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Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred: Which card to get and keep?

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred: Which card to get and keep?

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This article was last updated Aug 21, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are both hot credit cards in the travel card world. So how do you decide which one is best for you?

Despite the higher $450 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides more value if you travel enough to take advantage of all it offers. But the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, with a lower annual fee of $95, still offers plenty of perks and the chance for those new to the travel rewards scene a chance to get their feet wet at a lower price point.

In this article:

Both cards are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® ecosystem, and you get additional value for your rewards points when you redeem them for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. If you use cards such as the Chase Freedom® or the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, great news — you can transfer points from those cards to your Sapphire card and redeem them through the portal.

Though you used to be able to have both Sapphire cards, applicants must now choose between them.

“If you want one or the other, you’ll have to do a product change,” said Lee Huffman, a personal finance expert who writes at BaldThoughts.com. “The good thing is, if you do a product change, it doesn’t reset the clock [on how long you’ve had the card]. But you also don’t get a bonus.”

Before you jump in and apply for one of the Sapphire cards, you should check your 5/24 count. If you don’t know what the Chase 5/24 rule is, take a look at our guide. Put simply, if you’ve applied for more than five credit cards in the past two years, you won’t be approved for a new Chase card.

With that out of the way, read on to see how the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card compare.

At a glance

Both of these cards boast a lot of value for travelers. But how do they stack up against each other? Here’s what you can expect for rewards, fees and more.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual fee $450 $95
Foreign transaction fee $0 $0
Rewards 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Sign-up bonus Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Annual travel credit $300* None
Purchase APR 18.74% - 25.74% Variable 17.74% - 24.74% Variable

*Terms apply

Chase Sapphire Reserve® pros and cons

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • $300 Annual Travel Credit, Airport Lounge Access, and Flexible Redemption Options

Highlights
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®

More Info

Pros

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Ability to book flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards — without first transferring points to partners — with 50% more value for your points. This brings the value of each point to 1.5 cents when you book this way.
  • If you want to transfer points to a hotel or airline loyalty program, you can do that for Chase’s partner organizations at a 1:1 point value.
  • A $300 statement credit each year to offset travel purchases, such as airfare, hotels, train tickets, parking fees, bridge tolls and more.
  • If you don’t have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry yet, your application fee will be reimbursed if you charge it to your Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
  • A Priority Pass Select Membership will get you and your traveling companions into many airline lounges around the world, as well as a handful domestically.
  • Trip delay coverage (up to $500) kicks in with delays of more than six hours.
  • Additional travel perks, including lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and emergency medical evacuation coverage.
  • Primary rental car insurance.

Cons

  • The annual fee of $450 is up near the top of the spectrum as far as credit card annual fees go. It’s also not waived the first year — though when you subtract the $300 annual travel credit from the $450 annual fee, that effectively leaves you with an annual fee of $150. Nevertheless, if you don’t travel enough to take full advantage of all the card benefits, you might be hesitant to shell out such a high amount each year.
  • You’ll pay $75 per year for each authorized user you have on this card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card pros and cons

  • 60,000 bonus points

  • 2X points on travel and dining

  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs

Highlights
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

More Info

Pros

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Ability to book flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards — without first transferring points to partners — with 25% more value for your points. This brings the value of each point to 1.25 cents when you book this way.
  • If you want to transfer points to hotel or airline loyalty program, you can do that for Chase’s partner organizations at a 1:1 point value.
  • Trip delay coverage (up to $500) kicks in with delays of 12 hours.
  • Additional travel perks including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and travel and emergency assistance services.
  • Primary rental car insurance.
  • The annual fee is $95.

Cons

  • No annual travel credit.
  • Lower rewards rate than the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
  • Though you still get extra value for points redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, it’s only 25% additional value per point — lower than the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s 50% extra value.
  • The trip delay coverage on this card kicks in after delays of 12 hours, as opposed to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s six-hour time frame.

The bottom line

If you can use the $300 annual travel credit, and you spend at least $3,350 a year on travel and dining purchases, you can recoup the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s $450 annual fee. That’s because when redeeming through the Ultimate Rewards portal, each point is worth 1.5 cents — so a $3,350 spend can net you $150.75 worth of points. That, along with the annual credit, offers a value of just over $450.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® also has value if you like airline lounge access and don’t get it from another card, or if you are able to make use of the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck benefit.

However, if you don’t think you’ll use the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s $300 annual airline fee credit, don’t want a big upfront annual fee, or don’t spend at least $3,350 a year on travel and dining,  you’ll likely want to go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card .

Read: Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Cards

One thing to note about the cards’ sign-up bonuses — once you earn a sign-up bonus on either the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can’t earn another one on either Sapphire card for 48 months from the date your bonus hits. So, if you were thinking to cancel one card and at some point apply again (or apply for the other Sapphire card), you’ll have to wait two years.

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points

  • Earn 3 points per $1 in select business categories

  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Highlights
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

See additional details for Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

More Info

If you’re a small business owner who likes Chase Ultimate Rewards, a card you might find worthwhile is the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. It offers the chance to earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn. and for a sign-up bonus you can earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The annual fee is $95.

 


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