4 Reasons To Apply For Sapphire Preferred Over Sapphire Reserve

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card are two of the most popular travel rewards credit cards. Many people struggle to decide which of the two cards makes more sense for them, so in this post I wanted to share four reasons it could make sense to pick up the Sapphire Preferred, even if your end goal is to get the Sapphire Reserve.

The basic differences between the Sapphire Preferred & Sapphire Reserve

The Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve are substitutes for one another. The cards have overlapping benefits, with the Reserve being the premium version of the Preferred. If you have the Reserve, there’s virtually no benefit to having the Preferred, though for some people the Reserve may not be worth the higher annual fee. Let’s briefly cover the basic differences of the cards.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and offers:

  • 2x points on dining and travel
  • The ability to redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Great travel and purchase protection

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card has a $450 annual fee and offers:

  • 3x points on dining and travel
  • A $300 annual travel credit
  • A Priority Pass Select membership with guesting privileges
  • The ability to redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Great travel and purchase protection

You can easily product change between the two cards

Product changing between Chase cards is quite easy. That means that if you’ve had either card for at least 12 months, you can potentially call up Chase and switch from one product to the other. That means there could be a strategy to applying for one card now, even if you think you may want another one of the cards in the future. In this post I wanted to share four reasons it makes more sense to sign up for the Sapphire Preferred rather than the Sapphire Reserve.

A better welcome bonus

Both cards have a welcome bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months, which is a great bonus. However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an added bonus — it offers an additional 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points after adding an authorized user (no additional annual fee) and having them make a purchase within that same timeframe.

5,000 points can get you closer to your next redemption

Better odds of approval

The Sapphire Preferred is potentially easier to be approved for than the Sapphire Reserve. That’s because of these cards’ Visa designations.

The Sapphire Preferred is a Visa Signature Card, while the Sapphire Reserve is a Visa Infinite Card. In general, each of these types of cards has a credit line minimum:

  • A Visa Signature has a $5,000 minimum credit limit
  • A Visa Infinite has a $10,000 minimum credit limit

Credit card issuers take a lot of things into account when deciding whether to approve you for a card, and when they make that decision they also decide to only extend you a certain amount of credit. It’s entirely possible that they’d be willing to approve you for a $5,000 credit line but not a $10,000 credit line, and therefore you’d get approved for the Preferred and not the Reserve.

So if you’re at all worried about whether or not you’ll be approved for the card, it makes sense to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

You might find it’s easier to be approved for the Preferred than the Reserve

A greater cost advantage the first year

If you like to travel and spend a lot on dining and travel, then I do think long term the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is a better option (it’s the card I have).

In the long run I view the difference in holding onto the cards as $55:

  • The Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, waived the first year
  • The Sapphire Reserve has a $450 annual fee, but you get a $300 travel credit that just about anyone should get full value out of, so I view the real “out of pocket” as being $150 per year

However, the math works differently the first year. The Preferred has the annual fee waived the first year, while the Reserve doesn’t. So the first year the real “holding cost” to the Reserve compared to the Preferred is $150, since you have to compare the $450 annual fee (minus the $300 travel credit) to the first year’s waived annual fee on the Preferred.

Add authorized users at no cost

There’s no additional cost to add authorized users to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, while the cost to add authorized users on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is $75 each. Now, there’s value to adding authorized users on the Sapphire Reserve, as they also receive a Priority Pass membership.

However, if that’s not something that you value, then the cost to adding authorized users on the Reserve can add up quickly. If you’re a family of four and don’t care about Priority Pass memberships, then the additional cost to add three authorized users on the Reserve is $225, compared to nothing on the Preferred. You’d have to spend a lot in categories that earn triple points to make up for that.

One of the big benefits of the Reserve is the Priority Pass membership it offers

Bottom line

Both the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve are excellent cards. Personally I have the Sapphire Reserve, and find it to be well worth it for the triple points on dining and travel, Priority Pass membership, great travel protection, $300 travel credit, and more.

However, even for those who are interested in the Sapphire Reserve, it could make a lot of sense to first get the Sapphire Preferred, and then product change after a year (or more) — the welcome bonus is potentially better, you get the annual fee waived for the first year, it’s potentially easy to be approved for, and more.

After using the Sapphire Preferred for a year you can decide whether it’s worth upgrading to the Reserve, since you’ll have data to go off (like how many additional points you would have earned on dining and travel).

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  1. Will you need a $10k credit limit in order to PC to the Reserve? Heard its harder to increase a CLI then it is to apply new

  2. @ Brandon — You would indeed need that credit limit. The benefit here is that if you weren’t eligible for a $10K CL, at least you’d get one card, rather than just a rejection on the other.

  3. @Lucky – I figured that. Thiught i’d make sure. I really want one of the Sapphire cards(of which Im pre approved on both) but cant meet the bonus spend. I figured I’d PC to the CSR, but have a combined 9400 CLI on 2 cards and dont really want to waste a 5/24 slot and a hard pull on a CLI when i want to move in a few months. Guess the Preferred is really my only move unless I have CLI offers:/

  4. If I add an authorized user to either card, is that person’s ability to apply for said card in their own name and still receive the bonus adversely affected (assuming they meet Chase’s other requirements)?

  5. I’ve heard about Visa Infinite’s limit being minimum $10k, but my USB Altitude has CL of $5500.

  6. @ David — The authorized user would still be able to get the card (and the welcome bonus) in their name. 🙂

  7. Re: product change from Preferred to Reserve – wouldn’t it make more sense to cancel (or change to another like Chase Freedom or some such) and re-apply to get the 50k UR points welcome bonus on the Reserve as well? I’ve been considering doing this, but you’re suggesting doing a direct product switch, which I assume would mean no welcome bonus…

  8. @Steve, you have to wait 24 months after receiving a Sapphire sign-up bonus to receive another.

  9. It really depends on your situation. Some factors that it depends on are:
    – What other Chase cards you hold
    – How much of a points geek you are (do you get the most value of your points or are you a simple points earner?)
    – Where you mostly spend your money (the reserve card is good for travel and dinning)
    Most people that hold the Reserve card likely do a lot of travel and dining purchases but for all other purchases it is not the best card and those would likely have other Chase cards to compensate.

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