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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Should You Upgrade?

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Should You Upgrade?

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While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a good choice for regular travelers, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a better value for consumers, at least for its first year of membership.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cards are widely considered to be some of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market. However, most consumers will get more value from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® for their first year because it offers a larger sign-up bonus, valuable points and a $300 annual travel credit that offsets most of the annual fee. Also, if you're partial to airport lounge access, you'll want to go with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, which comes with a Priority Pass™ Select membership.

The equation changes in the second year of membership. Cardholders who don't spend a large amount on travel and don't use airport lounges will likely find that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the better value in the long run.

It's worth noting that both cards are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, which allows you to transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to 14 travel loyalty programs. Points are worth at least 25% more when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, so you really can't go wrong choosing either of these cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>®</sup>
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
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First year value$962.12$1,016.76
Best for…Most travelersThose who spend heavily on travel or want lounge access
Annual fee$95$550
Earning rate5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Estimated point value$0.0125$0.015
BonusEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Estimated bonus value$750$900
Travel credits
  • $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Up to $100 TSA Precheck/Global Entry/NEXUS fee reimbursement
Lounge accessNonePriority Pass access to 1,300+ airport lounges in 500+ cities worldwide
Authorized user fee$0$75
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Rewards

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

For the average consumer, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® yields greater rewards value, at least for the first year of card ownership.

This is because it offers a much larger sign-up bonus and a 50% redemption bonus through the Chase travel portal, making the points generally more valuable.

Note that, in its second year, the higher annual fee offsets the overall value of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, despite its status as a premium credit card.

For long-term cardholders, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may be the better choice. It covers the same spending categories as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, plus offers a bonus on online groceries and streaming services. For everyday categories like dining, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a comparable offer to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. The only category where Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the obvious winner is travel purchases, but Chase Sapphire Preferred® Cardholders will still get a hefty 5 points on all Ultimate Rewards travel spend.

Earning categories
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining, streaming services and online grocery purchases
  • 2x on all other travel purchases
  • 1x on all other purchases
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x points on other travel after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Chase Dining
  • 3x points on dining

Of course, the rewards value can vary drastically, depending on how much you spend in a card's bonus categories. You should do your own math to decide which card will best match up with your spending patterns.

Sample rewards earned in first year and after first year (based on $18,000 annual credit card spend)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Value
60,000 bonus points x $0.0125$750
$2,895 general dining spend x 3 point bonus x $0.0125$108.56
$780 general travel spend x 2 point bonus x $0.0125$19.50
$14,325 general spend x 1 point bonus x $0.0125$179.06
First year: $750 bonus + $307.12 in points - $95 annual fee$962.12
After first year: $307.12 in points - $95 annual fee$212.12

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Value
60,000 bonus points x $0.015$900
$2,895 general dining spend x 3 point bonus x $0.015$130.28
$480 general travel and dining spend (subtracting $300 travel credit) x 3 point bonus x $0.015$21.60
$14,325 general spend x 1 point bonus x $0.015$214.88
First year: $900 bonus + $366.76 in points + $300 travel credit - $550 annual fee$1,016.76
After first year: $366.76 in points + $300 travel credit - $550 annual fee$116.76

Also, keep in mind that a number of factors can affect the value of these two cards, including:

  • Whether you plan to add an authorized user — while there’s no cost for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, there is a $75 fee each year for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
  • Whether you transfer points to one of Chase's travel partners, in which case the point value between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve® will be the same, since they offer the same point transfer options.
  • Other features on the cards — The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, for example, may be the more valuable option if you prefer a card with airport lounge access.

Sign-up bonus

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has the better sign-up bonus due to the higher value of the points it offers, though it depends on how you use those points.

If you redeem your sign-up bonus earnings through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, you'll get $900. However, if you choose to transfer your rewards to a Chase hotel or airline partner, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will come out on top as you can get the same value from your points with a lower annual fee.

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® This offer is worth at least $900.

Annual fee

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

When it comes to comparing these cards' annual fees, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the clear winner.

However, whether or not either card's annual fee is worth it for you will depend on which benefits you're likely to use and how much value you can gain from the card.

In the table below, we add up the value of each card's benefits to determine how much their benefits outweigh their annual fees. While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a lower annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® potentially offers more value, particularly if you take advantage of its Priority Pass membership.

Annual fees vs. value of benefits

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Annual fee$95$550
Benefits
  • Sign-up bonus: $1,000
  • Rewards earnings: $307
  • Annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit: $50
  • Sign-up bonus: $900
  • Rewards earnings: $367
  • Annual travel credit: $300
  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck/NEXUS credit: $100
  • Priority Pass membership: $299
Net value$1,262$1,416

Travel coverage and purchase protections

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

While both cards offer a host of travel coverages and purchase protections, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers greater coverage in most situations.

