Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred: Credit Card Comparison

Travel redemptions

These cards are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. When you know how to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points, they can be some of the most valuable travel points on the market. This rewards program has two excellent travel redemption options:

With transfers, these cards are effectively equal. You can send 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points to any partner and get 10,000 points in that partner’s loyalty program. It doesn’t matter if you’re transferring points from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Preferred® Card. The value you get from those points will depend on the award airfare or hotel stay you book. Savvy shoppers can often get over $0.02 to $0.03 per point, especially when booking award airfare.

The one difference in redemption options with these cards is with redemptions through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. When you do so, you’re converting points to cash to make a travel purchase. The value you receive per point depends on the card you have. Here’s the value you’ll get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Preferred® Card:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: $0.0125 per point
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: $0.015 per point

If you plan to use your points this way, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers more value. Let’s say you have 100,000 Chase points. In the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, those would be worth $1,250 with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, they’d be worth $1,500.

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Sign-up bonuses

Interestingly enough, it’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card that has the larger sign-up bonus. It offers 100,000 points if you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months of opening the account. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 60,000 points with the same spending minimum and timeframe.

Airport lounge access

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the only one of these cards to offer airport lounge access. It includes a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.

Through this membership, you and up to two guests can access the Priority Pass network of more than 1,300 airport lounges. Priority Pass also has a few dozen airport restaurants in its network. If you visit one of these restaurants, your membership will get you a spending credit toward your meal. Credit amounts vary by restaurant, but most offer around $28, and you can also typically get credits for up to two guests.

This is one of those benefits that some people love and others couldn’t care less about. If you rarely wait around at the airport, lounge access may not be a big factor for evaluating the Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Preferred® Card. For frequent travelers who deal with delays or long layovers, lounge access can be worth an expensive annual fee.

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Both cards offer a complimentary one-year subscription to DashPass that must be activated by Dec. 31, 2021. Through this subscription, you get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12. This applies to qualifying food purchases with DoorDash.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® also includes a complimentary one-year membership to Lyft Pink when you activate by March 31, 2022. This membership gets you 15% off every Lyft ride and other benefits, including priority airport pickups and a more relaxed cancellation policy.

Another feature offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is luxury hotel benefits. Thanks to Chase’s partnership with the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, Reserve cardholders can enjoy special benefits, such as complimentary upgrades, early check-in, and late checkout, at participating hotels and resorts.

As you’d expect from any quality travel credit card, neither charges a foreign transaction fee.

Deciding between the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

In the showdown of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® vs. Preferred® Card, it comes down to whether you want luxury travel perks or more everyday benefits.

Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits are made for frequent flyers with big spending on travel and dining. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has generous bonus categories that reward you for spending in those areas. And all its travel perks, such as airport lounge access and luxury hotel benefits, can improve the quality of your trips.

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the superior rewards card if you don’t need all the bells and whistles. It’s much cheaper and still has excellent travel benefits. It also earns more points on online grocery orders and streaming services, which is great if those are big spending categories for you.

In addition to a lower annual fee, another one of the most important Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits is its much bigger sign-up bonus. Because of that, it could be the better card to start with. You can always upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® later if you want.

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