Doctor of Credit (H/T) and Lucky from One Mile At A Time (H/T) have reported that some Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders received a secured message from Chase today. This message said that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is offering a $100 annual fee credit.

An excerpt of the message said the following:

We recognize this is a difficult time for everyone. As a way to help, we’re providing you a one-time $100 statement credit toward the 2020 $550 annual fee on your Reserve credit card. On an upcoming billing statement (based on your renewal date), you’ll see a $550 charge for the annual fee, followed by a $100 statement credit. We will continue to bill the $550 annual fee in 2021. Because this credit only applies to open Reserve accounts, if you’ve closed your Reserve account or traded to another credit card before your renewal, you will not receive the $100 statement credit. We know COVID-19 has affected people in many different ways. Please check for updates and helpful ways to stay connected to your accounts.

Chase appears to only be crediting cardholders whose annual fees are due between April 1 and July 1, 2020. However, this time period may be expanded in the future, depending on what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, the credit will show after the annual fee shows up on your credit statement or online account.


What’s Going On?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee credit is a one-time credit for the year 2020. Chase is trying to help Sapphire Reserve cardholders with this credit. They clearly want to retain Reserve cardholders despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has made traveling unsafe. Many cardholders are tempted to downgrade or cancel their Sapphire Reserve. However, this credit just made that decision more complicated and interesting for many.

What’s ironic is that Chase raised the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee in January 2020. They also added some new benefits to the Sapphire Reserve to justify the annual fee increase. These new perks include:

  • Door Dash DashPass membership for at least one year
  • A $60 Door Dash Credit for 2020 and 2021
  • Lyft Pink Membership for one year
  • 10x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points for Lyft purchases

Plus, the Sapphire Reserve also comes with its signature $300 General Travel Credit, Chase’s travel insurances and SBE hotel benefits, among other great perks.

Fortunately, Chase is not removing any perks because of the Coronavirus epidemic. But having them with an effective $450 annual fee makes keeping the Sapphire Reserve easier. The Door Dash perks are two that can be used without traveling. And many people are using Door Dash for take-out food and delivery services.

Nonetheless, Chase is not permanently lowering the Reserve’s annual fee. It will still be $550 (NOT waived the first year) in 2021.


Final Draw

This is a great move by Chase because they are giving certain Sapphire Reserve cardholders more incentive to keep their cards open. Chase is still collecting $450 per cardholder (which was the annual fee for the Reserve until early 2020), which is still a lot of money in their pockets. Giving this credit is a great way to minimize their losses because more people will keep their top credit card.