4 Reasons to Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Instead of 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, JetBlue
  • Hotels: Hyatt, IHG, Marriott

In 2016 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 – 2 years 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 4 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. Easier Approval. Sapphire Reserve is a Visa Infinite and requires approval for a higher credit limit. Chase has shared average credit scores of 785 and average incomes over $180,000 for cardholders. Readers report frequent rejections apply for the card. Both cards come with the same initial bonus of 50,000 points after $4000 in spending within 3 months, why not get Sapphire Preferred and if you want the Reserve card request a product change after a year?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

If you want Sapphire Reserve, since it’s become so hard to get (both anecdotally, and based on the data Chase has released), the best way to get it can be getting approved for a Sapphire Preferred Card and then asking to product change after a year.

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. I notice the underlined links for the Preferred card but not for the Reserve card – could it be that they aren’t offering a commission to bloggers for getting that card? And if so, could that be why this article exists in the first place?

  2. But Gary, why get the Reserve card these days since there are better or equally good options for category spending, as well as for extra perks? For example, the $95(?)/year Citi Thank You card doesn’t have the $450 annual fee, yet gets you 3X the points for travel (and includes more types of spending, such as for gasoline, as travel) and the new Amex Gold card gets you 4X spending for dining (and groceries) for $250/year, with perks that reduce what it actually costs. And for those who want to splurge for a top-tier card, there are Amex Platinum options that get 5X for air fare, as well as other perks.

  3. CSR has remained an ok option for me, even as I’ve lost all business travel. Other benefits match what I like having. My real thought process is whether or not to keep the AMEX Plat at this point.

  4. Gary – Your point #4 is a major one in my choice between the 2 cards & I suspect in many others’ lives as well if they live in cities like NYC. My parking lot charges me $400/month and the cards consider this “travel”. Once I put gas in my car (also a “travel” expense, as per the cards), that 1point/dollar differential more than covers the $150/year ($450 – 300 rebate) vs. $95/year difference in cost between the 2 cards. And that’s before I even look at any other travel I do during the year (plane, train, car) or restaurant/bar tabs I run up. My choice was easy & I suspect I’m not alone in this calculation. Just my 2 cents (worth 3 cents if used for travel).

  5. “Chase has shared average credit scores of 785 and average incomes over $180,000 for cardholders.”
    I guess I should consider myself lucky? My credit score was 770 and income WAY lower than $185,000 when I applied for the CSR online and was instantly approved with a credit limit greater than all my other cards combined…..

  6. You missed the biggest one, allows for extra cardholders at no extra charge. This is becoming an issue for me as I can only transfer UR to partner accounts in my name & not my wifes. I’m debating shifting down the Preferred but I do like the 1.5 cent redemption options.

  7. The dropping of Korean air and the lack of Asian airlines as partners is a major devaluation of the chase CSP and CSR.

  8. I think @Corey is on target here – no incentive for bloggers for CSR so they try to favor CSP instead for no good reasons!
    With nominal annual fee difference of $55 (after travel credit) both cards are very similar, but main differences are:
    1) Priority Pass for you and 1 guest
    2) Better travel insurance coverage
    3) Use at 1.5 value at UR portal (compared to 1.25 with CSP)
    4) 3X on travel expenses.
    So to answer Gary’s question – yes, for most cardholders it’s worth to hold done to Reserve. Otherwise just get a Freedom card and get more UR points vs Preferred card with $0 fees.

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