chase travel portal

4 Reasons to Pick Up the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Reserve

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For more information check out our Advertising Disclosure.

For years, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has been the gold standard credit card in the points and miles world – and for good reason. With great travel perks like lounge access and big-time travel credits, it’s no wonder the card is so popular.

But paying a $550 annual fee upfront (after a recent increase) isn’t for everyone. And the fact that many of those top-dollar benefits can’t be used right now as travel is on hold doesn’t help.

That’s where the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card shines. While it might be old news compared to the Reserve card, it’s still a great option for travelers – especially if you can’t stomach a huge annual fee.



Here are four reasons why you might want to go for the Chase Sapphire Preferred instead of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.


Sapphire Preferred Card

Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. 


Bigger Welcome Bonus Offer

If you’re applying for a new credit card, chances are you want a big stash of miles. So let’s compare what you get from the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve:

Simply put: You get more points while paying less for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. No matter how you use those points, you’ll come out way ahead. When you redeem them directly through Chase for travel, those 60,000 points are worth at least $750 toward travel or everyday purchases using Chase’s new “Pay Yourself Back” feature. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus, you’ll only earn 50,000 points. However, because they are worth more, that also works out to $750.

But you can also transfer these points to partner airlines or hotels: a great way to squeeze out even more value. And if you do, you’ll always come out ahead with the Preferred card. That’s 10,000 extra United MileagePlus miles. Or 10,000 additional Singapore KrisFlyer miles. Or another 10,000 Hyatt points.

You don’t need to be a math whiz to work out which may be the smarter choice in your situation.


Cheaper in Year One & Thereafter

No one wants to spend a bunch of their money on annual fees. And while we think you should do the math and rather than reject credit card annual fees outright, there’s no doubt the allure of saving money on annual fees is strong.

And that’s undoubtedly true in this case. You’ll pay $455 more each year to hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve. At a time when few of us are traveling, that’s hard to stomach.

Of course, you can easily offset much of the $550 fee on the Sapphire Reserve with the $300 travel credit it provides. The card automatically reimburses you for up to $300 each year in travel expenses, from flights to hotels to Uber rides and even parking fees. That instantly makes the annual fee more palatable – though perhaps not enough for everyone to justify paying that high price. 

Still, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is far cheaper, and it brings exactly what the average traveler is looking for.

The annual fee is just $95 a year. And it comes with an outstanding 60,000-point bonus. Compared to the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $550 fee every year, it’s a steal.

The 60,000 points welcome bonus you will get after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership is worth at least $750 towards travel – if not much, much more. Even with paying the $95 annual fee, you will still come out way ahead.


Chase Sapphire Preferred 
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. 


Start Cheaper, Upgrade Later

Maybe you don’t have to decide between these two cards at all.

With most travel on pause, paying $550 for a card with premium travel perks is a tough sell for 2020. But maybe you’ll want those benefits down the line. While Chase won’t let you earn the sign-up bonus on the Reserve card if you’ve earned the bonus from the Preferred card within the last 48 months, that doesn’t mean you can’t maximize both cards.

Here’s the thing. You can start by opening the Chase Sapphire Preferred, netting you an extra 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards. When year two rolls around, you could upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, keeping those additional points – getting all the extra perks and the ability to redeem your points for some extra value.


chase sapphire dining bonus


Let’s say you open the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card this year for a $95 annual fee and spend $4,000 within three months to earn that 60,000-point bonus. By upgrading your card to the Reserve down the line, those 60,000 points would then be worth $900 because each point on the Reserve card is worth 1.5 cents.

So as long as you are OK holding the Preferred for a year, you’ll end up with a bigger stash of points that are worth more starting in year two.

Still torn? Read our guide comparing the Preferred and Reserve cards.


Transfer Partner Equality

There’s no denying that the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with some worthwhile benefits. And one of the biggest benefits is the additional value you get per point when booking directly through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

However, the best way to squeeze more value out of your Chase points is by transferring them to 10 airlines or three hotel partners. And neither card has the edge here.

ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
Iberia PlusAirline1:1Instant
Singapore AirAirline1:112-24 hours
Southwest AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
United AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
Virgin AtlanticAirline1:1Instant
World of HyattHotel1:1Instant
IHGHotel1:11 day
Marriott RewardsHotel1:12 days


No matter if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, your points transfer at the same 1:1 ratio to every partner. When you consider the additional upfront cost of the Reserve card, the additional value of the far cheaper Chase Sapphire Preferred card is undeniable.

The ability to transfer points is what makes Chase Ultimate Rewards so flexible and valuable. It’s one of the keys to unlocking some seriously valuable redemptions like business and first-class redemptions. Study up on how to transfer Chase points with our guide.

Read more: 8 Great Ways to Use a 60K Bonus from the Sapphire Preferred


Insurance Benefits

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards offer some of the best travel insurance of any credit cards out there. And with Citi removing travel insurance on most of their cards, both have become even more valuable.

But the differences between the coverage each of these cards offer is subtle. And in our opinion, the coverage offered by the Sapphire Preferred should suit the majority of travelers.

When it comes to rental car coverage, the only difference in the rental car coverage offered by the two cards is the amount in which each will cover. The Sapphire Preferred will cover up to the actual cash value of the rental car for rental periods that do not exceed 31 consecutive days. The Sapphire Reserve will cover up to $75,000 for rental periods that do not exceed 31 consecutive days.

That means if there is damage above and beyond the cost of the rental car, the Sapphire Reserve will provide a bit more coverage, assuming the rental car is not valued above $75,000. However, what is offered by the Preferred card should cover the vast majority of rental insurance situations.


Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Reserve


When it comes to baggage delays and/or lost luggage, both cards will provide the same amount of coverage. If you check your bags and they’re delayed more than six hours, both will reimburse you up to $100 per day for up to five days. This coverage is meant to provide reimbursement for essential items like toiletries, clothing, and cell phone charging cables, for example.


Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Reserve


Both cards will also reimburse you for expenses incurred due to a delayed or canceled flight, train, bus, or other means of travel. And that reimbursement can be used for costs like meals, lodging, toiletries, etc. incurred because of the delay, and the delay must take place away from the cardholder’s primary city of residence.

The Sapphire Reserve card will reimburse you for any delay lasting six hours or more, while the Sapphire Preferred will reimburse you for delays lasting 12 hours or more. Cardholders will be covered along with their spouse or domestic partner and any dependent children under the age of 22 for up to $500 for each purchased ticket. The kicker here is that the trip must have been at least partially paid for with your Chase Sapphire card (or with Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the card).

So while you will get coverage for both cards, the Sapphire Preferred only kicks in after 12 hours. A potentially small price to pay considering the annual fee difference.


Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Reserve


Finally, both cards will provide coverage for accidental death or dismemberment, or a combined loss of speech, sight or hearing, experienced on a covered trip.  Benefits are available when some portion of a covered trip has been purchased with either card or with Ultimate Rewards points earned on either card.

The difference comes in the amount of coverage each card provides. The Chase Sapphire Preferred will provide a benefit amount for the loss of life up to $500,000 while the Sapphire Reserve card will provide benefit for loss of life up to $1,000,000. And while you always hope you never need Travel Accident coverage it’s invaluable when you need it. And a coverage amount of $500,000 is second to none on a card with an annual fee of only $95.


Chase Sapphire


It’s worth noting that the Sapphire Reserve card will provide coverage for a medical evacuation while the Sapphire Preferred will not. If you or a member of your immediate family are injured or become sick during a trip far from home that results in an emergency evacuation, you can be covered for medical services and transportation up to $100,000.

So at the end of the day, both cards offer fantastic coverage. But the coverage offered by the lower annual fee Sapphire Preferred should be more than adequate for the vast majority of travelers.


Bottom Line

Chase’s Sapphire cards are some of the best out there for travelers. We think the Chase Sapphire Reserve is an incredible travel rewards credit card – at least in normal times.

But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card shouldn’t be overlooked. We think it’s the best travel rewards credit card in these times

The card’s 60,000-point bonus is a big part of that.
Sapphire Preferred Card
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

10 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *