Chase Sapphire Reserve Adds US$100 Statement Credit Towards Existing Accounts With Upcoming Renewal Dates

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Chase Card Services is sending out secure messages to many cardholders concerning a “$100 statement credit toward the annual fee” on their Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.

Providing a $100 discount on the $550 annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Reserve would be reminiscent of what they did last spring – of course lets not forget that they previously raised the price by $100 as well so this goodwill credit just washes that away, nothing more.

It’s not certain if this is a blanket policy for all card members in 2021 or for a limited circle of customers whose renewal is up within the next x months. I talked to a friend in the U.S. whose renewal is in late May and he has already received the message (in the Secure Message Center). Mine is in April and I have not gotten any notification. Another friend has called last week to ask for a retention offer and was denied any, he subsequently cancelled his card.

Following similar decisions from other card issuers like Amex, this is a logical decision from Chase and likely based on their fears and data that people will start cancelling these expensive premium cards in the current economic climate. New applicants will pay the $550 fee regardless.

Here is their previous message:

… On an upcoming billing statement (based on your renewal date), you’ll see a $550 charge for the annual fee, followed by a $100 statement credit. We will continue to bill the $550 annual fee in 2021. Because this credit only applies to open Reserve accounts, if you’ve closed your Reserve account or traded to another credit card before your renewal, you will not receive the $100 statement credit.

We know COVID-19 has affected people in many different ways. Please check chase.com/StayConnected for updates and helpful ways to stay connected to your accounts. …

With the new annual fee of US$550 the card is on the same level as the American Express Platinum but without the value added benefit of airport lounges and (let’s face it) the prestige that still comes with an Amex Platinum card. In other words: This price is too expensive for the Reserve which is a Visa Infinite.

American Express has provided relief by offering their card members various credits for ding, streaming and cellphone services. Some people have reported rather generous retention credits for those calling in and asking for them. Note that Amex typically provided retention offers only every two years.

The Sapphire Reserve does however come with an extremely flexible $300 travel credit that is pretty much as good as cash. It’s good for public transport, taxis, UBER/Lyft and can – as an exception during these times – also be used for grocery and gas purchases during 2021.

I’m usually rather critical of the associated benefit credits on these cards such as in the case of the CSR the DoorDash/Lyft memberships and credit as well as the Peloton Fitness membership. I use none of these and while I realize everyone’s situation is different these credits are always like “putting lipstick on a pig” so to say. In the end what matters is how much do you pay in cold cash each year and how much do you get in cash value back.

I’d argue that everyone needs to shop at the supermarket, get gas or use some form of transportation so these $300 Chase provides in credits take the blow off the $450 price tag. Primary rental car insurance and the Priority Pass make up for the rest, not even counting the decent point accrual rates and “Pay Yourself Back” redemption feature in 2020/2021.

At $550 I’d think twice about this card though and probably just downgrade to the Preferred. The downside: With $95 for the Sapphire Preferred you essentially just have the card and rental car insurance, nothing else. This makes keeping the Reserve right now a zero sum game for as long as they renew it at $450 per year.

Conclusion

Maybe some of our readers can chime in and tell if they received this bonus email as well. In case you haven’t received the email and are due for renewal in the next few weeks it doesn’t hurt to call and ask.

At $450 I’ll definitely keep the CSR card active considering I’m getting $300 back in flexible credits. I wasn’t sure to keep it at $550. Let’s see how this year goes in terms of spending, last year I put a rather large amount of my spend on the CSR.

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