5 Reasons to Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — Over Sapphire Reserve

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 50,000 bonus points after $4000 in spending within 3 months as a signup bonus. It earns double points on travel and dining, so earns points quickly. And they’re valuable points. They transfer to:

  • Airlines: United, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air France KLM, Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia, Aer Lingus
  • Hotels: Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton

Last year Chase introduced the Sapphire Reserve card which was such a hit Chase filed an SEC 8-K advising of materially higher costs from new cardmember acquisition. It’s a $450 annual fee card that offers a $300 travel credit, a Global Entry credit, provides a Priority Pass for airport lounge access and 3 points per dollar on travel and dining.

That’s great but many people are now considering – a year later – whether it’s worth keeping the card after the excitement has worn off and without the signup bonus. If you’re in that camp consider product changing to a Sapphire Preferred Card so you’ll still be able to transfer points out to airlines and hotel programs.

Singapore Airlines Business Class

In fact in my opinion there are 5 reasons to choose the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card over Sapphire Reserve in the first place:

  1. Lower fee. $0 the first year then $95

  2. Bigger bonus. Both cards come with 50,000 points after $4000 in spending within 3 months, however the Sapphire Preferred also gives 5000 points for adding a no annual fee authorized user to the account and making a purchase within that timeframe.

  3. Easier approval. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a Visa Signature card while Sapphire Reserve is Visa Infinite which is going to need higher minimum credit.

  4. You already have Priority Pass. I have Priority Pass cards from several credit card issuers, so I don’t value another one. Some people don’t value airport lounge access, especially if the one they’d use the most is fairly spartan (e.g. one of “The Club” locations). If you don’t value that, then the higher fee is harder to justify.

  5. You don’t spend more than $500 a month on travel and dining. Maybe you use miles and points for your travel or it all goes on a company credit card. You need to put a decent amount of travel and dining spend on the card when the primary differentiator is one extra point per dollar justifying the annual fee.

Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Maldives

Chase limits approvals on both cards to folks who haven’t had 5 or more new credit card accounts in the past 24 months. If you’re getting started, I’d go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for its bonus. Use it and see its value. Then once you’re hooked consider whether the higher annual fee card makes sense. It’s a tough sell for most people to start with a card whose annual fee is $450, no matter the value, since that’s at that price point it’s a real decision to make.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: 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 any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. Apart from the annual fee waiver the first year, there is no reason to hold the CSP rather than the CSR. They’re both travel and dining cards, so I assume that all cardholders will spend significant money in those categories. For the CSP, after the first year, it takes $4,750 of spending at the 2x points rate to earn back the $95 annual fee. For the CSR, it takes $5,000 of spending at the 3x points rate to earn back the net annual fee of $150 ($450 less the $300 travel credit). At spending above $5,000 a year, the CSR quickly leaves the CSP in the dust. If you take into account the CSP’s 25% bonus for travel portal redemptions, and the CSR’s 50% travel portal bonus, the CSP earns back its annual fee after $3,800 and the CSR at $3,334. The CSR is clearly the better card except in the first year.

  2. 6. If you want authorized users, you pay steeply for them with with CSR. Free with CSP.

    7. Personally, I think referal bonuses are much easier
    To come by with the CSP. Much easier to “sell” someone a $95 card, than a $450 card. Even with all the benefits that offset.

  3. If there is a 300 dollar travel credit the annual fee is essentially 450 that’s an approx
    155 dollar difference
    I can’t see how the Reserve wouldn’t be more preferable unless someones spends poorly on the card and in that case why bother with either IMHO
    You have to really spend more than 5 k a year on either cards outside of the sign up bonus year to make it worthwhile IMHO non blogger view 🙂 Lost of good view points here though

  4. I don’t care about authorized users or referral bonuses. I am not interested in involving friends or family members in my financial life.

  5. How does one go from CSP to CSR without downgrading to Freedom first and then risk getting denied for CSR and then not have either?

    I find CSP to be so useful as to not abt to risk not having it.

  6. I’ll probably hold on to the CSR for the lounge access. I ended up dumping the prestige card since I had used up all my TY points. Maybe if I pick up the biz plat I will get rid of the CSR, since I have a chase ink that allows me to transfer points.

  7. @Beachan

    I downgraded my csp to a freedom unlimited before applying for CSR. Like you, I wondered what would happen if I did not get approved and they said I could switch back to the Csp. Not sure if it’s true since I got approved for the Reserve but thought I would share.

  8. If you hold CSP, you cannot get CSR due to new rules implemented by Chase. You have to cancel or product change CSP first.

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