Battle Of The Ultimate Cards: Which Chase Ultimate Rewards Premium “Hybrid” Card Should You Have?

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Chase Ultimate Rewards cards:

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most lucrative currencies out there today.

You can rack up points quickly on no annual fee cards like the Ink Unlimited (1.5 points per dollar), Ink Cash (up to 5 points per dollar), Freedom (up to 5 points per dollar), and Freedom Unlimited (1.5-3 points per dollar)

You can cash those points out at 1 cent each, but you can do much better than that if you have a premium Chase card with an annual fee.

A premium card can transfer points to airlines from all of the major alliances, so you can book award travel on hundreds of airlines. Chase points also transfer to Hyatt, which has the last remaining valuable hotel points. Plus you can redeem your points directly for paid airfare, hotels, car rentals, or activities at an increased value as well.

Chase transfer partners include:

  • United (Star Alliance)
  • Singapore (Star Alliance)
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam)
  • British Airways (OneWorld)
  • Aer Lingus (OneWorld)
  • Iberia (OneWorld)
  • Emirates
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Marriott

I aim to receive a value of 2 cents or more per point when I transfer them into airline miles or hotel points. But sometimes the value of an airline miles or hotel point can be under 1 cent each. In these cases it’s great to have a card that allows you to redeem points for paid travel at a value that beats the 1 cent per point level where you can cash the points out.


Chase has 3 premium cards to choose from:

There is no obvious answer as to which you should have, but in general I’d say that:

  • Sapphire Preferred is best for general users
  • Sapphire Reserve is best for power users
  • Ink Preferred has the best signup bonus and is good to have if the spending categories work for you.

Luckily Chase allows you to transfer points to a spouse or business joint owner, so you only need to have one premium card between spouses. Chase also allows premium cardholders to transfer points to their authorized user’s mileage accounts.

Chase also allows you to convert from any consumer Ultimate Rewards card to another consumer Ultimate Rewards card or from any business Ultimate Rewards cards to another business Ultimate Rewards card as needed. There is no hard credit pull needed to change cards. You will only get a signup bonus for opening a new card, not for a card conversion.

Let’s walk through the benefits to see which cards is best for you.


Signup bonus:

Sapphire Preferred has a slightly lower spend threshold, but Ink Preferred’s 80K bonus for an extra $1,000 in spending is the best bonus on a Chase card.

Winner: Ink Preferred


Annual fee:

Winner: Ink Preferred and Sapphire Preferred.


Annual fee for additional cardholders:

Aside from the lower signup bonus, this is the other weak spot for Sapphire Reserve. The annual fee covers the lounge membership that is given to additional users.

Winner: Ink Preferred and Sapphire Preferred.


Value of each points towards pair airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and activities:

You can combine all of your points and your spouse’s points from all of your Chase Ultimate Rewards cards onto your most valuable card, so that they are worth the most for travel!

The increased value of points set a minimum value you can get from your points. You can get a higher value for your points by transferring them into airline miles and hotel points, but having the ability to use your points at an increased value for paid travel makes them into “hybrid points.” You can choose to redeem them for either paid travel or award travel, depending on which provides a better value.

Winner: Sapphire Reserve


Annual travel credit:

Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit is effortless to use. You are automatically credited when you charge any travel related charge, from airfare or airfare gift cards, to hotels, car rentals, Uber or UberEats, subway/trains, parking and more.

That effectively lowers the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee from $450 to $150.

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Points per dollar on travel:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Points per dollar on dining:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Points per dollar on shipping:

Winner: Ink Preferred.


Points per dollar on internet, cable, telecom, social media advertising and search engine advertising:

Winner: Ink Preferred.


Priority Pass Membership:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.

Nothing like stocking up on free wine, beer, and KIND bars, thanks to Priority Pass restaurant credit:

 


Global Entry/Pre-Check Refund:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Roadside assistance:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Cell Phone Damage and Theft Protection:

Winner: Ink Preferred.


