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The Chase Sapphire Reserve card took the miles and credit card world by storm when it was introduced in 2016. People love the card and 90% of cardholders kept it for a second year!
But its less flashy sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, is no slouch.
Click Here to get more details on these cards and compare to other cards!
While the Sapphire Reserve’s $450 annual fee looks daunting at first glance, the effective annual fee is actually just $55 more than Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee. That’s due to the $300 annual travel credit on the Sapphire Reserve that automatically refunds up to $300 in annual airfare, car rentals, hotels, cruises, Airbnb, subways, trains, taxis, Uber, tolls, parking, and even UberEats food delivery. Here are just some of the items that qualify for the credit. It’s not hard at all to take advantage of the $300 credit (you can always get travel gift cards if you didn’t spend the full amount) so the effective annual fee is actually $150.
Having one card or the other is practically a requirement to maximize your miles, but there’s no reason to have both cards. Which card is right for you? Is Sapphire Reserve worth the extra $55 over Sapphire Preferred?
Here’s a comparison chart that illustrates their strengths and weaknesses.
|Sapphire Preferred||Sapphire Reserve|
|Signup bonus||50K points for spending $4,000 in 3 months, plus 5K points for adding an additional user||50K points for spending $4,000 in 3 months|
|Annual Fee||$0 for the first year, then $95||$450|
|Allows you to transfer Chase points from any card to airline miles||Yes||Yes|
|Value of points towards paid airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and activities||1.25 cents||1.5 cents|
|Additional Cardholder Fee||$0||$75|
|Annual Travel Credit (Airfare, hotels, car rentals, Uber, etc)||$0||$300|
|Points earned on travel (Airfare, hotels, car rentals, Uber, etc)||2 per dollar||3 per dollar|
|Points earned on dining||2 per dollar||3 per dollar|
|Priority Pass membership||None||Primary and secondary cardholders can bring themselves and 2 free guests into a lounge|
|$100 Global Entry/Pre-Check Fee Refund||None||Once every 4 years for Primary cardholder|
|Foreign transaction fee||None||None|
|Worldwide Car Rental CDW Coverage||Primary coverage||Primary coverage|
|Roadside Assistance||Available for a $59.95 charge||Free battery boost, flat tire service, 2 gallons of fuel delivery, towing, or lockout assistance|
|Purchase Protection for items damaged or stolen within 120 days||$500 per item||$10,000 per item|
|Extended Warranty Protection||1 extra year for items up to $10,000||1 extra year for items up to $10,000|
|Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance||$10,000 per trip or $20,000 per trip with multiple travelers||$10,000 per trip or $20,000 per trip with multiple travelers|
|Return Protection||None.||$500/item up to $1,000/year|
|Lost Luggage Insurance||$3,000 per person per trip (limit of $500 per person for jewelry, watches, and electronics)||$3,000 per person per trip (limit of $500 per person for jewelry, watches, and electronics)|
|Trip Delay Reimbursement||$500 per person for reasonable expenses (Hotel, food, toiletries, medicine, etc) required for delays more than 12 hours.||$500 per person for reasonable expenses (Hotel, food, medicine, etc) required for delays more than 6 hours.|
|Baggage Delay Reimbursement||$100 per day per person (max of 5 days) for essential items needed (Clothing, toiletries, cell phone charger, etc) required for delays more than 6 hours.||$100 per day per person (max of 5 days) for essential items needed (Clothing, toiletries, cell phone charger, etc) required for delays more than 6 hours.|
|Travel Accident Insurance||$500,000 per person||$1,000,000 per person|
|Emergency Evacuation and Transportation due to injury or illness on a trip||None||$100,000 for trips between 5-60 days, more than 100 miles from your home|
|Repatriation of Remains Insurance||None||$1,000 for a coffin and to return your body to your home country if you die on a vacation|
|Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit||None||$2,500 for medical expenses on trips between 5-60 days, more than 100 miles from your home|
In short, assuming you’ll use the $300 travel credit, the extra $55/year of Sapphire Reserve over Sapphire Preferred gets you:
- Priority Pass lounge membership with access to over 1,000 lounges with unlimited guests
- I’ve used this to access the Art & Lounge in Newark, where they have kosher food and wine, without even needing a boarding pass! The lounge is located in Newark Terminal B before security.
- Triple points on dining and travel
- Combined with the travel protections this card offers, it’s a no-brainer to put all travel charges on the Sapphire Reserve.
- Global Entry/Pre-Check membership
- Makes flying domestically and internationally so much easier and less stressful!
- Roadside assistance
- I’ve taken advantage of this several times for assistance when my car got stuck or the battery needed a jump.
- Trip delay reimbursement starting from a 6 hour delay
- Medical coverage and evacuation coverage while traveling
- 120 days of Purchase protection for items up to $10,000
- The ability to redeem all of your Chase points at a value of 1.5 cents each for travel, including airfare, car rentals, hotels, and activities. That makes the 50K signup bonus alone worth a minimum of $750.
- This means you can use just 3.1K points to fly one-way from NYC to Florida:
29K points round-trip from NYC to Rome:
Or 35.8K points to fly round-trip from Boston or Chicago to Israel:
I’d say that those benefits make the Sapphire Reserve a no-brainer, but share your thoughts in the comments and vote below: