The Chase Sapphire Reserve Will Lose a Few Benefits: Priority Pass lounge access will be limited to two guests, no 3X points on the $300 in travel credit reimbursement, and no price protection. These changes will take effect August 26, 2018.
No 3X Points on the $300 Travel Credit
This change, while logical, since the $300 is being entirely reimbursed as statement credit, seems petty on an individual basis, since at a valuation of 2 cents per Ultimate Rewards point it works out to just $6 per card member per year ($0.02 x 300 points). But say there are 1.5 million Chase Sapphire Reserve card holders–that would total $9 million savings per year (although of course Chase may have a lower valuation of each Ultimate Rewards point).
While this is small change to the bank, changes such as these are perfect in terms of not mattering to the vast majority of card holders, yet in aggregate adding up to some decent savings, especially in conjunction with other changes.
Priority Pass Select Lounge Access: Maximum of 2 Complimentary Guests per Cardholder
When the Chase Sapphire Reserve first launched, a benefit that was often highlighted, by those who visit lounges with multiple family members or guests, was that the Chase Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass Select membership allowed complimentary access to the cardmember and unlimited travel companions. This was in contrast to the AMEX Platinum Priority Pass Select membership, which limited access to the card holder and two guests.
As of August 26, 2018, a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder will be able to use their Priority Pass Select card for complimentary access for himself/herself and two accompanying travel companions; additional guests will be charged $27 per person. This is the same as the AMEX Platinum Priority Pass Select benefit.
Of course, if you have a family or group of 6, and two adults have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, each adult will be able to bring in the card holder and two guests. For families of 4 or more that often use Priority Pass lounges, this could even persuade both parents to keep their Chase Sapphire Reserve, rather than only keeping one card for the family.
On the other hand, business groups that have all been entering Priority Pass lounges based on one colleague's Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass membership will now have to pay something or rely on more than one Sapphire Reserve Priority Pass Select membership.
No More Price Protection
As of August 26, 2018, the Chase Sapphire Reserve will no longer include Price Protection as a benefit. In case you're wondering what this benefit even provides, it's on pages 20-22 of the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits guide. If you purchase an item with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card and see a printed ad or a non-auction internet ad for the exact same item, for a lower price, within 90 days of the original purchase date, you can file a claim and receive up to $500 per item, up to $2500 per year for your card account. Note that there are a number of exclusions–price protection does not apply to boats, vehicles, cell phone service contracts, airline tickets, pre-owned and refurbished items, jewelry, antiques, animals, living plants, etc. (see all exclusions on pp. 21-22).
I suspect that, while many Chase Sapphire Reserve users never use the Price Protection benefit, there is a very active minority that are religious about using it, and have been costing Chase a good amount of money. So instead of being like the elimination of the 3X benefit for the $300 travel credit, which is a very small benefit reduction for everyone, axing this benefit won't matter for the vast majority of card holders, but will alienate a few who have used it a lot. But Chase has no doubt run the numbers and figured out that since these are highly unprofitable customers anyway, the bank would be just as happy to get rid of them.
It's well known that Chase, having enjoyed a huge hit in terms of signups for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (the bank temporarily ran out of the metal used for the cards due to the high demand when the card first launched) is working to make the product sustainable. The $300 travel credit, which was originally per calendar year (thus giving two $300 credits within the first card member year) was changed to a $300 travel credit per member year. With these changes, Chase will bring the Priority Pass Select benefit in line with the AMEX Platinum, the CSR's closest AMEX competitor, and will also save in terms of the Price Protection benefits, which may have involved higher payouts than Chase was anticipating.
Personally, these changes won't impact my or my husband's use of our Chase Sapphire Reserve cards at all, since the 3X on all travel and dining is so compelling, and these categories are high spend areas for us.
Will the Chase Sapphire Reserve changes impact your use of the card?
Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-Star Hotels with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits