Chase revamps Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card categories, raises rewards rates on Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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Chase’s coveted Sapphire travel cards are about to get a boost to their rewards offers.

Starting Aug. 16, both new and existing cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® will see expanded bonus categories and rewards rates. 

The changes include meaningful updates to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, including an elevated rate on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, two wholly new bonus categories and a new hotel credit.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® changes are less drastic but include higher rewards rates on some travel and dining purchases.

Read on for the full breakdown of the new rewards offers and our take on how they measure up.

Inside the new Sapphire rewards and benefits

The new Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® rewards and benefits both expand existing rewards offers and introduce new types of rewards.

First, let’s look at the new offerings on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which will see more extensive changes:

  • 5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal (currently 2 points per $1 on all travel)
  • 3 points per $1 on dining, including delivery and takeout (currently 2 points per $1)
  • 3 points per $1 on select streaming services (new bonus category)
  • 3 points per $1 on online grocery purchases (new bonus category; Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs are excluded)
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (available after next account anniversary for existing cardholders)
  • 10% point bonus on all purchases at every account anniversary (for example, $25,000 in spending earns 2,500 bonus points)

Changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® primarily expand on the card’s current offer of three points per $1 spent on travel and dining. The new offerings include:

  • 10 points per $1 on Chase dining purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10 points per $1 on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5 points per $1 on air travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Special “Reserved by Sapphire” premium restaurant reservations available later this year

Both cards are maintaining their annual fees — the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card stays at $95 and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® sits at $550.

Are the new Sapphire rewards worth it?

In the simplest terms, the changes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® add value to each card for no additional cost. With each card’s annual fee staying the same, you’ll get additional points-earning opportunities on purchases you might have made anyway. That’s likely to please current cardholders looking for more reason to keep using the cards.

On the other hand, these updated benefits might not be enough to change the minds of prospective new cardholders, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We already rank the Sapphire cards as two of our favorite travel credit cards, and these new rewards and benefits only confirm why each card is great for its prospective audience. 

We recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card as a great lower-fee travel card for people who want flexible rewards and plenty of opportunities to earn points. You’ll be able to earn more points in more categories.

Similarly, we recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for its glut of perks and numerous rewards offerings. You’ll have opportunities to earn more bonus points and the promise of more dining perks to come.

If there’s any reason to be cautious about these new offers, it’s that many of them require you to make purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to earn the higher bonus rates. If you prefer the flexibility of a broad bonus category and don’t want to go through the hassle of visiting Chase Ultimate Rewards to make purchases, you might not get much value out of these offers.

Plus, keep in mind that these changes don’t go into effect until Aug. 16. If you make a big travel purchase before that date, you won’t get the full benefit of these new offers.

About the author: Eric Freeman is a writer and editor at Credit Karma, specializing in credit cards and credit scores and reports. He strives to make personal finance relatable for readers and to ground complicated issues in everyday e… Read more.