#MileageMonday: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred - Smart Money Seed


#MileageMonday: Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Happy #MileageMonday, Smart Money Squad! Since we last spoke, I've been soaking up the sun on the lovely beaches of Oahu in Hawaii. Let me quickly give a shoutout to my future in-laws, who graciously covered the cost of the beachfront condo we stayed in during our week in paradise. Don't forget, guys-you can always earn thousands of points but you can't replace the generosity of family!

Anyways, enough bragging for me. I'll save some of that for a future #MileageMonday where we'll go into how Kayleigh was able to score some killer deals on flights (booked with points) & how we flew back home first class with lie-flat seats! Today, though, we need to get back to where it all started for me: Chase Bank.

Chase Card Overview

As I've alluded to in previous posts, there are 6 main Chase co-branded cards that consumers flock to due to their decent sign-up bonuses & great offerings beyond the initial offering. These are:
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Chase Freedom
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Ink Plus (Business)
  • Chase Ink Cash (Business)
These cards all are valuable in their own right because they each offer a unique point-earning structure & different sign-up bonuses. While you technically could have all of these credit cards at one time, I wouldn't necessarily recommend that. As we know from our #Chasecapades (patented by me, don't you dare steal this travel bloggers!), Chase has a 5/24 rule in which you will not be approved for these cards if you've been approved for 5 or more cards within the last 24 months.

A quick note: if you need help tracking how many cards you've received or want a system to track your credit card haul, reach out to Smart Money Seed through email or any of our social media accounts. We're here to help, and I love nothing more than seeing all of you guys reach your travel goals!

Anyways, back to the good stuff. We will split our Chase card breakdown into three separate posts, driven by the category I'd group the card into. The aforementioned Chase-branded credit cards can be grouped into three categories:
  • Premium 
  • Everyday
  • Business
Today, we'll focus on the "Premium" category of Chase-branded cards. There are two cards that fit into the premium Chase category: the Chase Sapphire Reserve & Chase Sapphire Preferred. Both of these cards offer extensive benefits beyond the sign-up bonus; however, they do come with annual fees that may scare away potential customers. I'll go into why every dollar you spend on the annual fee is worth it, but first, let's breakdown each card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) is currently offering 50,000 Chase UR points after spending $4,000 in the first three months after account opening. We've already talked about why these points are so valuable here. As a reminder, these points can be used to book travel through the Chase UR portal, transfer to different airline programs and much more. The real value in having a CSR in your pocket, though, are the extensive benefits the card provides. Here's a list of the offerings the CSR has at its disposal:
  • You can earn 3x points on all travel & dining purchases. This is about a 3% cash back on flights, hotels, restaurants, you name it. You'll get 1x points on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit (covers anything from an Uber to a flight. If it codes as travel on your statement, you'll automatically be reimbursed)
  • 50% bonus on points when redeeming through the Chase UR portal for travel
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry
  • Priority Pass Select membership. Ever want to experience an airport lounge? This provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide & allows you to bring a traveling companion free of charge
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement: If any part of your trip gets delayed for longer than 6 hours due to unforeseen circumstances (think weather, mechanical failure, etc.), you are entitled to up to $500 per person for reasonable expenses. When we say reasonable, think meals, lodging, transportation, etc. Just make sure that some part of your flight was paid for using your CSR to ensure you receive this benefit.
We could keep the list going forever-there's baggage delay insurance, trip cancellation insurance, automatic rental car insurance...clearly, there's TONS OF VALUE in having this card, especially if you are a frequent traveler. Whether it's the massive travel credit or the increased travel redemption opportunity, one thing's for sure: the CSR is one of the hottest bargains on the market.

With all of these benefits, there's a catch: the CSR has a $450 annual fee that is NOT waived in the first year. This annual fee will post with your first statement. While this seems steep, I'd argue that your more than make up the $450 from the benefits included at sign-up. 50,000 UR points + $300 travel credit + $100 TSA Precheck reimbursement already get you over $1,000 in value when used correctly, which is the name of the game.

If you are able to take advantage of all the CSR has to offer, it's certainly a no-brainer in my eyes. However, not all of us are keen on spending $450 on an annual fee but still would like a solid offering from their credit card. Fear not-the Chase Sapphire Preferred has you covered!

