The Chase Sapphire Reserve was introduced last year, and has been insanely popular. It has exceeded all expectations in terms of demand, and that’s hardly surprising, given the huge sign-up bonus that the card had, along with the generous perks and return on spend.
While the card has a $450 annual fee, it also offers a $300 annual travel credit. That travel credit will automatically be applied towards any purchase coded as travel, including things like Uber. A vast majority of people should easily be able to maximize that benefit, meaning the real out of pocket for the card is roughly $150 per year.
However, it looks like Chase is making an important change to how the Sapphire Reserve travel credit is being calculated for applications submitted as of May 21, 2017. As noted by Doctor of Credit and Travel After Work:
A statement credit will automatically be applied to your account when your card is used for purchases in the travel category, up to an annual maximum accumulation of $300. Annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first statement date after your account open date anniversary, and the 12 monthly billing cycles after that each year. (For applications submitted before May 21, 2017, annual means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and the 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date each year.)
So the important change here is that for new cardmembers the Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit will be calculated based on the cardmember year rather than based on the calendar year. What are the practical implications of this?
When the travel credit is calculated based on the calendar year, it means you can get two of these travel credits with the card’s first annual fee. In other words, in addition to all of the other perks, you’re essentially getting $600 worth of travel credits with your first $450 annual fee.
With this change, however, you’ll get one travel credit for every annual fee you pay.
This is a logical enough change, and one that shouldn’t really impact existing cardmembers, best I can tell.
If you apply for the Sapphire Reserve in the next several days you should still be able to get a travel credit based on the calendar year rather than the cardmember year.
Ultimately this change will cost some people a $300 travel credit, though in the grand scheme of things isn’t an unreasonable change at all.