Should you product change or keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve? A lot of people received their Chase Sapphire Reserve when it was released in August 2016. Canceling the card harms your credit score and history, so we recommend product changing it instead.
Does it make sense to pay $450 to continue your Chase Sapphire Reserve membership?
Analyzing your benefit
The purpose of the spreadsheet is to help you quantify the decision-making process so you can see how much value you can get by keeping or product changing the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
For your analysis, use our calculator tool to see if you should keep or product change the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
- Go to "File" (top left) and either "Make a copy" or "Download as"
- Please do not request editing access to the master sheet
- With your copy, only edit the yellow cells (other cells are formulas). The goal is to make sure you get positive expected value from the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The main reason we want to do this calculation is to ensure we're getting positive expected value from the card, so the goal is to get more than the $450 annual fee. We want to make sure the benefits and experience you're getting is worth the price of admission (the annual fee).
Don't let the size of the spreadsheet scare you. Again, if you are following along, the only cells you need to edit are the ones in light yellow.
Section 1: Base Benefits
Starting from the top, we have the $450 annual fee and the $300 travel credit. If you signed up for the card last year, the travel credit was based on the calendar year. This means you had access to the whole $300 credit on January 1, 2017. For this calculation, we're going to assume you've already used all of the 2017 travel credit.
The travel credit we're looking at in the spreadsheet is for 2018.
The next item we're going to look at is the value of Priority Pass. You may value Priority Pass at $0 because you have access to this perk from other premium cards. If you do value Priority Pass, enter the number you would value each visit, along with the number of times you plan on visiting the lounge.
$100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck Credit
The $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit is not included because you only receive it once every five years. The assumption is if you wanted to use the benefit, you would have already used it.
Trip delay insurance
For the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you have 6-hour trip delay insurance. This means that if your flight is delayed for 6 or more hours, then you can expense up to $500 in lodging and dining.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has one of the best trip delay insurance policies, the only thing that tops it is the Citi Prestige at 3 hours.
If you downgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you have 12-hour trip delay insurance. Depending on how you value this, it may or may not be useful to you. It all depends if you travel often or if you travel during peak seasons.
CDW stands for collision damage waiver, and it's related to renting cars. If you don't rent cars at all, then you can value this benefit at $0.
However, if you do rent cars, it depends if you have personal car insurance or not. For me, I don't own a car, so by default, I don't have car insurance. This means that if I do use a card that has secondary CDW, it doesn't make a difference because it automatically becomes my primary.
If you do have auto insurance, then it would make a big difference if you get into an accident. You can skip your auto insurance and go through the credit card primary CDW. The auto insurance company won't be notified, and your premiums won't increase.
When you use secondary CDW, it will go through your auto insurance first before going onto the secondary CDW.
If the green cell is positive number, that means you're getting positive expected value from the annual fee. If the number is negative or you want to dive in a bit more, move on to section 2.
Section 2: Value of Earned Points
The main thing to consider is how you would use your rewards. It may look confusing, but there are a lot of formulas at work to calculate your value.
For the first part, all you need to do is put an "X" into one of the cells in column C. Do the same for column D, which is what you would do if you had the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You should only put one "X" per column. If you put multiple ones, it will base the calculations off the top "X."
The next thing you need to do is enter how many Ultimate Rewards points you currently have.
The final thing you need to do is put an "X" in one of the two cells: either Chase Sapphire Preferred or other. Here, you're telling the calculation which card you're looking to product change to.
A good illustration of this is if you currently still have 100,000 points and you're planning on booking a trip. Your points will be worth $1,500 if you keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you product change to the Chase Freedom, the points will only be worth $1,000. Technically, you're losing $500 in travel when you product change the Chase Sapphire Reserve to the Chase Freedom.
Yes, you are paying an annual fee to keep it as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but you are also getting a ton of benefits you wouldn't otherwise receive.
On the other hand, if you were planning on cashing out the 100,000 points as a statement credit, then it makes sense to product change the card.
The main takeaway is by paying an annual fee, your points may be worth a lot more (if you use them for travel).
Section 3: Spend Benefits
For section 3, we're looking at points earning rates on categories. You can focus on columns A, B, C; the other columns are for the other cards.
Here, all you need to is enter the amount you're planning to spend on each category. The formula will calculate how many Ultimate Rewards points you'll earn, in addition to the values in section 2.
At the bottom, you'll see the net expected value. If the number is not positive, you should product change the card. The other cells next to it are the net expected values you'll receive from the other cards. Pick the one that has the highest value.
If you're deciding between the Chase Freedom and the Chase Freedom Unlimited, it depends if you already have one of these cards. You are allowed to have multiple Chase Freedom cards. If you're under Chase 5/24, it may make sense to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred to get the signup bonus and downgrade it to a Chase Freedom after Year 1.
Another factor that's built into the model at the bottom is the opportunity cost of using the Chase Sapphire Reserve compared to the Citi Double Cash card. The Citi Double Cash doesn't have an annual fee, and it earns 2% on everything.
For example, say your net expected value after going through the exercise and spending $10,000 is $100. In this scenario, it would make sense to get the Citi Double Cash because you would receive $200 after spending $10,000.
What are you planning on doing with the Chase Sapphire Reserve after Year 1? Let us know in the comments below!