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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 $550 annual fee (or $450 if renewed between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2020), 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.

  • 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.

  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

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®
  • $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✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.

See additional details for Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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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 $550 ($450 if renewed between July 1 and Dec. 31) $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, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Annual travel credit $300* None
Purchase APR 16.99%-23.99% variable 15.99% - 22.99% variable

*Terms apply

Chase Sapphire Reserve® pros and cons

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.
  • From May 31 through April 30, 2021, cardholders can also get 50% more value from their points when redeemed for statement credits to cover purchases in the following categories: grocery stores, dining (including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services) and home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.
  • 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 $550 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 $550 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

Pros

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 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.
  • From May 31, 2020 through April 30, 2021, cardholders can also get 25% more value from their points when redeemed for statement credits to cover purchases in the following categories: grocery stores, dining (including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services) and home improvement stores, such as Home Depot and Lowes.
  • 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.
  • Cardholders earn a lower rewards rate than the Chase Sapphire Reserve®: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. However, from July through Sept. 30, cardholders can earn 3X points on Instacart pickup orders and deliveries on up to $3,000 in purchases, as well as up to $50 in statement credits toward a yearly or monthly Instacart Express membership. Also earn 5X points on select streaming service on up to $1,500 and 3X points on gas station purchases on up to $1,500 during that time period.
  • 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 $550 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.

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 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.. The annual fee is $95.

The information related to the Chase Freedom® and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.


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