According to Doctor of Credit (H/T), Chase is going to make changes to the Sapphire Reserve on January 12. Rumors of the Chase Sapphire Reserve undergoing some changes have been around since 2019. But now, they are coming true.
Unfortunately, these rumored changes look like something that Amex has done with their Platinum Card in the past. Chase is offering little in substantive benefits for a sizable annual fee increase.
Update: Chase has confirmed the rumors to be true on January 8, 2020. This post has been changed to reflect the now-true rumors.
What’s Going On?
The biggest negative part is the annual fee increase. Chase will increase the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee to $550 on January 12. This is huge because Chase is putting the Sapphire Reserve in line with its nearest competitor, the American Express Platinum Card. Furthermore, the card’s annual fee will remain at $450 until April 1 for existing customers. And product changing the Sapphire Reserve will not be possible until after January 12.
Chase will also add two perks to justify the increase in annual fee. One of them is a $60 annual DoorDash credit, which is going to be there in addition to the DoorDash benefits announced by Chase earlier today.
The other benefit is Lyft Pink membership. This benefit normally costs $20 per month and comes with a plethora of benefits for Lyft riders. However, Lyft Pink membership is not very useful for cardholders who do not use Lyft or any other ridesharing service.
Another major change is that Chase will offer 10x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points for all Lyft purchases made on the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This is huge for ridesharers and those who love Lyft, especially those who are disgruntled with Uber.
Plus, the Sapphire Reserve’s current sign-up bonus, earning structure, redemption methods, and existing perks are not changing.
Downgrade / Product Change Options
Fortunately, Chase cards are very easy to product change, upgrade, or downgrade. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is no exception. You can product change to any of the personal core Chase cards:
The best way to go for most disgruntled Sapphire Reserve cardholders is to downgrade to the Chase Freedom. It has no annual fee and some excellent earning opportunities, especially if you have a Chase Ink Business Preferred already.
Alternatively, you can downgrade to the Sapphire Preferred. This card is nice for those who want access to Chase’s transfer partners. It’s also great for reducing your annual fee, despite not being as great an earner as the Reserve. I might downgrade back to the Sapphire Preferred because I cannot justify paying $550 per year for a card.
Many people are not happy about these new Chase Sapphire Reserve changes. I hope they don’t because the Sapphire Reserve is a great card the way it is. But apparently, Chase doesn’t think so.
Furthermore, your mileage may vary with the new DoorDash and Lyft benefits. I personally would not use them because I don’t need food delivery or ridesharing services. But many busy Americans would love these benefits because they are so convenient. Busy lifestyles and lives beckon for convenient services like these. And Chase is betting that would be the case for most Americans.