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Two-player strategy: How couples can combine power of Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve

June 05, 2021
11 min read
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The only thing better than devising a powerful points strategy for yourself is joining forces with your significant other to rake in even more rewards.

Devising a credit card strategy as a couple can help you earn more points and miles across the board, as well as allow you to maximize perks and other benefits. All of this plotting and planning will come in handy when it's time to hit the road.

Assuming you have excellent credit and are financially responsible — i.e., you won’t be spending beyond your budget or carrying balances that zero out any rewards you accumulate — it’s generally advisable to diversify your rewards credit cards. That’s true both in terms of the number of cards you can reasonably carry and the kinds of points you start stashing away.

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However, as a couple, it can also make sense to double down with a specific flexible loyalty program and credit card issuer if it means magnifying the power of your rewards. One such circumstance where this is a good move is to get both the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve — especially at this particular moment with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offering a record-breaking 100,000 bonus points.

Here’s why you might want to get both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred as a points power couple — one for each of you — and how to maximize both the cards if you do.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review

Higher bonuses, more points

The first and most significant reason to consider applying for both of these cards right now is to earn their current welcome bonuses.

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering up to 100,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s higher than any public promotion this card has ever extended before.

While not as lucrative, the Chase Sapphire Reserve currently comes with 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Those numbers make it worth applying for either card in and of themselves, so you can’t really go wrong.

Looking at them, you might think it would be better for a couple to get two Chase Sapphire Preferred cards with 100,000 points each. That's not a bad strategy. Doing so would also allow you to avoid paying the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee and just carry two cards with a $95 annual fee each.

If what you want is a quick haul of points to use with Ultimate Rewards partners, it's a solid plan. But by doing so, you could miss out on some seriously valuable opportunities.

Related: Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review

Eligibility requirements

Before we get to that, though, you’ll also want to make sure you’re eligible for one or the other of these cards.

The application pages of both cards state:

This product is available to you if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.

So if you or your partner currently have one of the Sapphire cards, that person will likely be ineligible for either of these offers. But if one of you has one of the cards, the other can still apply for another of them at this time.

Considering your credit card applications as a couple will also help you stay under Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you've been proactive about applying for some of the many unprecedented credit card bonuses we’ve seen lately, you might have hit the ceiling Chase imposes on applicants having opened five or more credit cards within the past 24 months. But if your significant other remains under that threshold, having them apply for one of these cards is a good way to keep the points rolling in.

Related: Chase's 5/24 rule: Everything you need to know

Amplify the value of your rewards

Aside from simply saving up even more Ultimate Rewards points with two credit cards instead of just one, carrying both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve in your points-earning family dramatically increases the potential value of your points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with either card are equally transferable to the program’s 10 airline and three hotel partners at the same 1:1 rate.

However, points earned with the Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through Chase, or via the issuer’s “Pay Yourself Back” feature toward dining, groceries and home improvement store purchases as well as the card's annual fee now through Sept. 30.

Related: How to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards points

On the other hand, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, your points are only worth 1.25 cents apiece with those options. By transferring, and ultimately redeeming, through your family's Chase Sapphire Reserve account, you are already getting a premium of 0.25 cents, or 20% more, for your points.

Leveraging your two accounts this way is possible because Chase allows you to transfer points to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards belonging to one member of your household. In other words, assuming you and your partner live together, you can swap points back and forth between your accounts as needed. Right now, you can only have your accounts linked with a phone call rather than completing that action online, but hopefully, that online setup functionality returns shortly.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

The how-tos aside, to put this into a more concrete context, let’s say you applied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and earned all 100,000 bonus points.

With just the Chase Sapphire Preferred in your wallet, your points would be worth $1,250 toward travel or toward eligible “Pay Yourself Back” redemptions. However, if your household partner has a Chase Sapphire Reserve account, you can transfer those points to that account and you’ve upped your value to $1,500 if you redeem them at a fixed value.

