Decision-Making Help: Sapphire Preferred or Freedom?
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These are 2 of my favorite reward cards. So it can be hard to decide which 1 to sign-up for!The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
I’ll help you compare, so you can make the right choice for your travel plans!
What’s the Difference?
And the Chase Freedom card’s sign-up bonus has gone up 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150) when you spend $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
So which card should you get?
|Card||Sign-up Bonus||Bonus Categories||Foreign Transaction Fees||Redemption Options||Annual Fee|
|Chase Freedom||15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150) when you spend $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account||5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (on up to $1,500 in spending) in rotating categories each quarter||3%||• $150 in cash back||0|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account||2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining||0||• $500 in cash back|
• $625 in travel booked through the Chase portal
• Big Travel by transferring to airline, hotel, and rail partners like United Airlines and Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio
|$95 waived the 1st year|
Who Should Consider the Chase Freedom Card?
I’ve had my Chase Freedom card for many years and have no intention of canceling. There’s no annual fee on this card, so it doesn’t cost me anything keep it. And having a no annual fee card is 1 of the 3 keys to getting approved for more cards from Chase in the future. That’s because it helps you start a long-term relationship with Chase.
Plus, you can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% cash back) on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating categories.
So this is a terrific card for folks who:
- Are new to miles and points – If you’re just getting started with this hobby, the no annual fee and a low minimum spending requirement make it a low risk way to test the waters.
- Don’t want to pay an annual fee – Again, there’s no annual fee, which saves you money. However, keep in mind there are some cards that are well worth the annual fee.
- Don’t need a card to use overseas – You’ll pay 3% in foreign transaction fees
- Want to earn 5X points (or 5% cash back) – You can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (or 5% cash back) on up to $1,500 in rotating categories each quarter with the Chase Freedom. In past quarterly categories have included Amazon, gas stations, restaurants, and more.
- Might have trouble meeting larger minimum spending requirements – You only need to spend $500 in 1st 3 months to earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150 in cash back)
- Aren’t certain about travel redemptions, but definitely want cash back – While you can get a higher monetary value from travel redemptions with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you may not be sure if there’s time for travel in your near future. So you can earn cash back with the Chase Freedom now or save the points for later and if you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can transfer to airline and hotel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.
Who Should Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a much more powerful card. Not only can you earn a higher sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you complete the minimum spending, but you also get more options for using your points.
When you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at 1.25 cents per point. So your 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus would be worth $625 in flights, hotels, cruises, and more. And you don’t have to worry about blackout dates!
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfer Partners|
|Aer Lingus||British Airways||Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)|
|Southwest||United Airlines||Virgin Atlantic|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners|
This can get you the most money for your points! For example, you could transfer your 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points to United Airlines for a 1-way Business Class flight to Costa Rica. Or with a bit more spending, you’ll have the 60,000 points you need to fly round-trip!
A 1-way Business Class flight to Costa Rica could cost ~$800! That’s a lot more than the 1 cent per point you’ll get by redeeming the points you earn with the Chase Freedom card for cash back!
We’ve redeemed our Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a stay at 1 of the top hotels in Sydney Harbor, a flight to the Aloha state for a Valentine’s Day getaway, and much more!
You might consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you:
- Want to earn Big Travel – Unlock more travel options with the ability to transfer to partners.
- Don’t want to pay an annual fee – The $95 annual fee is waived the 1st year. This gives you time to evaluate the card and decide if it’s worth paying for the following year. The benefits you get with this card are worth much more than the annual fee, so that’s why I’ve kept it for all these years. But if you choose to cancel, you can call Chase to cancel and they won’t give you the hard sell.
- Frequently travel abroad – There are NO foreign transaction fees
- Do a lot of spending on dining & travel – You’ll earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points in these categories even when you’re out of the country
- Want a larger sign-up bonus – 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth at least $500) with the Chase Sapphire Preferred versus 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150) with the Chase Freedom
Why I Have Both Cards in My Wallet!
I keep the Chase Freedom card because I don’t need to cancel. And I earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% cash back) in categories like gas stations, department stores, and Amazon each quarter.
Plus, I can earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining, which are 2 big spending categories for many travelers, like me.
Many folks have been approved for 2 Chase personal cards on the same day. Whether or not you’ll be approved depends largely on your relationship with Chase and your credit score.
If you want to play it safe, you could also apply for 1 now and the other later on. Start with the card that best fits your needs based on the comparison above.
I’d suggest the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Because you can use it for cash back OR Big Travel. And the annual fee is $0 for your 1st year with the card.
After ~10 months you can figure out if it’s worth keeping for $95. At that point you can
- cancel (avoiding the annual fee in year 2)
- pay the fee (like I’ve done for years)
- ask Chase if they’ll change the card to the Freedom or a different Chase card that has no annual fee (although you won’t be able to earn a separate sign-up bonus)
Some folks have been told by Chase that their application was denied because they signed-up for ~5 cards within the past 24 months. For that reason, I’d also apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred before the Freedom. And before other cards too.
That said, there are exceptions to the rule and folks report mixed results. If you’re new to this hobby and haven’t signed-up for a lot of cards, don’t worry about it too much!
When deciding which card is right for you, take a look at your spending habits and travel plans.
The Chase Freedom is a terrific choice for folks who don’t want to commit a lot of money to annual fees and minimum spending, but still want to earn cash back on their purchases.
Or you can apply for both!
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