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Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review

This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program.

Opinions expressed here are 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.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card snapshot

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has long been a top choice among travelers but another contender is on the scene. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers even more rewards-earning power, along with premium travel benefits like complimentary airport lounge access and annual travel credit.

The added perks come at a price. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card comes with a $450 annual fee beginning in the first year. That’s significantly higher than the $95 annual fee that applies to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

If you’re wondering whether that higher fee is worth it, it helps to understand how the two cards stack up side by side. Keep reading to learn what each card brings to the table which may help define what type of traveler each one is better suited for.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: our highlights

 Chase Sapphire Reserve®Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Rewards:Earn 3X Points on Travel Worldwide, immediately after earning your $300 annual travel credit
Earn 3X Points on dining at restaurants worldwide
Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Bonus offer for eligible new cardmembers:Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Annual fee:$450$95
Foreign transaction fee:$0$0
Additional card perks:Annual Travel Credit - receive up to $300 in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
Enroll in Priority Pass™ Select Membership for Airport Lounge Access at one of the 1,000+ VIP lounges in over 500 cities worldwide
Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® Application Fee Statement Credit up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card
Transfer your points to leading frequent travel programs at 1:1 valueTransfer your points at a 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and get 50% more valueRedeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and get 25% more value
Other Notes:Terms, restrictions, limitations, exclusions and conditions applyTerms, restrictions, limitations, exclusions and conditions apply

Comparing the travel rewards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers cardmembers 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. You will pay no foreign transaction fee when using your card for purchases made outside the United States.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® takes earning up a notch. This card offers an Annual Travel Credit – cardmembers automatically receive up to $300 in a statement credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Earn 3X points on travel worldwide immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. Earn 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide. Plus, 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You will pay no foreign transaction fee when using your card for purchases made outside the United States.

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2fJmJwD

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2fJmJwD

The points you earn depend on how the merchant is categorized in the payment processing system and how the purchases are classified by the merchant, and Chase has no control over that. Be sure to check Chase’s website for more information and for any limitations or conditions.

Comparing the introductory points bonus

bonuspoints

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer bonus points to eligible new Cardmembers. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card eligible new Cardmembers earn 60,000 bonus bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers eligible new Cardmembers 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Comparing points redemption

Both cards earn Chase’s proprietary Ultimate Rewards® points, which can be redeemed via the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, and both cards offer an added incentive for redeeming your points for travel purchases in the form of a higher dollar value for each point.

When you use points on either card to redeem for cash back, each point is worth $0.01 (one cent) per point, which means that 100 points is equal to $1 in redemption value. The value varies for gift card redemption.

When you use points earned with the the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, each point is worth $.0125 (one and a quarter cents), which means that 100 points is worth $1.25 in redemption value. When points are redeemed this way, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. So basically you get 25% more value in travel redemption and that refers to the redemption value for travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Redemption values for other reward options vary.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives even more bang for the buck, with a 50% premium on points value when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. When you use your points earned with Chase Sapphire Reserve®, to redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, each point is worth $.0150 (one and a half cents), which means that 100 points is worth $1.50 in redemption value. For example with this card when points are redeemed this way, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. So with this offer you can get 50% more value in travel redemption when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Redemption values for other reward options vary.

What counts as a travel purchase for the purpose of redemption? Anything you book on the travel section of the Ultimate Rewards® portal. You can’t get the added value for any travel purchase you make outside the portal.  Note, travel cost is based on the rates and fares available through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website and travel center, and may not reflect all rates and fares that are available through other sales channels.

1:1 points transfer

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2fktrfk

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2fktrfk

With some travel rewards credit cards, you’re locked into redeeming those points as a travel statement credit only. Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card allow you to transfer rewards points on a 1:1 basis to select leading airline and hotel loyalty programs, see the following airline and hotel travel partners listed below. Partners that participate are subject to change, so be sure you check before you book your travel plans.

Airline Travel Partners

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards®
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue True Blue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel Travel Partners

  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy™
  • World of Hyatt®

Other ways to redeem rewards

Besides travel, you have other options for putting your rewards to work. With either card, can you redeem rewards for cash back or gift cards to select merchants. When redeeming for cash back each point is worth $0.01 (one cent) per point, which means that 100 points is equal to $1 in redemption value for cash back. The value varies for gift card redemption.

Why Chase Sapphire Reserve® may be a preferred choice for travelers

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2g3GtPC

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2g3GtPC

The primary reason to consider Chase Sapphire Reserve® over the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the added value on your points, both when you make purchases and when you redeem for travel.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card seems to be designed with luxury travelers in mind. Besides offering a higher travel rewards rate and more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, this card comes with a range of added travel benefits that, if used by you, could make up for the $450 annual fee. This of course is based on your personal use and lifestyle.

$300 annual travel statement credit

Each year, Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmembers automatically receive up to $300 Annual Travel Credit in statement credits as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.

Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® fee credit ($100 or $85)

Membership in the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit program allows you to get through the airport faster when you travel. When you use your Chase Sapphire Reserve® card to pay the application fee for either one of these programs, you’ll receive a statement credit of either $85 for the TSA Pre✓® application fee or $100 for the Global Entry application fee every four years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card.

Complimentary airport lounge access

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2g3DMh7

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2g3DMh7

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve® after a one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select you can access one of the 1,000+ participating VIP airport lounges in over 500 cities worldwide. You can take advantage of lounge amenities like WiFi and free snacks and beverages. Keep in mind certain terms, conditions and exclusions apply.

Luxury hotel benefits

Through the The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection℠ program Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmembers have access to special hotel and resort benefits at select properties, such as:

  • Complimentary room upgrades
  • Early check-in and late check-out

These benefits are available at a variety of hand-selected top hotels and resorts worldwide. All exclusive amenities and guest privileges are provided per room, based on double occupancy and certain blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Built-in travel protections

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2fY45WW

Flickr: http://bit.ly/2fY45WW

To ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers travel protections, including:

  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation

All of these are included at no additional charge, although you may have to pay a fee to third-party service providers. For example, it wouldn’t cost you anything to contact roadside assistance but you may be responsible for paying a tow truck to come and help you if you end up with a flat tire. When you open your Chase Sapphire Reserve® account Chase will send you a Guide to Benefits which includes an explanation of the coverage. Restrictions, limitations and exclusions apply.

Why you may like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card better

One reason to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card over Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the annual fee. If you don’t travel quite as often or you don’t care about things like lounge access or complimentary hotel upgrades, then you might not be able to maximize the value of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card’s higher annual fee.

Which card should you choose?

Whether the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® deserves a spot in your wallet ultimately depends on your spending style travel plans. If you dine out, travel frequently, have a big trip on the horizon, or enjoy luxury benefits, Chase Sapphire Reserve® may prove its worth. On the other hand, if you don’t travel quite as often, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a solid rewards alternative.

Terms, restrictions, limitations, exclusions and conditions apply.


Independent Review Disclosure: All the information about Chase Sapphire Reserve® has been collected independently by CreditSesame.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is not available through CreditSesame.com.

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Published November 16, 2016
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