How Chase Sapphire Preferred Became Under-hyped and Under-appreciated

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

When this card came out it was the greatest frequent flyer thing since miles themselves. Chase Sapphire Preferred was (1) fast-earning [double points on travel and dining] and (2) had valuable points that transferred to great partners.

And the card was even considered a bit sexy. Lucky called it “the poor man’s Centurion card.” AndyAndy decided downgrade his Chase Sapphire Preferred card to a regular Sapphire card with no fee. He tried to dispose of the card himself. With a blow torch.

chase sapphire preferred card benefits

The card added primary collision coverage when renting cars, and has added numerous transfer partners like Air France KLM, Virgin Atlantic, and Iberia. And yet for some people it’s an afterthought. It shouldn’t be.

What happened? Chase Sapphire Reserve, that’s what, became the ‘it’ card when it launched almost two years ago. At the outset everyone wanted one, and if they had fewer than 5 new cards in the last 24 months they were getting one. 3 points per dollar on travel and dining and a Priority Pass with unlimited guests was sexy.

There’s no longer going to be unlimited free guesting with the Priority Pass that comes with that card.
And anecdotally talking to a lot of readers it has seemed much tougher to get the Sapphire Reserve over the last six months than it did wen the card first launched.

Ultimately the better card between the two products is the one you can get approved for. Sapphire Reserve is a Visa Infinite, it has higher approval standards, and Chase revealed some fascinating data about Sapphire Reserve cardholders.

Cardholders have an average income of $180,000 and an average credit score of 785. And that included the time when it seemed approval standards weren’t as tight. My guess is that income and credit score requirements skew on the higher side currently.

In contrast we’ve seen much lower credit scores get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (provided they’re under 5/24).

Both give you 50,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months, Sapphire Preferred also has a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95.

And if you really want Sapphire Reserve, you may have a clearer shot getting Sapphire Preferred, waiting until your card renewal and asking to product change.

Points from both cards transfer to:

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

United Polaris Business Class

At the very least if you apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and aren’t approved, definitely go for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

And you really need one Chase card with an annual fee, so that you can combine points into that account and transfer them to airline miles. You can get other Chase cards with no annual fee that earn 1.5 points per dollar on all spend, or that bonus office supplies, telecommunications or other categories with as many as 5 points per dollar. The annual fee card boosts the value of all of your points. Sapphire Preferred does that at a great price point, $0 the first year then $95.

Don’t overlook the 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, 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. I’ll be under 5/24 in December and would like to apply for the Chase Preferred. My credit score is low 800 but my income is 45,000. Will that be a problem?

  2. How did it fade somewhat? 1. Citi ThankYou card offers better deal of 3x points for hotel, airline, gas, other travel. Citi’s an overall worse program, but bigger value for those key categories compared to Chase. 2. Chase 5/24 rule bites off nose to spite face.

  3. I sure didn’t renew mine. Thank you Chase for the 100,000 UR bonus and the extra 300 travel credit before canceling! Not a bad deal for effectively one $150 annual fee.

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