If you’re a frequent traveler, you can benefit from either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. MoneyGeek compares these two Chase credit cards to help you decide which one works better for you.
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which Is Best for You?
At first glance, there aren’t many differences between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Both offer significant sign-up bonus points and neither charges foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for international use.
Although both are useful for frequent travelers, the card that fits you depends on your travel goals and spending habits. Considering that you can’t hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve simultaneously, knowing which one suits you best is crucial. MoneyGeek provides a comparison across various areas to help you decide.
Comparison Overview: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve
- Has Annual Fee
- Has Balance Transfer Offer
- Has APR Offer
- Cash Back Rewards
- Travel Rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred At a Glance
The benefits of having a Chase Sapphire Preferred come early. You can earn 60,000 bonus points if you’re able to spend $4,000 on purchases within three months from when you first opened your account. It gives you $750 for travel if you redeem it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
You also earn points when you use your card in other ways. Travel purchases get you 2X points per dollar spent, while delivery services, dining out, takeout and online groceries earn 3X points. On your account anniversary, you’ll get bonus points equal to 10% of your total purchases from the previous year.
One of the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s most attractive features is its modest $95 annual fee.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
A very good rewards card with no foreign transaction fees and comprehensive travel cover
- ExcellentCredit Needed
- $95Annual Fee
- 1–2 Points per $1Rewards Rate
- 2xRewards Rate on Air Travel
- 2xRewards Rate on Dining
Chase Sapphire Reserve At a Glance
The Chase Sapphire Reserve shares several similarities with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, like offering a welcome bonus and allowing you to earn points from your purchases. However, you’ll notice the difference when you delve into the details.
You’ll get 50,000 sign-up bonus points if you’re able to spend $4,000 within three months from your account opening. You can also earn points from using your card on your purchases. Chase Sapphire Reserve, however, works best if you travel a lot — you’ll get as much as 10X points if you use it for hotels or car rentals. If you use it to purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you earn 5X points.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve charges a higher annual fee of $550, but you automatically get $300 worth of credit travel each year. It makes your annual payment more manageable, and you’ll be eligible for other benefits such as airport lounge access when you travel.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
An outstanding travel card with flexible redemption points
- ExcellentCredit Needed
- $550Annual Fee
- 1–3 Points per $1Rewards Rate
- 3xRewards Rate at Hotels
- 3xRewards Rate on Dining
If you compare the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll notice they differ in several areas although they’re both travel rewards cards. The table below explores these differences and details which card has an advantage for each segment.
- Card DetailComparison Summary
Trip Cancellation Benefits
If you’re unable to push through with your trip due to an uncontrollable event, both cards provide trip cancellation benefits, which may help cover your losses.
Chase Sapphire Preferred provides the primary cardholder up to $5,000 coverage per trip or $10,000 per 12-month period. If protection extends to several people while traveling, these amounts increase to $10,000 per trip or $20,000 per 12-month period.
Chase Sapphire Reserve offers similar benefits but with higher limits. It pays up to a maximum of $20,000 per occurrence. If you cover several people, you get up to $10,000 per person for each trip. All in all, it results in a maximum of $40,000 in 12 months.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve
You can add authorized users for both cards. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve requires you to pay $75 annually for each person, the Chase Sapphire Preferred allows you to do this for free.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Both cards require you to spend at least $4,000 in purchases to receive your sign-up bonus points. The difference is one card offers 10,000 points more. You get 60,000 points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives 50,000 points.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Worldwide dining and travel are bonus categories for both cards, which means you’ll earn points each time you make purchases under these categories.
However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you 5X points on air travel and 10X points on hotels and car rentals. You’ll be able to get these if you make your purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
If you make similar purchases using the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the most you’ll get is 5X points for travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. All other travel purchases, such as hotels, car rentals and plane tickets, only get you 2X points.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve
One of the most significant differences between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve is their annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has an annual fee of $95 — standard for most travel reward cards. In comparison, you need to pay $550 per year for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It only becomes more cost-effective if you can maximize all its benefits.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Which Card Should You Get?
The best way to determine which card you should get — the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve — is to consider your spending patterns, budget and travel goals. Depending on how you intend to use it, one card may be better suited for you than the other.
Who Should Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
There are several reasons why you should get a Chase Sapphire Preferred. Its reward program is better suited for some situations. If any of these scenarios are similar to yours, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be a good option for you. Consider this card if:
You’re looking for a travel rewards card with a lower annual fee
The Chase Sapphire Preferred only charges $95 per year. It’s much cheaper in comparison to the Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee, so it’s a solid option if you won’t be able to maximize the Reserve’s benefits.
High-end travel perks aren’t dealbreakers for you
You get five points for every dollar you spend on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you don’t go through that portal, you get 2X points. If you’re comfortable traveling without having access to airport lounges, it’s a great way to earn points.
You use your card for a variety of purchases
Although it’s primarily a travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred also allows you to earn points when you use it for other items. You get 3X points for each dollar you spend on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services) and select streaming platforms. Unless you buy from Target, Walmart and other wholesale clubs, you can get 3X points for buying groceries online.
≫ More: Read Our Full Review
Who Should Consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
If you take advantage of its higher bonus categories, the Chase Sapphire Reserve may be a good option for you. Although it has a higher annual fee, it may turn out to be more cost-effective if you fit any of the following:
You’re a frequent traveler
Using your card to purchase hotels, airfare and car rental services allows you to earn 5X to 10X points. You also get an annual travel credit of $300, which you can use for various purchases, such as plane tickets or Uber rides.
You prefer to travel in style
Being a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder comes with access to Priority Pass Select. It allows you to enjoy airport lounges worldwide. It means you can relax and enjoy snacks and drinks for free while waiting for your flight. You can also get up to $100 reimbursed every four years to apply for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, giving you expedited security clearance.
You often use rideshare services
All cardholders get an automatic 1-year Lyft Pink membership. It shaves 15% off your rides, such as when you schedule a priority pick-up from the airport. You also get 10X points from Lyft rides.
≫ More: Read Our Full Review
I believe the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best bang for your buck travel credit card on the market. If you travel frequently enough to justify a $550 annual fee, I believe there are better premium travel credit cards out there than the Reserve like the Capital One Venture X or the Platinum Card from American Express. But if you travel regularly and want to score a valuable sign-up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is an easy choice.
Other Helpful Decision-Making FAQs
Choosing the right credit card is a crucial decision. It’s particularly true for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve since you cannot carry both cards simultaneously. Here are the commonly asked questions about these cards to help you make your choice.
Still Not Sure About These Cards? Consider These Options
If you’re still not sold on either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, there are other travel cards that you may want to explore further. You can check out the Capital One VentureOne Rewards or the Chase Ink Business Preferred. Both of these are part of MoneyGeek’s list of best travel cards.
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- Priority Pass. "Priority Pass Select." Accessed December 22, 2021.
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