Chase Sapphire Reserve Vs Preferred feature image

Chase Sapphire Reserve Vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase’s Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards are hard to beat – with them, you can earn Chase Ultimate Reward points and transfer them to Avios. But if you put Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Sapphire Preferred head to head, which is the best for you?

Or maybe you already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card and are questioning an upgrade to Reserve.

I’ve run my slide rule over the costs, points earning opportunities, and other benefits of both for you. Here’s everything you should know about both options.

snapshot verdict: preferred OR RESERVE?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is ideal for individuals who want solid travel and dining rewards at a lower annual fee. Perfect for maximizing everyday spending, occasional travelers, and those new to travel rewards cards.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is best suited for avid travelers who frequently dine out or travel internationally. The higher annual fee is offset by a bigger and higher-value range of travel benefits, higher points-earning rates, and a greater value when redeeming points for travel.

Quick Comparison Table

Want the clear-cut facts? Here’s a quick way to summarize the differences between Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve:

Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve
Annual Fee$95$595
Points on Chase Travel5X10X on car rentals and hotels, 5X on airfare
Points on Lyft Rides5X (through March 31, 2025)10X (through March 31, 2025)
Points on Dining3X10X through Chase Dining, 3X on other dining
Points on Online Grocery Purchases3X1X
Points on Select Streaming Services3X1X
Points on Other Travel Purchases2X3X
Points on All Other Purchases1X1X
Points Value When Redeeming for Travel25% more value50% more value
Annual Travel Credit$50 for hotel stays through Chase$300 for travel purchases
Lounge AccessNonePriority Pass Select
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck CreditNoneYes
Anniversary Points Bonus10% of previous year’s spendingNone
Special BenefitsComplimentary Instacart+ membership for six months, DoorDash DashPass for at least one yearComplimentary Instacart+ membership for one year, DoorDash DashPass for at least one year
Insurance ProtectionsTrip cancellation/interruption, Auto rental collision damage waiver, Baggage delay, Trip delay, Purchase protection, Extended warrantySame as Preferred, plus up to $100,000 for emergency evacuation and transportation
Welcome Bonus60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

The Key Similarities

Both cards are great gateways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Both also let you transfer your points to Chase’s airline partners (like Avios) and hotel partners.

This makes them invaluable for avid travelers who want to retain the flexibility of their credit card rewards points, but with the added benefit of being able to use these for more extensive travel options.

If you do travel internationally, you’ll also like the fact that neither card charges foreign transaction fees on purchases you make abroad. Plus, if your flight is delayed, or your luggage lost, or you have problems with a rental car, you’ll be thankful for the insurances that come as part of the benefits package for Chase Sapphire Reserve of Preferred cardholders.

If you’re a foodie like me, you’ll be able to enjoy dining out with a little more self-satisfaction, knowing that you get 3 points for every dollar you spend (and not only in the United States – all around the world). Plus, you get a free DoorDash DashPass subscription throughout 2024, meaning you can save almost $10 a month to get food delivered to your door.

Finally, if you’re a new customer, there’s the terrific welcome gesture of 60,000 bonus points. All you need to do is spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.

The Key Differences

With so many features and benefits in common, you might think it would be challenging to create an extra $500 of value for the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred cards.

However, when you dig into the list of unique perks you get from each card, not only will you discover the exceptional value of the $95 annual fee for the Preferred card, but you’ll also appreciate why the Reserve card comes with an annual fee of $595.

What’s Great About Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Sapphire Preferred is a great choice if, like me, you want to squeeze a little extra value from everyday spending.

If you like traveling, you’ll receive a 25% boost to your points value when you redeem them for travel booked through Chase Travel Ultimate Rewards.

Plus, you get a $50 annual credit for hotel stays booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

You’re also eligible for a complimentary Instacart and membership for six months (and how handy is the $15 quarterly statement credits if you activate membership before July 31, 2024?).

Other benefits include:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance of up to $10,000 per covered person and $20,000 per trip
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver reimbursing you for theft or collision damage for most rental cars
  • Baggage delay coverage of up to $100 per day for five days
  • Trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 per ticket
  • Purchase protection of 120 days cover up to $500 and $50,000 per account
  • Travel and emergency assistance while you’re away from home

On top of all this, at each card anniversary, you’ll receive a 10% bonus on the points you earned from your spending during the previous year.

