When the Chase Sapphire Reserve was unveiled in 2016, it electrified the credit card universe. It was perceived as Chase’s answer to the American Express Platinum Card, and it became the card that everyone wanted in their wallet. It introduced a new generation to the concept of travel and dining rewards, and it also set off a new round of competition in the points and miles world that ended up benefiting everyone.
In fact, the Sapphire Reserve created such a stir that it seemed to eclipse the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which was once the hot card in its own right. The reality is that both cards have a great deal going for them; even though the Sapphire Reserve has higher earning rates and better benefits, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the ideal card for you.
What’s the Best Way to Choose Between the Two?
Let’s start by looking at the details. Chase Sapphire Reserve provides the following benefits:
- Triple points on dining and travel, one point on everything else.
- Signup bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 90 days.
- Points worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal.
- Lounge access with Priority Pass Select.
- $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
- Primary car rental insurance coverage for theft and collision up to $75,000.
- Coverage for roadside assistance up to $50 per call, four times each year.
- Trip cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement.
- Travel accident insurance up to a value of $1,000,000.
- Purchase protection up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.
- $75 authorized user fee.
The annual fee is $450; however, there’s a $300 travel credit that is applied automatically each year which effectively brings the fee down to $150.
Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a similar but slightly different set of perks:
- Double points on dining and travel, one point on everything else.
- Signup bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 90 days.
- Points worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed through the Chase Travel portal.
- No lounge access, and no Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit.
- Primary car rental insurance, excluding “exotic and expensive cars.”
- Roadside assistance with a $59.95 charge for each call.
- Trip cancellation insurance, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement (identical to the Reserve).
- Travel accident insurance up to a value of $500,000.
- Purchase protection up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per year.
- No authorized user fee.
The annual fee on the card is $95.
The Case for the Reserve
If you travel or dine out frequently (or both), this is the card for you. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable currencies out there, and you’ll be able to earn them quickly; in addition, they’ll be worth more if you choose to redeem them through the Chase Travel portal. This is the only card that offers primary car rental insurance, which functions in the same way as your auto insurance policy and compensates you directly rather than reimbursing you in case of theft or accident. Don’t be put off by the $450 annual fee, as the travel credit reduces that to $150.
The Case for the Preferred
This is an unusually valuable card with a strong set of benefits for a low annual fee. The signup bonus is 10,000 points higher than the Reserve. In addition to duplicating many of the travel perks of the Reserve, it also allows you to transfer points to Chase’s 10 airline partners and three hotel reward programs. There’s no authorized user fee, and you still receive primary car rental insurance.
Here’s another important point to consider: Reports indicate that approval criteria for the Reserve have tightened up considerably in the past year. If you really want the Reserve but aren’t sure if your income or credit score would qualify for the card, your best bet is to apply for the Preferred first. Establish a track record as a valuable Chase customer, and you’ll probably be able to upgrade to the Reserve in time.
You also need to be mindful of the Chase 5/24 rule. Simply put, Chase restricts approvals to consumers who have opened five bank cards or less within the past 24 months. This applies to all personal bank cards, not just those issued by Chase (business cards don’t count, for the most part, since they don’t report to the credit bureaus). If there are Chase cards that you really want, it’s wise to apply for those first before your 5/24 total escalates.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve are both valuable cards to have. While the Reserve is the better card, it might not be the best fit for your personal needs. Before applying, evaluate how often you travel or dine out to get the most benefits.
Source: frugal travel guy