Posted by William Charles on July 25, 2017
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Published on July 25th, 2017 | by William Charles

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[Updated For 2017] Keep, Downgrade, Cancel: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase has been sending out Chase Sapphire Reserve year in review’s to cardholder obviously in an attempt to get cardholders to keep the card after the first year. I thought we should repost this and update it so people can look carefully on whether it makes sense to keep, downgrade or cancel the card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve was launched on August 22nd of 2016 this means that the annual fee is going to be payable for a lot of people soon. There’s no doubt that it provided great value in the first year (100,000 points and 2 * $300 travel credits) but is it worth keeping the card long term? If it’s not worth keeping long term, should you cancel it or downgrade it to another card? Let’s take a look in this edition of Keep, Downgrade or Cancel. You can view other posts in this series below:

What’s Important To Know

Let’s look at a couple of facts before we get started:

Keep

Choosing to keep the card should be a simple decision, if you get more value out of the card than the annual fee of $450 then the card is worth keeping – otherwise you should downgrade or cancel. Realistically the $300 travel credit isn’t worth $300 as you’re always able to get a discount on that travel. I’d value it at 95% of facevalue on the extremely high end and 80% on the low end (that’s what you should be aiming for if you’re cashing this benefit out). That gives us a real range of $240-$285. Update: Some people disagree with this in the comments, if you can get the full $300 in value then great. My counter argument would be that if somebody was selling $300 in travel credit, would you pay $300 for it? At the end of the day assign the travel credit you feel is reasonable and use that as your working point. The aim of this section of the post is to get readers to determine how much they actually value this travel credit. If you’re using it for tolls that you can’t save money on normally and other fees then that’s great and you’re probably getting closer or the full $300 in value.

In the first cardholder year, you’ll be utilizing this benefit twice though (remember it’s based on a calendar year). Let’s say you got the card now, you’d use the travel credit now and then again in early 2017. This means you’d need to wait until 2018 again to use the benefit, so you’d only be able to use it once in your second year of being a cardholder (rather than twice in your first year). If you have the newer rules applied to you then you’re still only able to get $300 in one cardmember year so the same rules applies.

Are the other benefits worth $165-$190? I think you can make arguments both ways. Again, 1.5¢ per point for travel isn’t as good as 1.5¢ in cash or statement credit (Frequent Miler talks about this more here). The good thing about this benefit is that it applies to all of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, including points earned on other cards such as the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Ink Cash & Chase Ink Plus. Obviously every point you redeem this way is worth up to an extra 0.5¢.

The ability to transfer to Chase travel partners is also a feature of the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus. Obviously this card is strictly better than the Chase Sapphire Preferred, so if you held that card you’d be saving $95 a year by getting this card (at least in our calculations for determining the value of the $450 annual fee). Chase Ink Plus does obviously give you the extra $25,000 spending capacity on 5x categories compared to the Chase Ink Cash, but if you were only holding that card for the ability to transfer to travel partners then downgrading to the Chase Ink Cash if you held this card would make sense.

How useful the Priority Pass membership and it’s guest access is, will likely depend on what sort of other premium cards (if any) you hold. For those without lounge access from other cards this is a huge benefit, but if you hold something like the American Express Platinum then it’s basically worthless. The other thing worth considering is that this card also gives your guests access to the Priority Pass lounges as well.

[Read: Premium Cards Compared: Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum & Citi Prestige]

The earning rates on this card are quite good, especially for restaurants as the next best is 3% cash back. There are other options out there in the travel category, but 3x Chase UR would still be one of the best if not the best. Hopefully you have a good idea how much you spend on these categories and what cards you’re currently using for them so you can make a direct comparison. Primary rental insurance is a big one for a lot of people, the other insurance products are also pretty good.

Another thing we didn’t mention is that it might be possible to get a retention offer on this card, I’m not very confident that this will be possible but it’s too early to say definitively.

Cancel/Downgrade

I’m always of the opinion that downright cancelling Chase branded cards doesn’t make sense, the reason is that you might as well downgrade those to either a Chase Freedom Unlimited for the ability to earn 1.5x Chase URs on all purchases with no annual fee, or the ability to earn 5x Chase URs on the Chase Freedom‘s rotating categories.

The best option between those two cards really depends on your spending habits, but I personally believe that the majority of people would be better off with the Chase Freedom and it’s rotating 5x categories.

Our Verdict

Getting this card for the first year used to be incredible value ($600 in travel credits and a sign up bonus worth a minimum of $1,000 for an annual fee of $450? Yes please). From year two onwards, making a case for keeping this card isn’t too difficult either. That being said, it’s definitely not for everybody – especially if you struggle to get value out of the $300 travel credit. That’s what really reduces the hurt of this annual fee from the massive $450. Some people might also want to cancel the card to get the sign up bonus again, just keep in mind this card does fall under the 5/24 rule and that you need to wait two years in between Chase sign up bonuses on the same card.

So far Chase has only made changes to this card that affect it’s value in the first year (lower sign up bonus and travel credit based on cardmember year) it will be interesting to see if they change the long term value proposition or not.  Do people like this series of posts? Let me know in the comments, if there is interest I’ll make more of an effort to post them.



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201 Comments on "[Updated For 2017] Keep, Downgrade, Cancel: Chase Sapphire Reserve"

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Audrey
Audrey

The big disagreement I have is your fake on the lounge access benefit. This card (supposedly) allows unlimited guests, which is a huge plus vs Amex Platinum or even Prestige. I often travel with various friends or family members who’d be excluded with those cards. I know that’s not true for everyone or even most people but I think it’s an important distinction nevertheless.

EbonyTatas
EbonyTatas

Personally Audrey, as a frequent flyer I wish they would allow zero guests and I have written to AMEX to suggest they do the same for their Platinum lounges. IMHO, airport lounges have become overrun with large families or people who travel once a year that happen to get arbitrary access because they have a certain credit card. I think any Priority Pass benefit should always be limited to only the cardholder.

