Most people are hesitant to sign up for credit cards with annual fees because they never know if it will be worth it. Back in July 2018, I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve because, after a quick calculation, I knew for a fact that I would get way more value out of it than a regular, no-annual-fee credit card.
Now that one year has passed, I decided to do a deep dive on all the spending I’ve done on my Chase Sapphire Reserve to see just how much value I got out of it.
Before we begin, I want to separate this benefit from everything else: I received 50,000 rewards points as a sign-up bonus, which is equivalent to $750 worth of travel redeemed through the rewards portal. All monetary value calculations of points will be done at the 1.5¢ per point rate, as I actually use all my points to their fullest extent (then usually still run out of points and end up buying more travel out-of-pocket).
According to my account’s spending report, here is what I bought between August 2018 and July 2019 (I don’t think all these categories are accurate; I’m just going off what Chase thinks each purchase is):
|Bills & utilities
|Food & drink
|Health & wellness
With that being said, here are the key points:
- The annual fee is $450, but the card comes with a $300 travel credit that I am guaranteed to redeem each year, so the effective annual fee is actually $150.
- If I had spent $34,529.21 on a 1% cash back credit card, I would’ve earned $345.29 in rewards. By using the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead, I accrued $814.47 in rewards points during the year. That is $469.18 more than if I had stuck with a regular credit card.
- I am enrolled in Global Entry, but I enrolled one year prior to getting a Chase Sapphire Reserve, so I haven’t used the card’s Global Entry credit yet. However, over the span of the five-year renewal period, this benefit is equivalent to a value of $20 per year.
- In regards to Priority Pass Select, my travel tendencies tend to fluctuate a lot, but if taking a very rough average, I travel about once a month and often enter an airport lounge 2 times per trip, for 24 visits per year. The cheapest way to enter an airport lounge this frequently is through Priority Pass Prestige, which is $429 per year. Now of course, if I didn’t have Priority Pass Select with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I just wouldn’t use airport lounges, so the weight put on this benefit is different than the raw monetary value of other benefits. However, I do get free food in lounges, and if I were to assign a conservative value of $5 worth of food eaten per lounge visit that I otherwise would’ve had to buy elsewhere, the benefit is worth about $120.
- The card comes with various elements of travel insurance, like for flights and rental vehicles, but I’ve never needed to use this insurance, neither during the 1 year I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Reserve, or at all throughout my entire life of travel. Thus, because it is so difficult to predict when emergencies and inconveniences will happen, I’m not going to assign a concrete value to travel insurance.
This is a lot of information, a lot of which is situational. But if you want a raw number without having to account for the arbitrary value of benefits, it is $319.18
. I will passively make about $319.18 each year just for using the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead of a no-annual-fee credit card.
With benefits considered (including the introductory offer), that number goes up to $1,189.18
earned in the first year (non-repeatable, of course).