  • For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers purchase protection that covers you up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card only offers $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers emergency evacuation and transportation and return protection for purchased items, where the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card doesn't include those offerings at all.

If travel coverage and purchase protections are essential for you, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will be the better choice.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Auto Rental Collision Damage WaiverPrimary coverage; provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars.Primary coverage; provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for rental cars.
Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption InsuranceUp to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per tripUp to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip
Zero liability and fraud protectionYesYes
Extended Warranty ProtectionExtends original warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.Extends original warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less
Purchase ProtectionCovers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.Covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.
Emergency evacuation and transportationN/AMedical services and transportation covered up to $100,000
Trip delay reimbursementFor delayed travel of more than 12 hours (or requiring an overnight stay), get up to $500 per ticketFor delayed travel of six or more hours (or requiring an overnight stay), get up to $500 per ticket
Travel accident insuranceAccidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000Accidental death or dismemberment coverage up to $1,000,000
Baggage delay insuranceUp to $100 a day for five days for delays over six hoursUp to $100 a day for five days for delays over six hours
Roadside assistanceRoadside service fees will be provided when you call and will be billed to your cardUp to $50 per incident four times a year
Return protectionN/AUp to $500 per item, $1,000 per year within 90 days of purchase
Lost luggage reimbursementUp to $3,000 per passengerUp to $3,000 per passenger

Other benefits

Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The additional benefits that come with these cards are comparable, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card beats out the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card at every turn.

The main differentiator here is the lounge access offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Cardholders will receive a Priority Pass™ Select membership which grants them access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide.

You'll also get significantly more valuable travel credits with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, including a TSA Precheck/Global Entry/NEXUS fee credit and a $300 travel credit.

Benefit
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Lounge accessN/AComplimentary Priority Pass Select membership
Travel credits$50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck® or NEXUS fee credit

Can you combine the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

Unfortunately, you can only have one of these cards at a time – they can't be combined. If you cancel your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, you'll have to wait 48 months to reapply and receive the sign up bonus. That said, you can always upgrade or downgrade if you already have a Chase Sapphire card, but doing so will not earn you an additional sign-up bonus.

Also be aware of the Chase 5/24 rule, which states that you likely will not be approved for any Chase card if you have opened five or more credit cards within the past 24 months.

Which card is best for you?

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for luxury

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card will be best for consumers who can afford to pay the high $550 annual fee and can make use of the luxury benefits that come with this card. Those who spend heavily on travel will be able to make the most of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®'s generous earning rate, too.

With perks like Priority Pass Select lounge access, a $300 travel credit, TSA Precheck/Global Entry/NEXUS reimbursement and more, frequent travelers can certainly appreciate all that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card has to offer. If you're not sold on this card, however, consider another premium credit card instead.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for everyday use

With several of the same benefits as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a higher sign-up bonus at a fraction of the cost. This card offers competitive earning rates on everyday spending categories, including things like dining, streaming services, and groceries.

Though it doesn't come with all the bells and whistles of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card still has plenty to offer. Cardholders will get a $50 annual hotel credit and flexible points that can be worth 25% more when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For the casual consumer looking for a low-cost travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can be a great option.

Can you upgrade from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

Yes, you can upgrade from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® if you find you're traveling and spending enough to warrant a more premium card. If you currently own the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, simply call the number on the back of your card and ask for an upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Note that your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card must be open for an entire year in order to be eligible for an upgrade.

FAQs

What is the difference between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is essentially the upgraded version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Both are part of the same rewards program, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a longer list of benefits and a higher rewards rate in exchange for a heftier annual fee.

What is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card credit score?

To be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you'll need a 720 - 850 credit score.

Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® better than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

For the average consumer, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the better option. However, the question of which credit card is better between the Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes down to your personal spending habits and rewards goals. If you spend a lot on travel and dining and look for premium perks that make travel more convenient, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is probably better for you. If you only travel casually, don't spend a lot on it each year and are hesitant to pay a higher annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is likely better for you.

Can I switch from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

You can ask to upgrade your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This might make the question of whether you should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card versus the Chase Sapphire Reserve® easier to answer, as you can start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and then upgrade if you decide you're spending enough to justify the annual fee. Keep in mind that you won't be eligible for the sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® when you upgrade. Alternatively, you can always downgrade Chase Sapphire Reserve® to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Is it worth upgrading from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

It can be worth it to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, if you will take advantage of benefits like Priority Pass lounge access. You can do the math on your spending to decide if upgrading from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is worth it. Simply go through your bank statements and total how much you spend each month on travel and dining. From there, you can calculate how many extra points you'd earn with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and add another 25% to the value of those points, since the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gets a 50% bonus on points redeemed for travel versus the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card's 25% bonus. Don't forget to add in the value of any benefits the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers that you'd take advantage of, such as the $300 travel credit, and then subtract the difference in annual fees between the two cards ($455) to get the difference in value based on your spending.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).