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If you spend any time at all studying the world of rewards credit cards, you’ll quickly come to understand that two of the most talked-about credit cards on the market belong to Chase — in the form of its top-tier Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred. Two cards that have a ton of luxe benefits and welcome bonus points to offer between them, and which for many consumers remain the gold standard of rewards cards.
In terms of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, benefits include a $300 annual travel credit that can be used to cover lots of different expenses, plus you’ll quickly accumulate 3x points on travel and dining, along with 1.5-cent point redemptions via the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Its less-premium but still-attractive-in-its-own-right sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, is no less attractive, starting with an even lower annual fee, a welcome offer of 60,000 bonus points and lots more. All that said, you might be left with the obvious question — which card is the right one for me?
As with most things in life, the answer is: It depends! On you, on the mix of benefits that appeals to you, and on what you’re looking for. But, hopefully, this post can help shed some light on what each card offers to help you make the best decision.
Here’s a rundown on some of the highlights of each card, starting with the Sapphire Preferred:
Easier approval: One reason it might make sense to opt for the Sapphire Preferred over the Sapphire Reserve is that it will probably be easier to get approved for the former. If you’re going for the Sapphire Reserve, which is an ultra-premium card, you’ve basically got to have a top-notch credit score, and while you’ll still need solid credit to apply for the Sapphire Preferred (somewhere in the 600-700 range), it won’t be as hard to score an approval for this one.
Annual fee: One of the many great things about the Sapphire Preferred is that when it comes to the annual fee, you’re only on the hook for $95 each year, which is easily wiped out by the value of the benefits this card affords. Speaking of which …
Perks and points: There is a slew of perks that make the Sapphire Preferred worth owning, from insurance coverage to purchase protection as well as rental car coverage. Sapphire Preferred cardholders also earn two points for every dollar they spend on travel and dining, and as an added benefit it’s also worth knowing that Chase defines those categories pretty broadly. So, for example, the travel category includes the obvious things you’d associate with it like money spent on booking a flight and renting a hotel room. But you can also include things like bus and taxi fare, plus toll bridge and parking garage fees, among other expenses.
What’s more, if you sign up now this card is offering cardholders 60,000 points for meeting a $4,000 minimum spending requirement within the first three months.
Now, let’s switch to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Annual fee: Right away, we can see that this is not the card for cheapskates thanks to its hefty $550 annual fee (compared to only $95 for the Sapphire Preferred). But, again, there’s more than enough value herein to easily take a big bite out of that annual fee, starting with the fact that, just to move right along to the next category …
Perks and points: … this card rewards you with fantastic credits, like a $60 annual DoorDash credit through December 31, 2021; a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100; and a $300 annual travel credit. The points earning rate is, as is to be expected, better than what you get with the Sapphire Preferred — 3x points on travel and dining, 1x on everything else.
Other benefits include a free one-year Lyft Pink membership, which includes a 15% discount on all rides and free bike and scooter rentals each month. Moreover, based on the points earnings rate, if you spent $1,000 a month on travel and dining with both cards, the Sapphire Preferred would net you 24,000 Ultimate Rewards points over the course of a year — while you’d get 36,000 from the Sapphire Reserve. Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that with the Sapphire Reserve you can score a Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you entry into airport lounges around the world.
The final word
Our recommendation — if neither of these cards still stands out to you as one being better than the other, spring for the Sapphire Preferred with its elevated sign-up bonus. It’s worth hundreds of dollars more than the Sapphire Reserve (without the latter’s $550 annual fee, to boot). Moreover, if you change your mind down the line, you can always request an upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve if your needs change.
That said, it’s really hard to go wrong with either card. Both of them offer tons of value and benefits to both rewards card beginners and veterans.