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Chase Sapphire Reserve Will Cap Guest Lounge Access, Makes Other Downgrades

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Chase is downgrading and removing several benefits on its Chase Sapphire Reserve card, including capping guest access to Priority Pass lounges at two guests per member.

The card is also ending the ability to earn points on spending that counts towards the $300 annual travel credit and removing price protection for purchases. According to Doctor of Credit, they’re set to go into effect Aug. 26.

We’ve named the Chase Sapphire Reserve® our #1 travel rewards card. While these changes are definitely disappointing, I’m not sure they’re enough to dethrone the card.


Chase Sapphire Reserve Changes

Chase is a titan in the world of miles and points, and the Sapphire Reserve is at the top of the mountain. The card comes with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus, which is worth $750 of travel when booking through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Further, You get $300 in annual travel credits, $100 to cover a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership and more. In our minds, these perks more than offset the $450 annual fee, though that’s a decision everyone has to make for themselves.

A free Priority Pass membership gets you into more than 1,000 airport lounges and a growing list of restaurants worldwide. But soon, fewer may be able to tag along.

Among the worst of the downgrades underway is that Chase Sapphire Reserve members will no longer have unlimited guest access at Priority Pass lounges. It will now be capped at 2 guests, for a total of 3. After that, each guest will have to pay $27 to get in.

Many premium credit cards like the Citi Prestige and the American Express Platinum card have gone this route, so although it’s a negative change, it’s not a surprise.

Chase is also reportedly ending the ability to end 3X points on the $300 travel credit. As a reminder, this pool of money automatically covers any purchase that codes as travel. It could be an airline ticket, hotel reservation, car rental or Uber ride.

That’s a loss of 900 points each year, or $13.50 in travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. So again, while it’s a negative, it’s not a massive devaluation.

Finally, Chase is removing a little-known but popular feature called price protection. This change has been in the works for some time. Price protection allows users to recoup some money if an item they’ve purchased decreases in price within 90 days of purchase. There’s a maximum of $500 per item, and a yearly cap of $2,500. This benefit is also being removed on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and other cards as well.


Our Analysis

While these changes aren’t heartbreaking, in combination they certainly represent a devaluation. The limit on guest lounge access is the biggest downside to these changes. Of course, the upside is that for Priority Pass lounges may be less crowded as a result of this policy change.

Thrifty Tip: If you’re worried about lounge access for your family, add your spouse or partner as an authorized user. He or she will get another Priority Pass membership, expanding your total guest access. An authorized user on the Chase Sapphire Reserve pays a $75 annual fee.

Ending the ability to earn 3x points on the $300 travel credit is certainly a loss. But to be honest, I’m surprised it took Chase this long to limit that benefit. Earning points on money you’re not truly spending is more like a loophole than it is a perk.

While price protection offers some true value to users by covering up to $2,500 a year, I’m not sure this feature is popular enough to merit an outcry.


Bottom Line

A downgrade is a downgrade. It’s never fun to write about the removal of benefits and perks on our favorite travel rewards cards. But in a world where points and miles get less valuable by the month, these changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve don’t add up to nearly as much.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: 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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