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

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

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Since the Chase Sapphire Reserve® updated its annual fee to $550, you may be wondering whether it's still worth applying for, or — if you're a current cardholder — whether you should downgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Deciding between the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can be tricky, as they come with many of the same benefits. Both belong to the Ultimate Rewards program and allow you to transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to 13 travel loyalty programs.

However, comparing the Chase Sapphire Reserve® versus Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in terms of their annual fees and list of benefits offers some clarity.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a higher annual fee, as well as a much longer list of benefits — including airport lounge access and a $300 travel credit that applies to most travel purchases — that could make up for its higher annual fee.

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Carefully do the math to weigh the differences between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® before you apply for either card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Best if…You spend heavily on dining and travelYou'd prefer a lower annual fee and have lower spending habits
Annual Fee$550$95
APR16.99%-23.99% Variable15.99% - 22.99% Variable
Earnings Rate3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Estimated Point Value$0.015$0.0125
BonusEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Estimated Bonus Value$900$1,250
Other Benefits$300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass™ Select Membership, TSA Pre/Global Entry fee reimbursement, up to $60 in annual DoorDash credits, free Lyft Pink membership (including 15% discount on Lyft rides), 1:1 point transfer to 13 travel partners1:1 point transfer to 13 travel partners
Can you transfer points to Ultimate Rewards partners?YesYes
FX Fee$0$0
NetworkVisa InfiniteVisa Signature
Apply Now
  • On Chase's Secure Website
Apply Now
  • On Chase's Secure Website

Here are key questions to ask in deciding which card is right for you:

Do you want lounge access?

If you're searching for a card with lounge access, the winner between the Chase Sapphire Reserve® versus Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is clear.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, giving you access to more than 1,300 lounges worldwide.

On the other hand, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card doesn't offer any lounge access.

How much do you spend on travel and dining?

For many cardholders, the choice between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card versus the Chase Sapphire Reserve® may come down to how much you spend on travel and dining each year.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card gives you a $300 travel credit that applies to most travel purchases, including airfare, and can erase all but $250 of the annual fee.

Travel purchases covered by the statement credit include:

  • Airlines (including airfare)
  • Hotels
  • Timeshares
  • Campgrounds
  • Taxis and car services
  • Toll bridges and highways
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Car rental agencies
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agency services
  • Trains
  • Buses

It also offers a higher 3x earning rate on travel and dining purchases and a 50% boost on point value for points redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal (compared with only a 25% value boost for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, along with its 2x earning rate).

All these features combined can make the Chase Sapphire Reserve® a better value for cardholders who spend heavily on travel and dining. In the example below, a cardholder who spent $9,000 in dining and travel each year and redeemed their points through the Ultimate Rewards portal would earn $11.50 more in value with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® than with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, not including the first year's sign-up bonus:

Sample rewards earned in first year and after first year ($9,000 spent on travel and dining)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Value
60,000 bonus points x $0.0150$900
$8,700 travel and dining spend (subtracting $300 travel credit) x 3 point bonus x $0.015$391.50
First year: $900 bonus + $391.50 in points + $300 travel credit - $550 annual fee$1,041.50
After first year: $391.50 in points + $300 travel credit - $550 annual fee$141.50

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Value
100,000 bonus points x $0.0125$1,250
$9,000 travel and dining spend x 2 point bonus x $0.0125$225
First year: $1,250 bonus + $225 in points - $95 annual fee$1,380
After first year: $225 in points - $95 annual fee$130

You might get more value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for the first year because it comes with a higher sign-up bonus. However, it's important to compare credit cards based on their ongoing value and not just the sign-up bonus. Ignoring the sign-up bonus, the $9,000 spending threshold is close to the tipping point at which the Chase Sapphire Reserve® out-earns the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

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That being said, if you take full advantage of the other perks that come with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® — like complimentary airport lounge access and DoorDash credits — it might still be the better card even if you don't quite hit the $9,000 spending threshold.

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 versus the Chase Sapphire Reserve® will be the same, since they offer the same point transfer options.

In any case, you should follow our example and do your own math to decide which option holds more value for you.

Do you order food delivery often?

If you're a fan of food delivery, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes out ahead when looking at the Chase Sapphire Reserve® versus the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

On top of a free membership to DoorDash, the card is currently offering up to $60 in DoorDash credits each year.

If you order enough food to take advantage of the credit, you can strike another $60 from the card's annual fee, bringing the cost of ownership down to $190 per year. (Note, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers a free DoorDash membership, but without any credits.)

How much do you spend on ride-shares?

Another recently added perk: the Chase Sapphire Reserve® now offers free membership to Lyft Pink. Perks for Lyft Pink members include 15% off all Lyft Rides, which can add up to significant savings if you spend a lot on ride-shares (and aren't an Uber loyalist).

Are you a Peloton member?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® both added on valuable limited time offers for Peloton. Until Dec. 31, 2021, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card members get 5X points on eligible Bike and Tread purchases and up to a $60 credit toward their Peloton purchases. Chase Sapphire Reserve® members, in the meantime, get an even better 10X points on eligible Bike and Tread purchases and up to $120 credit on Peloton purchases.

If you love Peloton bikes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the clear favorite, as it adds another $60 in value over the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

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What about alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

Remember that when it comes to credit cards, you’re never limited to just two options. If you’re questioning the value the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® have for you, it’s worth taking the time to explore other cards. We outlined two popular options that provide similar offers and benefits to the two Chase cards discussed above.

American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card can be viewed as an upgraded version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The card charges a higher annual fee of $250. In return, it comes with up to $120 in Uber Cash ($10 per month) for U.S. Uber rides and U.S. Uber Eats when you add the card to the Uber app (enrollment required), and a better rewards rate on food and airline purchases.

Cardholders Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.

As a travel card, the American Express® Gold Card isn’t as good as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. However, it is a great option for foodies — and, because it has a substantially lower annual fee, some consumers may feel better about applying for it.

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express lies entirely on the other side of the card spectrum. This card doesn’t prioritize earning points and rewards, unlike all the other offers discussed in this article. Instead, paying the $695 annual fee unlocks a suite of luxury benefits. Users get access to airport lounges through Priority Pass™ Select (enrollment required), just like with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. In addition, The Platinum Card® from American Express throws in access to Centurion Lounges — these are located in several major U.S. airports and are of a higher quality than most other lounges.

Cardholders also receive special promotions and perks, such as complimentary Hilton Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status (enrollment required). Benefits like that aren’t easily translated to a monetary value — however, some consumers looking for luxury may find these types of benefits well worth the $695 annual fee. While the Chase Sapphire Reserve® does include some premium perks, it still doesn’t fully match The Platinum Card® from American Express. You can see a more in-depth comparison between the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

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 much longer list of benefits and a higher rewards rate in exchange for a heftier annual fee.

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

The question of which credit card is better between the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes down to your own 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.

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

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.

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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).