Chase Sapphire Reserve Versus Sapphire Preferred

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Deciding between the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred cards?  I can help!

Both offer great sign-up bonuses and perks and earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  They’re my favorite kind of points!

But comparing the Chase Sapphire Reserve Versus Sapphire Preferred isn’t as easy as comparing sign-up bonuses and annual fees.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Versus Sapphire Preferred

The Sign-Up Bonus From the Chase Sapphire Preferred Is Worth 2 Nights At the Beautiful Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa.  But With the Sign-Up Bonus From the Chase Sapphire Reserve, You’ll Have Enough Points for 4 Free Nights!

I’ll show you the similarities and differences between these cards.  And help you decide which card is right for you!

Chase Sapphire Reserve Versus Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the top card I recommend if you’re new to miles and points.  But with the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card, deciding between these 2 great cards could be difficult!

They both earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points…my favorite kind of points!  You can transfer them to several great travel partners.  And they come with excellent sign-up bonuses and perks.

Here’s what you’ll get with each card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve Review

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  

You’ll also get:

The card has a $450 annual fee, which is NOT waived for the first year.  But you can easily offset the annual fee with credits and perks you’ll get from the card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

When you open the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

You’ll also get: 

  • 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel & dining
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on everything else
  • 5,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase within the first 3 months of account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees

The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.  This makes it easy to evaluate the card for ~10 months without a fee to see how you like it.
Here are the questions to ask before deciding which card to get.

What Are an Extra 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Worth?

The extra 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (100,000 points vs. 50,000 points) with the sign-up bonus from the Chase Sapphire Reserve versus the Sapphire Preferred are a big deal.

Consider how much those extra points are worth:

  • Enough for 2 round-trip coach award flights within the mainland US or Canada on United Airlines (25,000 United Airlines miles X 2)
  • Enough for a round-trip coach flight to Hawaii from anywhere in North America on United Airlines (using 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles)
  • award nights at a luxury Category 6 Hyatt hotel, like the Grand Hyatt Kauai where Emily and I stayed
  • $750 toward flights with the Chase Travel Portal (because points are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve)
Chase Sapphire Reserve Versus Sapphire Preferred

Enough Extra Points for a Round-Trip Coach Ticket to Hawaii Is a Great Deal! I Certainly Had Fun Visiting Kauai!

Or you could use the 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for $500 in cash back.  But I prefer to get Big Travel with travel partners like Hyatt and United Airlines!

Do You Book a Lot of Paid Travel?

100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $1,500 (100,000 points X 1.5 cents) in travel booked through Chase’s travel portal.  Because with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each.

The 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards point sign-up bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is worth $625 (50,000 points X 1.25 cents) for travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal.  Because with the Sapphire Preferred, your points are worth 1.25 cents each.

That’s a difference of nearly $900!  So folks who book a lot of paid travel will do better with the Sapphire Reserve.

Flights on Southwest

And don’t forget, because your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth more on Chase’s travel portal with the Sapphire Reserve (1.5 cents each), it’s a better deal to book your Southwest tickets there.  Instead of transferring your Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest where they’re only worth up to ~1.43 cents each.

Plus, if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you can still add a companion to your ticket!  Even if you booked your ticket through the Chase Travel Portal!

Can You Afford a Bigger Annual Fee Upfront?

The $450 annual fee will show on the first card statement you receive after opening your account.

So if you don’t have the $450 to spend upfront, you should apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred instead.  Because the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee is waived the first year.

Would You Spend $300 Combined per Year on Airfare, Hotels, Cruises, Tolls, & Trains?

If you usually spend a few hundred dollars each year on travel purchases, like airline tickets, rental cars, train tickets, or hotels, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a better choice.

Because you’ll get a $300 statement credit for travel purchases per calendar year, that you can use to offset the higher annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Versus Sapphire Preferred

Time is Running Out! Get Your Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Before the End of 2016 and Use the $300 Travel Credit TWICE Before the Annual Fee is Due!

You can earn the $300 in 2016 and get the $300 credit again in early 2017.  So you’ll earn $600 in travel credit with just 1 annual fee!

But if you don’t travel enough to use the travel credit from the Sapphire Reserve, you should get the Sapphire Preferred instead.  Because the large annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve might not be worth it.

Do You Mind Canceling Cards?

Some folks might not be comfortable canceling cards, because they don’t want the hassle, don’t like dealing with credit card companies, or are worried it will impact their credit score.

In that case, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better choice, because it has a lower annual fee that’s waived the first year.

Here’s how to help loved ones who don’t like dealing with credit card companies.

Can You Meet the Minimum Spending Requirements?

The minimum spending requirement is $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

These larger minimum spending requirements can be daunting, but adding an authorized user could help.   Because that person’s spending counts towards unlocking the bonus!

Also, check out my 40+ tips to easily meet minimum spending requirements

It’s free to add an authorized user to your Sapphire Preferred account.

But you’ll pay $75 per authorized user with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Can You Get Both Cards?

You CAN get both card bonuses, as long as you’re not impacted by Chase’s stricter approval rules.  Because the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred are considered different card products.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Versus Sapphire Preferred

If You’ve Been Approved for a Lot of Cards Recently, It’s Unlikely You’ll Be Approved for Most Chase Cards

But folks that have opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months (excluding certain business cards), are unlikely to get approved for most Chase cards.  Even with an 800+ credit score!

Bottom Line

Most of y’all will do better with the Chase Sapphire Reserve versus the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has twice the sign-up bonus for Big Travel with Small Money.  And it has more generous perks such as a $300 annual travel credit, $100 Global Entry fee refund, airport lounge program, and greater points earnings on travel and dining.