US Car Rental CDW Coverage:

Winner: Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve.


Worldwide Car Rental CDW Coverage:

Winner: Tie.


Foreign Transaction Fees:

Winner: Tie.


Extended Warranty Coverage:

Winner: Tie.


Purchase Protection for items damaged or stolen within 120 days:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve and Ink Preferred.


Return Protection:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Trip Delay Reimbursement:

  • Sapphire Preferred: $500 per person for reasonable expenses (Hotel, food, toiletries, medicine, etc) required for delays more than 12 hours.
  • Sapphire Reserve: $500 per person for reasonable expenses (Hotel, food, toiletries, medicine, etc) required for delays more than 6 hours.
  • Ink Preferred: $500 per person for reasonable expenses (Hotel, food, toiletries, medicine, etc) required for delays more than 12 hours.

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:

Winner: Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve


Travel Accident Insurance:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Emergency Evacuation Insurance:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Repatriation of Remains Insurance:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit:

Winner: Sapphire Reserve.


Visa Savings Edge Rebates:

Winner: Ink Preferred.


Adds to 5/24 count of cards:

Winner: Ink Preferred.


Spending affects credit utilization ratio:

Business card spending doesn’t get reported on your personal credit report, so having a bill close with an amount owed won’t hurt your score on a business card.

Winner: Ink Preferred.


Lost Luggage Insurance:

  • Sapphire Preferred: $3,000 per person per trip (limit of $500 per person for jewelry, watches, electronics)
  • Sapphire Reserve: $3,000 per person per trip (limit of $500 per person for jewelry, watches, electronics)
  • Ink Preferred: $3,000 per person per trip (limit of $500 per person for jewelry, watches, electronics)

Winner: Tie.


Baggage Delay Reimbursement:

  • Sapphire Preferred: $100 per day per person (max of 5 days) for essential items needed (Clothing, toiletries, charger, etc) for delays more than 6 hours.
  • Sapphire Reserve: $100 per day per person (max of 5 days) for essential items needed (Clothing, toiletries, charger, etc) for delays more than 6 hours.
  • Ink Preferred: $100 per day per person (max of 5 days) for essential items needed (Clothing, toiletries, charger, etc) for delays more than 6 hours.

Winner: Tie.


Comparison chart of the card benefits:

