chase sapphire preferred vs reserve
Want to discuss these deals? Apply to join the members-only MilesTalk Facebook group.
Advertising Disclosure: Links and credit card offers on this page may earn us a small commission. They never influence what we cover but they do keep the lights on. Learn More

One of the most common questions I’m asked is which Sapphire card somebody should start with: the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Let’s take a quick step back. There are four primary cards that Chase offers that earn Ultimate Rewards points on the consumer side:

If you are in a cash crunch, you should avoid travel rewards credit cards until you are caught up. Here are our favorite credit cards for Intro 0% APR offers and for balance transfer offers

In another post, we compare the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs the Chase Freedom Flex.

NOTE:

On August 16th, 2021, the following changes occurred:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Changes

  • You now earn 5x total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; and
  • 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out (previously 2x)
  • 3x points on select streaming services
  • 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • A $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards. New cardmembers will start earning towards the credit immediately and existing cardmembers will start earning after their next account anniversary.
  • A 10% Anniversary point bonus.
    • Each account anniversary year, you’ll earn bonus points that equal 10% of your total spend in points from purchases made with your card during the previous account anniversary year at a rate of 1 point for each $1 spent.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Changes

  • 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards (This is powered by Tock Dining and is only in select markets)
  • 10x total points on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards
  • 5x total points on air travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards
  • In addition to earning points, later this year Reserve cardmembers will have access to “Reserved by Sapphire,” featuring exclusive opportunities to book reservations at some of the most sought-after restaurants across the country including Canlis in Seattle, Redbird in Los Angeles, SingleThread Farms in Healdsburg, Calif., Reverence in New York, NY and One Off Hospitality in Chicago.
  • NEW: Access to Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club airport lounges

Prior to that, on January 12th, 2020, the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s annual fee went from $450 to $550 and added new benefits with Peloton, DoorDash and Lyft. This post compares the two cards taking into account the new benefits.

The Peloton Benefits are:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve cardmembers:
    • Earn up to $120 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmembers:
    • Earn up to $60 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021.

The new Lyft benefits are:

New DoorDash credits only for the Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • Get $60 in DoorDash credits in 2021 (for now, the benefit ends after 2021, though it could be extended).

Both cards offer a free one-time DoorDash “DashPass” subscription. 

  • Get free DashPass to get free DoorDash deliveries at select restaurants with $12 or more in your order and decreased service charges. Valid from now through the end of Dec 2021 or for a minimum of one year when activated any time before then.

Head to Head Sapphire Benefits Comparison

 Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Sapphire Preferred
Signup Bonus50,000 Ultimate Rewards points with $4,000 in spend within 3 months60,000 Ultimate Rewards points with $4,000 in spend within 3 months
Annual Fee$550$95
NET EFFECTIVE Annual Fee$250 if you use the full annual $300 travel credit.$95
Redemption value in Ultimate Rewards portal?Yes, at 1.5 cents per point
(50,000 points equals $750 in travel)
Yes, at 1.25 cents per point (50,000 points equals $625 in travel)
(2021 Only) Peloton BenefitEarn up to $120 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021.Earn up to $60 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021.
DoorDash Benefits (through 2021)Free "DashPass" membership (free delivery on select restaurants when you spend $12 or more) from now through the end of Dec 2021 or for a minimum of one year when activated any time before then.Free "DashPass" membership (free delivery on select restaurants when you spend $12 or more) from now through the end of Dec 2021 or for a minimum of one year when activated any time before then.
Door Dash Credits (through 2021)$60 in 2021None
Lyft Earning Rate (through March 2022)Earns 10X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft ridesEarns 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on Lyft rides
Lyft Benefits (through March 2022)Get a one-time complimentary Lyft Pink subscription (15% Lyft discounts, free bike/scooter rentals each month, and better cancellation rules). This is a $240 value.None
$50 annual travel credit for hotels booked via the Chase Travel portalNoYes
3X on online grocery ordersNoYes
3X on streaming servicesNoYes
10% anniversary bonus based on total yearly spend.NoYes
10X points on Chase Dining by TockYesYes
Airport Lounge AccessYes, via Priority Pass. For you and up to two guests. Unlimited visits. Will also include Chase branded LoungesNo
Transfers to airline and hotel partners?YesYes
Global Entry or PreCheck reimbursement?Yes, up to $100 once every 5 years.No
Trip Delay CoverageYes, up to $500 after a 6 hour delay. Must have used card to purchase at least part of trip. Paying with Ultimate Rewards points counts.Yes, up to $500 after a 12 hour delay. Must have used card to purchase at least part of trip. Paying with Ultimate Rewards points counts.
Car Rental Damage Waiver Insurance?Yes, Primary (Both cards have identical coverage).Yes, Primary (Both cards have identical coverage).
Roadside assistanceYes, covering up to $50 in roadside assistance (i.e. towing, help with a flat, etc) up to 4 times a yearYes, but only the call is covered. Any assistance provided such as a towing is at your own expense.
Trip Cancellation / Interruption CoverageYes (excludes travel provider insolvency)Yes (excludes travel provider insolvency)
Lost / Delayed Luggage Coverage?Yes, up to $3,000. Other limits apply.Yes, up to $3,000. Other limits apply.