Bill
Bill

Hmm just because you have nobody special in your life doesn’t mean that everyone else should be banned bringing someone into the lounge, I do agree the number of guests should be capped as its not really appropriate for the brady bunch to come through the lounge because one person has the card, but allowing one guest is perfectly reasonable.

blorg

Agreed w/Limiting the number to 2 people is reasonable and adding a surcharge for additional guests if fair. Actually writing to AMEX to limiting to 1 person is extreme but bringing in a family of 9 people is excessive abuse.

Flytoseetheworld
Flytoseetheworld

And why is that,

Then fly business class and enjoy the benefits of exclusiveness of lounges offered only to premium travellers, then you will have no complain

If you cant then the others also cant change their acts too

It is benefit that has been given,

I am not frequent traveller, but i do travel internationally 3 to 4 times a year, if i wanted exclusiveness or secludness of lounges then i should not have come to priority pass lounges instead should have paid for business class lounges

Ender
Ender

The problem of this is that PP lounges have their own policies, and many of them only allow up to 2 guests. It depends on “availability”.

hiima
hiima

Some even don’t allow guests ie Alaska.

Dave
Dave

I think I’ll keep it after next year. I don’t think the travel credit will be too difficult to get at all, so then it’s all about the $150 AF vs $95 for CSP vs $95 for Citi Premier for me. One thing that I never see any bloggers discuss is the potential for retention offers. I know there are no guarantees, but we already know that very few people get offers for CSP but do get offers for almost every other Chase card. I would be a little surprised if there’s really NOTHING available for CSR. Besides that, I spend a decent amount on dining.

RA
RA

I think the fact that the credit can be used for Uber rides makes it 100% of value for those who take a lot of uber rides or rides of lot of value. The credit wont help me too much this year, since it will be offset with the $450 fee, but next year it should be a no brainer.

Baghir
Baghir

The lounge is not that good if it happens to not be in the terminal in which you’re traveling, or at least close by. For most United club people, using priority pass lounge is is not that practical.

I’m not sure that I would value the $300 travel credit any less than $300. I use uber enough during the year, and taxis, and hotel expenses, that easily add up to $300, and using this card over another card for those purchases isn’t foregoing any discount, as you mentioned

Mark O
Mark O

I value it at what you can get cash for it – so 80% or $240 since you could buy gift cards for airlines and sell them around 80%.

AS
AS

To me that’s a complete waste of the extra $60. There’s no way i’ll be spending an year without those basic travel purchases that the CSR covers. This is definitely worth the full $300 and not a penny less. Having a premier travel rewards card and not even using it for $300 of any kind of travel in an year should be the biggest reason alone for cancelling the card, instead of calculating cash equivalents of any kind.

Mark O
Mark O

That is how I value things – what their cash value is not that I would use it in that manner – to each their own. I don’t think anyone can value it at the full $300 though. Most of what it covers can be bought at a discount. Plus you are locking up $300 interest free to be used at a later date. It is an interest free loan to chase which forces you to use that card for those purchases. Not to mention the opportunity cost lost by not putting that spend on min spend where you get anywhere from 20-40% back on your purchases.

Brad
Brad

If you spend over $300 on travel with this card, then you clearly get $300 out of it.

Now if you think that your $300 travel was only worth $240, then i guess you need to spend $375 to $300 out of it, based on some magic 80% rule.

If you travel a lot on your own dime, its pretty easy to spend $300.

Jason d
Jason d

Calendar year for the credit? CS told me it was anniversary year to use the credit.

PeaceandPost
PeaceandPost

Misinformed CSR. Credit is calendar year.

RF
RF

When did you apply for this card? If it was in the last 2 months (after May 21) then CS was correct. Otherwise they made a mistake by telling you the new rules when you are actually grandfathered into the old rules.

JG
JG

This is true, only if you applied before the change in may.

Chris
Chris

I’m of the opinion that the $300 travel credit should be valued at 100%, since it applies to such a broad range of spend. Ubers, taxis, urban and commuter trains, parking, tolls, etc.

If it was limited to flights, rental cars, and hotels I would agree with 80-95%.

Bill
Bill

Agreed. I use the travel credit in the course of my daily life on things I can’t get discounted further. Very easy to get 100% value.

projectx
projectx

Can you clarify your comments regarding the less than face value $300 credit? If you’re paying with cash then there are plenty of times it’s worth $300; Outside Amex offers or buying gift cards at a discount of course. For example our family is going to spend a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge. I’ve not found a way to get that discounted through creative means. There are many more situations just like it.

EastSideBK
EastSideBK

ProjectX, I wondered the same thing about DOC’s comments regarding the “face value” of the $300 credit. I’m not sure I follow either….I look forward to hearing his thoughts.

In regard to Great Wolf Lodge, I actually found an easy way to get a discount: I received a 10% cashback offer on my PNC 1-2-3-4 card as part of the PNC Purchase Payback program. I get this offer regularly but I used it for the first time 2 weeks ago. My credit was instantaneous even though my family is not staying there until January.

I’ll take 10% cold, hard cashback over 3 (or 4.5) URs any day of the week. 🙂

Max
Max

Does public transport count towards the travel credit? If so, then I value that travel credit at the full $300 since I spend a non-avoidable $800+ a year on public transport.

David B
David B

It should- I have received credit for adding funds to my bus pass.

Clayton
Clayton

I have the CSR and have received travel credit for purchases on the San Diego MTS and for the Oklahoma and North Texas toll roads.

Purchases covered by the travel credit still earn 3x points.

Rexx
Rexx

Many transit agencies do qualify, but if possible make a test purchase before buying a monthly pass.

3x on my train pass and uber rides on top of dining make this a keeper for me.

James
James

But many get public transit pre tax through work

P
P

This: “Realistically the $300 travel credit isn’t worth $300 as you’re always able to get a discount on that travel. I’d value it at 95% of facevalue on the extremely high end and 80% on the low end (that’s what you should be aiming for if you’re cashing this benefit out). That gives us a real range of $240-$285.”

Thanks for pointing that out. Some people tend to ignore that fact. Like how some people justify that deals from Amex offers offset the annual fee for some Amex cards with annual fee, but also keep blogging about how they save with Amex offers. Yeah….

Rant over…

For now

Dima
Dima

I don’t get it. If I put $300 on my local public transportation card and get $300 reimbursed by Chase why would I value the benefit at less than $300?