That said, the Chase Sapphire Reserve will cost you $450 per year.  The Chase Sapphire Preferred will cost you $0 in annual fees the first year, and $95 per year if you decide to keep it.

Or, you could get one card now and the other later and earn both sign-up bonuses.  Because they’re considered different card products! 

Which card would you rather have?

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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10 responses to “Chase Sapphire Reserve Versus Sapphire Preferred

  1. Cabs, Uber, and parking are also applied towards travel

  2. I don’t believe you can book Southwest through the chase portal.. Just through Southwest (so the only option is to transfer)

  3. I did not know that you could book SW thru the Chase portal and add a companion pass! WOW! We just booked a trip to Belize from Nashville and used the pass… I looked at the portal and it was more expensive to do it that way (if it was less, we would have canceled our flights and re-booked). There were also a lot less flight options than on the SW site. But gosh I just learned something new from this post. Thank you!

  4. This card is an awesome addition to the Chase family of cards. Let me compare here the overall value difference between the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) and Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP). I will take my own spending analysis as an example. I am not a huge traveler, I travel once in a while with family or buy tickets to my parents to travel. I sat down to do the Math to see if it makes sense for me to apply for this card (I already have CSP card). Let me admit the fact that I also have Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards and my wife and I know which card to use when to earn maximum Ultimate Reward (UR) Points. 

    Let’s look at my spending closely. The first thing I analyzed was my expenditure over the past 4 years (I referred to year-end summaries) and I found that I have consistently spent around $350 on “Transit” which included- Parking (street and occasional airport), E-Z Pass tolls, occasional river cruise, occasional Uber etc which I am sure will do every year. So this pattern of my spending qualifies for the $300 “Travel Credit”. This takes away around 65% of $450 annual fee that the CSR has. Needless to say that the person reading this is ready to use the UR points ONLY FOR travel. 

    Then I looked at the UR Points that I earn from my Freedom and Freedom Unlimited card. In the worst case scenario every year I earn 175K from Freedom (We religiously use this card only for 5% cash back categories only and nothing else) and 220K from Unlimited card (I use it for all other expenditure other than Travel and Dining for which I used CSP). 

    Let me break it down further to see if it makes sense for me to apply for CSR card with my low travel spending. Let me assume that I have CSR card with me for the next 1 year.  I spend around $2300 on dining outside which will earn 6900 UR Points with CSR card and even if I spend around $350 bare minimum on travel it will earn me 1050 UR points (this is the worst case scenario). Once I add this up it gives me a total of 47400 UR Points ($474). If I use this for my occasional Travel via Chase Portal the value is up by 1.5 times which is $474 X 1.5 = $711. Let’s take away the remaining annual fee out of this ($711-$150) which gives us the net gain of $561 which is awesome!! Let me add my wife as an authorized user so the net will go down to $ 486 ($75 annual fee for an authorized user) which is nothing less than awesome and even in the worst of the worst case scenario where you do not even qualify for $1 of Travel Credit in one of those years (extremely unlikely) you will not spend anything out of pocket. Happy?? 🙂

    Now let’s do the same math with one of my favorites Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you do the math as above with 2 points earning per $ spent on travel and dining I would have earned 4600 UR points for dining outside and 700 UR points on travel. Let’s put everything together, which gives me $448 ( $220+ $175+ $46+ $7). Now let’s redeem this for travel, remember Chase Sapphire Preferred gives is 1.2 times more value. So $448 X 1.2= $537. Now let’s look at the net value by taking away the annual fee of $95 which gives me $446. This card does not charge for authorized user.

    Conclusion: There is no question that Reserve card has superior benefits compared to Preferred. Here I conclude that for anyone like me who does not travel much at all and have Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards (both earn UR Points) the overall net benefit is more with $450 annual fee CSR card when compared to lower fee CSP card (Please see the math above). 

    Now guys! Do the Math and check if you could have CSR instead of CSP without spending even a $ more. Don’t be scared or discouraged by $450 annual fee. Of course needless to say that if you don’t travel much,  you need to have both Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards and know when to use which of these 3 cards. All you need is these 3 cards!!

    Good luck! Keep rocking!

  5. The Chase website says UP TO $300 in travel credit. How exactly is it earned/applied? We have the Freedom/Preferred combo. We fly one or 2 times a year to visit family, and our costs will go up when my infant becomes full fare. But that $450 is daunting and earning enough for a free trip each year is hard enough… or enough to cover $95. But the 1.5 times instead of 1.25 is a bonus, and the TSA pre-screen is nice.

    Just please elaborate on the $300 reimbursement

  6. I don’t understand how someone could NOT spend $300 a year in travel. It’s hard to find a RT anywhere for less than $150. It’s one thing with cards like Amex Plat and PRG which don’t count airfare toward airline purchases (though you can sneak around that with airline gift cards), but $300 a year in travel is nothing, at least for me sadly.

  7. This article has an error. You CANNOT book southwest flights via the chase portal. Please correct.

  8. @Adam I just spent $50 to put on my Tollway account and within a day I was credited that amount from Chase Reserve acct. So if I spend $250 or more in travel related transactions in the calendar year, I will receve an additional $250.

  9. Can you clarify the timing on the $300 annual credit? I just read the fine print and it goes “”annually” means the year beginning with your account open date through the first December statement date of that same year, and each 12 billing cycles starting after your December statement date through the following December statement date. So if I just applied for the card and my first billing period closes on December 2, will I still have Nov to spend the $300 and then have it reset again in January? In other words, can I still get $300 for 2016 and another for 2017?