Related: An ultimate guide to the best credit card pairings

Pairing up perks

Carrying one of each card also lets you share (and thus maximize) the perks. In certain instances, it might even be worth having the person with the Chase Sapphire Reserve adding the one with the Chase Sapphire Preferred as an authorized user to their account for $75 per year.

Doing so will not preclude the authorized user from earning the welcome bonus on either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve if and when they decide to apply for one of them. Just to be safe, though, you might want to wait until after you apply and are accepted for the new card (and even until after you earn those bonus points) to be added as an authorized user to the Chase Sapphire Reserve account.

Related: Hot take: Why doubling down on one rewards program may be better than diversifying

The two cards do have several overlapping benefits, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a lot more advantages to make up for its annual fee.

Some of these perks are not duplicated for the authorized user. For instance, purchases by both the primary and additional cards all count toward the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit (so you don’t get $300 per physical card).

The same is true with the $120 in statement credits on qualifying Peloton purchases through Dec. 31 with the Sapphire Reserve. Likewise, whoever registers first for the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s complimentary 12-month Lyft Pink membership gets to enjoy that privilege. (Tip: Do it on the Chase Sapphire Reserve since it earns 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2022, compared to just 5 points per dollar with the Preferred.)

Finally, each account, not card, is only eligible for one Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application statement credit of up to $100 once every four years.

That said, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders are eligible for $60 in statement credits on qualifying Peloton purchases in their own right, so you could add all your credits together with both cards for a total of $180, which is pretty great.

On the other hand, there are certain benefits that Chase Sapphire Reserve authorized users receive in addition to the primary cardholder that can be very valuable if you tend to travel or make purchases separately.

Related: Credit cards with the greatest value for authorized users

For one, both primary and additional cardholders can register for their own complimentary Priority Pass Select membership and access along with up to two guests to over 1,300 airport lounges (and in some cases, credits at restaurants and other outlets) around the world.

The Priority Pass lounge in Punta Cana. (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Both primary and secondary users are also eligible to receive their own complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for at least 12 months when registering by Dec. 31. (Folks with the Chase Sapphire Preferred are also eligible to enroll for free DashPass benefits for at least 12 months before Dec. 31.)

Earn faster

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3 points per dollar on travel and dining while the Chase Sapphire Preferred only earns 2 per dollar in travel and 3 points per dollar in dining. So if you and your partner tend to make these types of purchases separately, it could be worth adding the other person to your Chase Sapphire Reserve account so they can be sure of earning the extra point per dollar whenever they use it for these expenses.

In most cases, though, just carrying one Chase Sapphire Reserve between the two of you and using its benefits together will probably suffice, and save you from unnecessarily paying $75 to add a second user to the account.

Better travel and purchase protections

The final reason you might want one person to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred while the other gets the Chase Sapphire Reserve is that the latter offers a few better travel and purchase protections.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers trip interruption and cancellation coverage of up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip, and its trip delay coverage kicks in at six hours and maxes out at $500 per ticket. Its purchase protection covers items against theft or damage up to 120 days out and up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.

Related: The 9 best credit cards with travel insurance

The Chase Sapphire Preferred includes identical trip interruption and cancellation coverage, but its trip delay coverage kicks in at 12 hours rather than six, and its purchase protection is capped at $500 per item and $50,000 per account.

So if you tend to pay for travel arrangements and other large purchases together, put them on the Chase Sapphire Reserve for more ironclad protections.

Bottom line

Teaming up on a credit card strategy as a couple can provide a substantial boost to your earning and redemption potential. Few card pairings illustrate the advantages of doing so as clearly as the combination of the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

By getting one of each in your partnership, you can not only score their incredible current bonus offers and balance your overall annual fee totals, but you can also take advantage of the individual benefits of each card.

If you both are starting from scratch and want to each get the Sapphire Preferred and its 100,000-point welcome bonus, remember you can always inquire with Chase about upgrading to the Sapphire Reserve and its longer list of perks down the road.

Application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred available with 100,000 bonus points after $4,000 in spending in the first three months.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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