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Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Which Card is Right for You?

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The *chase sapphire preferred* and the *chase sapphire reserve* are the gold standard in the points and miles world and for good reason. Not only are they some of the best travel cards out there, but they're also the first cards we recommend for travelers getting started with earning points and miles.

They may earn the same Chase Ultimate Rewards points and share the Sapphire name, but there are major differences between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards that leave travelers asking: “Which Sapphire card is right for me?” That's a critical question: Chase only allows you to hold either the Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred card, but not both.

And with 60,000-point bonuses available on both cards, the question has never been more pressing than it is now. 

We'll break down all of the benefits you get on each card, picking a winner in each category to help you decide which is right for your travel goals and your finances.

 

*chase sapphire preferred*

 

Learn more about the *chase sapphire preferred*

 

*chase sapphire reserve*

 

Learn more about the *chase sapphire reserve*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Overview

When putting Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve head-to-head, you'll see some similarities … and a lot of critical differences.

Here’s a brief breakdown of what you get with each card:

 

Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve
Welcome Offerbonus_miles_fullbonus_miles_full
Annual Feeannual_feesannual_fees
Authorized User FeesNone$75 for each additional cardholder
Point Value Redeeming Through Chase Portal1.25 cents per point1.5 cents per point
Annual Travel Credit$0$300
Points Earned On Travel & Dining Expenses3x per dollar spent on dining, online grocery orders, and streaming services. 2x per dollar on travel3x per dollar spent on dining and travel
$100 TSA PreCheck or Global Entry ReimbursementNoneYes, available once every four years for the primary cardholder
Priority Pass Select Lounge MembershipNoneYes, and both primary cardholders and authorized users can bring up to two guests
Primary Car Rental CoverageYesYes
Foreign Transaction FeesNoneNone
Trip Delay Reimbursement$500 per person for delays lasting 12 hours or more$500 per person for delays lasting six hours or more
Travel Accident Insurance$500,000 per person$1 million per person
Lost Luggage Insurance$3,000 per person per trip$3,000 per person per trip

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Welcome Bonus Offer

The welcome bonus offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve are the same. However, as you'll see in a future section, the value of the points you earn will depend on which version of the card you hold.

Just remember: Credit cards are serious business. You should never open a credit card and spend $4,000 on it unless you can pay off every dime, in full.

Here's what each card offers.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Welcome Bonus Offer

bonus_miles_full

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve Welcome Bonus Offer

bonus_miles_full

 

Winner: Which Card Has the Better Welcome Bonus Offer?

While there are many other factors to consider when comparing these two cards, this category is a tie.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Earning Points

Beyond that initial bonus, both the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards have bonus categories that allow travelers to keep racking up extra points for spending on travel and dining. Here, one card has the edge.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

With the Sapphire Preferred card, you will earn 3x points per dollar spent on dining, including eligible delivery services, 3x points per dollar spent on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs like Costco and Sam's Club), and 3x points per dollar spent on select streaming services.

You will also earn 5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠ (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 annual hotel credit) and 2x points per dollar spent on all other travel purchases.

And it gets better: If you're riding with Lyft through 2025, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders will earn 5x points per dollar on Lyft rides – including scooters and bike rentals.

Finally, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders earn a 10% anniversary points bonus every year. At the end of every year, Chase will tally up all your spending throughout the year and give you an extra 10% bonus. It's based on the total amount you spend, without considering bonus categories: Spending $10,000 means you'll get an extra 1,000 points.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

If you hold the Sapphire Reserve Card, you will earn 3x points per dollar spent on dining, including eligible delivery services. 

You will also earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ and 3x points per dollar spent on all other travel purchases.

Through 2025, Sapphire Reserve cardholders will earn 10x points per dollar on Lyft rides – including scooters and bike rentals.

Both cards earn 1x point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

 

Winner: Which Card is Better for Earning Points?

This will obviously come down to where you spend the most. But there's no question that the bigger bonus categories on travel could help you pile up points faster with the Reserve.