Elias
Elias

Because some people believe that if you open two bank of america cards and MF the heck out of them and go to walmart buy sell gift cards on ebay and do a bunch of stuff you can save a couple of cents and therefore is better than just getting $300 off instantly.

BChicago
BChicago

And like to waste their time. CTA and parking in Chicago is around $300 a year here.

j.
j.

for you , yes 300 dollars. for person who gets motel, hotel, not 300 dollars.

hiima
hiima

Not everybody uses public transportation

Lrdx
Lrdx

I don’t that get your $300 credit comment either. It’s pretty easy to find “travel” you can’t get any discount on with other cards.

According to Nerdwallet (link removed, please do not link directly to affiliate shills), Chase counts parking lots and toll bridges – I don’t think I ever saw any discount on those. So if one is in such situation – I bet most big city people are – that credit pretty much worth 100%.

Or, if you dare, just pay rent with RadPad..

AKSF
AKSF

Re: “(link removed, please do not link directly to affiliate shills)”

DoC, do you have the ability to edit the text of comments? Tone-wise and logistically, that looks like something that would have happened by moderation as readers can’t (to my knowledge) edit their own comments.

hiima
hiima

Except not everybody uses parking lots and toll bridges. I have never used a toll bridge and I sure wouldn’t be using $300 in parking.

jcm
jcm

I like this series of posts. One thing I’d like to see addressed in it is strategies for handling points balances. I currently have the Citi Prestige, Amex Plat, and CSP. My wife has the CSR. We’re obviously not going to keep all of those cards, but I need to figure out what to do with my TY, MR, and UR points balances once I decide what to keep.

Is it worth paying $95 or more per year to have the ability to transfer UR? Is it a better choice to burn TYP at 1.6 cents on AA now while we can, or speculatively transfer them somewhere? Or suck it up and keep the Prestige at a $250 net annual fee? I’m having a hard time figuring out what to do, and it;s not made any easier by the constant modifications and devaluations of the programs and cards.

Hunter
Hunter

I second this idea. Been going through the same thing.

Andrey
Andrey

Let’s not forget that travel expenses you get credit for also earn 3 UR points per dollar.
That is, for every $300 spent per calendar year you get a $300 credit and, depending on how you intend to redeem, between $9 (cash) and $13.5 (travel) worth of points.

Hunter
Hunter

This is a good point. Hadn’t thought of this. One thing to note, though is it looks like, at least for me, that the $300 in travel that’s credited back is not good for the min spend.

Clayton
Clayton

The Points Guy had an interview with the head of Chase branded cards and she stated very clearly that covered expenses are counted toward minimum spend, however, membership fee is not.

AB
AB

I was told otherwise. Credited purchases do not count toward spend bonuses or card rewards.

BK
BK

That is incorrect. Purchases that are credited back from the $300 travel credit also earn 3x UR points.

Froide
Froide

I second that. Reimbursed spend on trusted traveller program applications (e.g., TSA, Global Entry) counts, too.

Elias
Elias

One of the biggest things this card has that NO ONE mentions is the Travel Health insurance! They cover up to $2,500 medical emergencies when you are 200 miles away from your home!!!! I have had some many times that I travel (even locally) and I get sick and I have to pay my deductible for urgent care or hospital and when I travel to dangerous places I buy medical insurance, when you choose a deductible of 100 (I used to do) I pay A LOT of premium like $100. If I choose a deductible of $1000 or even $2000 I could pay only $10-20 in insurance premium!

Heck 200 miles is from my house to the beach! Having the ability to get my insurance deductible covered is awesome!

There are companies that offer that service (such as AFLAC) and they charge monthly like $15…

Clayton
Clayton

This is true, but there is one caveat to note… the coverage requires your book some portion of your travel on a common carrier with your CSR. This means cruise ship, airline, train, etc. but not road trips. I contacted Chase to confirm and they said my car isn’t considered a common carrier 🙁

Froide
Froide

Thanks for this clarification regarding personal vehicles. How about rental cars?

mwwalk
mwwalk

Any Datapoints of people that got a CSR and then product changed another chase card to a CSR?

Понаехали
Понаехали

with 23 open cards…cant keep them all.

Becca
Becca

Another consideration for couples is that the CSR cannot be used to transfer points to your spouse’s frequent flier programs unless the spouse is an AU on the card, which costs $75. On the other hand, AUs are free on the CSP (and help earn an extra 5000 UR of signup bonus). At this point, my thinking is that I’ll downgrade my CSR to a FU after the first year and refer my husband to get his own CSP. ‘m still not sure though. It was helpful to read your article, and I’m glad I have a while to think on it.

Michelle
Michelle

Any issue with transferring CSR points to the another Chase card held by the user or spouse?

Josh
Josh

assuming they are in the same household* are chase’s TOC on transfer the UR points. I’ve had no problems transferring 100k points from my SO to me.

Julien
Julien

Global entry is worth something more than zero, also.

IMO, the 1.5 cent redemption rate on UR makes it pretty much a no-brainer to keep this card, even though Chase doesn’t always have the best prices on flights/hotels. For coach flight awards – transfer to partners, I rarely find any redemptions worth > 1 cent – so the 1.5 cent is a big deal. Especially if you combine the CSR with other UR no-fee cards, like the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited.

Hin
Hin

You only need Global Entry once every five years. Presumably you would get GE in your first year so the benefit is worth zero in your second year. Even with Chase 5/24 you would presumably be able to apply for CSR in four years, get a sign up bonus and renew your GE.

Dunga
Dunga

Agree 100%. If you haven’t redeemed a point of the 100,000 sign-up bonus + accrued points over the past year, then it makes no sense to downgrade.

If one has 200,000 UR points by now, why lose $1,000 worth of travel value to save $150 on the net annual fee?

I can apply for the Freedom separately and get $150 back as a sign-up bonus and be made whole by Chase.

rob s
rob s

things change too much in the rewards world for this article to be relevant next year but i like the content right now.

I like the 1.5 towards travel. It’s kinda like insurance against the travel partners devaluing. But I’m worried that in the long run this will be like citi prestige. Great offers to begin with for publicity and then sneakily devalue the benefits (e.g. chase british air, removal of lounge club from ink plus).

NinjaX
NinjaX

cmon. too early man… reevaluate next year and see.

Clayton
Clayton

You missed one benefit that *may* apply to some people: The $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. If you are not already enrolled in one of these programs it adds $100 value to the card on year 1 and every 5th year.

The statement credit is automatic and can be used for other family members or friends so long as you pay for the application using your CSR.

This transaction also coded out at 1x UR for me.

howard
howard

does chase issue pro-rated refunds of annual fees when cancelling a card? say cancel the card a few months after the second year annual fee hits?

Jack
Jack

That’s where my head’s at. I recently canceled the Sapphire Preferred 1 month before the anniversary hit and I got refunded $10.. My assumption is that the refund was for 1 month left on the annual fee I had paid (my preferred charged me $125/year). All the points were transferred to the new Chase Freedom card that Chase issued.

Now, on the Reserve card… By the same logic, since I’ve already received the $300 credit of the first year, plus the $300 credit of the second year, and the full 100,000 points there’s not a lot of value in me keeping the card. Specially if I can get a refund for the 8 months left that I paid in the original annual fee. If that’s the case that would be a great value!! $600 + $1,500 (on the chase site with points) + $300 for the prorated 8 months I would be refunded.

Eduard
Eduard

Yes you can… I product changed my wife’s CSR to another freedom within 60 days of opening and got the entire $450 back. Not before getting the 100,000 points, and 2 travel credits. Opened the card in October, met the requirements, used one travel credit, early December saw that I had the credit for 2017 post to my account, loaded it to my ez-pass and downgraded the card. Got the full refund. My brother did something similar, but only got one credit but got about $350 back since his was after the 60 days that they give you the entire annual fee back.

Buck
Buck

Hi Charles,

Question for you.

I currently have a CSR. Got it last year. I got the 100k bonus and travel credits (16 + 17)

If I want to sign up for a CSP with a 50,000 bonus, should I close the CSR?

It has been over two years since I got the CSP bonus.

I doubt I can get a seperate CSP with a bonus if I already have the CSR, but maybe not?

Thanks

Kacie

My husband travels for work sometimes and he pays his own travel and dining and gets reimbursed. Csr is great for this. He had a reimbursed hotel stay that took care of the $300 immediately, so his effective af becomes $141 (450-300 and then gaining $9 in 3x UR for that purchase.

I opened my own card in branch and it might be harder to justify two csrs in long term, but we’ll see how it plays out. Roadside assistance is great and im ccanceling my AAA now.

RichardS
RichardS

Seconded. To me, $300 Credit = $300 cash (or more considering the 3x UR) if a business travel is spent on CSR and gets reimbursed.

I’m not sure if this is common to many readers, but I think it’s also worth mentioning, DoC.

Aaron
Aaron

I’m curious as to whether anyone has already downgraded their CSR or if they attempted to and ran into roadblocks?

I’ve read where some folks tried to downgrade their CSP to a CF (or CFU) before their first year was up and were told they hadn’t been in possession of the card long enough; however, they were able to downgrade to a regular Sapphire, even though this isn’t technically available anymore, and from Sapphire were able to move to CF or CFU. My concern, here, is whether even this round-about way will be possible with the CSR, should I decide to downgrade it instead of downgrading the CSP.

I value the $300 at $300, but I don’t like feeling required to spend it on a particular card, in perpetuity.

MoreSun
MoreSun

DPs on Reddit of people who downgraded this card already.

Michael
Michael

Yea they told me the same thing. I called to downgrade a preferred to a freedom they refused to let me do it. There is an easy workaround, they will let you downgrade to the no-fee sapphire… call the next day and they’ll let you downgrade the sapphire to the either freedom card.

mastervk
mastervk

I downgraded my CSR to Chase freedom by sending secure message . No issue. Received my new cards also.

I do not want to spend money to save money for travelling. Already have more than 2 million points (plus many vacations in last 4 years) , companion pass etc. No need to pay annual fee for these cards.

TimmyD
TimmyD

Anyone know if you can downgrade a CSR to a CSP?

Chuck

Sure

Jeff
Jeff

Given Chase’s broad definition of “travel,” I think the $300 travel credit is closer to $300 than you say. I have to pay monthly for parking, and that is qualified as a travel expense. I basically get a month and a half for free thanks to the travel credit. It’s a necessary expense for me, so getting the $300 credit and 3x points is a huge benefit

FLL
FLL

I am always amazed by people thinking the $300 travel credit is free money….

On that regard, Chase and other issuers have done a good marketing job to fool people into thinking it is free money.

It is not free money. It is to offset the $450 AF.

Better way to think if the card is worth it is to think about how much travel .and dining you would do to justify the $150 net fee.

On top of that the 1.5x UR pts worth is deceiving based on many and own miserable experiences in using the UR portal, i.e. Connexion to book air and hotels – it is full of traps and perils. Lots of time it cannot deliver the 1.5x value.

PP for domestic airports is pretty useless now AS and AF/KLM all invoke the capacity control clause to limit only the cardholder can enter the clubs. One would be better off to rotate the no fee AMEX Ameriprise Plat card with 3 free AUs to get the PP access, plus $200 travel credit without having to offset any AF and just use other cards for travel and dining. Dont forget CSP first year is free too.

S Nack
S Nack

Has Chase changed the $300 travel credit to card member year based already? I want to get the $300 before downgrading to CSP, maybe a little too greedy

chaseaholic
chaseaholic

all new ones yes. not for existing cardmembers.

In the case of the person’s photo of “Year in Review” at the top – would be best if they waited until 1/18-2/18 to cash out another $300 in travel credit THEN pc.

VL
VL

Could you please explain why downgrading to CSP and loosing an ability to apply for it with the bonus? Why not downgrade to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited?

Andrew
Andrew

Do we know if in-branch preapprovals are bypassing 5/24 these days? For the CSR and all other Chase branded cards? I think I remember they stopped working at the beginning of the year, at least for the CSR.

Thanks for a great site!

Eric
Eric

Think Chase will offer any retention bonuses for the CSR?

