4 Reasons to Pick Up the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Reserve

Chase Credit Cards

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve has become the gold standard credit card in the points and miles world, and for good reason. With great perks like lounge access and bigtime travel credits, it’s no wonder the card is so popular.

But with a $450 upfront annual fee, that card isn’t for everyone. And while Chase’s other Sapphire card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, may be old news by now, it’s still a great option for frequent flyers. Especially now that the card is offering a 60,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.  

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



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


Bigger Welcome Bonus Offer

If you’re applying for a 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:

You get fewer miles with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and pay $355 more each year. You don’t need to do much math to work out which may be the smarter choice in your situation.

Of course, you can offset the $450 fee on the Sapphire Reserve with the $300 travel credit it provides, but if your main motivation is earning points and you don’t travel enough to justify the extra benefits (or the cost that comes with them), the Chase Sapphire Preferred is clearly the better option.

Additionally, even if you ultimately want the Chase Sapphire Reserve, starting with the Preferred will net you 10,000 more Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You could then upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve in year two and keep those additional points which would then redeem at a higher rate. A solid option we often recommend.

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


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 not be scared of credit card annual fees, weigh the benefits of every high-fee card before ruling it out, there’s no doubt the allure of saving money on annual fees is strong.

That’s what makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred and other cards like it so great. The annual fee is just $95 a year. And while that’s a bummer considering the annual fee used to be waived in the first year, it comes with an outstanding 60,000-point bonus as we’ve covered. Compared to the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $450 fee every year, it’s a steal.

And while the Chase Sapphire Reserve sweetens the deal with a ton of great benefits, those may not appeal to everyone enough to offset the big annual fee. Meanwhile, what the Chase Sapphire Preferred brings to the table is exactly what the average traveler is looking for.

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. Even with paying the $95 annual fee, you will still come out at least $655 ahead.


Transfer Partner Capabilities

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 a ton of value out of your Chase points is by transferring them to 10 airline 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.


Insurance Benefits

There is no denying that both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards offer some of the best travel insurance of any credit cards out there. And with Citi recently removing travel insurance on most of their cards, both have become even more valuable. But the differences between the cards are suttle, and in our opinion, the coverage offered by the Sapphire Preferred should suite 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 Preferred vs Reserve


It is 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.

Thrifty Tip: Check out our full article comparing the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards to determine which card is right for you.


Bottom Line

Chase Sapphire cards are some of the best out there. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is our #1 travel rewards card, after all. However, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card shouldn’t be overlooked.

It’s our #1 starter card because the combination of a big points bonus, affordability, and earning make it a good fit in any traveler’s wallet.


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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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.

4 Responses

  1. Nadeem says:

    Hi Nick,

    If I have the Sapphire Reserve, can I still apply for the Sapphire Preferred, simply just to cash in on the 60,000 bonus points. I would probably keep it for a year and then not renew.

  2. Barbara Loomis says:

    I saw something about credit card for international travel and money exchange, can’t find it now. I am going to South Korea in three weeks , got any tips.

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