Chase Sapphire Preferred 

If you've ever heard me talk about travel hacking, you have probably heard me talk about this card. It's my go-to card & has helped me take countless trips around the world, ranging from trips to see friends in California to a soccer extravaganza in London! The Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) is currently offering 50,000 Chase UR points after spending $4,000 in the first three months after account opening. Sound familiar? That's because it is-this card offers the same sign-up bonus as the CSR.

However, the annual fee is much less with the CSP. The annual fee for the CSP comes in at $95, which is waived for the first cardholder year. You owe nothing to Chase for the first year & can make the decision to either keep the CSP or downgrade to a fee-free card down the road. Not a bad option for a card offering 50,000 valuable UR points from the get-go!

As with the CSR, the CSP also offers a wide variety of benefits beyond the sign-up bonus, albeit of lesser value. Here's a sampling of what the CSP has to offer:
  • 2x points on travel & dining
  • 20% bonus on points when redeeming through the Chase UR travel portal
  • 1:1 transfer ratio on UR points to airline & hotel programs (Southwest, United, Hilton, Hyatt, etc.)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Auto rental insurance
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement-valid for delays of 12+ hours or overnight (The CSR covers you for delays of 6+ hours, an important note to keep in mind)
  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Purchase Price Protection-covers new purchases for 120 days against theft/damage, up to $500
  • Extended Warranty Protection-automatically extends warranty of items purchased with CSP for an extra year for items with warranties of 3 or less years.
Clearly, there's a ton of value to be had with the CSP. As I mentioned, it's my go-to card for nearly all my expenses & a card I will never cancel. The $95 annual fee is peanuts compared to the $1000+ in value I typically expect out of the card every year. If you are looking for a card that doesn't break the bank but still gives you reasonable coverage across the board, look no further. The CSP is your best bet, and a must-have for any consumer under the Chase 5/24 rule.

NOTE: We have an affiliate link for the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you would like to help the blog earn a little extra mileage when you sign up. Simply use our link when applying:

Earn 50,000 bonus points with Chase Sapphire Preferred. I can be rewarded too if you apply here and are approved for the card. Learn more.


CSR vs. CSP: Which Card Makes Sense For Me?

Chase recently introduced a rule stating that you cannot have two Sapphire products at one given time, ruling out the possibility of stacking these cards and their bonuses. For those of you on the fence about which card to get, I'd offer this: evaluate how much you plan on traveling this year. If you are a frequent traveler that doesn't have TSA Precheck/Global Entry or simply wants access to the airport lounge with a few pre-flight mimosas, the CSR is a no-brainer. However, that's not the reality for a lot of the Smart Money Squad & people in general.

The reality is that the situation is going to be different for every single person. For me, I know that I have a lot of the benefits offered by the CSR with other credit cards in my portfolio, and thus, I don't need to spend the $450 annual fee. I'm more than happy with my CSP, and until I'm under the 5/24 rule, I don't see myself picking up the CSR in the near future.

There's also no reason you couldn't have BOTH a CSP/CSR & one of the other cards in Chase's co-branded family. With many options to choose from (i.e. having a Chase Freedom for 5x points in quarterly categories, Chase Ink for 5x points on office supplies/phone bills, etc.), you can't really go wrong!

Of course, minimum spends on either the CSP or the CSR can be the obstacle in your way of meeting the bonus. With a wedding on the books in October, I might actually be able to meet a minimum spend like that out of necessity. However, that's not normal spending for 99% of our readership-and that's where manufactured spending comes in. Check out my initial travel hacking post if you'd like to know more about that!

Final Thoughts

We've only scratched the surface of the "premium" level of the Chase-branded cards and already we've uncovered TONS of value in each card. Keep in mind, Chase has many more cost-efficient options we will dive into that I use regularly to boost m UR balance and snag that extra Southwest flight for free.

The CSR & CSP have been game changers in the travel sector of credit cards & are the gold standard in an industry that had been lacking real value. As two of the leaders on the marker, these cards are sure to drive competition in the "premium" level of other credit card companies, namely American Express & Citi. It will be interesting to see how these companies continue to compete for our dollar by providing more benefits, ultimately justifying increased annual fees.

As always, happy #MileageMonday, and a happy Valentine's Day to the Smart Money Squad!




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