Today we received a Reader Question about Chase Credit Cards, in particular, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the $100 account retention credit the bank has offered in both 2020 and 2021.
The bonus was introduced during the pandemic and at the same time, Chase increased the annual fee of the Sapphire Reserve to $550/year from the previous $450.
For the past two years, Chase Card Services has sent out secure messages to many cardholders concerning a “$100 statement credit toward the annual fee” on their Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.
Here is their previous message:
… 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. Because this credit only applies to open Reserve accounts, if you’ve closed your Reserve account or traded to another credit card before your renewal, you will not receive the $100 statement credit. …
In 2022 no such offer has been made and that leads us to the conclusion that Chase is now trying to really get their full $550 annual fee for this card.
Our reader Frank has contacted me by email, asking if I heard anything about Chase returning with this offer for the current year. I’m afraid that the answer to that is no, I wouldn’t expect that a blanket discount such as this is coming back anytime soon.
You can always call Chase and ask for an individual retention offer. There are several data points available on Doctor of Credit where people have received between nothing and $150/$250 retention credit. According to some posts, customers who have multiple Chase accounts including Checking are more likely to receive an offer. I can’t verify if that’s true or not, you just have to roll the dice. Call and ask if there are any offers on your account to reduce the annual fee.
The Sapphire Reserve does however come with an extremely flexible $300 travel credit that is pretty much as good as cash. It’s valid for public transport, taxis, UBER/Lyft, and all other expenses that can be broadly defined as travel-related.
I’m usually rather critical of the associated benefit credits on these cards such as in the case of the CSR the DoorDash/Lyft memberships and credit as well as the Peloton Fitness membership. I use none of these and while I realize everyone’s situation is different these credits are always like “putting lipstick on a pig” so to say. In the end, what matters is how much do you pay in cold cash each year and how much do you get in cash value back.
They added some extra benefits such as airport lounges but I consider the footprint too small to make a dent for most customers right now:
Universally speaking, the credits are good and the primary rental car insurance as well as the Priority Pass make up for the rest, not even counting the decent point accrual rates and “Pay Yourself Back” redemption feature.
If you count the $300 travel credit as cash that still leaves you with a $250 leftover. If you can make it work to your advantage depends entirely on how you use this card. I take a few cruises per year and take advantage of the casino loophole (advance credit charged via shipboard account [travel] without fee and getting it paid back in cash).
Even if I only do $10k per trip that’s 30k CSR points and I usually do 3-4 of those per day so it’s easy to justify the annual fee, especially with Pay Yourself Back if you have sufficient qualifying transactions to offset.
Maybe some of our readers can chime in and tell if they received any retention offers from Chase. It doesn’t hurt to call and ask as the worst that can happen is they say no and offer to downgrade the card product or cancel it.
At ~$450 I think it made sense for most people to keep the CSR card active considering the $300 in flexible credits. Not so sure about that with a $550 price tag. You need to jiggle and do some decent spending in multiplier categories in order to rack up enough points.