Chase flexible points cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of my very FAVORITE travel credit cards! These include the card_name and card_name.

I think ALL travelers should hold at least one Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card, as they offer so many excellent flexible travel benefits.

But, because Chase will only allow you to hold ONE “Sapphire” card, which should you get?

Here is my review of Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Reserve to help you determine which is the best option for you.

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Reserve

Both of these travel cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which are flexible points that can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to airlines and hotel groups, including:

  • Southwest
  • British Airways
  • United
  • Singapore
  • IHG
  • Marriott
  • Hyatt

My family largely focuses on earning Southwest points, because we always hold the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one of us fly free. Our top priority is getting enough points for the rest of us to fly free, too!

We find these cards to be a great way to quickly earn points, especially double and triple on dining and travel, that we can INSTANTLY transfer to Southwest to book FREE flights.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are also great for booking flights to Europe on ANY airline, as well as to book free hotel stays. We saved nearly $5,000 using Chase points to book a stay at the Hotel du Louvre, a Hyatt property, in Paris for example. 

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Overall Summary

Chase Sapphire Preferred Go to Travel Gal
Chase Sapphire Preferred is my FAVORITE travel credit card.

Generally, I recommend the card_name to those new to collecting miles and points for free travel, because it has a low $95 annual fee, making it a FREE way to get started.

I generally don’t recommend card_name any longer, as it comes with a high annual_fees annual fee. Instead, I prefer the card_name for travelers looking for the more luxury perks these two cards provide. The card_name has many of the same plus even MORE perks for a lower annual_fees annual fee.

I recommend the card_name for more advanced travel hackers or those who travel A LOT for business or pleasure, as it has a higher annual fee than Chase Sapphire Preferred, but it can be TOTALLY offset with travel credits and perks.

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Feature-by-Feature Comparison

Travel Credit Card Plan

I’ve written this post to compare side by side key features and benefits of each card, as I think that may be the easiest way to see the differences.

Sign-on Bonuses

card_name

  • 60,000 points after a $4,000 minimum spend in 3 months

card_name

  • 60,000 points after a $4,000 minimum spend in 3 months
  • It COSTS $75 to add an authorized user, which you will need to do to transfer points to one another. It IS also handy if you want your authorized user to also have Priority Pass access and the ability to bring 1 guest (a great perk of this car) into airport lounges and get credits and some airport restaurants. Check out this amazing Priority Pass hack I figured out to save even MORE money using the Priority Pass that comes with Reserve! 🙂

 

Annual Fees

  • Preferred: annual_fees 
  • Reserve: annual_fees (partly offset by travel perks and credits)

 

Travel Credits

A woman is holding a bunch of IHG credit cards.

Preferred: None

Reserve:

  • $300 credit each year for any travel expenses you charge to the card. Travel expenses includes hotel, airline, car rental, transportation (bus, cab, subway), tolls, parking and cruise line expenses. Here is the complete list. We’ve used this credit to book a cheap flight on Allegiant to get us to Ft. Lauderdale, where we used ~12,600 points to fly 4 of us to Grand Cayman.
  • Credit for $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck application fee once every four years when purchased with the card. I highly recommend TSA PreCheck or Global Entry (same as PreCheck, but expedites customs when coming back into the US) if you travel a lot to help bypass long security lines and to avoid having to remove shoes, laptops, etc. We used this credit to get my son TSA PreCheck when he turned 13, requiring him to have his own.

If you take advantage of these 2 benefits the first year, you will be down to a reasonable annual fee of $150-$165 (most airline cards have $69-$99 annual fees) or for the second year (when the TSA PreCheck is not credited) to a $250 annual fee. However, you can do even better — getting your entire annual fee back — with card_name.

 

Points Earned By Spending

Bologna restaurant

This is the MAIN benefit of these cards for me, aside from the initial sign-on bonus. By using them to pay for your travel and dining expenses, you can quickly net points that can be transferred to your favorite airline or hotel chain or used to book travel in the Chase Travel Portal.

Most airline and hotel credit cards only allow you to earn 1 point per dollar on travel and dining expenses (on the Southwest Rapid Rewards Chase cards, for example), so this is a much more effective and efficient way to earn MORE Southwest points than using the Southwest cards to pay for the same purchases.

By using our card_name to pay for travel and dining on a trip to Europe, we pretty much covered our fall break flights to Los Angeles on Southwest.

Preferred: 2X points on travel; 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases and streaming services

Reserve: 3X points on dining and travel

 

Foreign Transaction Fees

Eiffel Tower from below
Use either card to pay for tickets to visit the top of the Eiffel Tower and pay no foreign transaction fees!

If you travel overseas at all, it’s helpful to use a credit card that DOES NOT charge foreign transaction fees.

