Home > Credit Card Reviews > Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Comments 0 Comments

[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

In past years, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has been the go-to premium travel credit card. The card comes with a generous sign-up bonus and extra points on travel and restaurant purchases—all for a very reasonable annual fee of $95. Then Chase released the Chase Sapphire Reserve, one of the most talked-about credit cards of 2016 because of its pricey $450 annual fee and generous benefits. The Sapphire Reserve was so popular, Chase temporarily ran out of the metal versions of the card shortly after its August 2016 debut.

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards offer a lot of the same benefits, including certain trip cancellation and interruption insurance and baggage delay insurance, there are some major differences between the two. In this article, we’ll walk you through each card to help you decide which might be the better choice for your needs.

The Annual Fee

What really sets these two cards apart is their annual fees. The Sapphire Preferred fee is $95, and the Sapphire Reserve fee is $450, which is not waived at any time.

If these fees are still too high for your tastes, peruse the several cards without annual fees, such as the Discover it Miles and the Capital One VentureOne Rewards cards.  


With the Sapphire Preferred card, you earn two points per dollar spent on travel and at restaurants. Any other purchases will earn one point per dollar spent. For cash and gift card redemptions, 100 points are worth $1, but for travel redemptions, 100 points are worth $1.25.

With the Reserve card, you get even more—you earn three points per dollar both on travel and at restaurants. All other purchases will earn one point for every dollar you spend. And like the Sapphire Preferred card, 100 reward points will get you $1 in cash and gift cards. However, you receive $1.50 for every 100 points of travel redemptions.

Sign-Up Bonuses

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll earn 60,000 Chase rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months. To put that in perspective, 60,000 points are equivalent to $750 in travel rewards for Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Currently, the Sapphire Reserve card has the same sign-up bonus. But with the greater value in travel redemptions, those 50,000 points convert to $750 in travel rewards. When the Sapphire Reserve card was introduced last year, cardholders were given 100,000 points if they spent $4,000 or more in the first three months. All those points are equal to $1,500 in travel rewards—a huge reason why the card got so much attention last year.

Redeeming Your Points

Whether you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer the points you earn to one of the bank’s many airline and hotel transfer partners. These partners include Hyatt, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and more.

You can also use your points directly for travel through the Ultimate Rewards platform.

Why Choose Chase Sapphire Preferred?

It’s all about that annual fee—especially since both cards carry the same 15.99% - 22.99% Variable annual percentage rate (APR). Plus, if you don’t plan on using a lot of the benefits on the Sapphire Reserve or don’t do much traveling, it makes more sense to pay the Preferred’s more practical $95 annual fee.

Also, if you plan to add an authorized user to your Chase Sapphire Preferred account, you can earn a 5,000-point bonus. You just need to add the user and make a purchase within three months after you opened the account. To simply catch up to this bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you would need to spend $5,000. The Sapphire Reserve card also has a $75 annual fee tacked on for each authorized user while the Sapphire Preferred card does not have a fee at all.

Why Choose Chase Sapphire Reserve?

Many choose the Sapphire Reserve card over the Sapphire Preferred card because there is more value per point, for both earning points and spending them. Despite the high annual fee, the math can work out to your advantage, especially if you can use the card’s following ancillary benefits:

  • $300 annual travel credit: For all valid purchases on travel, you can receive a statement credit of up to $300 per calendar year. Chase’s definition of travel covers quite a bit, so many expenses, including airfare and hotels, would be eligible.
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check: You can also receive a statement credit of $100 to cover the cost of Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, which help you bypass long lines at the airport.
  • Access to airport lounges: With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you will gain entry to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide when you enroll in the complimentary Priority Pass™Select program—a big benefit if you spend a lot of time in airports.
  • More value per point: When you reserve travel through the Ultimate Rewards Program, your points are worth 50% more compared to 25% more with the Preferred card.
  • Special benefits: When you choose to stay at properties within the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, you’ll be eligible for benefits like early check-in and late checkout, complimentary room upgrades, and daily breakfast for two. You’ll also qualify for benefits from National Car Rental, Avis, and Silvercar.

Hopefully, you’ve found this information helpful in your search for the best travel rewards credit card. If you are interested in one of these cards, or any credit card for that matter, remember to check the credit requirements before you apply. Credit card applications could ding your credit, so make sure you have a good chance of qualifying with your current credit score before you apply.

See what your credit score is for free at Credit.com, or get your credit report card at no cost to you.

At publishing time, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is offered through Credit.com product pages and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s). Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: wundervisuals 

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team