Mark O
Mark O

Probably not with how popular it was

SP
SP

I cancelled mine at the beginning of July and received an annual fee credit of $450. My balance is currently negative as the card was paid off. Don’t know if it will hold or if I will get a check for it, but if I do get the money back it’ll be an awesome deal.

Stephanie
Stephanie

So you cancelled after your AF posted? If so, how many days after did you cancel?

SP
SP

The only AF I was charged was from account opening back in September 2016.

Kevin
Kevin

Card wasn’t even released until late August 2016, so no one’s AF has posted yet.

Stephanie
Stephanie

Derp, that’s my brainfart moment of the day then. My b.

chaseaholic
chaseaholic

Given the current: UR program + travel credit + 1.5 cpp redemption via Chase portal IMO makes this an easy keep for me.

Got an extra $200 out of 80k UR ($1k with I+, $1.2k with CSR) from the card for some economy flights recently.

NO discounted gc shunting possible from the usual 5X places, NO good mileage redemption possible with large cachet of multiple flexible points and regular airline miles.

IMO if any change to UR program either removing F/FU/INK+ -> CSR /// lowering 1.5cpp portal /// making travel credit more difficult to use will be an easy downgrade to another F.

S Nack
S Nack

Name checks out lol

Keith
Keith

Does anyone have any insight if you call to cancel if they are offering any kind of a retention bonus?

MoreSun
MoreSun

No retention offers yet, no one is up for renewal until next month. DPs should be coming soon if anything is offered. (Many of us are hoping something will be, but don’t expect something to be offered.) Personally, a retention offer would be just the push I need to seal the deal and keep the card another year.

Daniel
Daniel

I think your analysis valuation of travel credit is tad myopic b/c of the nature of the blog.
Travel credit applies not to hotel and airline or uber, which I agree can be had at cheaper price, but also at other things that you can’t easily find discount for.

For example, it’s hard to get discounts on tolls or mass transit usually. And people who live in tristate, which is big population, often pay toll every day. You might argue there are ways to get some discounts by buying Visa gift cards etc. If we are going to be that anal about little details, then you should also consider the effort that goes into buying the gift cards, changing the gift cards initially and when the balance is drained, and the expected value after considering fraud risk (remember mastercard?).

All in all, I don’t think it’s that far fetched to consider $300 as $300 if you have certain fixed expense that are rarely discounted or need efforts to get discounts. And I don’t believe your comment in the reply section that “you can value as $300 if you want.” quite cut it and it’s tad lazy. People gave you possibly valid reasons why they consider it it could be $300. A responsible answer would be to reply with a logical retort or agree and change rather than saying you can do that if you want.

Sam
Sam

Can I move my UR points from CSR to Ink plus? Can it do personal to business?

John
John

I would like to suggest a topic for another article (given how much weight people seem to give to the issue of the CSR card and this “hobby” in general)

CSR

What kind of traveller/CC user is it good for?

Jeff S
Jeff S

So we don’t have the option to downgrade to the Chase Sapphire card? (Was that ever an option?)

Nick
Nick

If you downgrade, you won’t lose the 100K UR bonus if you haven’t spent them yet, right?

MoreSun
MoreSun

I think in the UR T&Cs there was like 6 months after closing the account to use your points? Not sure how that works with downgrade. I’d also want to know about losing 1) the 1.5x redemption rate and 2) ability to transfer to travel partners.

Dusty
Dusty

As long as you have another UR earning card, you can transfer your points to that card and they won’t expire. However, if the CSR was your only card and you canceled, you have a certain amount of time to use them or cash them out, I believe. Straight up canceling the card doesn’t make any sense at all to me, though, given the existence of the Freedom and CFU.

Andy
Andy
“My counter argument would be that if somebody was selling $300 in travel credit, would you pay $300 for it?” Conversely, if someone were willing to buy your travel credit for $295, would you sell it? I’m guessing you might not. Anyway, neither argument is truly valid for two reasons: 1. The process of buying/selling the credit involves some hassle, so purchasing someone else’s $300 travel credit is not the same as valuing a $300 credit that you already have. 2. You don’t purchase something if the price is exactly what you value it at — you purchase something if the value is higher than the price, and if that difference is enough to compensate for the effort the transaction requires. Example: How much do you value a $20 bill? $20, right? Would you buy a $20 bill if I offered to sell it to you for $20? No, because it’d cost you time and effort, and you’d have no gain after the transaction. Would you buy it for $19.99? Still probably not, because the penny profit is probably still not worth your time. Despite all of this, I’m pretty sure you’d argue that $20 is worth $20. “Realistically the $300 travel credit isn’t worth $300 as you’re always able to get a discount on that travel.” You can’t really hand-wave like this — the $300 travel credit is so broad that this is not true in a lot of cases. A few examples: Parking (including monthly parking passes, etc.) Tolls (including EZPass, Fastrak, etc.) Taxis (though I prefer Uber, where you can also get discounts, but sometimes taxis are unavoidable, especially abroad) Airline award taxes and fees (many do not allow you to pay for these with gift cards, Southwest being an exception, and you will have no trip protection if you do not use your credit card to pay for the taxes anyway) Car rentals (I’m not aware of any discounted car rental gift cards unless you count certificates via Discover, and you’d be giving up primary rental insurance if you paid entirely with gift cards anyway) And then there are cases where you might just have small charges, like $20-30 in hotel incidentals or taxes where it’s not worth tracking down and buying a discounted gift card to save a buck or two. I’m confident there are a lot of people who can easily cover $300 with… Read more »
scott
scott

Since I already downgraded my CSP to a FU I’m going to keep this card for the dining and travel bonuses. I’m not sure what you mean by “$300 in travel credit isn’t really $300.” I’ve gotten credits for tolls and even a monthly dolphin photography trip I go on. I used the remainder last year for a credit buying a Japan Railpass. There’s no discount for things like that. Plus I earned 3x points for all the purchases–basically free points on top of the credit.

Basically the difference is a $55 extra annual fee from the CSP. I love the 3x points for dining and travel, but I haven’t done the calculation to see if I’m earning more than $55 extra in awards. But I found whatever difference to be negligible since I like this card.