 Sapphire PreferredSapphire ReserveInk Preferred
Signup bonus60K points for spending $4,000 in 3 months
50K points for spending $4,000 in 3 months
80K points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.
Annual Fee$95$450$95
Additional Cardholder Fee$0$75$0
Allows you to transfer Chase points from any card to airline milesYes
Yes
Yes
Annual Travel Credit (Airfare, hotels, car rentals, Uber, etc) $0$300
$0
$100 Global Entry/Pre-Check Fee RefundNoneOnce every 4 years for Primary cardholder
None
Priority Pass membershipNonePrimary and secondary cardholders can bring 2 guests into a loungeNone
Value of points towards paid airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and activities1.25 cents1.5 cents1.25 cents
Points earned on everyday spending 1 per dollar1 per dollar1 per dollar
Points earned on travel (Airfare, hotels, car rentals, Uber, etc) 2 per dollar3 per dollar3 per dollar ($150K cap)
Points earned on advertising with social media sites and search engines 1 per dollar1 per dollar3 per dollar ($150K cap)
Points earned on shipping 1 per dollar1 per dollar3 per dollar ($150K cap)
Points earned on internet, cable and phone services 1 per dollar1 per dollar3 per dollar ($150K cap)
Points earned on dining 2 per dollar 3 per dollar1 per dollar
Foreign transaction fee NoneNoneNone
Cell Phone Damage and Theft Protection NoneNone$600 of coverage with a $100 deductible.
US Car Rental CDW CoveragePrimaryPrimaryPrimary on rentals primarily for a business purpose, secondary on rentals for personal reasons
Worldwide Car Rental CDW CoveragePrimaryPrimaryPrimary
Roadside Assistance Available for a $59.95 charge Free battery boost, flat tire service, 2 gallons of fuel delivery, towing, or lockout assistanceAvailable for a $59.95 charge
Purchase Protection for items damaged or stolen within 120 days$500 per item$10,000 per item$10,000 per item
Extended Warranty Protection1 extra year for items up to $10,0001 extra year for items up to $10,0001 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
$5,000 per trip or $10,000 per trip with multiple travelers
Return Protection
None$500/item up to $1,000/year
None
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, toiletries, medicine, etc) required for delays more than 6 hours.
$500 per person for reasonable expenses (Hotel, food, toiletries, medicine, etc) required for delays more than 12 hours.
Lost Luggage Insurance$3,000 per person per trip (limit of $500 per person for jewelry, watches, electronics)$3,000 per person per trip (limit of $500 per person for jewelry, watches, electronics)$3,000 per person per trip (limit of $500 per person for jewelry, watches, electronics)
Baggage Delay Reimbursement$100 per day per person (max of 5 days) for essential items needed (Clothing, toiletries, charger, etc) for delays more than 6 hours.
$100 per day per person (max of 5 days) for essential items needed (Clothing, toiletries, charger, etc) for delays more than 6 hours.
$100 per day per person (max of 5 days) for essential items needed (Clothing, toiletries, charger, etc) for delays more than 6 hours.
Travel Accident Insurance$500,000 per person$1,000,000 per person
$500,000 per person
Visa Savings Edge RebatesNoNoYes
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
None
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
None
Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit None$2,500 for medical expenses on trips between 5-60 days, more than 100 miles from your home
None
Subject to 5/24 rulesYesYesYes
Adds to 5/24 countYesYesNo
Download Guide of BenefitsLinkLinkLink

Win count:

Unsurprisingly, Sapphire Reserve wins in a landslide. Of course that comes at a cost, $450/year. If you maximize the $300 travel credit though, it drops to an effective $150 annual fee, which is $55 more than Sapphire Preferred and Ink Preferred.

Are the benefits worth the extra $55/year? For a power user who wants their points to be worth at least 1.5 cents each and who wants benefits like triple points on dining and airfare, Priority Pass, Global Entry, and more it probably will be.

However a general user may find that the Sapphire Preferred is good enough and they won’t have to worry about using the $300 in annual travel credit. Sapphire Reserve bests it in many categories, but not everyone will get enough value from its added benefits. It also certainly helps that Sapphire Preferred also has a superior signup bonus. That means you can signup for Sapphire Preferred and upgrade it to a Sapphire Reserve down the line if you decide that the benefits are worth the extra $55. Note that some reps will make you wait 12 months after getting the card until you can upgrade it. You can downgrade either Sapphire card to a lucrative no-fee Freedom or Freedom Unlimited card down the line.

The Ink Preferred is an excellent card, though it’s a bit of a niche product. It has some great benefits and unique spending categories, but it doesn’t have benefits like double points on dining and primary rental car coverage on personal rentals in the US. That being said, the 80K signup bonus is a very attractive offer. You can also downgrade it to a lucrative no-fee Ink Cash or Ink Unlimited card down the line.


Which Chase Premium Ultimate Rewards cards do you have and which benefits do you value the most?

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126 Comments On "Battle Of The Ultimate Cards: Which Chase Ultimate Rewards Premium “Hybrid” Card Should You Have?"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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Michael

Very (although lengthy) good review of card option s!

Moisheyb

What about metal vs plastic card ??

Dan\'s the Man

Thank you Dan. It looks great. Just one suggestion. You don’t have the trip cancellation benefits just the trip delay. Do you know if the Reserve has any better coverage?