The best $95 you’ll spend all year? Very likely!

What’s Great About Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Let’s look at what that extra $500 in annual fee for the Sapphire Reserve gets you in addition to the Preferred card.

Just like with the Preferred card, you’ll be extracting real value from everyday purchases.

However, Reserve ups the game in many ways, not least with the $300 annual travel credit for bookings made through Chase Ultimate Rewards (use this and you’ve already offset half the annual fee). Use your points to book, and you’ll also receive a 50% boost on their value.

Now, though I love traveling, I loathe the hustle bustle of airports. You feel my pain, right? As a Reserve cardholder, crowd frustration is eliminated with Priority Pass Select membership.

This grants you access to more than 1,300 lounges worldwide. Plus, you get credit for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck, smoothing out your airport experience every four years.

In addition to the insurance benefits provided by the Preferred card, you get up to $100,000 in cover for medical services and emergency transportation.

Worth every cent of the annual fee? No doubt in my mind, though there’s also a big switch-up on how many points you can earn if you sign up for the Sapphire Reserve rather than Sapphire Preferred (which more than makes up for no anniversary points bonus on the Reserve card).

How Many Points Can You Earn With Sapphire Reserve Vs Preferred?

Like I always say, points make prizes, and the points-scoring ability of both cards is very rewarding indeed, especially with Sapphire Reserve.

The Sapphire Preferred card offers a broad range of earnings opportunities, with points as follows:

  • 5X total points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5X points on Lyft rides
  • 3X points on dining (includes eligible delivery services, and takeout)
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding certain retailers)
  • 3X points on select streaming services
  • 2X points on other travel purchases
  • 1X points on other purchases

The Sapphire Reserve card ramps up your potential to earn points, especially if you’re a frequent traveler:

  • 10X points on car rentals and hotel stays purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 10X points on dining purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 10X points on Lyft rides
  • 5X points on airfare purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3X points on other dining
  • 3X points on other travel worldwide
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Redeeming Your Points

When it comes to redeeming your points, both the Preferred and Reserved cards offer you the same opportunities, including transferring your points to Chase’s partners like Avios.

You can use the points to book travel direct through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, which gives you extra bang for your buck, or apply them through the ‘Pay Yourself Back’ feature to cover many expenses.

This last option won’t necessarily give you the best value, but it is worth considering if you’re sitting on a big points balance. Other options for redeeming your points include gift cards and cashback, though I’ve yet to find these give as good value compared to travel redemption options.


Always calculate and compare value when redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points.

Where the two cards differ in the redemption stakes will become apparent when you redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards Portal or Pay Yourself Back feature. You get a much bigger value for points earned as a Reserve cardholder than as a Preferred cardholder – currently 1.5 cents vs 1.25 cents per point.

Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred: Which is Best for You?

Whenever I’ve had to decide between different cards, I’ve always found that the choice boils down to my lifestyle, spending habits, and the value I place on the rewards and benefits offered by the cards. So, let’s unpack the qualities of these two cards and see which appeals most to you.

First, we can safely say that they are both great for earning Ultimate Reward points, and that they both allow you to easily transfer those points to partners like Avios.

If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ll benefit from the various travel-related insurance covers that the cards offer you. If you’re a globetrotter, no foreign transaction fees will save you a few precious dollars every trip.

Sapphire Preferred and Reserved cards

The dining rewards are a standout feature for both cards, as is the DoorDash DashPass subscription through 2024 and generous welcome bonus of 60,000 points after meeting the initial spend requirement.

The difference between the two cards becomes apparent when you examine the finer details.

I think that the $95 annual fee is a small price to pay for the Preferred card’s benefits, including a 25% boost in point value when redeemed for travel through Chase, and a $50 annual credit for hotel booking. It’s a robust card for those looking to get a bit more from their everyday spending and occasional travel.

However, if you’re a frequent traveler, you will probably be better opting for the Reserve. Sure, it comes with a higher price tag of $595 per year, but you get a ton of extra benefits for this.

The $300 annual travel credit is not to be sneezed at, plus you receive a far higher 50% value boost on travel redemptions. Then there is the Priority Pass lounge access, and Global Entry of TSA PreCheck fee credit.