It’s very important to note that you can combine your rewards from any Ultimate Rewards earning Chase credit card. So if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, which allows redemptions in the UR portal at 1.5 cents per point, you can combine points earned on a Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom into your Chase Sapphire Reserve account. Many people carry multiple cards for this reason. You simply put whatever purchase you are making on the card that will earn the most points and combine later.  Even with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you could transfer in points from a no-fee Freedom card in order to utilize transfer partners.

Now, let’s get back to the topic at hand.

You want the ability to transfer to Chase’s nice list of transfer partners such as United or Hyatt, so that rules out the Freedom cards as cards to start with.

Do you choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

The answer to that is, of course, based on your own needs.

My goal is to give you the most efficient comparison so that you can make an informed decision.

Comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve Bonus Offers

The bonus offers on the two cards are similar, but the $95 annual fee Chase Sapphire Preferred actually has a bonus offer that nets you 10,000 more Chase Ultimate Rewards points than the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Bonus Offer

50,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus Offer

60,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months

chase sapphire preferred new card art
Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred clearly has a better bonus, with an extra 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the same minimum spend.

It’s important to note that you can definitely apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, get the higher bonus, and then upgrade to the Reserve in a year if it suits you better. That would earn more rewards and also save you the difference in the first year’s annual fee as well!

Comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve Annual Fees

The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a “sticker” annual fee of $550, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee.

If you spend $300 a year on travel – which Chase loosely defines as all airline, hotel, parking, Uber/Lyft, and taxi purchases – then your $550 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve is reduced down to $250. This is because these travel credits are automatic. Spend them within a cardmember year and you will see them instantly refunded to you until the credit is used up. I personally use mine up within a month each year.  So, most consider the travel credit to be like cash.

To make that even simpler: If you spend $300 in travel purchases per year, your net effective annual fee is $250 on the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs $95 on a Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is a $155 difference.

Decision tree: If you DO NOT spend $300 a year on Travel, you most likely should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred for now.  If you do, continue….

I can’t stress enough that if you want a Chase Sapphire card (because you want to be able to transfer points to airline or hotel partners), you need one or the other. So once we know you are getting either a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the decision comes down to the $155 difference in annual fee.

What Do You Get For the Extra $155 a Year with the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

  • 3x points on Travel and Dining (vs. 2x with Chase Sapphire Preferred)
  • Priority Pass Lounge access for you and two guests (Very valuable if you don’t already have another credit card with Priority Pass airport lounge access)
  • 10X on Lyft rides vs. 5X on the Chase Sapphire Preferred (worth a lot if you use Lyft a lot, else not worth much at all)
  • 10x total points on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards qne 5x total points on air travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards (vs. 5x on all Ultimate Rewards-booked travel with the Sapphire Preferred).
  • Free one year of Lyft Pink (worth $240, but only if you use Lyft regularly)
  • $60 in DoorDash credits in 2021
  • $120 in Peloton credits in 2021 (vs $60 with Chase Sapphire Preferred)
  • Redemption of your points in the Ultimate Rewards portal for 1.5 cents per point (vs. 1.25)
  • $100 Global Entry/PreCheck credit every 5 years
  • Trip Delay coverage at 6 hours (vs. 12 hours)
  • 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards (This is powered by Tock Dining and is only in select markets – making it a negligible benefit for most.)

Now, as of August 16th, 2021, we also have to take into account the things that the $95 annual fee Sapphire Preferred offers that the Sapphire Reserve does not. Those are:

  • 3x points on select streaming services
  • 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • A $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards. New cardmembers will start earning towards the credit immediately and existing cardmembers will start earning after their next account anniversary.
  • A 10% Anniversary point bonus.
    • Each account anniversary year, you’ll earn bonus points that equal 10% of your total spend in points from purchases made with your card during the previous account anniversary year at a rate of 1 point for each $1 spent.

Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Preferred Earn 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points (worth up to $750 or more!) when you spend $4,000 in 3 months. How to apply for this offer.

Additional Reading:

Questions?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

And if this post helped you, please consider sharing it!

You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here