Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve

Chase delivers attractive benefits for new and seasoned travelers.

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Chase offers no shortage of financial products, but it has gained much attention for its Sapphire brand of credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve joins the original Chase Sapphire Preferred card, but the competing credit cards have many wondering just which one is best. The answer is that it all depends on you.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve was created with the intention of serving as a premium credit card offering elevated travel rewards for the regular or would-be road warrior. The Sapphire Preferred remains the more approachable card, offering fewer purchase points but awarding a higher introductory bonus and lower annual fees with lower starting APRs. However, where the Reserve shines is in its everyday rewards points, giving you three times the points on dining and travel purchases instead of just the double points allotted on the Preferred. Either way, with Chase Ultimate Reward points, the benefits look more attractive than ever. It’s just a matter of how you plan to use your card and how often.

We take a detailed look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred versus Reserve credit cards, offering a key breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses so you can choose the best card for you.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve

Chase Sapphire Preferred


Overall Score
4.3
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Current Offer

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®.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R), 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%

If you like to eat out or order in, Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick with tons of meal-related and travel perks for you to enjoy.

Pros
  • 3x points on dining

  • Exclusive travel benefits

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Transfer rate of 1:1

Cons
  • No introductory APR offer

  • Annual fee of almost $100

  • Strict limits on airlines for travel rewards

  • No annual bonuses

Chase Sapphire Reserve


Overall Score
4.1
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Current Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 total travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R) immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%

Chase Sapphire Reserve offers even more perks with three times the point on dining and travel purchases, but with a higher membership fee, frequent travelers are best served by this card.

Pros
  • 3x dining and travel rewards

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Even more points through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Cons
  • Very expensive membership fee

  • No introductory APR

  • Excellent credit required

  • Restricted rewards categories

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve: Eligibility 

Though similar in name, these two Chase Sapphire cards vary when it comes to credit requirements. The Sapphire Preferred is more forgiving, although it still requires cardholders to have good credit to qualify. The recommended minimum credit score is around 640 to apply. However, to qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you will need excellent credit as the requirements for approval are very discriminating. For this one, you will need a minimum score of about 720 to qualify.

However, be sure about your decision before you apply. Chase limits the amount of credit cards for which you can apply during a certain period. It usually does not approve more than two personal credit cards or more than one business card in a single month. Applicants also often receive denials when they have opened five or more credit card accounts within the last 24 months.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve: Rewards and Benefits 

No matter which card you pick, Chase delivers some pretty fantastic rewards and benefits. The Reserve card does come with more perks that are designed around the regular traveler, but the Preferred still rewards its cardholders, too. 

Chase offers Sapphire cardholders a 1:1 Point Transfer. This means that with Chase Ultimate Rewards, you receive full value when you transfer your points to eligible loyalty programs from leading airlines and hotels. 

Through the end of 2021, cardholders benefit from a credit of up to $60 on your Peloton Digital or All-Access membership. If you are a Reserve customer, your Pelton credit doubles to $120. You also can receive a $300 annual travel credit. 

Your Sapphire card delivers peace of mind in other ways, too. If you use your card to pay for your travel, Chase will offer added protection with its travel accident insurance. It provides up to $1 million in accidental death or dismemberment coverage.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve: Rewards and Benefits
  Chase Sapphire Preferred Chase Sapphire Reserve
Annual fee $95 $550
Sign-up bonus 100,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases during first three months  60,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases during first three months 
Travel rewards 5x when purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R)
2x all other travel
5x on air travel, 10x on hotels and rental cards when purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R) after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
3x all other travel
Dining rewards 3x  3x 
Lyft rewards 5x  10x 
Regular purchase rewards 1x  1x
Additional credits $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
Up to $60 on Peloton Digital or All-Access membership, through 12/31/2021 $50 First-Year Grocery Store Credit
$60 annual travel credit Up to $120  on Peloton Digital or All-Access membership, through 12/31/2021

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve: Intro Offer

Chase Sapphire credit cards come with a ton of bonus points when you open your account. To be eligible, you must spend a minimum of $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account. 

The amount of bonus points you receive, however, depends on which card you have. The Preferred card offers more points than the Reserve card, giving cardholders 40,000 more points for a total of 100,000. Sapphire Reserve cardholders receive 60,000 points, which may not be as much as the Preferred, but it still makes for an excellent introductory offer. Chase redeems each point for $0.01 credit or 100 points for one dollar. However, if you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, the value is worth $.0125, which means that 100 points equal $1.25 in redemption value. The 100,000 introductory points for the Chase Preferred card equal $1,250 in travel purchases or $1,000 in cash. 

