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In the credit card world, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card are two of the most talked-about options thanks to the valuable Ultimate Rewards points they earn and travel protections and perks.
While the Sapphire Reserve Card is overall the superior pick if you’re fine with paying a $450 annual fee, having either card in your wallet is a smart choice, since you’ll be earning points that can transfer to 13 travel partners including British Airways and Hyatt and will enjoy various travel protections. But if you’re on the fence about which to pick, you’ve come to the right place.
The table below compares the various features, fees and benefits offered by the two cards, making it easy to find the differences without needing to hunt through the benefits guide.
Main Benefits and Features
|Card||Chase Sapphire Preferred||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|Annual fee||$95 (waived for the first year)||$450|
|Earning rates||2x points on travel and dining, 1x on everything else||3x points on travel and dining, 1x on everything else|
|Sign-up bonus||50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months||50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months|
|Point value for UR portal redemptions||1.25 cents||1.5 cents|
|Credits||N/A||$300 annual travel credit, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit|
|Lounge access||N/A||Priority Pass Select|
|Authorized user fee||$0||$75|
As you can see, the main difference between the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are annual fee (with the Reserve’s falling in line with other premium travel rewards cards), earning rates, sign-up bonus and extras like lounge access and travel credits. These differences are pretty significant, and the $300 annual travel credit also goes a very long way to offsetting the high annual fee.
Travel Coverage and Purchase Protection
It’s also worth comparing the two cards’ coverage for things like travel delays, trip cancellation and purchase protection. While they offer some identical benefits, there are a few differences:
|Card||Chase Sapphire Preferred||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|Rental car insurance||Primary; “expensive and exotic cars” are excluded||Primary; provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision|
|Roadside assistance||$59.95 per service call||Coverage up to $50 per incident 4 times a year|
|Trip cancellation insurance||Up to $10,000 per covered trip||Up to $10,000 per covered trip|
|Trip delay insurance||Up to $500 per ticket for delays of 12 or more hours (or requiring an overnight stay)||Up to $500 per ticket for delays of 6 or more hours (or requiring an overnight stay)|
|Baggage delay insurance||Up to $100 per day for up to 5 days||Up to $100 per day for up to 5 days|
|Lost luggage reimbursement||Up to $3,000 per person (up to $500 per person for jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders and other electronic equipment)||Up to $3,000 per person (up to $500 per person for jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders and other electronic equipment)|
|Travel accident insurance||$500,000 for common carrier loss of life benefit; $100,000 for 24-hour loss of life benefit||$1,000,000 for common carrier loss of life benefit; $100,000 for 24-hour loss of life benefit|
|Purchase protection||Up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account||Up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per year|
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is clearly the more generous of the two cards, with fewer restrictions attached to its primary car rental insurance; free roadside assistance (up to a limit); and higher trip cancellation insurance, travel accident insurance and purchase protection.
These differences are worth keeping in mind if you hold both cards and are making a relevant purchase — in pretty much every situation, you’ll want to go with the Sapphire Reserve to enjoy the superior protections. However, if you hold the Sapphire Preferred Card and are planning on signing up for the Sapphire Reserve, it could be worth downgrading the former to a no-fee option like the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited, since there aren’t concrete benefits to keeping both Sapphire cards open.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has long been a TPG favorite, and the Sapphire Reserve only improves upon that card’s many strong features. This post doesn’t tackle whether the Chase Sapphire Reserve is necessarily right for you — see the review for more info on that — but hopefully you’re now clear on the main differences between Chase’s flagship consumer cards.
For more on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Review and Application Link
- Questions and Answers About the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
- Everything You Need to Know About Chase Sapphire Reserve Perks
- Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Benefits, Coverage & More
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards