Before the pandemic decimated travel in early 2020, Chase raised the annual fee on the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve® card from $450 a year to $550 – adding a handful of new benefits in the process. But as travel ground to a halt, Chase was forced to offer automatic $100 discounts to existing cardholders up for renewal. Those days are ending.
After more than a year of granting $100 discounts to existing cardholders, Chase is poised to start charging the full $550 annual fee starting in August 2021. The Points Guy first confirmed the news.
Grandfathering existing Reserve cardholders into the old $450 was Chase's way of ensuring its customers didn't dump their Chase cards while travel was on pause. What was initially supposed to be a reprieve of just a few months was extended again and again all the way through July 2021. Many cardholders also reported getting retention offers of up to $250 when renewing their cards over the last year and change, effectively reducing their annual fee as low as just $200 for the year.
But travel is coming back – and fast. With countries around the world reopening their borders and travel numbers hitting pandemic-era records, it's much easier to justify the higher annual fee on a card whose benefits are all about premium travel.
So starting Aug. 1, 2021, cardholders with the Chase Sapphire Reserve will begin paying the higher $550 rate.
With the Reserve Card, You get an easy-to-use $300 travel credit, access to 1,400-plus Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide, a $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and some of the best travel insurance on the market.
The Sapphire Reserve also earns 3x points on all travel and dining purchases. And you can redeem those points for 1.5 cents each toward travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal – or get even more out of them by transferring to airline and hotel partners.
And even more benefits are reportedly on the way. As banks compete for a share of travelers' wallets, Chase is rumored to be adding the following bonus categories to the Reserve card:
- Earn 10x points on hotel and car rentals made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal (up from 3x)
- Earn 10x points on Chase Dining bookings through Ultimate Rewards (up from 3x)
- Earn 5x points on flights booked through the Chase travel portal (up from 3x)
Read up on all the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits!
What's Chase Up To?
This is just the latest sign that travel is coming back.
Giving Reserve cardholders a reprieve from the steeper $550 annual fee was a smart move over the last year and change, but that was always going to be a temporary fix.
It was part of a concerted move by Chase (and other banks, including American Express) to convince customers to keep their premium travel cards open during the pandemic. Late last year, we reported that Chase was doling out retention offers of $150 to as much as $250 to Reserve cardholders who called in to cancel their cards. While reports of those big retention offers have mostly dried up, it's clear that Chase is still making efforts on the cardmember retention front with these annual fee discounts.
Chase card coming up for renewal soon? Always ask for a retention offer – read on to see how!
And Chase added new benefits to its popular travel cards during the pandemic, too. It launched the awesome new Pay Yourself Back feature, which allows you to use Chase points toward everyday expenses like groceries, home improvement stores, restaurants, and even at Target.
Got a Reserve Card in your wallet. At long last, Chase will finally begin charging the full $550 annual fee for cards renewing starting Aug. 1, 2021.
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.