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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® are two of the most popular travel rewards credit cards on the market. They both earn bonus points on travel and dining, as well as offer various perks for services like Peloton and DoorDash.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is also our pick for best credit card with an annual fee under $100, thanks to a 100,000 point sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That’s a much higher bonus than its sister card in the Chase Sapphire lineup, the Sapphire Reserve, which has an annual fee of $550. In fact, now is the best time to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred, while the elevated bonus is still being offered.
The Reserve can still deliver value higher than its annual fee for some people who are frequent travelers, but for most others, the Preferred is the way to go. Especially if you are starting out with earning and redeeming travel rewards points, it’s a solid pick that can provide a lot of value.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at both these cards to help you pick.
Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred At a Glance
These two travel cards have a few similarities, but differ in terms of perks, sign-up bonus and earning rates, and have vastly different annual fees.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve, the more premium card of the two, offers more credits and travel perks, and earns 3 points per dollar on dining and travel compared to 2 points per dollar on the Sapphire Preferred card.
While Chase may introduce some rumored changes to both Sapphire cards, here’s where things stand today.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Chase Sapphire Preferred|
|Sign-Up Bonus||60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening||100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening|
|Bonus Points||10x on Lyft rides; 3x on travel and dining; 1x on everything else||2x on dining and travel|
|Credits||$300 travel credit (valid also for gas station and grocery store purchases through December 31, 2021); $60 in DoorDash credits; Complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership (activate by 12/31/2021); Up to $120 back in Peloton membership credits||$60 towards eligible Peloton memberships and a complimentary 12-month DoorDash DashPass membership (otherwise $9.99 per month).|
|Travel Perks||Priority Pass Select membership; Lyft Pink status; up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit every 4 years||None|
As mentioned, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card currently wins in the welcome bonus category. It’s offering 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. This is 40,000 points higher than the standard 60,000-point offer with the same minimum spending requirements.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is currently offering a 60,000-point bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
In any case, it’s important not to spend more than you can afford just to hit the minimum spending requirements, on any credit card. You should never pay more than you would have by using cash or a debit card, and we also strongly recommend paying your bills on time and in full every month. Not doing so can negate any of the rewards or perks you’ll receive from a travel rewards credit card, whether a Chase Sapphire card or another card on the market.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Intro bonus:60,000 points
- Annual fee:$550
- Regular APR:16.99%-23.99% Variable
- Recommended credit:740-850 (Excellent)
- Learn more at our partner’s secure site.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Intro bonus:100,000 points
- Annual fee:$95
- Regular APR:15.99% – 22.99% Variable
- Recommended credit:670-850 (Good to Excellent)
- Learn more at our partner’s secure site.
American Express® Gold Card
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides, as well as 3 points per dollar on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns 2 points per dollar on travel and dining.
The better earning rate on travel and dining purchases on the Reserve is attractive, but let’s consider a hypothetical spending of $10,000 per year on these two categories; it would earn you 30,000 points on the Reserve and 20,000 on the Preferred. When redeemed for travel, 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $150 for Reserve users and $125 for Preferred users, thanks to a redemption rate of 1.5 cents per point versus 1.25, according to Chase. That $25 difference in value in favor of the Reserve doesn’t come close to offsetting the difference in annual fees.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a variable APR rate between 16.99% and 23.99%. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a variable APR rate between 15.99% and 22.99%.
That said, as with all travel rewards credit cards, we recommend paying your bills on time and in full to avoid any interest charges.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card carries a $95 annual fee; the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a $550 annual fee.
Neither card charges foreign transaction fees, so both are great to take with you on international trips.
Deciding Between the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
First off, you cannot have both cards at the same time; Chase only allows one of two Sapphire cards per cardholder at a given time. (However, spouses and partners who share the same address can have two Chase Sapphire cards and combine their points.)
Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits all strategy and picking between these two cards really comes down to your personal preferences.
If you want a lower annual fee and don’t care about perks such as lounge access, travel credits, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credits or even DoorDash credits, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card may be a better fit for you. And with its bigger bonus in Ultimate Rewards points for future travel, the Sapphire Preferred card is the clear winner here for most people.
That said, if you want a more premium travel experience, you’ll be better off with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, despite the $550 annual fee. For people who travel frequently, the Reserve is a strong pick thanks to perks like access to the worldwide Priority Pass network of airport lounges and $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit every four years.
I personally have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card over the Preferred card, but that’s because I find the benefits pay for themselves and essentially negate the high annual fee. This year, Chase is extending the $300 annual travel credit to groceries and gas, and the $60 in DoorDash credits also helps offset the annual fee for me. Additionally, due to the pandemic, Chase renewed my annual fee at $450, the previous fee before it jumped to $550 last year. Between all of these perks and credits, my net fee this year was reduced to $90, which is essentially the same as the Sapphire Preferred card’s annual fee.
I don’t have a Peloton so I don’t get much use out of the $120 in annual credit, but the Reserve still works for me, and it will keep doing so when travel returns in earnest after the pandemic.
If you have a Peloton bike, be sure to switch your credit card on file to your Sapphire card to decrease the cost of your membership via the statement credit perks both cards offer.
If you don’t travel enough to justify the annual fee, though, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a natural pick. Take a close look at your own spending and travel habits before making a decision, but keep in mind that for most people who don’t travel a lot, the Preferred is a great entry point into the world of travel rewards cards.