Chase Credit Card Comparison: How the Sapphire Reserve Card Stacks Up

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available or the benefits and terms have changed. View the issuer’s site for current information. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, both offering lucrative welcome bonuses which can be worth up to $1,000, stand out as some of the best travel credit cards on the market. But before you fill out your application, know that although the cards share similarities, they also feature significant differences.

Take a look at the following table to compare and contrast these Chase cards:

Chase Sapphire Credit Card Comparison
  Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Intro APR None None
Annual Fee
Foreign Transaction Fee None None
Rewards 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on other purchases

Points redeemable for statement credit, cash, gift cards, travel and merchandise or can be transferred to partners.

5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards 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
Sign-Up Bonus
Pros Additional 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and a purchase is made in the first three months No blackout dates
Additional 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and a purchase is made in the first 3 months
$300 credit if certain travel spending requirements are met
Cons No special introductory rate on purchases or balance transfers
Lower points on non-travel purchases than some other cards
High annual fee
No special introductory rate on purchases or balance transfers
Lower points on non-travel purchases than some other cards
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Find Out: 7 Best Ways to Use Credit Card Rewards Points

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Features

The 50,000-point sign-up bonus — which you can earn by spending $4,000 in three months — is the big draw to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The bonus points are equal to $750 worth of travel when redeemed via Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The Reserve’s interest rates range from . People with excellent credit, however, can find many cards with a potentially lower APR. But the generous sign-up bonus and additional point value when redeemed for travel are nice perks.

In addition, although the three points for every dollar spent on travel goods and services — such as plane flights, hotels and restaurants — will help you rack up points quickly, the one point reward for each dollar spent on everything else is below what you can nab with other premier rewards cards.

The other prohibitive requirement for most people will be the Sapphire Reserve card’s high annual fee of , with another $75 for each additional card. The fee is applicable from the first year you have the card. The Sapphire Reserve does offer a $300 annual credit for travel goods and services charged to the card, but that still leaves this card with a pricey annual fee. Know whether your lifestyle and travel habits will maximize this card’s benefits and make it worth paying the annual fee.

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Finally, kudos to this card for having no foreign-transaction fees — although there is a balance-transfer fee of $5 or 5 percent, whichever is greater. Despite the card’s advantages, the Reserve lacks an introductory APR for balance transfers or new purchases. Consumers with good credit can find such features in other cards.

Chase Liquid Prepaid Card Review: Helps Control Spending Limits

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Travel Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is geared toward travelers, and it outshines many travel rewards credit cards. For instance, Chase’s Reserve card gives you three points for every dollar spent on travel-related goods and services. Such expenses include airfare, hotels, car rentals, restaurants, taxis and more.

You can increase the value of those points by 50 percent if you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and use them for airfare, car rentals, cruises and more. According to Chase, 50,000 bonus points are worth $750 toward travel.

Other travel rewards include:

  • Access to more than 1000 airport lounges
  • Trip cancellation insurance and trip interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Lost luggage reimbursement coverage of up to $3,000 per passenger if you or an immediate family member experience lost or damaged checked or carry-on luggage due carrier error
  • Trip delay reimbursement if your travel is delayed more than six hours or demands an overnight stay; coverage for your family up to $500 per ticket
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One final note: Chase reportedly has a “5/24 rule” to dissuade people from signing up for rewards cards only to cancel them after cashing in on the rewards. You will likely be turned down for Chase’s rewards card if you have opened five or more lines of credit in the past 24 months.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserved Card Benefits

The biggest difference between the two cards can be found in the annual fees. The Chase Sapphire Preferred charges $95 annually while the Chase Sapphire Reserve costs a year.

What do you get for the Reserve card’s fee? The card features a $300 annual travel credit to help offset the hefty annual fee. In addition, the Reserve card offers several travel benefits that the Preferred card does not.

Both cards offer one point for each dollar spent on everyday purchases such as groceries and gas. But the Reserve card gives you up to 5 points on air travel and 10 points on hotels and car rentals that you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards platinum. With Reserve you’ll also earn three points for every dollar spent on dining and other travel expenses such as flights, hotels, restaurants and rental cars. The Preferred card offers 5 points on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards platium, 3 points on dining and 2x on other travel purchases. 

Both cards offer travel benefits such as:

  • Trip delay and cancellation insurance
  • Car rental collision damage waiver
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement

The Reserve card outshines the Preferred card by offering the following:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel accident insurance and emergency assistance
  • Access to airport lounges
  • Enrollment in car rental agency upgrade programs
  • Special benefits such as room upgrades and free meals at certain participating hotels

Discover: How to Travel the World for Practically Free

Which Chase Sapphire Should You Choose?

Having the more expensive Reserve card can pay off, particularly if you are a frequent traveler who uses your credit card to purchase plane tickets, purchase rental cars and hotel rooms and dine out. With the $300 annual credit, the Reserve card isn’t that much more expensive than the Preferred card. Plus, you earn a higher ratio of points with the Reserve card.

You might be better off with the Preferred card, however, if you don’t travel regularly. It offers the same reward ratio on regular purchases as the Reserve card — one point for $1 spent — and its annual fee is much lower.

It’s also worth noting that neither card comes with a low introductory APR for balance transfers or purchases. Instead, each card comes with a balance-transfer fee, and neither card offers a break on the APR, so you might want to avoid these cards if a low APR for balance transfers or purchases is important.

Whichever card you choose, don’t carry balances for long: The near-17 percent interest rate will eat into any rewards you accumulate — and that’s no reward at all.

Compare Chase Credit Cards

Before you fill out a credit card application and apply for a credit card, you’ll want to find the best credit cards for your lifestyle. One helpful step to take is to check your credit score to see which offers might be available to you. Also, take time to compare credit cards.

For example, Chase offers other co-branded Visa cards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, which offers unlimited and automatic 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase and the Chase Freedom Flex card that features 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then .

Other Chase Visa card offerings include co-branded airline and hotel cards that offer various travel rewards such as Marriott Rewards Premier Visa, British Airways Visa, United MileagePlus Visa and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Visa.

And when a Mastercard seems like a better fit than a Visa credit card, Chase has you covered with its IHG Rewards Club Select Mastercard, which offers 60,000 bonus points for new cardholders.

Keep Reading: Which Chase Credit Card Should You Apply For?

Cynthia Measom and Laira Martin contributed to the reporting for this article.

This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

About the Author

Terence Loose is an award-winning freelance writer who writes about everything from travel and sport to fitness and finance. He is a Hawaii-based writer who has covered a broad range of topics during his 20-plus-year career, from finance and education to travel and celebrity. He is a former editor for both Movieline and COAST Magazines and his work has appeared in publications as diverse as COAST, Riviera and Movieline to the L.A. Times Magazine and Orange County Register.

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