Chase Sapphire Reserve
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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…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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18 Comments

  1. Move over… I’m in the exact same boat as you. No Lyft. No Door Dash. what am I getting for my $100?

  2. Perhaps add a mobile phone protection. I just renewed a card that I was going to cancel just for this benefit. Who doesn’t have a cell phone these days?

  3. Ditto for me. I looked into it and DoorDash is only for select restaurants with a check next to them and guess what- i looked and none of the restaurants in my town show that check mark when you search the DoorDash site (unless you have to sign up to see them and no way man). So useless. I see they are trying to appeal to the urban folks that use Lyft and delivery but for the average Joe in America not inside a major city like me (I live just north of Austin) I need these two services not at all.

    Super lame and basically a money grab. Maybe Ill dump CSR and get Amex Platinum. How about an article comparing what would be a good alternative to CSR if you want to jump ship?

  4. Good article. Def think Chase blew the chance to be a little innovative and think outside the box on this one. The new benefits aren’t terrible especially for folks in urban cities, but now it’s just one more credit I have to think about using. Already in addition to my Amex Gold credit with Seamless and the airline credit.

  5. I agree with you fully, Gilbert. The CSR is my preferred credit card, but paying $100 more per year for DoorDash benefits I won’t use and Lyft benefits I am not likely to use much represents a big step in the wrong direction.

    The $100 hike in the annual fee would be much more palatable if it came with a corresponding increase in the travel credit or valuable airline or hotel benefits. Or, as you have suggested, larger points multipliers.

  6. Not sure why you would not have both Lyft and Uber on your device.
    My latest trip Lyft saved me about $30 in fares over Uber rates in LA and NY markets. For longer rides the price comparison is worthwhile.
    Those Lyft rides risk me not remaining Uber Platinum but mean real dollars in my pocket.
    Just because Lyft serves different markets doesn’t mean you should not consider it.
    If they gave you a free flight on Jet Blue would you poo poo that benefit because you are loyal to United / Delta / whoever

    1. Haha I love how it’s seen as odd that I don’t have two competing rideshare apps on my phone.

      That’s like saying to a Delta flyer, “it’s odd that you don’t have United’s number stored in your phone”…

      I don’t see why I’m being criticised for Chase benefits (or lack thereof)…

      All travel benefits are simple: if they don’t work for you, don’t get them or pay for them.

      For me, as the new CSR benefits stand, I’m being charged $100 extra for benefits I won’t use. That *could* impact my future with the card, as echoed by others.

      1. I agree with the original comment and unsure why you are insulting him? Each person may do it differently but I think it makes complete sense to shop prices on carries and see which one is giving the better deal. Competition is good for consumers!

  7. Thank you for actually criticizing a really insulting change from Chase! The new features also have zero value for me. I renew before the switch, though, so I have lots of time to get courted by other banks. Thanks for the 100K miles intro, Chase, but it may soon be goodbye!

  8. Just used DoorDash couple weeks ago. Very underwhelming. Plan on using it to get $60 back BUT not with delivery!
    Lyft, use them a couple times a year-they are usually cheaper than Uber.
    So, they raise fee $100, add temporary benefits most people don’t use, hmmm, can you say breakage??

  9. This is kinda why I dumped AmEx Plat—I rarely use Uber or UberEats.

    These changes are AWESOME for me, at least for the next year. I use Lyft about twice a week to go to airports, so the 10-point multiplier alone is great and the Lyft Plus is gravy!

    1. Glad to hear it works well for you! I’m all for any card that works for someone on a personal level, and sounds like they hit it out of the park for your needs!

  10. Bottom line is these kind of “underwhelming” co-branded benefits are here to stay. The reason being, Chase isn’t paying sticker for the “benefits.” They clearly struck a deal with Lyft and Doordash to provide a benefit to their cardholders at a massive discount off sticker price because both Lyft and Doordash know most cardholders won’t maximize their benefits.

    Bottom line is the CSR was too good to be true, so its being devalued. Think about it CSP has an annual fee of ~$100 and CSR $450, but netting out the super easy to use $300 travel credit it was effectively $50 more than the CSP and for that you get 50% higher earnings on categories, better insurance coverage oh and Priority Pass thrown in. It was simply good to be true, and I wouldn’t be surprised with Citi gutting its insurance and benefits on may cards if Chase follows suit next year. This year, they are likely seeing what the impact is on Citi, and if Citi can get away with it, no doubt they will copy!

  11. I totally agree with the article and above comments. The additional $100 does not make-up for the “benefits” they are adding, which are useless to me. Living overseas, these services don’t exists for me. I was fortunate that my annual payment was made earlier this week ($450), so I have a year to rethink if I want to stay with CSR or move on to the more lucrative AMEX Platinum.

  12. Since I’m Living/working overseas, these new “perks” are useless to me. Lyft is only in the US and I’m pretty sure doordash is the same (certainly not where we live).

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