Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve Card [Review]

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve Card [Review]

Learn the difference between these two stand-out cards offered in Chase’s Sapphire portfolio.

When it comes to credit card comparisons, it can be difficult to tease out what is fact or fiction because every customer, market, and country has its own unique characteristics that, in one way or another, shape the preferences of each potential new cardholder.

In strong, competitive financial markets, credit card offerings and reward programs come equipped with generous welcome perks and strong ancillary benefits to reward cardholders for spending their money. Usually, reward programs deliver extra value by offering discounts or higher earning rates to meet the daily needs of cardholders, such as supermarket or gas purchases. The Chase Sapphire credit card product line does this seamlessly and offers both the Preferred and Reserve to consumers looking to get an extra bang for their bucks.

Benefits of Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card currently offers 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points upon opening an account. To obtain these points, a new cardholder must spend $4,000 in the first three months.  This is one of the stronger account-opening bonuses out there considering that the Ultimate Rewards points have an exact value of $500 in the form of direct deposit, $750 if used in the Chase portal for a trip (worth 1.5X), or a dynamic value if transferred to an airline partner.

The Sapphire Reserve Card  wouldn’t be such a leading credit card in the premium market if it didn’t include a complimentary Priority Pass, which grants access to over 1,000 airport lounges across the world. It bears mentioning that the Sapphire Reserve card comes with a $550 annual fee.

Benefits of Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a popular travel rewards credit card that is ideal for people who eat and travel often. Although it comes with a $95 annual fee, Sapphire Preferred earns an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on restaurant purchases and travel, and an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

Plus, it has a strong sign-up bonus: if you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points. That’s a $625 value when redeemed for travel purchases, more than six times the annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Preferred

Both Chase cards are popular travel cards thanks to the bank’s valuable Ultimate Rewards program and the many benefits associated with spending, including generous reward redemption rates and  travel protection.

The highest-tier Reserve card offers the best and most attractive benefits for its consumers, however, it comes with a hefty $550 annual fee. This can make it a poor financial fit for some consumers, which is where the Preferred card comes back into the picture.

Travel benefits

If you are a regular traveler, the Reserve card might be the best card out there for you.

Why? With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you get a $300 travel credit each year, a $100 credit for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee, and complimentary trip protection services.

It also grants you access to many airport lounges through the Priority Pass Select membership. With that membership you can relax, have a drink, and catch up on some emails in the comfort of a VIP lounge before departing on another journey.

Although the world is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and travel remains fairly controlled, the Reserve card remains a traveler-friendly credit card if you spend over $500 annually on travel.

Earning Rates

Both Reserve and Preferred can perfectly suit your travel style and offer numerous advantages if you like to spend a lot on dining and travel. However, the Reserve card does come with some additional advantages over the Preferred to justify its larger annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns the following reward rates:

  • 3 points per $1 spent on dining purchases3 points per dollar spent on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit
  • 1 point per dollar for all remaining purchases

Points redeemed for travel rewards using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal receive a 50% redemption bonus.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Preferred cardholders earn bonus points on the same categories, but with slightly lower numbers:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on Dining & Travel Purchases1 point per $1 for all other purchases

Points redeemed for travel rewards using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal receive a 25% redemption bonus.

Annual fee

Due to the difference between the two cards, the Preferred card has a more affordable annual fee than Reserve, costing just $95 a year. In our view, this lower annual fee makes the card ideal for those who don’t travel constantly but do want to enjoy the benefits of a card focused on travelers.

Meanwhile Reserve, designed for people with a higher travel frequency, has the advantage of having the greatest benefits in its category. As a result, the card’s  annual fee is an eye-watering $550.


Overall, the best card depends a lot on your travel style and personal budget. Of course, Reserve offers the best benefits, bonuses and earnings, but it also offers a much higher annuity rate, so you need to focus on each point to decide which card is right for you.

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