BOTH Preferred and Reserve DO NOT charge foreign transaction fees, so they are great to use on your travel expenses when out of the country.

 

Insurance Benefits

Southwest car rental vertical

Many people overlook the insurance benefits on travel credit cards, but they can be extremely helpful!

card_name

  • $3,000 for lost or damaged luggage, primary auto rental theft and collision damage for the cash value of the vehicle (primary is better than secondary, meaning NO CLAIMS need to be filed with your insurance company, potentially increasing your premiums)
  • Trip cancellation insurance if canceled or interrupted due to weather, illness, etc. up to $10,000
  • Primary car rental collision and theft insurance, which means you DO NOT have to file a claim with your insurance company, resulting in higher rates.
  • Baggage delay coverage of up to $100 a day for 5 days for essential purchases like clothing and toiletries
  • Return protection for items a store won’t take back within 90 days up to $500

card_name

  • Trip cancellation insurance up to $10,000.
  • Primary car rental collision and theft insurance, which means you DO NOT have to file a claim with your insurance company, resulting in higher rates.
  • $500 per airline ticket for accommodations and meals if your flight is delayed overnight and you paid for your airfare with this card.
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation up to $100,000.
  • $10,000 per claim for damage and theft of new purchases with this card for the first 120 days.

Lyft and DoorDash Benefits

Lyft Chase card benefits
Credit: Lyft

Preferred 

  • 5x points when purchasing Lyft rides
  • Complimentary DashPass from DoorDash for one year, which includes free delivery for orders more than $12.

Reserve

  • Earn 10x points on ALL Lyft rides.
  • Get a 1-year complimentary Lyft Pink membership. Pink membership normally costs $19.95 per month, making this a $240 value each year. Benefits of Lyft Pink Membership:
    • 15% off unlimited car rides
    • Priority airport pickups 
    • Relaxed cancellations
    • Surprise discount offers 
    • Waived lost and found fees
    • 3 free bike or scooter rides per month
  • Complimentary DashPass from DoorDash for one year, which includes free delivery for orders more than $12.

Other Benefits

Rome Leonardo Da Vinci Airport Priority Pass lounge
The Priority Pass lounge at Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport

One more perk I love about the card_name is access to airport lounges across the globe by granting you a complimentary Priority Pass!

Both you AND your authorized user get a Priority Pass and you can EACH bring 1 guest with you. We love using Priority Pass lounges, as they are a quiet refuge in the chaos of an airport.

Many airports also have restaurants where the Priority Pass grants you a $28 PER PERSON (guests included) credit, excluding tip. The card_name is the only card that grants you this extra benefit with the Priority Pass; this benefit does NOT come with the Priority Pass that you get with the card_name.

And this is really the only way that you can get the full annual fee’s value out of the card_name. If you know that you will be dining at a participating airport restaurant multiple times each year, those $28 credits add up and can help you save the full value of the annual fee. But otherwise, you’re usually better to opt for the card_name.

We’ve used the airport restaurant benefit several times at Denver International.

Plus, check out this genius hack I figured out to save you even MORE money using the Reserve’s Priority Pass restaurant credit.

Reserve: Access to more than 900 Priority Pass Select Airport Lounges around the world.

 

Who Should Pick the card_name?

card_name

Choose the card_name if you:

  • Will be spending at least $300 on travel in the coming year, which you can put on the card to offset part of the $550 annual fee
  • Will use the $28 per person airport restaurant credit enough to cover whatever else is not offset by the $550 annual fee and the $300 travel credit
  • Travel enough to warrant getting TSA PreCheck or have a need to get TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, again to offset another $85-$100 of the annual fee
  • Can meet the minimum spend within 3 months without putting yourself in financial trouble
  • Would love a free 60,000 points to spend on FREE flights or hotel rooms!

 

Who Should Pick the card_name?

card_name

Choose the card_name if you:

  • Would rather pay a lower annual fee ($95)
  • Frequently use one of Chase Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel transfer partners
  • Would like to earn at least 2X points on travel and 3X points on dining expenses
  • Can meet the minimum spend within 3 months without putting yourself in financial trouble
  • Would love 60,000 points after a $4,000 minimum spend to spend on FREE flights or hotel rooms!

Please note for both of these cards, Chase will NOT approve you if you have opened 5 or more new credit cards in the last 24 months (some business cards, including Chase and Citi, are not included in this total). Learn more about the Chase 5/24 rule.

To Sum It Up

As you can see, these cards are a great way to quickly and easily earn a bunch of points that can be used for free flights on your favorite airline or free rooms at your favorite hotels. This is accomplished by…

  • Earning the sign-on bonus
  • Using them for travel and dining spending

Which will you pick? Preferred or Reserve?

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