Reader Questions: Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve?

Every Sunday, the site will feature questions from readers about points and miles. I encourage you to ask your questions by submitting this form or by sending me an email at john@everydaypointsandmiles.com.

I was going to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but since the Sapphire Preferred has a high sign-up bonus right now, should I get the Preferred instead? (Mary from Atlanta, Ga.)

You’re right, the Chase Sapphire Preferred currently has one of its highest-ever public sign-up bonuses offering 60,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $4,000 in 3 months. It’s a great time to get this card!

The Chase Sapphire cards typically have this spending requirement, which is high, but we have some tips about how to reach minimum spending goals. The Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards typically awards just 40,000 points as a sign-up bonus.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is running a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in three months.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is running a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in three months.

A couple things to understand about these two cards:

  • You can only have one of the Chase Sapphire cards at the same time.
  • The Sapphire cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule.
  • You can only earn one bonus from the Preferred and Reserve cards every 48 months.

You can read about both cards by reading our reviews, but the main differences are the perks. The Reserve comes with a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit once every 4 years, a $300 travel credit (although the annual fee is $450) and Priority Pass lounge access. If you travel A LOT and you value the getting through security fast or potentially having a lounge to go to, it might be worth it to go with the Reserve.

Our Suggestion

With that said, here’s what I would suggest: Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred now and then upgrade to the Reserve after you’ve had the card for a year. This will net you the higher sign-up bonus. Plus, you will only have to wait just a year to hold the Reserve.

Outside of the perks, the Sapphire rewards just 2x on travel and restaurants compared to the 3x on travel and restaurants the Reserve awards. However, you would need to spend $20,000 on those two categories to make up for the decreased sign-up bonus.

I originally had the Chase Sapphire Preferred and upgraded my card to the Reserve. It was super easy. I just sent a message on my Chase portal and was approved instantly. While I didn’t get a sign-up bonus for the Reserve, I also didn’t have to wait 48 months either.

The difference in 20,000 miles is significant. If you use the Chase Travel Portal (where you get 1.25 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Preferred), it’s worth $250. The benefits are not worth $250 over the course of a year in my opinion.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to Mary for a great question about the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus. Since you’re interested in Chase Ultimate Rewards, make sure you also educate yourself about the Chase Trifecta. The Chase Trifecta will help you earn points to earn some great airline redemptions!

We will feature questions every week from readers, so if you have them, please ask!

We look forward to answering your questions in the future!


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