The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a $95 annual fee that’s currently waived the first year your account is open. So Sapphire Preferred is about six times more expensive than the average credit card from the second year on, based on the comparisons I’ve read online. For what it’s worth though, it doesn’t look like Sapphire Preferred will start charging for the first year anytime soon. The first year fee being waived has been part of the deal for at least 5 years, as far as I can tell. So you can’t really call it a limited time promotion.
But Preferred isn’t the only Sapphire card from Chase. The Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card is very popular among high-spending frequent travelers. And you need to both travel and spend a lot to get your money’s worth with that one, considering its staggering $450 annual fee. That’s like half an iPhone.
Still, we’re not done. There’s a third Sapphire card that’s no longer available. The original Chase Sapphire Card was discontinued a couple years ago, but some people still have it. It does not charge an annual fee. That tells you something, doesn’t it? They axed the only Sapphire card that doesn’t have to cost you money.
If you’re curious, here’s how the Sapphire cards’ other important fees compare:
Foreign Fee: Sapphire Preferred ($0) / Sapphire Reserve ($0) / Sapphire (3%)
Balance Transfer Fee: Sapphire Preferred (5%) / Sapphire Reserve (5%) / Sapphire (3%)
Max Late Fee: Sapphire Preferred ($37) / Sapphire Reserve ($37) / Sapphire ($35)
As you can see, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve actually have the same fees in most cases. So the annual fee really separates the two. But when considering either Chase Sapphire card’s annual fee, you also have to take its initial bonus into account. (I’ll focus on the two available offers here, since initial bonuses aren’t really relevant for discontinued cards.)
Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 50,000 bonus points, which are worth $625 in travel booked through Chase, if you spend at least $4,000 during the first 3 months your account is open. Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 50,000 bonus points, worth $750 in travel booked through Chase, with the same spending requirement. It also gives you an extra $300 in free travel each year. And in both cases, the bonuses cover the cost of fees for multiple years.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: $625 bonus = 7+ years of annual fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve: $750 bonus = 5 years of annual fees (when you count the $300 annual travel credit)
If you’re still uneasy about getting a credit card with a fee, the good news is there are plenty of great no annual fee credit cards to choose from. Chase even offers a few. One good option to look at is the Chase Slate.