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Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
|Sign-up bonus||50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months|
|Rewards rates||3 points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide, 1 point per $1 on everything else (travel points earned after annual travel credit is applied)||2 points per $1 on travel and dining, 1 point per $1 on everything else|
|How much are points worth?||1.5 cents apiece when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards||1.25 cents apiece when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards|
|Standout perks||$300 annual travel credit, complimentary airport lounge access, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, various trip protections||Various trip protections|
Both travel credit cards are solid choices for people who want to earn points to redeem for travel — they offer flexible rewards programs and the chance to potentially squeeze more value out of your points by transferring them to travel partners. But both of them have benefits and drawbacks to consider when comparing.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for serious travelers
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card’s $550 annual fee is steep, but if you compare it with what the travel card offers, it sounds a lot less expensive.
Take the card’s $300 annual travel credit, for example. If you’re going to spend that money anyway, the value you get effectively reduces the annual cost of the card to $250. On top of that, you’ll also get some other great travel perks, including …
- Complimentary access to airport lounges through Priority Pass Select enrollment
- An application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every four years
- Upgrades, discounts and other benefits with select car rental companies
- Special benefits, like upgrades and late checkout, with select luxury hotel brands
- Access to several valuable trip protections
- No foreign transaction fees
Even if you only travel a few times a year, the value you could gain from these benefits can far outweigh the cost of the card and make for a better travel experience.
The card also offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months your account is open, plus three points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide, and one point per $1 on everything else. And you’ll get 50% more value on all the points you earn if you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, versus just 25% more value with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You can also look into transferring to travel partners, which might stretch your points further.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for fee-averse folks
If your top priority is saving on the annual fee, and you either don’t think you’ll get much value from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or you’re not willing to chance it, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may be a better choice.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card wins out with the better sign-up bonus: You’ll get 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. But you earn less on travel and dining — just two points per $1. You also earn one point per $1 spent everywhere else.
From a rewards standpoint, the card’s biggest appeal comes in offering 25% more value when using points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (though it’s less than the 50% boost offered by Chase Sapphire Reserve®). And you get the option to transfer your rewards to airline and hotel partners.
The card doesn’t offer any major travel perks like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, but does provide a suite of trip protections, including …
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Primary rental car insurance
- Baggage delay insurance
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Roadside dispatch
- Travel accident insurance
Like its sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has no foreign transaction fees.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
When it comes down to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, there’s a big difference in annual fees — but there’s an even greater distinction between the value you can get with each card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card isn’t a bad card — the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is just that good.
After the travel credit, the difference between the yearly cost of each card is just $55, which comes out to $4.58 per month. If you think you can get more than that amount of value out of all of the elite travel perks and rewards the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers, it’s a no-brainer.
Of course, it can still be difficult to stomach the high annual fee, especially considering you’re charged for it upfront. If you don’t have that kind of money in your budget, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® can be a tough sell.
In that case, it may be worth considering getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card first and then upgrading later. But keep in mind that you won’t get the second card’s sign-up bonus through an upgrade.
Not sure either card is for you? Consider these alternatives.
Despite offering incredible redemption flexibility and other excellent benefits, the Chase Sapphire cards may not be the best for everyone. As you consider travel rewards cards, here are some others to compare.
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: This card is a good option for credit card users who want steady rewards on every purchase.
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Consider this card if you want to avoid an annual fee entirely.
- Platinum Card® from American Express: Take a look at this card if you’re more interested in maximizing your value from perks than racking up rewards.