The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — which features a 50,000-point sign-up bonus for those who spend $4,000 in the first three months they have the card — was already one of the best travel credit cards on the market. Apparently, Chase wasn’t satisfied with that. Its new card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, offers 100,000 points as a sign-up bonus until Jan. 12, 2017, according to The New York Times, or 50,000 bonus points thereafter, and even more travel benefits and perks.
The January 2017 cutoff applies to online credit card applications. Applicants can still get the 100,000-point sign-up bonus by applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card at a Chase bank branch by March 12, 2017.
But before you fill out your application, know that the two Chase travel credit cards feature significant differences. Take a look at the following table to see these differences, and check out the details of each so you can better decide which card belongs in your wallet.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Chase Sapphire Reserve Card|
|APR||16.24% – 23.24%||16.24% – 23.24%|
|Annual Fee||$0 the first year, then $95||$450, $75 each additional card|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||None|
|Sign-Up Bonus||50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 90 days||
|How to Apply||Learn More||Learn More|
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card General Features
For most people, the 100,000-point sign-up bonus — which you can earn by spending $4,000 in three months — is the big draw to the Chase Sapphire Reserve; however, the promotional offer is only available until Jan. 12, 2017, if you apply online, or until March 12, 2017, if you apply at a bank branch. Latecomers can still earn a 50,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
The Reserve’s interest rates range from 16.24% to 23.24% APR. If you have excellent credit, you can find many cards with a potentially lower APR. However, no other card comes close to matching this card’s 100,000-point sign-up bonus.
In addition, although the three points for every dollar spent on travel goods and services — such as plane flights, hotels and restaurants — will leave a smile on your face, the one point for each dollar spent on everything else is below what you can nab with other premier rewards cards.
The other eye-opener for most people will be this card’s high annual fee of $450, 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 up for the annual fee.
Finally, kudos to this card for having no foreign-transaction fees — although unfortunately, there is a balance-transfer fee of $5 or 5 percent, whichever is greater. The card does offer some impressive travel rewards, though.
Despite the card’s pluses, the Reserve lacks an introductory APR for balance transfers or new purchases. Consumers with good credit can find such features in other cards.
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 on airfare, car rentals, cruises and more. According to Chase, 50,000 bonus miles is worth $750 toward travel.
Other travel rewards include:
- Access to more than 900 airport lounges
- Trip cancellation insurance and trip interruption insurance
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Baggage delay insurance worth up to $100 a day, for five days, to spend on such items as toiletries and other essentials.
- 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.
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. According to this application review guideline, if you have opened five or more lines of credit in the past 24 months, you will likely be turned down for Chase’s rewards card.
How the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Reserved Card Benefits Compare
Both the Preferred and Reserve cards offer the same APR range. Bigger differences can be found in the annual fees. The Chase Sapphire Preferred charges no fee in the first year and $95 annually thereafter. Chase Sapphire Reserve costs $450 a year, effective immediately.
What do you get for the Reserve card’s $450 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 three points for every dollar spent on travel expenses such as flights, hotels, restaurants and rental cars. The Preferred card offers two points per dollar spent on those expenses.
Both cards offer travel benefits such as:
- Trip delay and cancellation insurance
- Car rental collision damage waiver
- Baggage delay insurance
- Trip delay reimbursement
The Reserved card outshines the Preferred card by offering the following:
- Roadside assistance
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Travel accident insurance and emergency assistance
- Emergency medical and dental benefit
- Emergency evacuation and transportation
- Access to airport lounges
- Enrollment in car rental agency upgrade programs
- Special benefits such as room upgrades and free meals at certain participating hotels
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, rent 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.
If you don’t travel regularly, however, you might be better off with the Preferred card. 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. If such features are important to you, you might want to avoid these cards because each card comes with a balance-transfer fee and neither card offers a break on the APR.
Whichever card you choose, don’t carry balances for long. That interest rate of at least 16 percent will eat into any rewards you accumulate. And that’s no reward at all.
Related: Should I Get a Travel Credit Card?
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.
Laira Martin contributed to the reporting for this article.