MarcoPolo
MarcoPolo

What about PRIMARY car rental insurance benefit?
I think it’s worth keeping this card for this and $300 travel credit.

Lrdx
Lrdx

The CSP also has primary car rental insurance. (The United card too.)

Jeff
Jeff
I’m in a different boat than most people reading this but I thought i’d supply some simple numbers, just in case it ends up helping someone. I missed the boat with the CSR sign-up (just got into this hobby in the past 6 mo with barely any credit history prior) and am currently contemplating signing up for the CSR for the first time. I do however have the CIP and have gotten the 80k bonus. So I thought, for me, right now, is the CSR worth it? Let me know if my math is off. Cons: -Missed out on 100k bonus & missed out on $300 travel credit double-dip potential. -I already hold the CIP, which gets 3x on travel (although fairly certain I will PC to Ink Cash immanently) Pros: -The 1.5x travel redemption, which DOES make it worth it, for me.For argument’s sake, I’m calculating the benefit of getting this card on this benefit alone. Here’s math: -I currently have 87,600 UR from meeting CIP spend and bonus. With CIP’s ability to redeem at 1.25x, this means at least 1,095 in travel. -If I get the CSR, the bonus and spend will mean at least 54k UR + 87.6k UR = 141.6k -Redeeming with the CSR for 1.5x, this would be at least $2,124 for travel. -If, alternatively, I got the CSP, this would add an extra 5k UR (AU bonus) to make 146.6k UR, but redeeming at 1.25x would still only mean $1,833. -$2124-1833 = $241 benefit. Assuming DoC’s valuation of the $300 travel credit as closer to $250, this still means I’m getting $491 of increased travel redemption + travel credit for the $450 AF. -If I get the CSR and CSP (hoping to get both on my last 5/24 slot), this makes the difference even larger at 200.6k UR after bonuses, equalling $3009 redeemed at 1.5x, compared with $2507 at 1.25x (it would only be possible to redeem at this lower multiplier if the bonuses were met but then I PC’d my CSR to a different card, which obviously wouldn’t be logical/ideal.) Now, assessing the further benefits of the card (which don’t overlap with CIP benefits), such as TSA precheck, lounge access, and 3x restaurant spend, it seems like a clear winner for me, even if I’m not able to acquire both CSR and CSP for my final 5/24 slot.
zalmy
zalmy

You’re also missing the fact that the travel credit is actually worth just about 300 because of all the uses it has, including EZ pass. And the fact that you actually still CAN double dip, if you time it right, by getting the 300 travel credit immediately after your year is up, but before you lose the ability to be refunded your annual fee. However, your math isn’t perfect, because the points are intrinsically more valuable than 1.25, because even though that’s what Chase gives you through the UR Mall, transferring them to partners and using them right at Hyatt/United (to name a couple of valuable points partners) gives you a value in excess of even 1.5 cpp, and you can do that from a Preferred as well as a Reserve

Blue
Blue

I concur with a bunch of the other posters that the travel credit should be valued quite closely to $300 if the card holder is someone who spends a lot on travel. For example, Booking.com can’t be reduced other than by 10% Genius bonus + one of their booking coupons and neither of those reductions precludes using the CSR (and thus getting the travel credit). Another example; I got a killer deal on the Intercontinental in Hong Kong through, of all things, the Chase luxury hotel travel portal that will basically eat up my first year CSR travel credit.

One other reason to keep CSR, in light of 5/24, is as an option for future Chase promotions around the card. There’s going to be some people really upset if they are LOL/24 and Chase starts throwing some good existing cardmember promos out.

scott
scott

What kind of promotions do you anticipate? I had the CSP for 3 years and never got a single promotion. Chase isn’t like Citi, Amex or Barclay who throw out promotions every now and then.

Duke5150
Duke5150

This card costs me nothing.
Dropped CSP saved $95
Dropped AmEx Starwood saved $95 as I get 3x on CSR.
$300 travel credit is easy.
Card is now free.
However, am dropping for my wife….

Jane
Jane

This post did a reality check for me, especially the $300 travel part. I’ll be downgrading. Hopefully my CSP will be able to pull its weight till I sign up for CSR in two years for another bonus.

mary w
mary w

My husband got the CSR in March. By December I’ll be back to 4/24 and will get the CSR in January or February. When March rolls around husband will transfer his points to me and then downgrade to one of the Freedom cards.

Not sure what we’ll do in 2019. Too far ahead to plan, not to mention rules will probably change again by then.

Pat
Pat

Someone mentioned the option of downgrading to a regular no annual fee Sapphire. What are the benefits of that card (I already have multiple Freedom cards as a result of automatic conversion to Freedom when Chase eliminated various other cards I had such as Amtrak)?

Lrdx
Lrdx

It has 2x only at restaurants, 1x elsewhere (including travel; that gets 2x only through the Chase portal). Other benefits are like any other Visa card (non-primary rental car, etc.)

You need to have a CI+/CIP and value transfer partners at >1.5c to be better than a random 3% cash at restaurants card. If you have a CSR/CSP or CIC, the 2x at restaurants is redundant.

JamaicanTraveller
JamaicanTraveller

I would say value the $300 travel credit as 100% in some instances. I travel for work and use this card for 100% of my expenses unless I am taking advantage of an offer on a different card. A single car rental will cover that $300, my job reimburses me so i get the $300 in cash + the points.

DCjoe
DCjoe

If you don’t have another “premium” Chase card that allows transfers of UR to travel partners, I think the CSR is a no brainer. Assuming you want that transferability (which most on this website probably do), the real comparison is the CSR at a net $165 fee (giving a slight discount to the $300 credit), vs. the CSP at a $95 fee. For me, the $70 is worth it for Priority Pass and 3x on travel/dining. I will probably use Priority Pass 3 times this year, twice with the family, saving $50 or so on food/drink. That’s probably a pretty median usage for someone who travels a bit in the US and once a year internationally.

Don’t really value the 1.5x travel option because I mostly use it for travel partner transfers. But if that was your main usage the value vs. the CSP would be even higher, obviously.

Miles4Matt

One other thing worth considering is travel insurance/protection. All it takes is one delayed/cancelled flight or one lost bag and you’ve already made the annual fee worth it. Ideally the best card would be the Citi Prestige, but this is the next best option in my opinion. I think I will probably keep this card for the second year because of this benefit.