Winner: The *chase sapphire reserve*

 

*chase sapphire reserve*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Annual Fee

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Sapphire Preferred Card has an annual fee of $95, and that's not waived in the first year of card membership. But there are no fees to add additional authorized users to your card.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of $550 each year. Additionally, authorized users will cost an additional $75 each year.

While at least $550 each year might sound steep, with top travel credit cards, you get what you pay for. There are plenty of extra perks and benefits on the Sapphire Reserve card that offset that cost. And it starts with a $300 annual travel credit.

Just for holding the card and paying the annual fee, you'll receive a $300 credit each year that will automatically cover any travel expense: flights, hotels, Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, cruises, parking, a Thrifty Traveler Premium subscription, and so on.

Considering how easy it is to use that credit, you can think of the Chase Sapphire Reserve's annual fee as more like $250 – as long as you plan to spend at least $300 on travel each and every year. 

 

Winner: Which Card Wins on Annual Fees?

While other benefits are worth considering, the annual fee comparison between these cards should be looked at as $95 on the Sapphire Preferred and $250 on the Sapphire Reserve. Even then, there's a clear winner.

Winner: The *chase sapphire preferred*

 

*chase sapphire preferred*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Annual Credits

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

With a nominal annual fee, the Preferred Card doesn't offer a ton of money-saving annual credits.

But there is one great perk: The card provides a $50 annual credit for hotel bookings made through Chase Travel℠. The best part? This was added a couple of years back without increasing the card's $95 annual fee.

 

chase sapphire reserve vs preferred hotel credit

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

With a higher annual fee, this is where the Reserve Card pays off.

Just for holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve and paying the $550 annual fee, you will receive an annual $300 travel credit. This can be used for any charge that codes as travel (think flights, hotels, cruises, Uber, Lyft, taxis, parking, etc).

You don't have to do anything other than spend on travel to take advantage of the credit. Chase will automatically reimburse those charges in the form of statement credits up to the maximum of $300.

If you spend at least $300 on travel in a year, this credit effectively makes the annual fee on the Sapphire Reserve card $250 ($550 annual fee minus the $300 annual travel credit). If, however, you don't spend at least $300 on travel each year … well, then there's really no reason to get the Reserve card in the first place.

 

chase sapphire reserve travel credit

 

Chase also added a $5 monthly credit for DoorDash orders for Sapphire Reserve cardholders that runs through the remainder of 2024 – there's no indication yet whether or not Chase plans to extend this, but you never know. The credit can be redeemed by DashPass members in the DoorDash app and Reserve cardholders can accumulate the credit for up to three months before expiration (for a maximum of $15 total credit to redeem)

 

Winner: Which Card Offers Better Annual Credits?

As great as this new hotel credit on the Preferred Card is, it still doesn't compete with the Reserve card's $300 annual travel credit.

Winner: The *chase sapphire reserve*

 

*chase sapphire reserve*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Airport Lounge Access

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Sapphire Preferred card does not currently offer any sort of complimentary airport lounge access.

Hoping to access the Chase Sapphire Lounges with a Preferred Card? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Preferred cardholders won't receive complimentary lounge access. You can, however, buy your way in by paying $100 for a day pass … but that's the same price everyone pays, regardless of whether you've got a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Reserve, on the other hand, comes with a complimentary Priority Pass Lounge membership. This is the gateway for you (and up to two guests) to hang out in thousands of airport lounges all over the world. Additionally, you'll also have access to a growing list of airport restaurants where you can dine for free during your travels, but not for long. Chase is cutting the Priority Pass Restaurants benefit for Reserve cardholders as of July 1. 

Additionally, Sapphire Reserve cardholders will also get access to Chase's new Sapphire Airport Lounges. The first of those Chase-branded lounges in the U.S. opened in Boston earlier this year, while a lounge in Hong Kong opened late last year. Chase has plans for seven additional locations including Las Vegas (LAS), New York LaGuardia (LGA), San Diego (SAN), and more.

