Chase's Sapphire Preferred card has long been one of the two or three most lucrative credit cards in the business thanks to its double points on travel and dining, along with the fact that it earns Ultimate Rewards points which are some of the strongest around.
Last year, though, Chase launched the Sapphire Reserve to compete at the premium level with the Citi Prestige card and others. Originally, the card came with a 100,000 point signup bonus but had a $450 annual fee. However, the card comes with an easy $300 travel credit that is applied automatically, and comes with an incredible three points per dollar on dining and all travel. This made the Reserve card a no brainer when deciding between the two.
Now, the signup bonus has been knocked down to 50,000 which is the same as the Preferred, so which is the better option?
It basically comes down to your appetite for an annual fee and how much you travel. If you spend at least $300 annually on flights, hotels and Uber/Lyft, your annual fee is $150 for the Reserve. The Preferred is $95 and is waived the first year.
So really you need to decide if you get $55 of value out of the extra one point on dining and travel. You also get a $100 statement credit for Global Entry, a program everyone should apply for to get TSA Precheck as well. Given that you need to apply once every five years, you only get that credit once every five years, so if you're looking to hold the card long term let's go with a value of $20/year, bringing us to only needing to get $35 more in value out of the Reserve vs. the Preferred.
The Reserve card comes with a Priority Pass membership, which gives you access to hundreds of lounges all over the world and allows generous guesting privileges. Realistically, if you use this once you should be able to save $20 on food and drinks you would pay at an airport restaurant. Now we're down to only needing $15 more in value.
The extra one point per dollar on all travel and dining will very quickly add up to more than $15. If you spend $1,000 annually on dining and travel combined, which is very conservative for most people, the 1,000 points are worth roughly $20 based on industry valuations of Ultimate Rewards points.
I recommend to everyone that can get the Chase Sapphire Reserve card to get it, even with the decreased signup bonus. It's an incredible way to rack up points quickly to transfer for incredible international flights.
Have you gotten the Sapphire Reserve card? Tweet me and let me know how you like it @MileageMayhem