If you know me, you know that I am completely in love with the Chase Sapphire line of credit cards. Also, credit cards are essential to maintaining a healthy credit score. Read my blog post here about why credit cards are so important.
My husband and I first got the Chase Sapphire Preferred in 2015 and now we have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. By using the very flexible Chase Ultimate Reward points that these cards accumulate, we have not paid for any flights in 2 years.
In this blog post, I will compare the two different cards.
In my opinion, the Preferred is probably better for the occasional traveler. The Reserve is better for someone who travels at least once per quarter because it has extra perks.
Chase Ultimate Reward Points and Redemption
Chase Ultimate Rewards is the point system that Chase uses. Depending on the card, you will either get 2 or 3 points for all travel and dining purchases. This even includes charges for Uber! You will get 1 point for every other dollar spent. You can also earn more points by shopping through their portal and earning extra points per dollar spent than you normally would. I should use this more than I actually do, because its really easy! Heres what the shopping portal looks like:
The beauty behind these points is that you can transfer them to 1:1 ratio to any of Chase’s partners. The ability to transfer can help you stretch the points pretty far. Many cards force you to use their booking tool to use your points, allowing them to essentially name the price and diminish your point value. By allowing you to transfer your points directly to the partners, you can shop around to find the best deal. Ive found, that sometimes the booking tool does have the better deal, but sometimes it doesnt. Having the freedom to move your points around makes a difference! Heres what the booking portal looks like:
The Chase Ultimate Rewards booking tool also lets you combine points and cash. This is very rare in the rewards traveling world. If you don’t have enough points for that flight you want, you can still get it at a discounted rate using a combination of points and cash.
Another note about the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking tool is that it claims to be 25% off for flights/hotels/rental cars or anything else you can book through their tool. I am skeptical about this one because I have still found better deals by transferring points.
Your points never expire as long as your account remains open. This is a huge positive for people trying to save up a large amount of points for a big trip. You do not have to spend them within 12 months or any other time frame.
More ways to redeem your points: You dont have to use the points for travel. Although you will get far more value for the points if you use them for travel, you can also redeem for cash and gift cards!
Chase Travel Partners:
- British Airways
- Korean Air
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- IHG Hotel Group
- The Ritz-Carlton
Side by Side Comparison
Below is a comparison I created so that you can easily see the differences between the two cards.
The Reserve was released by Chase in mid-2016 and was a huge success right away. They started with a 100,000 point sign-up bonus which was unheard of! Unfortunately, they couldn’t sustain that huge bonus and have since lowered it to 50,000 points. Applications will probably slow down for this card because of the decreased bonus.
However, the Reserve accrues points faster than the Preferred. In order to rack up points fast, charge everything on your card, then pay it off every month.We pay every single bill and charge every single purchase on our Chase card! In order to really get the most out of the card you must pay it off every month! These cards have very high interest rates and that how they can offer such incredible rewards – when people fall into the trap of getting the card and then trying to rack up points without paying it off. The card loses all value when you are paying interest! The flights and perks are no longer free. Don’t spend beyond your means!
Heres some examples of how you can use the perks:
Buy major appliances and electronics with your card to take advantage of the extended warranty on all purchases.
Purchase trips with confidence knowing that your trip cancellation/interruption insurance covers you even for nonrefundable tickets. If you, your immediate family, or traveling companion gets sick, you can get reimbursed. It is pretty easy to fall under one of the requirements for this one – jury duty and severe weather are included as well!
Price protection will reimburse you if a price drops within 90 days on a purchase you made with your card. Return protection will reimburse you if a store wont take your return!
Just a quick search showed me that by transferring your points to United, you can get a roundtrip flight from Washington to Honolulu for 45,000 points. With the sign-up bonus alone, you just got a free roundtrip flight to Hawaii! There are deals like this to many destinations all over the world. My husband and I have our eye on two round trip flights from Washington to Bangkok, Thailand for 112,000 total for both!
Later, I will compare these cards to other popular travel cards.
If you decide to apply for the Preferred, use my sign up link here!