 

chase sapphire lounge boston
The Chase Sapphire Lounge in Boston (BOS)

 

Sapphire Reserve cardholders will get unlimited complimentary access to the Sapphire Lounges. They will also have the ability to bring up to two guests with them on each visit free of charge. Authorized users on the Reserve (which costs an extra $75 a year per card) will also get their own access and guests, too.

One small hitch: It's not the Reserve that gets you in but the Priority Pass membership you get from your Reserve card that gets you access. Just be sure to activate that account and you should be set.

 

Winner: Which Card Has Better Airport Lounge Access?

If lounge access is a priority, this should be an easy choice. The complimentary drinks, food, and oasis from the airport gates can easily be worth the additional annual fee you will pay on the Reserve card.

Winner: The *chase sapphire reserve*

 

*chase sapphire reserve*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Redeeming Points

Though the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn from both cards are the same, they can be worth drastically different amounts … at least when you use them to book flights, hotels, and other expenses through Chase Travel℠.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can redeem your points for 1.25 cents each towards travel booked through the Chase portal.

That means if you use Chase Travel℠ to book a flight, hotel, or other travel, your points will be worth 25% more. For example, 60,000 points would be worth more than $750 towards travel booked through Chase Travel℠.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can redeem your points for 1.5 cents each towards travel booked through Chase Travel℠.

That means if you use Chase Travel℠ to book a flight, hotel, or other travel, your points will be worth 50% more. In this case, the 60,000-point bonus would be worth at least $900 towards travel booked through Chase Travel℠.

Here's an example of what this looks like in practice. Recently, We sent our Thrifty Traveler Premium members flights from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Amsterdam (AMS) for $483 roundtrip. The screenshot below was taken from Google Flights, our favorite flight search engine.

 

chase sapphire reserve vs preferred

 

Once you find the flight that will work, you can simply head to Chase Travel℠ within your Chase online account. Generally speaking, you should be able to pull up the same cash rate in the portal as you did in Google Flights – though there will sometimes be exceptions to this.

As you can see from the screenshot below, you can book it for 38,586 Ultimate Rewards points if you hold the Sapphire Preferred card. That's because your points will always be worth 1.25 cents each when booking flights this way. To do the math, take the cost of the ticket divided by .0125. In our example, $482.33 / 0.0125 = 38,586 points.

 

chase sapphire reserve vs preferred

 

But if you've got the Sapphire Reserve card, you can book that same flight for 32,155 Ultimate Rewards points. That's because your points will always be worth 1.5 cents each.

 

chase sapphire reserve vs preferred

 

There are ways you can get far more out of these points by turning to Chase transfer partners, airlines, and hotel chains to which you can directly transfer your points. And in that respect, these two cards are equal. No matter which version you have, points will transfer to Chase's airline and hotel partners on a 1:1 basis – 1 Chase point gets you 1 airline mile or 1 hotel point.

 

Winner: Which Card Offers More Value for Redeeming Points?

There's a clear winner when you're redeeming points directly through Chase.

Winner: The *chase sapphire reserve*

 

*chase sapphire reserve*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Trusted Traveler Application Credits

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Preferred card doesn't offer a credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or Nexus.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

With the Sapphire Reserve, you can receive up to $100 in credit once every four years to cover the cost of either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. The Sapphire Reserve also offers an application credit for Nexus. As of October 2024, that credit will increase to cover up to $120 in enrollment charges with either program. 

Membership in these programs lasts for five years, so you're set with this credit. And since Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck, it's the obvious choice if you plan to do any international travel.

Read our guide to enrolling in Global Entry!

Winner: The *chase sapphire reserve*

 

*chase sapphire reserve*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Rental Car Insurance Coverage

Both versions of the Sapphire card offer some of the best car rental coverage you will find from a credit card.

Let's go back to basics for a bit. There are two categories of insurance coverage when it comes to rental cars: primary and secondary. The vast majority of travel rewards credit cards offer only secondary coverage on your rental if you pay with the card. Secondary coverage typically comes with a deductible and it only kicks in if you don’t have your own personal car insurance policy. It will likely not cover the entire loss of a vehicle, either.

