Times I’ve used Lyft in the last two years: zero.

Times I’ve used DoorDash in the last two years: zero.

Times I’ve wished for Chase to add better points multipliers: every day.

I’m not going to go as far as to say something silly like “I’m cancelling my card”, because we just don’t yet know enough details, but unless a few much better looking shoes – think Air Jordan 3’s – fall out of the Chase Sapphire Reserve refresh news, I’m entirely underwhelmed. At the moment, it’s $100 in higher annual fees, and zero “fee credits” I have any plans to use…

Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Sapphire Reserve Changes Confirmed So Far

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is changing shortly, and that’s now been confirmed to be true. Here’s what we know so far about the changes, some of which are already appearing live in some accounts…

  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee is jumping from $450 to $550 per year.
  • You’ll now get $60 per year in DoorDash credit (through 2021).
  • You get Lyft Pink membership (valued $19.99 per month) for 1 year only.
  • There’s also better earning with Lyft, with 10x points on Lyft rides.

As noted in the preamble to this post, I don’t currently use Lyft, nor have I even registered for DoorDash, let alone used it. So far, that $100 annual fee raise is bringing me nothing back in return, unless I change my consumer behaviour. Perhaps like some of you, I’m a bit stubborn in that regard.

I use Uber constantly, and for better (and much worse) I’ve bought into their ecosystem. They serve more markets that I tend to be in, and internationally have a stronger footprint, even though they’ve pulled out of select countries. As such, I also tend to use UberEats, or another similar service for delivery, if I’m so incredibly lazy that I can’t walk and pick my food up, to grab some fresh air.

Side note, fresh air is really good for jet lag.

Please Tell Me There’s More To Come, Pretty Please

As noted from the outset, I’m not threatening to cancel my card. I find the $300 travel credit all too easy to use, which means I’ve typically only had to justify $150 a year with the $450 annual fee, and that’s something I do in the first month of the year with PriorityPass. If that annual travel credit were to rise with the annual fee (tbd), it would help keep my current justification at least in line.

The exclusive 1.5 cents per point of value via the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal is something I find really useful, since I don’t always have the flexibility to book award tickets on the airlines terms, on the one date per month they let the chancers fly. Even though it may not be ridiculous cents per point maximisation, I’m happy to get $1500 in free travel that I can earn status and other benefits on, for every 100,000 points I earn.

Remember, bookings through the Chase Travel portal allow you to earn miles from the flight or hotel, as well as elite credit (with airlines), whereas redeeming for an award ticket does not.

But if that’s it, and no other new perks, multipliers or benefits are forthcoming, it would also leave me entirely underwhelmed, and wondering why Chase got this so wrong.

If Amex Platinum, the other card with a $550 annual fee is offering 5X multipliers on key spending categories for the premium card market, then why-oh-why can’t this one? If no new multipliers other than the 10x on Lyft, which I don’t use, are to be introduced, it would actually also make the Citi Prestige look pretty shiny too.

A perfect example: I spend at least $20,000 a year on flights, so 3x via Chase Sapphire Reserve would earn me 60,000 points at current 3X, whereas Amex Platinum earns 5X for 100,000 points on the same spending. I can justify an entire annual fee just on the points rebate earned, but only if Reserve matches Amex or Citi at 5X.

I get that Chase missed the Uber boat, but if trying to drive me to a (largely) inferior competitor in terms of scale is the only real new benefit in exchange for a $100 annual fee rise, I just don’t get what they were thinking.

Even cards with a fraction of the annual fee have added more unique benefits, such as Capital One with their OpenTable Premium, which unlocks tables other users can’t book, or would need to redeem OpenTable points to book. Personally, I’d find that more useful. I like to eat. Heck, even just improving the quality of current concierge services attained via the card, like in app messaging would be really useful.

Or take… say… Netflix. Who doesn’t use it, and who wouldn’t like to save $9.99 a month, or more via their credit card? I’d love free Netflix, as opposed to a singular year of a theoretically more expensive subscription I will likely never, ever use.

For Now, We Wait And See…

I’m crossing my fingers, toes and everything else in hopes that these leaked changes are just a first wave of new “benefits” we’ll see. I’d probably be happy with just a singular 5x category added across dining, air travel, hotels or something of the sort. In terms of innovation, I feel like we’re almost owed something much more substantial and cutting edge than what we’re seeing.

For the time being, I don’t see this $100 fee increase to $550 a year as anything other than taking more from users without tangible justification. I totally get that there are some who will find the $60 credit useful, but if it’s not something you would’ve utilised on your own anyway, I think you’d need to dig a bit deeper to consider it as helpful to the math in your new annual fee.

Do note: if you apply for the card before (this) Sunday, you’ll lock in the lower $450 annual fee but also enjoy any new benefits for the year, including Lyft Pink and DoorDash. After that, it’s up to you…

Let’s hope time tells a much more compelling story. For now, I’m entirely underwhelmed, and I’m usually a pretty big fan and proponent of this card…

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