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It’s been a while since Chase made major, permanent improvements to their Chase Sapphire cards. But, it looks like our long wait is almost over. On August 16, 2021, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will both receive substantial enhancements.
These new changes focus primarily on improving the payout rates on Sapphire cards, with some non-points related perks and changes. This is in stark contrast to the recent significant changes to the Platinum Card® from American Express.
Are these changes putting the Chase Sapphire cards back ahead of its competition? Let’s dig into the details to see.
Chase Sapphire’s Favorite Upgrades
Until now, the $ 95 Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee has offered a fairly straightforward earning structure of 2 points per dollar spent on all travel and dining purchases and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. While easy to remember, these payout rates are lower than some of Chase’s no annual fee cards, like the Chase Freedom Flex℠. So the Chase Sapphire Preferred looked like it needed some upgrades.
Improved point earning rate on Chase Sapphire Preferred
As of August 16, 2021, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders will start earning significantly more points in certain spending categories:
- 5 points per dollar on all trips purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3 points per dollar on meals, including eligible delivery services, take out and restaurant meals
- 3 points per dollar on some streaming services
- 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases, excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs
Cardholders will continue to earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel purchases not made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
For comparison, here are the current and new win rates for the Chase Sapphire Preferred:
New annual hotel credit of $ 50
In addition, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders will soon receive an annual credit of $ 50 on hotel stays purchased through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. As with the new rates of pay, this new benefit is effective August 16, 2021 for new cardholders. Existing cardholders will start earning the credit after their account’s next anniversary year. Chase’s announcement does not indicate whether there is a minimum spending requirement for this resort credit.
This new hotel credit appears to be designed to compete directly with the $ 100 hotel credit on the Citi Premier® card with an annual fee of $ 95. If there is no spending requirement, Chase Credit is potentially more valuable than Citi Premier Resort Credit, as Citi requires you to spend at least $ 500 on a single resort purchase to apply the. $ 100 credit.
New bonus of 10% birthday points
As if the improved earning rates weren’t enough, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders will also start receiving a bonus anniversary points every time they renew their card. As of August 16, 2021, cardholders will earn bonus points equal to 10% of the total purchases made in the previous year.
It is important to note that this is not a 10% bonus on all point gains. Instead, it’s a 10% bonus on any purchases you’ve made in the past year. For example, if you spend $ 25,000 in a cardholder year, you will receive a bonus of 2,500 points, even though you have earned 50,000 points on those expenses.
Unfortunately for existing cardholders, you won’t get this bonus the next time you pay your annual fee. Chase confirmed that “existing cardholders will start earning their birthday credit the next time their card is renewed.” This means that you will have to wait until your next cardholder birthday before you start earning that 10% bonus.
New cardholders, presumably those who apply after August 16, will immediately start earning the 10% anniversary bonus. However, the bonus will only be paid out on the anniversary of your account.
New Favorite Chase Sapphire Card Art
Existing cardholders can also apply for a replacement credit card with the new design starting August 16.
Current Chase Sapphire Favorite Welcome Bonus
If you are not already a cardholder, now is a great time to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. In its announcement, Chase confirmed that cardholders can still earn 100,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points after spending $ 4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening the account.
This is the best welcome bonus ever offered on this card. The welcome bonus is worth at least $ 1,250 for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal or for qualifying purchases through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back redemption option. However, this welcome bonus is potentially worth much more when using Chase airlines and hotel points transfer partners, which now include point transfers to Air Canada’s Aeroplan program.
Changes to Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase is also increasing the win rates on the Chase Sapphire reserve. Additionally, Chase is teasing a new restaurant perk coming later in 2021.
Improved point earning rate on Chase Sapphire Reserve
Starting August 16, 2021, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will earn additional points on certain purchases made through the Ultimate Rewards portals:
- 10 points per dollar on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards
- 10 points per dollar on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards
- 5 points per dollar on air travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards
The Tock-powered Chase Dining platform allows cardholders to book restaurants and deliver for certain restaurants. So if your favorite restaurants can be booked through this platform, it can be a great option for you to earn 10 points per dollar of meals.
Cardholders will also soon earn 10 points per dollar when booking hotels and car rentals through the Chase Ultimate Reward travel portal powered by Expedia. Just note that hotel reservations made through an online travel agency generally do not qualify for point earnings or Elite benefits. Also note that you may be able to find cheaper hotel reservations and car rentals through other booking methods.
However, flight bookings are usually constant no matter how you book. Additionally, airlines do not prevent travelers from earning Elite status miles or credits when booking through a third party. So the 5 points per dollar of earnings on flights is a noticeable improvement. This enhanced earning rate corresponds to the 5 points per dollar that The Platinum Card® for American Express cardholders earn when booking flights through Amex Travel (up to $ 500,000 in purchases each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar spent). Conditions apply.
New access benefit to the “Reserved by Sapphire” restaurant
Later in 2021, Chase will roll out a new reservation system for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders to “book reservations at some of the country’s most sought after restaurants.”
Examples of restaurants to which Reserve card holders will have access:
- Canlis in Seattle
- Redbird in Los Angeles
- SingleThread Farms in Healdsburg, California
- Reverence in New York
- Unique hospitality in Chicago
New Chase Sapphire Airport Lounges Details
Chase Sapphire pop-up lounges have become commonplace at sporting events, music festivals, and some cities. But soon, Chase plans to finally settle in by opening permanent Chase Sapphire lounges at select airports. These airport lounges were originally announced in June. Now, Chase is sharing additional details.
The first three Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club airport lounges will be located at the following airports:
- New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
- Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
- Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
Opening dates and additional locations have yet to be announced. However, Chase has confirmed that Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders and Priority Pass members “will be able to access these lounges when they open.”
This will distinguish the Chase Sapphire lounges from the Amex Centurion lounges, which are only open to qualifying Amex cardholders. In fact, Amex cardholders may even be able to visit Chase Sapphire lounges using a Priority Pass Select membership.
What does not change with Chase Sapphire cards
The recent “improvements” to credit card rewards have been a mixed blessing. For example, in early July 2021, American Express added a slew of new statement credits to the Amex Platinum, but also increased the card’s membership fee from $ 145 to $ 695 (see Rates and Fees. Conditions apply.).
Fortunately, these changes from Chase Sapphire don’t come with a “however.” All existing card benefits will remain in place. No rate of pay decreases. And Chase confirmed that neither card’s annual fee will increase.
This means that Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders will always earn 2 points for every dollar spent on travel. Additionally, cardholders can still redeem points for an additional 25% value for trips purchased through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will always earn at least 3 points per dollar on travel and meals. Plus, the annual fee of $ 550 can be more than halfwayed by an easy-to-use $ 300 annual travel credit. Cardholders continue to receive an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, Priority Pass Select membership, excellent travel protections, and access to Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection benefits. And yes, Sapphire Reserve points will still be redeemable for travel at the rate of 1.5 cents per point.
Chase is making much-needed improvements to its Sapphire-branded credit cards. Of the two cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is getting a more extensive redesign with several increased earning rates, a new $ 50 annual hotel credit, and a one-time 10% bonus on point spend.
Comparatively, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is not as complete in terms of upgrades. In some ways, the upgrades to the Chase Sapphire Preferred act like a devaluation of the Sapphire Reserve, as meal rates are now aligned even though the annual fee is significantly higher on the Reserve. However, an earning rate of 10 points per dollar spent on hotel stays and car rentals through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and 10 points per dollar for meals through Chase Dining is pretty impressive – for when. it makes sense to use these booking platforms.
For pricing and fees for the American Express Platinum Card®, please visit this page.