Primary insurance, on the other hand, will cover all damage from collision or theft of most rental cars – and that's what you get with both Sapphire cards.

If you waive the car rental company’s coverage when renting, these benefits will apply if your vehicle is damaged, lost, or stolen and you paid with a card offering primary insurance. Both cards provide coverage for the cardholder and any additional drivers permitted on the rental agreement.

The only difference in the rental car coverage offered by the two cards is the amount that each will cover.

 

car rental graphic

 

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.

One thing to note – Chase does exclude “high-value motor vehicles” and exotic cars from Sapphire Preferred rental coverage. Chase explicitly states that the following car brands are excluded: “Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Tesla”

While most of these brands are typically not going to be available on a standard rental lot, the exclusion for Tesla is interesting and something to be aware of – especially now that Teslas are becoming more common with rental agencies.

You shouldn't have any issues renting a Tesla and having coverage if you hold the Sapphire Reserve.

Read More: All About the Chase Sapphire Rental Car Insurance Benefit

Winner: The *chase sapphire reserve*

 

*chase sapphire reserve*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Baggage Delay & Lost Luggage Coverage

When it comes to covering baggage delays and/or lost luggage, you will be hard-pressed to find more bang for your buck than either of these cards.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card only charging an annual fee of $95, it's the clear winner in this category as both cards provide identical coverage. If you check your bags and they’re delayed more than six hours, both cards can 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.

Additionally, the coverage will cover the primary cardholder, the cardholder’s spouse or domestic partner, and any immediate family members.

Winner: The *chase sapphire preferred*

 

*chase sapphire preferred*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Trip Delay & Cancelation Coverage

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred cards will reimburse you for expenses you incur 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 both cards offer similar coverage, Sapphire Reserve cardholders will be able to take advantage of it after a six-hour delay while Preferred cardholders are only eligible after a delay of 12 hours or more.

Winner: The *chase sapphire reserve*

 

*chase sapphire reserve*

Read more: A Firsthand Experience Using Chase's Trip Delay Insurance

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Travel Accident Coverage

You always hope you never need Medical Evacuation & Travel Accident coverage. But if you ever need it, it’s invaluable.

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 Preferred card will provide a benefit amount for the loss of life up to $500,000 while the Sapphire Reserve card will provide a benefit for loss of life up to $1,000,000.

Additionally, only the Sapphire Reserve card will provide coverage for a medical evacuation. 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 for up to $100,000.

Winner: The *chase sapphire reserve*

 

*chase sapphire reserve*

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve: Which is Best?

By the numbers, the Sapphire Reserve wins in a landslide. But that lopsided win doesn't tell the full story.

Everybody can – and should – weigh these categories differently. Some of these categories could make the Chase Sapphire Reserve a no-brainer to one person, such as those set on getting lounge access or a Global Entry membership. Those same benefits might be meaningless to another person – especially someone who's looking to earn points at a low cost.

There is a key point to keep in mind. While the upfront cost of the Reserve card is much higher with a $550 annual fee, the effective annual fee is only $250 after factoring in the annual travel credit. 

While still steep for many travelers, that's much more palatable than the initial sticker shock. And some of the card's other perks could help you outweigh that cost altogether.

 

Bottom Line: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Sapphire Reserve

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve share a name and earn the same points, what you will get with each card is vastly different. The $550 upfront annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is not for everybody, but if you think you can maximize the card's benefits, you can easily come out way ahead.

And at the end of the day, both cards are a great option for travelers.

Read more: A Full Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Read more: A Full Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

 

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.

4 Responses

  • Which airlines are the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred cards good for? I apologize in advance as it’s probably spelled out somewhere, but I cannot find

  • I currently have the chase Sapphire Reserve card but am thinking of dropping it and getting the Preferred card. Any recommendations on how to do it and can I get the 80k miles bonus on the preferred?

    • Hey Kevin, as long as you haven’t earned the bonus on the card within the past 48 months you should be eligible to earn the 80k on the Reserve. I would suggest calling Chase and converting your Reserve to one of the Freedom cards. This will keep your points in tact. You can then apply for the Preferred Card.

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