, you can double stack your rewards and earn 25 cents per ride. You can even link your Rakuten app to your American Express Membership Rewards account and earn pay outs in points rather than cash back.

Having said that, the other Lyft perks are pretty much useless to me. I normally drive to the airport, have never left anything in the back of a rideshare and don’t live where there are scooters. The only times this might come in handy are when I’m visiting places where there are scooters or need to grab a ride from the airport when I arrive to wherever I’m going. Generally, though, I prefer to take public transport.

Furthermore, with Denver International Airport (DEN) as my home airport, I no longer have a Priority Pass lounge or restaurant at my disposal. This is a big reason of why I got the card in the first place.

What other cards am I looking at?

My wife currently has the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Freedom Unlimited. When my annual fee comes up again in September, I will consider downgrading my Chase Sapphire Reserve to the Chase Freedom Card in order to reap the 5x points on the quarterly rotating categories.

I will then be able to combine our points because we live in the same household and use our Chase Ultimate Rewards Points that way. We would still use her Sapphire Preferred on flights and rental cars for the outstanding protections offered by the family of cards. The only thing that I would miss about the Chase Sapphire Reserve is being able to use the Chase Travel Portal at 1.5 cpp.

As a replacement I am strongly considering switching to one of the American Express cards—either the Green, Gold or Platinum. I already use and love Amex Everyday® Preferred, which earns 4.5x Membership rewards points on groceries, 3x on gas and 1.5x on everything else (after the 1.5x bonus when using the card 30 times in a billing cycle).

To add 3-4x on dining (Amex Gold) would be a killer combination that would earn a minimum of 1.5x points on every purchase. I would very quickly rack up Membership Rewards points here, and it really is a more lucrative earning pairing than the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Freedom Unlimited that has become the go-to combination for many in our hobby.

In addition, if I went with the Amex Platinum, there is an American Express Centurion Lounge slated to open in Denver this year, which would give me lounge access again at my home airport.

The Upshot

I realize that this is a completely unique proposition for everyone. In this hobby, there’s no right or wrong answer—except for when you use your points for magazines or to erase charges on your statement (cringe). Everybody has different spending habits and some can make this change work.

I used to live in Chicago and would definitely have come out on top of this change, as a frequent delivery and rideshare user. Now that I live in a suburb of Denver, I’m not so sure that I will use these perks, and I’m not so sure that it justifies the increase in annual fee for me. I’ll see how much use I get out of the Lyft perks until September, when my annual fee renews. Luckily, I have the better part of a year to make that decision.

The responses below 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.

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