I receive compensation for content and 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).
There’s a huge debate amongst my readers, every time I talk about the Chase Sapphire Reserve someone will argue that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is clearly the better card (usually pointing out the slightly better signup bonus and the lower fee).
But if I cover the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — highlighting the lower fee and suggesting it’s the best card for getting started in this hobby — readers will rightly point out just how valuable the Chase Sapphire Reserve is.
There’s one slam dunk answer to the question though — all else aside, the better card for you is the one you can get approved for.
Last month Chase revealed some fascinating data about Sapphire Reserve cardholders.
Cardholders have an average income of $180,000 and an average credit score of 785. It’s not surprising to me that I’ve heard from several readers who applied for Chase Sapphire Reserve and didn’t get approved (and they were below ‘5/24’ meaning fewer than 5 new cards in the last 24 months).
The Sapphire Preferred has the better signup bonus. Both give you 50,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months, Sapphire Preferred also gives you 5000 points for adding an authorized user to the account and making a purchase within the same time period. Sapphire Preferred also has a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95.
Points from both cards transfer to:
- Airlines: United, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air France KLM, Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia, Aer Lingus
- Hotels: Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton
Singapore Airlines Suites
And you cannot get approved for one card if you currently hold the other. So why not just product change? Sign up for the card with the bigger bonus (Chase Sapphire Preferred Card), wait a year — because banks can’t raise your annual fee during your first year as a cardmember — and then as to product change to Chase Sapphire Reserve.
If you change your Sapphire Preferred to Reserve you’ll then be able to take advantage of the $300 travel credit, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck benefit, Priority Pass airport lounge access, and Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s lesser known benefits.
At the very least if you apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and aren’t approved, definitely go for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.