Competition in the rewards credit card market has gotten so intense that I believe the two year old Chase Sapphire Reserve card has become passé — it’s gone from the ‘it’ card, most rewarding in the marketplace, to merely a good card that in my view has been surpassed in its rewards-earning.
But what if the card threw in a full United Club membership at no extra cost?
The J.P. Morgan Reserve Card is essentially a heavier, shiny metal version of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. And it includes United Club membership as an unpublished benefit, a perk which runs $450 – $550 per year depending on a customer’s United elite status. (Although United Club membership will become less valuable 11 months from now.)
The card is intended for customers of J.P. Morgan Private Bank. J.P. Morgan Private Bank used to be open to individuals with investable assets of $5 million or more, but they now focus on client relationships of $10 million or more (which already represented 90% of their customers).
There are three ways I’m aware of for someone without $10 million in assets with Chase to have gotten this card,
- Anyone who had a Palladium card was transitioned to JP Morgan Reserve. That card used to be available to customers of Chase’s Private Client program which aims to attract customers with $250,000 in assets. However customers who were believed to be capable to moving that much into a Chase account were frequently invited into the program. And there was at one point an application being processed without having a corresponding Private Client account.
- Two years ago there was an open application for JP Morgan Reserve. It was available around the time Sapphire Reserve launched, and had its own separate offer to earn 100,000 points. That avenue was shut down after a brief window of time.
- Open a Private Banking account with less than $10 million in assets. I’ve been told by Chase Private Bank repreentatives that despite reports to the contrary they can move Private Client customers with seven figure asset balances over to the Private Bank program, especially if they believe those customers have the potential to bring in additional assets.
Here’s someone on YouTube who was a Chase Private Client customer and opened a Private Banking account without $10 million in assets, and unboxes the J.P. Morgan Reserve. (HT: choff5507)
I believe that many current cardholders are Chase Private Client csutomers who had the J.P. Morgan Palladium card. We know that President Obama, during his time in office, was a Chase client and likely had the Palladium card.
For a $595 annual fee, Palladium offered:
- United Club membership and Priority Pass Select with complimentary guest
- One year of GHA Hotels Black status
- What was once a highly regarded concierge service
- 35,000 bonus points after $100,000 spend each year.
- Double points on travel
- A hidden trade line meaning it doesn’t report each month to the cardmember’s credit (use of credit line doesn’t increase utilization ratio and reduce credit score)
The Palladium card was discontinued for new customers. Chase Private Client customers are now directed to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card which has a lower ($450) annual fee, earns triple points on travel and dining and comes with a $300 travel credit. Of course while heavier than the average card isn’t nearly as heavy as Palladium.
The Palladium card came with the cardmember name and card numbers engraved into the metal on the front, and the cardmember’s signature engraved on the back. (Customers submitted a signature card to Chase prior to card production.)
Palladium cardmembers kept their current card and it switched benefits to ‘Sapphire Reserve + United Club’ last July, with the lower $450 annual fee. When those cards expired they get replaced by a similar-looking J.P. Morgan Reserve card. The difference is the new card doesn’t have the engraved signature on the back. The J.P. Morgan Reserve also doesn’t offer GHA Hotels elite status or 35,000 bonus points after $100,000 spend.
Arguably the Amex Black Card may have richer benefits, but in my view is in no way worth the price. That leaves the J.P. Morgan Reserve Card as the best U.S. rewards credit card — as it has an annual fee of just $450, has a $300 annual travel credit, and not only includes all of Sapphire Reserve’s benefits but also comes with United Club.