(Expiring) Review: Chase Sapphire Reserve VISA Infinite

Multiple outlets are reporting that the most sought-after travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve VISA Infinite, is reducing its online application bonus on January 11, from 100,000 to 50,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. In-branch applications will be accepted until March 12. This card and its promotion has proven so popular that Chase reported its profits dropped by $200-300 million in 4Q 2016 and that breakeven on its investment won’t be for 5 1/2 years!

Chase Sapphire Reserve VISA Infinite. Image Credit: courtesy of Chase and VISA.

Before pushing all-in on this card, however, know that Chase has implemented a  unique restriction on its credit card applicants, known as the 5-24 rule. That is, to be considered, an applicant must have less than 5 new credit card accounts (including as an authorized user) opened in the past 24 months. There has been some discussion about exceptions to the rule (including inquiring about in-branch pre-approval or entering into a Private Banking relationship with Chase), but reports have been mixed. To check how many cards you’ve opened in the past 24 months, go to Credit Karma or a similar site and access your Accounts information to count back new entries from today’s date. Another option: check Chase’s website and enter your information to check your prequalification status (note: this will not result in an application or “hard” pull and will not affect your credit score).

Chase Sapphire Reserve VISA Infinite

Benefits:

  • 100,000 point bonus after spend of $4,000 in 3 months (expiring offer, January 11 online, March 12 in-branch)
  • 50,000 point bonus after offer expires
  • Earn 3x points (per dollar spent) on travel and dining worldwide
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for purchases charged to your card (calculated by calendar year)
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck Application Fee charged to your card, every 4 years
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership for 900+ airport lounges worldwide
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase UR portal with no blackout dates or travel restrictions (e.g. 100,000 points would be $1,500 towards travel)
  • Points redeemable for cash and  gift cards (e.g. 100,000 points would be $1,000)
  • Points also redeemable at Amazon.com (at a lesser value)
  • Transfer partner with numerous airlines and hotel loyalty programs (generally, 1:1 ratio)
  • If cardholder(s) have other Chase cards earning UR points or cash, may transfer to Sapphire Reserve to be redeemed with 50% more value through portal
  • No foreign transaction fee on purchases
  • VISA Infinite benefits

Damage:

  • $450 annual fee (each authorized user, $75)
  • 16.24% to 23.24% APR variable, based upon your creditworthiness
  • Must have excellent credit, minimum credit limit of $10,000

Analysis:

Even if you just got this card, paid the $450 annual fee, made the $4,000 spend, and cashed in the 100,000 point bonus for $1,000, you’d be up $550 and still have the $300 annual travel credit in the current calendar year (and another $300 in travel credit in the next calendar year — provided you didn’t apply exactly on December 31/January 1). Of course, utilizing points through the UR portal or transferring to airline and hotel partners could prove to be far more lucrative. The 100,000 points could easily mean $1,500-$2,000 in value. For instance, 90,000 UR points would transfer to 90,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points for 3 nights at the Category 7 Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome (sometimes, $1,000/night); 100,000 UR points would transfer to 100,000 Korean Air Skypass miles for 4 round trip coach tickets from Hawaii to the mainland (via Delta) — the math is simple to calculate from there. This is a huge card with a huge bonus, and the premium benefits could mean this is one to hold on to. Chase certainly hopes so, anyway. And did I mention this card is made out of metal?!

Questions, Comments or Criticisms?