Chase Sapphire Reserve: A Step Up from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Or Is It?
It's more than a little baffling why some banks compete against themselves in the credit card market. Chase Bank is a perfect example. Why would Chase create two different credit cards with similar features? Then name them similarly as well? The credit card market is complicated, for sure. With a close look at both of the Chase Sapphire cards, there might be a motive to the madness. Let's start with sign-up bonuses and rewards. Both Chase Sapphire cards have impressive sign-up bonuses. Take a look below:
The two Chase Sapphire cards have attractive yet different rewards. What the Preferred card gives extra in bonus points, the Reserve card counters with 3x the points on travel and dining instead of 2x. One could argue that the sign-up bonus is a one-time perk, and the extra points are constant, so the Reserve card is a better deal overall. However, you need to know that the 3x the points on travel only applies after the $300 statement credit is earned. Be aware, however, that these travel purchases are only accruing at 1x the points. True, you are receiving an extra $300, but you are not also receiving 3x the points. After the $300 bonus is met, all travel purchases are eligible for 3x the points.
One could argue for or against this "perk" on the Reserve card. On the positive side, you are getting an extra $300, and redeeming requires no effort. Yet some people might prefer the constant, "no fuss" 2x the points and extra 10,000 points of the Preferred card. The bottom line is this -- both cards offer excellent sign-up bonuses and rewards points for travel and dining as well as a unique extra. These exclusive extras are the $300 statement credit for the Reserve card, and the additional 10,000 sign-up points for the Preferred card. Only the customer can decide which is the best plan.
Additionally, redeeming points for travel is the best value for the cardholder. Points are worth more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Let's compare the two Sapphire cards again.
Both Sapphire cards make the rewards points worth more for booking additional travel excursions. The Sapphire Reserve card is the winner of this comparison, for sure. However, for both cards you have to book that travel using Chase Ultimate Rewards without shopping around for better deals. Are the travel rewards generous and hassle-free through Chase Ultimate Rewards? You bet! Could you get better travel prices with a different venue? Maybe.
Both Chase Sapphire cards also allow cardholders to transfer points to partnering hotels and airlines at a 1:1 ratio, which is a nice feature some other travel cards do not have. Likewise, both cards provide impeccable travel insurance for your property and purchases. Let's take a look:
With a careful look, you can see the Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a leg-up on its competition. While both cards more than adequately protect your investments, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card goes the extra mile. It covers your luggage at $3000 per person, where the Preferred card covers necessities at $100 per day for up to 5 days. The Reserve card works to protect all of your belongings. In contrast, the Preferred card will make sure you and your family are comfortable.
There are other subtle and not so subtle differences in the coverage listed above, and in some cases, the Reserve card offers a feature the Preferred card does not. Hopefully, you will never need emergency evacuation from a vacation, but it happens. Knowing you have $100,000 in coverage is an extra piece of mind. The Preferred card does not have this emergency coverage. Now let's look at some standard features that are the same in both cards.
$100 credit towards TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry
24/7 access to Customer Service
No blackout dates / No travel restrictions
Reserved for excellent credit of 750+ credit score
Door Dash & Lyft Partnerships
Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5%, whichever is greater
Everyone wants to get a credit card with a good APR. The APR for both Chase Sapphire cards is extremely reasonable, with the Reserve card being slightly higher.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has one last additional feature not offered with the Preferred card. The Reserve card will grant free access to VIP airport lounges for two people in over 500 cities worldwide after you enroll in Priority Pass Select. If you are an avid traveler opposed to a casual one, this benefit might sound impressive. Yet, most travelers probably figure they can live without this luxury.
At this point you, might be thinking: "Why not get the Reserve card instead of the Preferred card since the credit score eligibility is the same and the Reserve card offers quite a few extras?" You need to go back and evaluate how important those extras are because this next detail is a game-changer.
Let's talk about annual fees. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card waives its annual fee for the first year and charges $95 after that. The Sapphire Reserve card costs you a whopping $550 every year. Now, go back and compare the sign-up bonuses, the rewards, and the extras. Do the differences between the two Sapphire cards warrant a $550 difference in the first year and $455 each year after? The answer lies with the preferences of the individual.
Both Chase Sapphire credit cards are excellent choices for travel cards, with sign-up bonuses are that are relatively unmatched in the industry. Both cards also have ample coverage for the details essential to travelers. Maybe Chase Bank knew what it was doing pitting two great cards against one another. Let's face it, Chase Bank is a winner either way. If you prefer the extra details and coverage the Reserve card offers, you have to be willing to shell out that hefty annual fee. But don't worry, if you just can't bring yourself to do that. Chase Bank has a terrific back-up plan where you can't go wrong.