Chase Sapphire Preferred is preferable for most people. But Chase Sapphire Reserve has a clear edge for frequent travelers and high spenders. The two cards are similar in many respects, however, including their identical interest rates.
Chase Sapphire Preferred is more accessible for the average person because it doesn’t charge an annual fee for the first year and costs “just” $95 per year after that. On the other hand, Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $450 annual fee, which is a lot of money to part with just to have a credit card. If you use your cards often enough, these fees will be more than paid for by the value of the rewards you receive, but the fact still remains that you have to pay the fees upfront. If you pay $450 and then are not able to travel enough to recoup that expense through rewards, you will have wasted money.
Chase Sapphire Reserve does win on the rewards front so long as you travel on a regular basis. Here’s how the two cards compare:
Points per dollar for travel & dining: 3 for Reserve, 2 for Preferred
Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption bonus: 50% for Reserve, 25% for Preferred
Extra perks: $300 annual travel credit and airport lounge access for Reserve
But you should also keep in mind that there are other perks beyond rewards. Both cards offer travel insurance, but Sapphire Preferred has the widest-reaching coverage. Sapphire Reserve will insure you for much more money for travel accidents, though. And the two cards have identical rental car insurance coverage.
In conclusion, if you’re a more casual traveler who doesn’t want a high annual fee, Chase Sapphire Preferred is right for you. If you travel a lot and know you’ll spend enough to take advantage of Chase Sapphire Reserve’s extensive rewards, then that one might be better. Pick the cards that suits your individual needs best.