Tommy B.
Tommy B.

My wife applied for her CSR on 1/5/17 & activated on 1/9/17. Can she still get a 2nd $300 travel credit before her AF comes in 2018?

Mary w
Mary w

Buy a airline gift card on Jan 1st.

VL
VL

You do not have to wait till Jan 1st.. you can do that as soon as her December statement is generated. It is usually generated a couple of days after your billing cycle is closed. I am in almost the same boat and my statement is generated in the beginning of the month (5th or so)… therefore you have almost full month of December at your disposal. Also your AF will probably post on Feb 1st (you can call them and ask).

You have more time then you think, but definitely do not leave it till last moment, as it may take time for the transaction to post.

TG
TG

Going to downgrade and use CIP for UR transfers and 3x travel. I’ll use the Prestige for travel protections and PP.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

The $300 travel credit is certainly worth the full $300 to me. I spend upwards of $20k/year on hotels, most of which now go on the Ink Preferred, but I will use the CSR just enough to charge up $300 in hotel cost, then have my company reimburse me for the full amount while Chase wipes the charges from the bill, so free money for me!

The CSR has also made my cache of 500k UR points worth a lot more. I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred, so I don’t have to pay that fee. I have 7 or 8 months before the annual fee is due, but unless something happens to greatly diminish the value of this card, I’ll gladly pay the annual fee again.

UAPhil
UAPhil

Anyone who travels regularly can value the travel credit at $300. Its absolutely no hassle – it automatically appears as a statement credit when each charge posts, up to $300. (Yes, you can buy discounted gift cards….but that takes time and can involve hassle.)

(On the other hand, the Amex travel credit, which is $200 ancillary fees against a selected airline, is a MAJOR hassle. That;s one of the reasons I haven’t gotten Amex premium cards.)

CJS415
CJS415

I have been contemplating keeping this card past the first year, and after looking at my spending for restaurants and travel, I will definitely be keeping this card. I prefer UR points over MR points any day, just a personal preference. Between restaurants and travel, I’m easily spending $20k yearly. That ends up being 60,000 points alone, worth $900 if used for travel through the Chase portal. Couple that with the $300 travel credit, and I’m easily up $675 (900+300-525) I have an authorized user on the account, so an extra $75.

captainsave
captainsave

There is a trick to get the $300 travel credit as statement credit. So i value it at full $300. But still closing it and keep the ink plus for transferabilities.

Charlie
Charlie

CSR is a card designed for people who travel. If anyone has trouble spending enough on normal personal travel to get the full $300 travel credit, CSR is the wrong card for them to have. I travel a lot, and have spent nearly $7,000 in the travel category. Getting the two $300 credits required no extraordinary spending on my part. I had the full first credit by early Oct 2016, and the full second credit by early Mar 2017. So of course the $300 credit is worth $300 to me! If I hadn’t gotten those credits, I would have had to have paid an additional $600 to Chase. I will definitely renew.

Vic
Vic

There are ways to liquidate the $300 travel credit, so I personally would take it at full value as well.

Jonathan
Jonathan

“If you were only holding [the Chase Ink Plus] card for the ability to transfer to travel partners then downgrading to the Chase Ink Cash if you held this card would make sense.”

I see that Chase Ink Cash earns ultimate reward points, but where do you see that it allows you to transfer to travel partners? I believe you, I’m just trying to find where it officially says which cards allow you to transfer to the travel partners.

Jonathan
Jonathan

Actually, after a little more reading, it doesnt seem the Ink Cash is one of the cards that allows transfers to travel partners. These infographics from Greg seem to imply that Ink Cash does not allow transfers to travel partners; http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2016/03/08/chase-point-transfer-rules-made-simple-infographic/ Is this a new development or is one of your wrong (or am i reading the graphics wrong)?

Charlie
Charlie

The rule is simple: if the card has an annual fee, you can transfer UR points to airline and hotel partners, but if the card has no annual fee, you cannot transfer directly to the partners. You can, however, transfer UR points from a no-fee card to a fee card and, from there, to the travel partners. This requires you to keep at least one card with an annual fee.

Jonathan
Jonathan

So then your saying the qoute is wrong? Or maybe i misunderstood his sentence.

James
James

So many comments here discussing the true value of $300 travel credits.

I’d be interested in seeing a straight forward vote on how many have the card and are planning to keep or cancel the card. When the $450 fee hits, I have a feeling a lot of your readers will cancel.

V
V

I have a CSR and I am planning to keep the card even if they do not give me a retention offer. After the $300 travel credit, it’s only $150 more. I can easily use the travel credit for EZ Pass even if the whole $300 is a big overpayment that would just sit there for a while.

The biggest benefit is the 1.5x points value multiplier. I am under 5/24 so I can get one or two 50k points Chase cards every year (a combination of Ink Cash, Ink Plus, Ink Preferred and keep the same-card repeat bonuses 24 months apart) so that translates into at least $1000 worth of cash points which are made worth $1500 by CSR. . That’s an additional $500 right there. The counter argument would be that CSP and Ink Plus would provide $1250 value (at 1.25x) anyway, so CSR is only adding $250. Even in that case, $250 + statement credits make up for more than the Annual fee even if we value the statement credits at 70% ($210 total).

If the 1.5x value goes away before I pay my annual fee, then I’ll have less motivation to keep the CSR.

Now with the recent change to the Sapphire policy (only one bonus for any Sapphire card in 24 months), I am more inclined to keep the Sapphire Reserve. Even before that, I was leaning towards keeping the Sapphire Reserve.

Dan
Dan

Adding to the discussion regarding the $300, we all definitely have different circumstances, in my case, i travel a lot for work and get reimbursed all my expenses, so my office pays the 300 bill, and Chase gives me 300 back.
there are many ways of non business travelers to get the travel credit, some of them with equal value others with reduce value as you can get better deals with different ways. just my 2 cents. i’m still trying to figure out if it is worth to keep or not.

Amy
Amy

Im still not clear about some items here.

If I were to get the CSR today, will they charge the $450.00 right away?

