Best Way For Families To Deal With New Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass Limits

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A couple of weeks ago we first learned about rumored changes coming to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. These changes have now been confirmed, and over the past couple of days cardmembers should have received emails regarding this. Specifically, as of August 26, 2018:

  • The card will no longer award 3x points on the first $300 spent on travel each year (which is reimbursed as part of the $300 annual travel credit)
  • The card will no longer offer price protection
  • Members will be limited to bringing two guests into Priority Pass lounges, rather than being able to bring in unlimited guests

I view all of these changes as being reasonable. It was ridiculously generous that they awarded points on travel spend that was reimbursed, so I can’t blame them for viewing that as an easy cost cutting move, given that Chase is apparently concerned about whether they’ll ever be able to make money on this card.

As far as the price protection benefit goes, the problem was that a small percentage of people were using this disproportionately, so it wasn’t a sustainable benefit anymore.

I think we also all thought it was generous that the card had unlimited guesting privileges for Priority Pass lounges. Presumably that was intended so that a few people could get into the lounge, though we also saw situations where people guested 30+ people into the lounge, which based on what we know about the Priority Pass business model, was costly.

The change in Priority Pass guesting privileges

I’ve been getting quite a few messages from readers who have families, saying that they don’t think these changes are fair. Going forward the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has a limit of two guests for Priority Pass (in addition to the cardmember, for a total of three), so the most common feedback I get is “this is horrible for my family of four, as I can’t guest my spouse and two kids into lounges anymore.”

There’s no doubt for families of at least four this is a negative development. Many are surprised that they didn’t make the policy “two guests or immediate family,” or something along those lines.

Others will disagree, and suggest that credit card companies shouldn’t be subsidizing those who have families in this regard. It’s a topic where you’ll see strong opinions on both sides.

But for a family of frequent flyers, I do think there’s a pretty straightforward solution here.

Add a Sapphire Reserve authorized user for $75

You can add authorized users to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card for just $75 each, and even authorized users get a Priority Pass membership. In other words, you could add your spouse or child as an authorized user, and then in addition to you both being able to get into lounges, you’d be able to bring in four others.

Authorized users on the card receive all the same benefits as the primary cardmember, with the exception of the $300 annual travel credit and the Global Entry fee credit once every four years. This is one of the better authorized user deals on a premium credit card.

Obviously this isn’t ideal for many, as getting the same benefits for some families will cost an extra $75 per year. However, I do think this is a fairly low cost solution, given the number of messages I’ve received from people saying “this card is now completely useless to me since I always travel with a family.”

For most, the overall value proposition of the card is still there

In my opinion the value proposition for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card continues to be very strong. The card:

  • Has a generous welcome bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months
  • Offers a $300 annual travel credit
  • Offers triple points on dining and travel
  • Offers a Priority Pass membership with the ability to guest two people
  • Offers excellent travel protection benefits
  • Gives you the ability to redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase, or convert points into airline miles

As I’ve often said, given the $450 annual fee and $300 annual travel credit (which anyone who has this card should be able to take full advantage of), I view the “out of pocket” on the card as really being $150 per year. For that you get triple points on dining and travel, the most valuable possible Ultimate Rewards points, and great travel protection. It’s money well spent.

If the card doesn’t work for you, you can always downgrade

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card but feel like the changes in the Priority Pass benefits make this card significantly less valuable, you can always downgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), offers double points on dining and travel, gives you the ability to transfer points to Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners, and more.

To those who used the Sapphire Reserve to guest their family into Priority Pass lounges, how will you be dealing with these new restrictions?

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Comments

  1. Marriage is outdated concept. Why should companies and law give preference to spouse and family.

  2. Just wanted to update anyone interested – CLT now has a priority pass “lounge”

    You get one hour free at Minute Suites- basically a room with bed desk etc. 30$ value or so and you can take 3 other people

    Only problem is availability – I’m still waiting for mine

  3. Debit is an imposter, anyone with a random email can claim to be Debit ; I was the original Debit. I think Credit is now posing as Debit. This is wrong.

    Lucky – can you please take care of this before you book your next milejob session.

  4. I added my wife as an AU, so we can bring in 4 people plus ourselves. I thought that was the rule anyway, so no big deal for me! Shame on me, but I have never used price protection on any of my cards that have/had it.

  5. Who in the world these days doesn’t have another card that has Priority Pass? I have like 5 other cards that ALL give a Priority Pass so when I travel with my family I just use another one of them.

  6. I added my husband from the beginning. This was a lot more user-friendly than the $175 Amex charges, and means we both get lounge access when we aren’t on the same flights. It seems a reasonable way for chase to recoup the cost. While I’m a bit surprised they didn’t make it “immediate family,” I can imagine that is a difficult thing to police, and still gets expensive.

  7. Although I’m sure this policy change was in the works prior to the recent WSJ article about “Airport Lounges turning into a Zoo”, it doesn’t help when people report problems about crowded lounges, and proceed to guest SEVEN people into a lounge (and take group pictures and post or publish it). People want it both ways, non crowded lounges, but expanded guesting privileges. You cannot have it both ways anymore.

  8. @Earl Lee
    How does this work? You pull out one of your PP cards to gain entry for 2 people. Then you pull out another one of your PP cards to gain entry for 2 more people? Never thought of doing this, but it makes sense.

  9. Agree with @Earl Lee. If you only have one priority pass membership, you are doing it wrong. If you value PP enough to add a $75 AU solely for that purpose, the better option is a new card for that AU that comes with PP, travel credit, and signup bonus.

  10. How about large families wait in the terminal? I for one welcome the change. A few weeks ago I had to deal with half a dozen 4-8 year olds in the VIP lounge in Aruba. They were running around, shouting, making obnoxious noises, and touching all of the prepared sandwiches. Their parents barely tried to control them. Lounge are supposed to be a quiet escape from the noisy terminals, not playgrounds for unruly children.

    I would love it if priority pass limited access to only one guest, or outright banned children under 12.

  11. Based on what other posters have said, can one person who has more than one PP membership, use them on the same visit to guest more people in? I’ve never had the need to & never tried. Just curious if rules actually allow that.

  12. I can’t really argue with these changes. I have four stepkids so I could not get more than one kid plus my wife into a lounge. However, I have yet to fly with more than one of the kids with us thusfar. I saw that someone said that the Citi Prestige offers access to immediate family. I had never heard that. Is this confirmed? If so, I would be covered should I need to travel with more than one child.

  13. Lucky,

    Have you highlighted the positive changes coming? More transfer partners and vacation rentals being added for use with ultimate reward travel portal?

    Corey

  14. Yes, Citi Prestige gives access to immediate family and two guests. That card has fallen off the radar of most of these blogs, though, so it’s rarely talked about anymore. Which is actually quite nice for those of us who don’t want to see any changes to the Prestige PP offering. One fun fact is that the ‘two guests’ limit isn’t much of a limit, so effectively you can still bring in more and not expect to be charged. My family and friends went to one of the PP restaurants in SYD–10 of us total–and were given $360AUD to spend. Not bad if you ask me.

  15. I have CSR and Amex plat(s) I only use PP @ int lounges for the smoking areas

    Sometimes I like to sip my cheap wine and enjoy mini sandwiches with pretzels in peace without family’s around to bother me…

    folks it’s just a place to escape the terminal for a bit, it’s not a spa it’s not all about you, families travel too

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