Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Sapphire Preferred: Which is Right for You?
I am often asked via our Thrifty Traveler Premium credit card consulting service about the Chase Sapphire credit cards. Because Chase allows you to have either the Sapphire Reserve or the Sapphire Preferred card (and not both), making sure to pick the one that is right for you is critical.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the best around. Having one of the Chase Sapphire cards is essentially a requirement for success with points & miles. In this post, I will break down the benefits provided by each card and help you decide which is right for you.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|Sign Up Bonus:||60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.||50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.|
|Annual Fee:||$95 (not waived for the first year of card membership)||$450 (not waived for the first year of card membership)|
|Authorized User Fees:||None||$75 for each additional cardholder. Additional Users will receive full priority pass membership and be able to access lounges without the primary cardholder.|
|Value of Points When Redeemed Through Chase Portal:||1.25 cents per point||1.5 cents per point|
|Annual Travel Credit:||$0||$300|
|Points Earned On Travel & Dining Expenses:||2x per dollar spent||3x per dollar spent|
|$100 TSA Pre✓ or Global Entry Reimbursement:||None||Given once every 4 years. Only Available for the primary cardholder.|
|Priority Pass Select Lounge Membership:||None||Yes. Both Primary cardholder and authorized users can bring up to 2 guests in with them.|
|Primary Car Rental Coverage:||Yes||Yes|
|Foreign Transaction Fees:||None||None|
|Roadside Assistance:||Available for a charge of $59.95||Free battery charging, 2 gallons of fuel delivery, towing and lockout assistance
|Trip Delay Reimbursement:||$500 per person for delays lasting 12 hours or more.||$500 per person for delays lasting 6 hours or more|
|Travel Accident Insurance:||$500,000 per person||$1,000,000 per person|
|Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit:||None||$2,500 for medical expenses on trips between 5-60 days at least 100 miles from your home|
|Lost Luggage Insurance :||$3,000 per person per trip||$3,000 per person per trip|
While the upfront cost of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is higher with a $450 annual fee, the effective annual fee is only $150 after factoring in the annual travel credit. The $300 travel credit can be used for any travel charge (airfare, hotels, Airbnb, parking garages, cruises, etc.) and is refunded automatically after making each purchase.
If you are able to take advantage of the annual travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the card is costing you $55 more annually than the Chase Sapphire Preferred card ($450 annual fee less $300 travel credit is $150 for the Sapphire Reserve annual fee less the $95 annual fee on the Sapphire Preferred).
In my opinion, the ability to earn 3x points on dining and travel with the Sapphire Reserve (instead of 2x with Sapphire Preferred) and redeeming at 1.5 cents per point through the Chase portal (instead of 1.25 cents per point with Sapphire Preferred) is worth far more than $55 annually. Not to mention all of the additional benefits the Sapphire Reserve includes (lounge access, Global Entry, roadside assistance, etc.).
If the $300 travel credit seems like a stretch, The Chase Sapphire Preferred should be your choice. With an annual fee of $95, it is the best travel rewards credit card for beginners.
Click Here to learn more about the Sapphire Preferred Card.
Click Here to learn more about the Sapphire Reserve Card.
The $450 upfront annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is not for everybody. If you can’t stomach this fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is still an excellent option.
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.
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