Joel2

Reserve, Freedom & Freedom unlimited is the perfect combination.

jonny

I have the Reserve, Freedom and Freedom Unlimited. When used for travel, I get an effective 2.25 on everyday purchases with the Freedom Unltd, 4.5 on travel/dining with Reserve, and 7.5 with Freedom on the quarterly bonus categories (like Gas right now in Q3).

The Reserve fits for me since I use the $300 travel credit within a week or 2 on Uber/Lyft alone! I got Global Entry so that was reimbursed, too. Well worth the effective $150 fee, or $55 more than Preferred since that’s what I’d have if not for Reserve. I got the Reserve the day it was released so I got the 100k bonus.

Just got the Amex Gold this week with the 50k bonus, and the Amex Everyday card which had a 20k bonus (more than the 15k from Everyday preferred). First cards I got since the Chase ones back in 2016.

Love Dan!

great post! for how many cell phones can one get protection? we have five phones on our family plan.

Squid

Are the sapphire cards worth it even someone isn’t eligible for the sign up bonus (once every 4 years I believe)?

Huh

Roadside assistance for $55 extra sounds like a pretty good deal.
Are there limitations?

Don\'twannadieonvacation

I’ll stick with the Reserve for the remains repatriation benefit. Thank you Dan for the detailed breakdown and for highlighting the benefits some of us didn’t know about!
(I actually didn’t know about the roadside assistance with the Reserve, really good to know just in case.)
Hope never to use either

justmeha

can we get a chart plz

HE

Dan, I have “hybrid points” with a Business Platinum Card and a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Which one pays better to use as “hybrid points”?

Gita

I have the sapphire reserve card
I have a rental and I made a small crash and I didn’t make a police report
Dan what should I do

Mendel

The authorized user fee is a major disadvantage for Sapphire Reserve, because it means you can’t transfer points to your household member mileage account without paying $75.

D

3 points on travel using ink is on any travel related charge like what you need for the reserves 300 credit or more restrictive

ilya

Awesome breakdown! Thanks for all your work Dan, keep it coming!

Lovehacks

Got the reserve on my maiden name and got a second card when I changed my name after my wedding. Old card still works. Instant $75 savings.

D

Is there a safe way to transfer ultimate rewards to your wife if she still hasn’t changed her last name so maiden name still on account

Meir

Do the cards benefits /insurance apply if travel is purchased with ultimate rewards points and no charge to the card?

dave

wife is an AU on my father’s sapphire preferred car. can she transfer her UR points from her chase cards to my father’s sapphire preferred card?

online or call?

Yoee

Hey dan, thank you for the thorogh and well written article.
Wondering If I open a ink, and I have the reserve can I use the points for travel at a 1.5 per dollar in other words can I use those points as if they are reserve points?

Toasted

Does au on reserve get the roadside assistance and/or the other insurances/benefits?

Shaul Morrison

Opened a AU on my Reserve for my wife for a trip abroad and then closed it. The PP card came in the mail. Is it active? Is it risky for her to use it even if it will go through?

Glushtygiz

If I have ink unlimited card and cancel it how long do I hafta wait to apply for ink preferred ?

D

Dan you are such a mentch!

I can’t believe it.
Everyone should give Dan a round of applause!

He is helping lots of people who are asking simple questions that have been brought up on dd website over the years and are now being reasked!

Kol halavod.
(No one else online is this polite, courteous and understanding)

Keep up the good work!

Juryduty

Can you transfer UR points from ink cash to sapphire? Business to consumer?

chaz

chase does not allow two sapphire cards in the same name this is grounds for a shut down,true or false? do your research! hint, many innocent chase customers with excellent credit have been shut down for applying for both. stay alert and be aware.

H

Thank you for an amazing write up. I usually purchase travel insurance (medical) for when I travel. If I’m booking my travels with a reserve card can I rely on that? Or would you still suggest purchasing travel insurance?

Sender

I always book tickets using Ultimate Rewards points for my 14 and 16 year olds to come home. Over the last few weeks, I have been told that Chase started using Orbitz as their travel partner and I cannot book a ticket for anyone under 18 without an adult. I have tried booking with the wrong birthdate and calling to change, and they told us that we’d have to cancel. To have Her Blue take over the reservation (and make the birthday change) we have to pay $50.
Has anyone else encountered this recently? Any work arounds?

zf

I had the same problem. So I booked him with a DOB that made him 18. I then called ElAl and corrected the DOB, they did it no problem. I thought the DOB needs to match the passport. I don’t know if that is true

nirc

if I book tickets using miles, how can I benefit (Baggage Delay Reimbursement, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Trip Delay Reimbursement) from having the above cards i.e. CSR?

Moshe

What is chase official policy of upgrading preferred to reserve? Will HUCA work at all?

George

Hi, I have the chase ink cash which earns the 1.5 point per dollar. I dont do any spending on my sapphire preferred. Is there any point in keeping it open and pay the annual fee?

Chanie

Great post. Thank you. And I second the motion about you being a big mentsch!! One point, $2,500 for travel medical expenses isn’t very much. Purchasing travel insurance isn’t expensive and has higher coverage.

Newbie

Who is going to win the battle between Reserve and CNB cards

Yitzi

Do you get trip insurance if you only book a one way ticket?

Nyc

I have Sapphire Reserve and my wife has one. Can i downgrade one of ours?

freecountry

I have a Chase freedom for 5 URP on quarterly bonus cat. My wife has a CSP as our premium card, and I have a Ink Cash which I use to buy visa and store GC’s from staples and cash them out with money orders/stores, and a CFU for all my other spending. Add a companion pass from Southwest and I’ve flown dozens of flights with my wife for just the $5.60 911 security fee ( of which I pay for by using the free $100 Southwest GC’s I get from my Amex Gold incidental credit ) so in short its free. Thanks Dan for your help

David

How do I get roadside assistance
Do i call a 3’rd party company and then the CC company pays for it?

If i have a prepaid plan on my cellphone would that also qualify for cellphone theft or damage on the ink ?

CJ

Rats…I wish you would have had this article earlier. I just got approved for the preferred but wish I had applied for the reserve. I haven’t even received the card yet. Do you know how long I would have to wait to upgrade the card?

israelweiss

i booked a ticket with miles and paid the taxes and baggage with CSR.. the flight was cancelled and i was re-booked for the next day.. the next day the flight was delayed with over 5 hr. so i didn’t end up taking it.. i lost my vacation package with wyndham rewards, i got charged for hotel for 1 night what i booked before, my packages went to the destination and i got it back 2 days later with all the frozen and fridge food spoiled… and other things crushed.. what could i expect from chase? is this trip cancellation or baggage delayed or both?
thanks
btw card is under spouse’s name i’m not authorized user just used the card for the booking

Bachur

Using credit card insurance in Israel the agent told me that if something happens you would have to lay out the money on the credit card for up to 6 months until the claim is finished. How is it worth the risk? and how is it called insurance?

Joe

I’m new to the points game, but I have a long established credit history with FICO over 800. Should I apply for CSP because its bonus is higher or go straight for CSR?

HelpMe

Have Reserve and Ink. The Ink’s have been churned so much they are turning into butter.

Danny

This is the best article I’ve read in the history of credit cards that compares these chase credit cards!!!
I have the Sapphire Reserve for a few years, and I only applied to it after I read on of your articles back then. I’ve traveled using thousands of $ of travel points with this card, and of course it was for free.
You rock Dan!!!

Yeshiva Bachur

I booked a flight using csp points there was a change of plans and didnt end up flying whats a good excuse for getting the trip cancellation insurance?

dave

How do I make someone co-owner on my chase business card as it seems to only give me option to add employee card online?
i

Kathy

thank you, the chart is awesome! Would love to see this chart with all Chase cards compared in one spot !

weiss

trip delay/cancellation/baggage delay/lost – is only for business use ?

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