Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Which one should you pick?

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In a Nutshell

Despite charging a much higher annual fee, we think the Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides enough value to make it a clear winner for most travelers. You should consider it even if you travel just a few times a year. But if you can’t get past the annual fee, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card instead.

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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
Annual fee $550 $95

 

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.

From our partner

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

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.

From our partner

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & 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.