No, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is NOT The Best Credit Card Ever

If you’re losing your mind over the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which came out yesterday to an outstanding level of hype, don’t. Contrary to what is being written about it, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is NOT the best credit card ever. It’s not the greatest sign-up bonus of all time either. So why were you being slut shamed into applying for this card the millisecond the affiliate links went live? Affiliate links. Thanks to the Chase 5/24 rule, many of us don’t qualify for this card (though there were reports on Reddit of people getting approved with 5+ cards over the past 24 months). The pool of eligible applicants is small and the even smaller group of bloggers with Chase affiliate links are fighting for limited business. Hyperbolic headlines are eye catching and may translate to conversions. (Update: Gary over at View from the Wing tells me there’s currently just one blogger with Chase affiliate links).

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card New Application

The New Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Comes with a 100,000 Point sign-up bonus!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for bloggers earning a buck through affiliate marketing and I’m not denouncing the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. It’s just ridiculous to treat this card like The Second Coming and call it the best credit card ever when it’s not. For starters, the card’s 3 points per $1 earned on travel and dining is nice, but it’s only 1 point more than what the Chase Sapphire Preferred pays out. If it was 5 points or even 4, I would be impressed. But it’s 3, so let’s keep a little perspective here. 

Second, while the 100,000 point sign-up bonus is indeed exciting, it’s also NOT “the best sign-up bonus ever.” In fact, many years ago the Chase Sapphire Preferred card was offering the same 100,000 point sign-up bonus. So while I totally understand (and even share in) the excitement over 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points earned from one credit card sign-up bonus, it’s not the first time we’ve seen a sign-up bonus this high. Let’s also acknowledge that other than the sign-up bonus and 1.5 cents per point worth of value at the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, the card doesn’t have much else going for it that would make it “the best ever.”

The recurring $300 travel and $100 Global Entry credits are pretty amazing (though the latter is not unique) and I think if you’re earning and redeeming enough points via the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, you can justify paying $55 more than you would be for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. If Priority Pass Select membership matters to you, that’s another feature you can think of as off-setting the $450 annual fee. 

These are all decent card benefits, but not everyone will see value in the Sapphire Reserve beyond the sign-up bonus. Keep some perspective when you’re reading overhyped blog posts. After all, “the greatest credit card ever” has to offer more than just a great sign-up bonus. If I had to dream one up, it would have a higher standard earning rate than 1 point per $1 or at the very least, a very lucrative category bonus (i.e. 5x points or more at grocery stores). The Sapphire Reserve is great for the sign-up bonus, but it isn’t the end all be all of credit cards. So don’t let the hype get to you. It’s just a *good* credit card with an amazing sign-up bonus.

Have you applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card yet? If you were approved, please share whether it was due to a 5/24 exemption or not.

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Ariana Arghandewal


  1. It may not be the best card ever, but it’s still pretty damn good and frankly I can’t wait to get it. Applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card yesterday afternoon over the phone. Approval took less than 5 mins. 10K credit limit / 804 FICO. Should have card in 3-5 business days. 5/24 rule didn’t apply in my case (I’ve had only 3 cc approvals over the last 2 yrs). Per advice from Lee (baldthoughts.com), I plan on downgrading my CSP to Freedom to avoid any hits to my credit score.

    • I agree, the sign-up bonus is great, but some of the hyperbole about how this card is basically the Second Coming is just absurd. That said, I’m going to try applying for it myself – if I get approved, it probably won’t be in my wallet a year from now though.

  2. We are not trying for the card because of 5/24. Maybe next year. I will tell friends and family who might be eligible.

      • We are headed to Seattle and will stop by a branch to see if we are pre-approved since I think that will be our only chance. If not approved we will get the Ritz card and we thought of using it in Vienna. The Office Max sale this week was great!

    • Right now it’s probably the Discover It Miles card, since it earns 3% the first year, offers $25 in free airline wifi credits, no redemption minimums, and no annual fee. Overall, I think Ink Plus is another good contender, especially for long-term users and ms’ers.

  3. Ariana, I like your realistic views. However, I won’t be applying because of the 5/24 rules. I hope Citi comes to it’s senses and improves the benefits on their Prestige cards.

  4. I won’t be applying. I’m over 5/24 and the nearest Chase branch is hundreds of miles away so I can’t tell if I’m pre-approved (the website never says I’m pre-approved for anything). I’d rather have the Ritz card and its $100 companion flight credit so I can take trips with my girlfriend, so I’m going to try to get that card. (I realize this is a blog about air/hotel miles/points, but many of the trips we take are less than 2 hrs in the air and I don’t want to burn miles/points on them, so we buy tickets when they go on sale)

    • In that case, you might want to look into the Southwest or Arrival cards. I’m angling for a Ritz Carlton card myself – I might get one for a family member and put it to good use.

      • I have the Arrival card, but thanks for the suggestion! I don’t think I’d be approved for the Southwest cards either because I’m over 5/24.

  5. As a CPC, I was denied with the CSP due too many credit inquires a few months ago. Stopped by the Chase branch on Monday, and was pre-approved for the CSR; thus, got the CSR. Thanks.

  6. I went into the branch and applied. I didn’t ask for pre-approvals because I didn’t think I’d have any. I was approved and will be getting the card next week.

  7. I can’t believe the amount of hype this card is getting. I am under 5/24 with excellent credit and not applying. Perhaps it’s because I’m a relative newbie and there are other cards I don’t have yet that are more appealing (even though I will go over 5/24 getting the other cards and thus lose my eligibility in the short run).

    I hope for others’ sake that they achieve the $4K initial spend without MS’ing. I’d hate to see their 100K points clawed back like I heard happened with another 100K bonus card (Citi, I think).

    • It happened with the Amex Platinum card a while back, which was really shady on Amex’s part. I do think the Sapphire Reserve is great for the sign-up bonus. But there have been better bonuses in the past (i.e. Amex Platinum 200k+), so some bloggers are overhyping it a bit.

      • The CSR is a great card for some people, but it’s not for everyone. I think most bloggers write from their own perspective – that of an Uber traveler – and neglect to consider other perspectives. If you travel so much that you cannot MS all your travel, or are too busy to MS, then this card could be for you (at least for the first year). But if you can MS all your travel needs and travel with points, then this card has unnecessary cash costs attached. Yes there is a $300 travel credit, but I have not seen one blogger mention the caveat that you will end up spending more than $300 to use it, which plus the net annual fee, are real cash outlays that a more moderate traveler can avoid.

        • Well am I regular traveler meaning fly overseas once a year and one domestic travel each year for sure. That said I got the CSR 2 weeks ago. Traveled to Mexico and already spend the $300 which brings the card down to 150/yr. given the 1.5x benefits and only $55 difference and additional benefits like lounge access etc. I think this card is worth to upgrade from CSP. Might not be the best card out there but fulfills my needs.

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