Will I be able to access the $300.00 credit right away to help off-set the $450.00?

Still kicking myself for not taking advantage of the 100,000 points at the time. I did not know about Plastiq for the mortgage, but now that doesn’t work with Visa anyway.
Just as I was getting into this, I feel like I’m being shut down 🙁

UAPhil
UAPhil

I got the CSR in early February. The annual fee posted in early March. The $300 was available immediately; was applied as an immediate credit to each travel charge until the whole $300 was used up.

Josh
Josh

I will be downgrading my spouse’s CSR card as I have one and we typically only spend big $$$ on travel / dining when we are together. She never travels w/o me so wouldn’t value the travel insurance or lounge. We already have two Freedom’s so my strategy was to get her the “Chase Sapphire” no AF card for the times she dines w/o me and can earn 2x in points.

HiYoSilver
HiYoSilver

Although Citi Prestige is better for me, I may keep CSR to maintain a good relationship with Chase. Not sure if it will work, but I hope for in branch preapprovals this fall for Chase SW Airlines business and personal cards. Because I am closer to 24/24 than 5/24, preapproval is the only way I can get these cards for a new companion pass.

DW and I are long term Chase customers, both businesses and personal accounts dating way back into the WAMU days.

casinochick39
casinochick39

Does anyone know what happens to the $300 credit if the travel you had booked is cancelled? I had booked a trip last year and had to cancel the trip. Was able to use the trip cancellation which I was very grateful for. Will they take the $300 credit back? It has been 2 billing cycles and they have not taken it back.

Chuck

I think with most banks they don’t claw back the credit with cancellation. Don’t have data points specifically for CSR.

Dunga
Dunga

If you downgrade your CSR to Chase Freedom, you miss out on the $150 sign-up bonus (after $500 spend in first 3 months), because you are not a “new” customer, correct?

I used all of my $300 in travel credits for Uber rides in 2017 so when my annual $450 CSR annual fee gets assessed later this month, I’ll be $150 in the hole with Chase.

Rather than downgrade, can’t I just apply for a CF card and spend $500 on non-travel/food expenses, receive the $150 bonus and be made whole by Chase ($450-300-150 = $0)?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

You could, assuming you’re actually able to get one under Chase’s 5/24 rules. Most people who read this site are generally much greater than 5/24.

Dunga
Dunga

Chase’s IHG Rewards Club Select card is exempt from the 5/24 rule. With an 80K points signup for $1K spend, that is worth $400 in value if you value IHG points at 0.5 cents/point.
Problem solved for those who have exceeded 5/24:
http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2017/07/25/the-chase-524-rule-explained/

See
See

If my annual fee is due Sep 1, 2017 – how long after the annual fee is billed do I have to cancel/downgrade without paying the fee?

In particular, I have a trip on Sept 17, 2017. Hopefully I can keep the card to use the PP for that trip, and then downgrade right after.

ClimberMonkeysAbroad

I think the CSR is a card most advantageous for people who travel often. My fiance and I started a travel blog documenting the pursuit of our new digital nomad life and noticed we had no trouble using our combined $1200 travel credit right away.

I’m surprised most people don’t mention this, but CSR’s 3x dining credit is for WORLDWIDE use. We have most of the AMEX cards but none of their bonus categories seem to apply if you’re using the cards outside the US. We’ll probably end up cancelling most of them because of this reason.

Can anyone confirm if Citi’s premium cards’ category bonuses are good for worldwide use??

Jon
Jon

Is it possible to “triple dip” the travel credit?

In my situation, I signed up in November 2016 and used the 2016 travel credit. I also used the 2017 travel credit. The AF has just hit my account in my most recent statement in December 2017. Can I wait until Jan 1, 2018, quickly use up the $300 travel credit, and then downgrade to Freedom for a full reimbursement of the AF?

If I am correct, then I would have gotten (1500 + 300×3)-450 = 1950 out of this card. Not bad!

Justin
Justin

I downgraded to the Freedom a couple of days ago and am waiting to see if I get a prorated refund of the annual fee.

George
George

I am in the same boat. I greatly appreciate your update. The representative told me that we should receive the full refund if downgrade within 60 days after the post of annual fees.

Jon
Jon

Thanks for your reply Justin, I would be very interested in hearing how this works out for you.

George, I found a discussion on flyertalk, the last few posts are relevant. But still no solid datapoints on if it is possible to triple dip and still get all the AF back

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chase-ultimate-rewards/1859044-chase-sapphire-reserve-renewal-retention-36.html

Justin
Justin

I did get a 10 month prorated refund of the annual fee.

Angie
Angie

My annual fee is coming up soon and I have around 250k in UR points remaining. I don’t plan to have travel warranting the benefits (lounge access and booking with rewards points) until Oct/Nov 2018. I was thinking of transferring the points to my Chase Preferred account. Cancel the Reserve card. Then reapply (or upgrading my preferred) to the Reserve card closer to my travel date. This is mainly in efforts to delay the annual fee while preserving my points. By reapplying in 6 months when I’m ready to book my travel I’ll theoretically be able to transfer the UR points into the Reserve and use with the 1.5x adder.

Has anyone done this? How do the travel credits work?

Bill F
Bill F

Sorry if this has been asked/answered (I couldn’t find it after searching), but I am trying to downgrade my CSR to a no AF card, but already have a CF card an don’t want to outright cancel the CSR and lose any accumulated credit score from having this for over a year. I have seen some say they have two CF cards, but will rep say anything when I ask to product change to another CF card, even though I already have one? I didn’t want to change to CFU in case I ever want to get the bonus on that one. Any ideas? Is this best done via phone, chat, or SM? Thank you!

Chuck

I doubt they’ll ask you any questions. Even if you’d just be honest and say you don’t want to lose the credit account, I’m sure they’d be fine with that.

Jon
Jon

For anyone curious about annual fee refunds and travel credit timing

I received AF for 2nd year on Dec 1st, statement cut on the 12th. Used travel credit for 2018 year, and downgraded to regular freedom on January 13th, well within the 60 days. Received full AF credit on the 17th. In the end, I got the 100k points, 3×300 travel credits, and only paid the first year annual fee was as the second was refunded.

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