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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 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 Chase Ultimate Rewards 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.

Now that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering an increased sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, you may be wondering if this is the best pick for you, or if it’s worth paying more for the more premium Sapphire Reserve. We take a look at the break-even point in other posts, but here we’ll focus on card benefits.

Before we get into the two cards’ benefits, note that you can’t hold both the CSP and the CSR — and you need to wait at least 48 months between earning the sign-up bonus on one card before you can earn it on the other. So keep that time frame in mind if you already have one of these cards or are weighing applying to either.

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 $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 60,000 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 differences 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.

If you hold the Sapphire Preferred Card and are planning on signing up for the Sapphire Reserve, you should consider downgrading the former to a no annual fee option like the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited. When paired with the CSP or CSR, these no annual fee Chase cards can help you boost your Ultimate Rewards balance on quarterly rotating bonus categories and everyday purchases, making up an important part of our so-called Chase quartet.

Bottom Line

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 Preferred:

And for more on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card:

 

Know before you go.

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2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 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
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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

Disclaimer: The responses below 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.