However, it’s important to note that Chase does not offer any introductory APRs. What you get when you sign up is your regular rate, unless you are able to requalify for a better rate later on.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve: Fees 

The Reserve card matches the Preferred card in many ways when it comes to fees. However, the Reserve runs slightly higher in a few key areas. 

Membership is significantly more expensive with the Reserve card. The annual membership fee is a steep $550, while the Preferred card costs less than $100. Plus, there’s an additional fee of $75 per authorized user that gets tacked onto your bill.

The APR is different between the two cards as well, with the Reserve running a full percentage point above the Preferred. While the Preferred ranges from 15.99% to 22.99%, the Reserve starts at 16.99% and runs up to almost 24% (as of March 2021). The balance transfer APR is also the same, and there is no introductory APR for either card.

Otherwise, both cards charge a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% of your total transfer, whichever is more. Cash advances hold a minimum of $10 per transaction or up to 5%. There are no transaction or returned check fees for either card, and both assess a 24.99% penalty on cash advances and up to $40 for late or returned payments.

  Chase Sapphire Preferred Chase Sapphire Reserve
Annual fee $95 $550; $75 per authorized user
APR 15.99% to 22.99%  16.99% to 23.99% 
Intro APR N/A  N/A 
Balance transfer APR 15.99% to 22.99%  16.99% to 23.99% 
Balance transfer fee  $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater 
Cash advances  $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater  $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater 
Foreign transaction  N/A  N/A 
Cash advance  24.99%  24.99% 
Penalty APR  Up to 29.99%  Up to 29.99% 
Minimum interest charge  N/A  N/A 
Late payment  Up to $40  Up to $40 
Return payment  Up to $40  Up to $40 
Return check  None  None

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve: Security 

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve credit cards come with a host of security protections to ensure that your account is safe, no matter what happens.

Zero liability protection: Chase offers zero liability protections on its credit cards to protect you from credit card fraud. With this benefit, you don’t have to pay for unauthorized charges made using your account. Once you report the charge using the number on the back of your card, Chase will take care of the rest.

Fraud protection: The Sapphire Preferred and Reserve credit cards come with cutting-edge fraud monitoring that’s available in real-time. Even if you aren’t paying attention to your account, you can take comfort in knowing that there is a professional keeping an eye on things so your account is protected.

Fraud alerts: If suspicious or fraudulent activity is detected on your account, Chase will notify Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cardholders immediately. Notifications can be sent via text, email, or phone. You can then sign in to your account via Chase.com to review your account and correct any potential fraudulent activity that is being made. 

Chip-enhanced security: Regardless of whether you open a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card, you will receive a new credit card with an embedded chip. Not only will your card be accepted by more businesses globally, but you’ll also enjoy Chase’s signature security protections, no matter where you are in the world. 

FAQs

Can I Have Both Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve Cards?

Unfortunately, Chase does not allow the same cardholder to have both a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card and a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. You will need to choose one card and then close one account before you can be approved for the other card.

Can I Downgrade From the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred?

When you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, you have the option of downgrading to a Sapphire Preferred card. Chase requires you to stay within the same family of credit cards when downgrading, which, in this case, includes the Reserve, Preferred, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited credit cards. 

Is The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Worth It?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with excellent perks that can benefit the busy traveler on the go. Instead of two times the points with the Preferred card, you’ll earn three times the points with the Reserve, allowing you to stack up travel credit or cash value fairly quickly. There’s no introductory APR, but you still get an excellent head start on your points, with up to 100,000 awarded upon the first three months when you spend $4,000 or more using your card.

Will Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve Waive The Annual Fee?

Chase offers some military discounts, which could waive the annual fee. Otherwise, members can expect to pay the regular annual fee, with an additional $75 fee per authorized user for the Reserve card.

Do Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve Card Offer Travel Insurance?

Chase offers travel insurance with both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards. As a cardholder, you will receive up to $1 million in accidental death or dismemberment coverage to keep you safe on your travels.

How We Evaluated Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve 

To evaluate Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Reserve, we reviewed in detail the latest offerings and incentives for 2021. We read the fine print, looking for benefits and potential issues that can affect your account once you become a policyholder. We also assessed the fees, looking far beyond the base APR to see how various charges and fees can stack up, eating away at your rewards. Finally, we analyzed security prowess to ensure that you are protected with all of the coverage you need to safeguard not only your finances but also your identity.