Sapphire Preferred vs. Sapphire Reserve Chase Review

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase offers two of the most popular travel rewards credit cards on the market. Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer good value to customers. Today, CreditFast will help you understand the similarities and differences between the two cards.

Couple drinking wine at outdoor cafe purchased with their Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Similarities between Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve

Both classes of Sapphire cardholders earn points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Those points can be redeemed for cash back credit, be used to book travel through the Chase portal, or be traded to another hotel or airline loyalty program at a 1:1 ratio. Customers can also pool any Sapphire points with those earned from other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, including the popular Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ cards.

All Sapphire cardholders enjoy travel benefits. These perks include trip delay and cancellation coverage, rental car insurance, baggage delay and lost luggage reimbursement, and medical evacuation coverage.

Neither card charges a foreign transaction fee, making both a great choice for international purchases.

New applicants can earn a 50,000 point welcome bonus for either card if you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

Both cards offer competitive interest rates. Rates range between 15% and 25%, depending on your credit history. Both cards require above average or excellent credit. Neither card offers free balance transfers or an introductory APR.

You may be rejected for either card if you’re a frequent credit-seeker. Chase employs the Chase 5/24 Rule, meaning they deny applications of people who have opened more than five credit card accounts over the past 24 months.

Differences between Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve

You’ll earn more bonus points with Chase Sapphire Reserve. Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders earn double points for every dollar spent on dining and travel. Chase Sapphire ReserveSM cardholders earn triple points on dining and travel purchases. With both cards, you earn one point per dollar on all other purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred has a much lower annual fee. The Sapphire Preferred charges a $95 annual fee, which may seem high. However, it’s quite reasonable compared to the $450 Chase Reserve annual fee. Chase will waive the $95 fee for the Preferred card for the first year. Chase doesn’t offer the same deal for Reserve.

Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 travel reimbursement each year. Travel expenses charged on your card are automatically reimbursed. The Preferred card doesn’t offer this feature.

Chase Sapphire Reserve provides additional travel benefits. Your Reserve card grants you complimentary lounge access at most major airports. Chase will also reimburse Reserve cardholders for TSA Precheck or Global Entry fees.

Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t penalize you for adding authorized users. In fact, if you add a user within the first three months, you’ll earn a 5,000 point bonus. Chase Sapphire Reserve charges a $75 fee for each authorized user on your account.

You’ll get more travel value for each point with Chase Sapphire Reserve. When booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, Reserve points are worth up to 20% more than Preferred points.

Couple paid their bill at a cafe with their Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, Which is Better?

If you’re likely to spend more than $2,750 in travel next year, Chase Sapphire Reserved is probably a better value. While you may have sticker shock from the $450 fee, the benefits will outweigh the cost after the first year. Because Chase reimburses your first $300 in travel expenses, you’ll get back all but $150. The Sapphire Preferred fee after the first year is $95, a difference of only $55. If you spend more than $2,750 on travel and dining, you’ll earn $55 more in rewards with Chase Sapphire Reserve than you would with Chase Sapphire Preferred. Plus you’ll get the bonus travel benefits and travel discounts, including free airport lounge access.

Even in the first year when the Preferred fee is waived, Chase Sapphire Reserve might be a better choice for frequent travelers who earn welcome bonus. As we mentioned before, Reserve points are more valuable than Preferred points when used for travel bookings. Earn free travel faster. Customers who choose Reserve will get more approximately $125 more travel value with their 50,000 points. The only time this isn’t the case would be if you plan to have authorized users. Weigh the $75 fee against your potential rewards earnings to be sure Reserve is best for you.

Chase Sapphire Preferred is probably a better value if you only travel occasionally. Those looking for a travel rewards card for summer vacations or occasional business trips should avoid the $450 fee. If you spend less than $2,750, there’s a chance you could lose money with Chase Sapphire Reserve. However, if you’re a frequent traveler, especially one who travels internationally, Chase Sapphire Reserve is likely to be well worth the investment.

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Monica Kowollik


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