In addition to these extra travel rewards and benefits, you can also earn points at a much faster rate on travel and dining purchases.

The Reserve card also delivers a higher value per point when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or Pay Yourself Back feature.

In summary, if you want a card that offers solid travel and dining rewards but with a lower annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great choice. It’s perfect for maximizing everyday spending and the occasional trip.

On the other hand, if you’re an avid traveler like me, the added benefits like lounge access, higher earning rates on travel, and more significant points value on redemptions, as well as the $300 travel credit, make the Chase Sapphire Reserve card worth every cent (and more) of the $595 annual fee.

Should Your Upgrade from Chase Sapphire Preferred to Reserve?

If you’re a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder and you’ve had your card for at least a year, you can upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve card – but should you?

The higher earnings rates (especially on travel), unique travel perks, and higher points value when redeeming for Chase Travel make the Reserve card very attractive. However, the $595 annual fee is a much larger out-of-pocket expense.

The Pros of Upgrading

Here’s why it would make sense to upgrade (or, as Chase calls it, ‘product switch’).

You’ll get an immediate hike to the value of your Ultimate Rewards points. Remember the value of a point as a Preferred cardholder is 1.25 cents?

Overnight it becomes valued at 1.5 cents when redeeming them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. The bigger your points balance, the bigger the reward.

If you hold, say, 100,000 points, these are worth $1,250 of Ultimate Rewards travel as a Preferred cardholder. Upgrade to Reserve, and your points are magically valued at $1,500.

You also experience an improvement in your travel perks. From travel protection to priority lounge, a huge jump in annual travel credit access, and more, these benefits are a valuable package for frequent flyers.

The Cons of Upgrading

There are a few reasons why upgrading might not be the best decision for you. First, there’s the annual fee. $500 more is a big leap to make. You must be sure the extra cost is worth it for you – and that you can afford it.

Next, while you may earn more points in some spending categories, you’ll lose the 10% anniversary bonus.


If you do decide to switch products, consider waiting until after your anniversary date to receive the 10% points bonus – especially if you have a significant balance.

You’ll also need to consider your spending habits and patterns. As a Preferred cardholder, you earn 3x points on your grocery shopping. This falls to only 1x points as a Reserve cardholder.

In short, if you’re a frequent flyer, the extra benefits provided to you as a Reserve cardholder mean that upgrading from Preferred could be a savvy move. But if the $595 annual fee seems daunting, or most of your points are earned on grocery shopping, sticking with your Sapphire Preferred card may be the better option.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making Your Card Choice

Before you choose between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards, or whether to upgrade from Preferred to Reserve, you should assess which aligns best with your lifestyle and financial goals. These five questions will help you think about your spending habits, travel frequency, and how much you value the unique perks that come with each card.

1. How often do I travel?

If you’re an avid traveler or frequent flyer, the Reserve card’s more extensive travel benefits – such as the $300 travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, and higher points value on redemptions – could justify the higher annual fee.

2. Do I dine out or order-in frequently?

You’ll earn points on both cards, but the Reserve card pays higher rates of points when you make your reservations/purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

3. How will I redeem my points?

If you redeem most of your points through travel bookings or via Pay Yourself Back, Reserve’s higher redemption value of 1.5 cents vs Preferred’s 1.25 cents could make a big difference.

4. Am I comfortable with a $595 annual fee?

You’ll need to be sure that the higher annual fee for the Reserve card is manageable, both financially and emotionally.

5. Am I already maxing out the benefits of my Sapphire Preferred card?

If you are a Preferred cardholder, before upgrading think about the benefits you currently have access to, and if you use them. For example, if you don’t use the $50 travel credit, would you use $300?

The Bottom Line

There may be a significant difference in annual fees between Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Preferred, but, while they share several of the same benefits, there is plenty to distinguish them.

Both are good cards, but which you should choose depends on factors that include how you use your card, your lifestyle, and how you plan to redeem the reward points you accumulate.

If you’re not certain that you will get value for the $595 annual fee charged for the Reserve card, then you should consider signing up for the Preferred card at only $95 per year. When you discover that you are maxing out your benefits, you can then upgrade to the Reserve card to access its much higher-value benefits and perks.

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