Chase Sapphire Updates: May 2020

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

 

Earlier this month, we covered benefit changes and category bonuses due to COVID-19. While Chase announced enhancements first, American Express and Citi upped the ante within a few hours. Even Capital One joined the party and made their miles easier to redeem. Chase went from the front-runner to an also-ran very quickly. Not anymore! Today, Chase announced updates and changes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. Just like that, Chase has caught up to the rest of the pack.

Chase Sapphire Preferred in a Nutshell

As you've already heard me say numerous times, the CSP currently offers a 60,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $4,000.00 in 3 months. Unlike its sibling card, the CSR, the CSP offers referral bonuses of 15,000 points per approved referral, up to 75,000 points per year. The CSP earns 2 points per dollar for all dining spend (all types of restaurants, including sit-down, fast food, coffee shops, bars, Grubhub, Eat24, UberEats, Seamless, etc.) and for all travel spend (hotels, airfare, Uber, taxis, parking, cruises, Airbnb, tolls, rental cars, tours, etc). Lyft was recently increased to 5 points per dollar spend. All other spend earns 1 point per dollar. The annual fee is $95.

For redemptions, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for 1.25 cents each with a Chase Sapphire Preferred through the Chase Travel Portal.

Chase Sapphire Reserve in a Nutshell

The CSR is much like the CSP, except it's not. The CSR currently offers a 50,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $4,000 in 3 months. It does not offer any referral bonuses. The CSR earns 3 points per dollar in all dining and travel items mentioned above, plus 10x on Lyft. All other spend earns 1 point per dollar. The annual fee is $550 and is not waived for the first year. You do, however, receive a $300 travel credit that is automatically credited to your account each time a “travel” charge (again, any of the items above) posts to your account. Following a change in 2017, this credit follows your card anniversary year and NOT the calendar year. You also receive a $60 DoorDash credit in 2020 and 2021, free DashPass delivery from qualifying restaurants, and a free 12 month subscription to Lyft Pink, which gives you 15% off all Lyft rides.

For redemptions, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each with a Chase Sapphire Reserve through the Chase Travel Portal.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Updates

Beginning May 28, 2020, and continuing through September 30, 2020, you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards for 1.25 cents per point for a purchase you made in the previous 90 days in these categories:

  • grocery stores
  • dining (including restaurants, takeout, and delivery services)
  • home improvement stores (such as Lowes and Home Depot)

You can read the full changes here.

These changes are in addition to earning 3x points on up to $1,500 spend in May and June 2020, for a total of up to 9,000 Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Updates

Beginning May 28, 2020, and continuing through September 30, 2020, you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards for 1.5 cents per point for a purchase you made in the previous 90 days in these categories:

  • grocery stores
  • dining (including restaurants, takeout, and delivery services)
  • home improvement stores (such as Lowes and Home Depot)

Also, between June 1 and December 31, 2020, the $300 annual travel credit will also apply to purchases at gas stations and grocery stores. Once your $300 credit is exhausted, you will begin to earn 3x on all travel purchases.

Lastly, it is reported that all CSR renewals between 7/1/20 and 12/31/20 will receive a $100 statement credit to offset the higher $550 annual fee that was introduced earlier this year.

You can read the full changes here.

These changes are in addition to earning 5x points on up to $1,500 spend in May and June 2020, for a total of up to 15,000 Ultimate Rewards.

Analysis

With a little bit of creativity, you can cash out your Chase Ultimate Rewards for 1.25 (CSP) or 1.5 (CSR) cents per point at grocery stores or home improvement stores. Should you? That depends. If you regularly use your Ultimate Rewards to book travel through the Chase portal or you typically transfer to Southwest Airlines, it makes sense for some to “cash out” your Ultimate Rewards from a CSR. If you usually transfer your URs to other partners and/or you have a CSP, it doesn't make nearly as much sense. However, in any scenario, the SUB is worth $750  for either card, should you elect to “cash out” your points (60k for CSP or 50k for CSR).

Additionally, I do not recommend using your CSR at grocery stores until the $300 travel credit is exhausted. While it is nice to use up the credit for free groceries, you lose the promotional 5x earn on that spend. As this is a limited-time promotion, and capped at $1,500 in May and June, I would attempt to use that credit elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

It's really nice to see Chase make changes to the Sapphire cards to make each card more competitive during this time of staying at home and social distancing. While we're not traveling, you can decide whether you want to use your Ultimate Rewards as cash or whether you want to stockpile them for future travel. Either way, you get tremendous value from these cards. As always, come on over to our Facebook group to discuss these changes in more detail.

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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