I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
The Award Wallet blog offers ‘4 reasons to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred instead of Sapphire Reserve.
They make four arguments:
- $95 vs. $900 in Fees over the First 24 Months
- Getting Paid for Adding Authorised Users as Opposed to Paying for Them
- Lower Income Threshold and Minimum Credit Limit Requirements
- Great Card for Beginners
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been one of the very best rewards cards in the market over the past 5 years.
It offers 50,000 bonus points after $4000 spend within 3 months, and earns double points on travel and dining. Those points transfer to:
- Airlines: United, Southwest, Singapore, Air France, Korean Air, Virgin America, British Airways
- Hotels: Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, IHG Rewards Club
Park Hyatt Aviara
Here are 21 things I love about my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. It’s even got great travel coverages, for instance if you pay the taxes on an award ticket that triggers some coverages like trip delay.
This year Chase introduced the Sapphire Reserve Card and it has a 100,000 point bonus after $4000 spend within 3 months of cardmembership, earns triple points on travel and dining, and comes with a Priority Pass Select card for airport lounge access.
The Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee is $0 the first year then $95. The Sapphire Reserve Card’s annual fee is $450, and it applies from year one.
I agree with Award Wallet that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is best for getting started in the hobby. There’s a hurdle for getting someone to commit to a $450 annual fee card. Sapphire Preferred lets you try it for a year, and then if you like it keeping it is only $95.
However, I don’t find “$900 vs $95 in annual fees” to be persuasive for a heavy traveler, although it’s absolutely true. Sapphire Reserve comes with a $300 annual travel credit. That’s calendar year, not cardmember year. So most people will be able to get the travel credit twice in their first annual fee (cardmember) year. And they’ll get it three times during their first two years. For instance, get the card now (still 2016) and use a $300 credit in 2016 and 2017. Then pay the annual fee again a year from now, and get a 2018 credit.
So while there’s $900 in fees over two years, there’s also $900 in available travel credits during that time frame. A travel credit isn’t the same as cash but for heavy travelers using their own cards to pay it can be close.
Sapphire Reserve authorized users cost $75, but authorized users do receive Priority Pass Select cards on request as well so there’s value there. Sapphire Preferred authorized users do not come with a fee, and if you add one during your first three months with the card and make a purchase you get 5000 bonus points.
It’s also true that there’s a higher hurdle for being approved for a Sapphire Reserve card, another reason Sapphire Preferred can be better for someone starting out. Sapphire Reserve is a Visa Infinite card and that starts with a minimum credit line of $10,000. Sapphire Preferred needs you to be approved for $5000 in credit.
If you’re considering one of these cards, look at whether you’ve had 5 or more new cards in the past 24 months. That doesn’t prevent everyone from getting approved, but it does prevent many people. I’ve heard reports of approvals for people with more new cards than that, usually with high incomes and credit scores, pre-approved in-branch, or with significant (e.g. Private Client) banking relationships with Chase.
For someone who can get approved for a Visa Infinite, and who spends heavily on travel and dining, I think Sapphire Reserve is worth it. For someone starting out, and far from 5 new cards within the past 2 years, I think getting Chase Sapphire Preferred Card first makes sense… and then getting Sapphire Reserve Card later.