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Should you upgrade your Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is much more expensive, but the perks offset the cost for most

Summary

Should you keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card or upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve? Here are the pros and cons you should consider, as well as the factors that impact your decision.

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the most popular premium credit cards on the market today. Many people decide to sign up for the Reserve in order to take advantage of its travel benefits, but there are a number of additional perks that make this card valuable even for cardholders who aren’t on the road as often.

Plus, Chase is offering temporary elevated bonuses for spend on the Chase Sapphire Reserve through September 30, 2020 – 10 points per dollar on select streaming services and 5 points per dollar on Instacart or gas station purchases – in addition to the standard rewards rate.

If you currently have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you might consider upgrading to the Reserve to take advantage of these perks. The annual fee is much higher, but the value of benefits can offset the cost for many spenders.

See related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Sapphire Reserve

First things first: You can’t apply for a Chase Sapphire credit card if you already hold any Sapphire card – whether that’s the Preferred, the Reserve or even the now discontinued basic Sapphire card.

That being said, you won’t have to cancel your Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card in order to get your hands on the Reserve. You can just ask Chase to upgrade the card you hold right now. If your request is approved, you won’t even have to change your credit card number.

If you’ve been weighing the pros and cons of keeping your Sapphire Preferred against upgrading to its big brother, here are some factors to keep in mind as you compare the two cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Rewards rate
  • 5:1 Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5:1 select streaming services (on up to $1,500, through 9/30/2020)
  • 3:1 Instacart delivery and pickup orders (on up to $3,000, through 9/30/2020)
  • 3:1 gas station purchases (on up to $1,500, through 9/30/2020)
  • 2:1 travel and restaurants
  • 1:1 general purchases
  • 10:1 Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 10:1 select streaming services (on up to $1,500, through 9/30/2020)
  • 5:1 Instacart delivery and pickup orders (on up to $3,000, through 9/30/2020)
  • 5:1 gas station purchases (on up to $1,500, through 9/30/2020)
  • 3:1 travel and restaurants (excluding purchases covered by $300 travel credit)
  • 1:1 general purchases
Sign-up bonus60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
Annual fee$95$550
Other benefits
  • 1:1 point transfer to frequent flyer partners
  • 25% bonus on travel rewards redeemed through Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Combine points from other Chase cards
  • $300 annual travel credit (applies to most travel purchases)
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit every 4 years
  • 1:1 point transfer to frequent flyer partners
  • 50% bonus on travel rewards redeemed through Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Combine points from other Chase cards

You’ll see that the two cards share many benefits. The main distinctions are:

  • 5 points per dollar on the Preferred vs. 10 points on the Reserve on Lyft purchases (through March 2022) and streaming services (through September 2020)
  • 3 points per dollar vs. 5 points per dollar on gas station and Instacart purchases (through Sept. 30, 2020)
  • 2 points per dollar vs. 3 points per dollar on restaurants and travel
  • 25% vs. 50% bonus on rewards redeemed for travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal

Who is the Sapphire Preferred card best for?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a fantastic beginner travel card. This mid-tier rewards card offers generous benefits for a very reasonable annual fee of $95. The Preferred is ideal for several types of credit card holders, including first-time cardholders, college students and young professionals, budding travelers and people who dine out on occasion.

If you’ve been eyeing Chase’s family of cards or its other banking products, the Preferred is a great way to start your relationship.

Who is the Sapphire Reserve card best for?

The Reserve is ideal for a slightly different profile of customer. Foodies, existing Chase customers and frequent travelers who value Priority Pass lounge access and similar luxury perks all stand to benefit from the Reserve’s numerous benefits, which come at an annual cost of $550.

Also keep in mind that Chase Ultimate Reward points are worth 1.5 cents when used to book travel with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, versus the 1.25 cents that you get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

How to upgrade from the Preferred to the Reserve

Chase doesn’t guarantee that upgrade requests will be granted. However, there are a few factors that can boost your chances of upgrading from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Reserve, including:

  • The length of time that you have been a Chase customer
  • The monthly amount of money you spend on your credit card
  • Good credit and payment history

Some considerations that may damage your cause include:

  • Attempting to upgrade your card before you have held it for at least a year
  • Having too many Chase products
  • A high amount of outstanding debt against your credit limits, especially against your income
  • Spotty payment history

To upgrade, you can reach out to Chase either by phone or via the secure messaging center in your Chase banking portal. In either situation, simply state that you want to upgrade your Preferred credit card to the Reserve. By phone, a representative should be able to pull up your record immediately and get you a response in a few minutes. If you request your upgrade over the online messaging system, Chase will usually respond within a few hours.

Note that you won’t qualify for the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus if you upgrade your credit card, since upgrades aren’t considered new sign-ups.

Other Chase cards you can upgrade to the Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t the only credit card that you can upgrade to the Reserve. If you hold a credit card within the Chase Freedom family, you can upgrade that to the Sapphire Reserve as well, following the same procedure outlined above.

See related: Chase Ultimate Rewards cards

But if you don’t already hold a Chase Sapphire card, it may well be worth your while to sign up for the Reserve card outright in order to qualify for the 50,000-point sign-up bonus.

Should you upgrade from the Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve?

You can’t go wrong either with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Reserve, since both cards offer substantial benefits for the right cardholder. Based on the criteria above, you should be able to determine which card is best for your current needs.

However, with the pandemic limiting travel opportunities, this may not be the right time for you to upgrade your card if you aren’t planning to travel anytime soon – especially if you don’t utilize Lyft, purchase gas or pay for streaming services and Instacart for the additional earning potential.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: October 28th, 2020
Business
13.91%
Airline
15.50%
Cash Back
15.85%
Reward
15.75%
Student
16.12%

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