One major question on traveler minds is – what to do with my travel rewards credit card, in a time when there’s no travel? The higher the fee, the heavier that question weighs.

With annual fees on premium travel cards topping out in the $500’s, many are feeling the strain, and without as many ways to justify the fees, people are asking what their bank can do for them. It appears Chase is proactively offering statement credits for those facing an upcoming annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve$100 Statement Credit

Chase appears to be proactively offering $100 statement credits when the Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee pops up for renewal. In communications, the bank notes its understanding of uncertain times, and that it will provide a “one time $100 credit toward the $550 annual fee on your Sapphire Reserve card”.

GSTP reached out to Chase for comment, and was offered the following statement…

Given this very unique time, cardmembers whose renewal is April 1 – July 1, 2020 will receive a notification of a one-time, automatic $100 credit towards the new annual fee. We know cardmembers might have had questions, so we are reaching out to them directly notifying them of this and no action is needed.

This is a great move from Chase, addressing a potential pain point for customers before it becomes a deeper conversation, and point of worry.

With a $300 annual statement credit on travel purchases, and the $100 one time annual fee credit, that leaves just $150 to justify the Sapphire Reserve annual fee. With strong earning across a variety of categories, airport lounge access, DoorDash and other perks, that’s should easily be justified for many.

Chase states the annual fee will be charged in full, but then a $100 statement credit will immediately follow on the statement, making for an effective $450 annual fee.

Banks Showing Support

Amex was among the first to offer support to customers via payment flexibility, Goldman Sachs let Apple Card users skip their March payment, Capital One says its ready to help, and now Chase is effectively rolling back the increased annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve card, as a one time gesture.

Premium cards remain a vital focus for banks during times of uncertainty and getting out in front of potential woes makes total sense. This may not be enough to convince everyone to hold on to their  travel rewards cards, not knowing when the world can leave the house again, but it’s a great gesture of goodwill, and sometimes a gesture is all customers really want.

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