Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which Is Better?

Chase changed the premium credit card market when they released the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card was already a fantastic travel card, so incredible they were able to make the Chase Sapphire Reserve better. The new benefits are fantastic but they come at a price, so which card is better? Let’s see the Chase Sapphire Preferred card vs Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

chase sapphire preferred

(Picture courtesy of Chase)

Sign up bonus:

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in 3 months
  • 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points after adding an authorized user and their first purchase

Points earnings:

  • 2x per $1 on travel and dining, 1x per $1 everywhere else

Benefits:

  • Access to 11 Chase transfer partners
  • Primary rental car insurance
  • 25% bonus on points redeemed through the Chase travel portal
  • Access to The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance up to $10,000 per trip
  • Trip delay insurance after 12 hour delay or a delay that results in an overnight stay
  • Baggage delay insurance, earn $100 per day for 5 days after your bags are delayed by over 6 hours
  • Purchase protection up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account per year
  • Return and Price Protection on new purchases
  • Extended warranty protection, earn an additional year of warranty on any purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual Fee:

  • $95, waived first year, $0 for additional authorized users

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Picture courtesy of Chase)

Sign up bonus:

  • 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in 3 months

Points Earnings:

  • 3x per $1 on travel, 1x per $1 everywhere else

Benefits:

  • $300 annul travel credit
  • 50% bonus on points redeemed through the Chase travel portal
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • Global entry / TSA Precheck application fee credit
  • Rental car privileges
  • Access to The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance up to $10,000 per trip
  • Trip delay insurance after 6 hour delay or a delay that results in an overnight stay
  • Baggage delay insurance, earn $100 per day for 5 days after your bags are delayed by over 6 hours
  • Purchase protection up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account per year
  • Return and price protection on new purchases
  • Extended warranty protection, earn an additional year of warranty on any purchase
  • Emergency evacuation & transportation insurance
  • Roadside assistance up, up to $50 per service, 4 services covered per year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Annual Fee:

  • $450 not waived the first year, $75 per authorized user card

Common Benefits Between Sapphire Preferred and Reserve

  • Access to the 11 Chase transfer partners
  • Primary rental car insurance
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Return and Price protection
  • Extended Warranty Protection

    chase sapphire reserve benefits header

    (Picture courtesy of Chase)

Where Sapphire Reserve Beats the Sapphire Preferred

  • 3x on travel vs 2x on travel
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • 50% Bonus on points redeeemed through the Chase travel portal
  • Earn 2.25% back with the Freedom Unlimited when you have the Sapphire Reserve card as well
  • Global Entry / TSA Precheck Application Fee Reimbursement
  • Rental car privileges
  • 6 Hour trip delay insurance vs 12 hour trip delay insurance
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation insurance
  • Purchase protection up to $10,000 per incident vs $500 per incident
  • Roadside assistance
  • Emergency evacuation & transportation insurance

    chase sapphire preferred benefits header

    (Picture courtesy of Chase)

Where the Sapphire Preferred Beats the Sapphire Reserve

  • Larger sign up bonus
    • 55,000 Ultimate Rewards points after adding a free authorized user
  • Lower annual fee at $95 per year
  • Each additional authorized user is $0

Break Even Point of 3x vs 2x on travel vs annual fee changes

If you spend enough money on travel, the extra point you earn per dollar can easily make up the annual fee. The break even points between 3x and 3x per $1 are as following:F

  • Full Sapphire Reserve annual fee without accounting for the travel credit
    ($450 – $95) / .01 = $35,550
  • Sapphire Reserve Effective annual fee after accounting for the travel credit
    ($450 – $300 – $95) / .01 = $5,500
  • Sapphire Reserve effective annual fee with 1 authorized user
    ($450 – $300 – $95 + $75) / .01 = $13,000

Which Card Should You Choose?

Choose Sapphire Reserve If:

  • You would like airport lounge access
  • You spend more than the break even point on travel every year
  • You redeem points through the Chase travel portal instead of transferring to travel partners
  • You favor better travel insurance
  • You favor better purchase protection insurance

Choose Sapphire Preferred If:

  • You do not spend more than the break even point on travel every year
  • You use utilize transfer partners more than the Chase travel portal
  • You have many authorized users on your account
  • You do not need the slightly better travel insurance coverage

Conclusion

While the two cards are very similar, they are also very different. When breaking down the benefits and annual fee difference, I don’t think there is a clear winner. I think you should evaluate what you spend on travel every year and also consider if you favor the premium benefits of the Sapphire Reserve such as lounge access and better travel insurance.

Myself, I’m still torn whether I will keep my Sapphire Reserve after the first year. I was just approved for the Chase Ritz Carlton card, which gives me $100 off each domestic round trip flight, which will very likely reduce my travel spending on my Sapphire Reserve. I’m also considering adding the Citi Prestige to my wallet, which will give me the 4th night free at hotels, which would even further reduce my travel spending on my Sapphire Reserve. Thankfully I have until November to decide, as that’s when my annual fee is due.

– Points Tutor