The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card are two of the most popular transferable points currency cards out there. Generally I consider the cards to be substitutes and not complements, due to the similar ways the rewards are structured.
There’s no one card that’s better for everyone, and well informed people can disagree on which card is better. First I wanted to briefly recap the differences between the cards, and then I wanted to answer the most common questions I get about being approved for these two cards.
Differences between the Sapphire Preferred & Sapphire Reserve
Here are the major differences between the two cards, as I see them:
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a welcome bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has a welcome bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a $95 annual fee, waived the first year
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has a $450 annual fee
Return on spend
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers double points on dining and travel
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card offers triple points on dining and travel
- Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners, or be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase
- Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card can be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners, or be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers excellent travel protection and car rental coverage, and has no foreign transaction fees
- In addition to the above, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card offers an annual $300 travel credit, a Priority Pass membership, a Global Entry fee credit, and more
Which card is better for you primarily comes down to how much you spend on dining and travel, and whether you value a Priority Pass membership.
Can you be approved for both the Sapphire Preferred & Sapphire Reserve?
In the past you used to be able to, though not anymore. Specifically, the applications of both cards state the following:
The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 24 months.
Just to simplify this as much as possible in the form of a couple of examples:
- If you have the Sapphire Preferred right now (even if you’ve had it for years), you can’t be approved for the Sapphire Reserve
- If you had the Sapphire Preferred in the past and haven’t received a welcome bonus on it in the past 24 months (even if you only closed it a month ago), then you can be approved for the Sapphire Reserve
The waiting period isn’t based on when you closed the other card (as long as it’s closed), but rather is based on when you received the bonus.
Note that I’m not sure exactly how long you have to wait between when you close one card and open the next one. In other words, if you’ve had the Sapphire Preferred for five years and close it, how long do you have to wait till you’re eligible for the Sapphire Reserve? We don’t have a firm answer on that, though personally I’d wait about a month, just to be on the safe side.
Does the 5/24 rule apply to the Sapphire Preferred & Sapphire Reserve?
There’s something referred to as the 5/24 rule, where you typically won’t be approved for a Chase card if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months. Both the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve are subjected to this rule. That’s why you want to make sure you apply for one of these cards before you surpass that limit.
Can you product change between the Sapphire Preferred & Sapphire Reserve?
Yes, typically you can. For those of you not familiar with product changing, this is when you have a card issuer convert your card from one product to another. Typically the things to be aware of are as follows:
- A product change won’t count as an inquiry for the purposes of your credit score
- You can typically only product change if you’ve had a card for at least 12 months
- You don’t receive the welcome bonus on a card if you do a product change
One potential strategy, for example, is to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and see how you like it, given that it has the annual fee waived for the first year. If the card is working great for you, keep it. If you decide the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is better for you, you can product change after a year, and upgrade to that card.
Is it tougher to be approved for the Sapphire Reserve than Sapphire Preferred?
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, though there is potentially a difference in being approved for these cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a Visa Signature, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is a Visa Infinite. Why does this matter?
- Generally the minimum credit line you can be approved for on a Visa Signature is $5,000
- Generally the minimum credit line you can be approved for on a Visa Infinite is $10,000
Credit card companies allocate credit lines based on a variety of factors, including your credit score and income. There are circumstances under which someone could be approved for the Sapphire Preferred but not the Sapphire Reserve. If someone is creditworthy but they wouldn’t be approved with a $10,000 credit limit, they’d likely be denied for the latter.
How tough are the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred to be approved for?
Chase cards are among the tougher ones to be approved for. In general I find Amex cards to be easiest to be approved for, especially for those who don’t have a huge credit history. However, assuming you have an excellent credit score, you have a decent amount of credit history, and you haven’t exceeded the 5/24 limit, your odds of getting approved for either card should be pretty good. I certainly think it’s worth trying to apply.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card are both excellent cards. Hopefully the above answers some of the most common questions about the cards. The bad news is that you can only be approved for one or the other, though the good news is that you can product change between them, so you’re not totally locked in if you apply for one of the cards.