Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which One Should You Apply For?

We wrote a post awhile back comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) to the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR). Since then, Chase has updated some benefits to the CSR.

On May 21, 207, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit was updated to be issued once per membership year, instead of the calendar year.

In most cases, the CSR still makes more sense than the CSP. Let’s dive in to see what makes the most sense for your situation.

You can view credit card offers by going to the "Credit Card Offers" tab. Find offers for the respective cards in "Travel Rewards Credit Cards." You don't have to use our links, but we're grateful when you do. Thank you for supporting AskSebby!

Should you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

 Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase sapphire preferred 2017

Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase sapphire preferred 2017

Download the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred spreadsheet here and modify the yellow cells: http://bit.ly/asksebby-csrvscsp

Instructions

1. Make a copy (“File > Make a copy OR download as”)
2. Enter information into the yellow cells
3. Any cell that is not yellow is a formula; leave them alone

Ultimate Reward Points

In the first year of having the CSP or CSR, enter the anticipated dollar amount you would spend on travel, dining, and everything else.

 ultimate reward points

ultimate reward points

In our example, we entered $3,00o for travel, $3,000 for dining, and $4,000 for everything else.

If you’re applying for either card, the assumption is you can hit the minimum spend requirement of $4,000 within the first 3 months to earn the sign-up bonus.

The major difference between the CSP and the CSR is you earn 2x back on dining and travel with the CSP, and 3x with the CSR.

With the CSP, we end the year with 66,000 points and 72,000 points with the CSR.

Value of Ultimate Rewards in cents per point (CPP)

If you redeem points via the Chase travel portal, points earned from the CSP are worth 1.25 CPP, and points from the CSR are worth 1.5 CPP.

If you have the CSR and transfer points to transfer partners, the points are valued at 2 CPP.

 value of points calculations

value of points calculations

In the example above, we redeemed points via the Chase travel portal. The value of points is $825 and $1,080 for the CSP and CSR, respectively. You get $250 more in value by choosing the CSR over the CSP.

Total value (Year 1)

Annual fee

  • CSP: $95 annual fee, waived the first year
  • CSR: $450 annual fee, billed on your first statement

CSR benefits

  • $300 travel credit, applied each membership year.
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit — value is subjective, depending on if you have other premium cards that offer the same credit.
  • Priority Pass — value is subjective, depending which lounges you visit and if you have other cards that offer the same benefit.
total value year 1

In the example above, the Global Entry credit and Priority Pass card are valued at $0 because we have other premium cards that offer the same perks.

Other benefits

In the last cell, enter the marginal value of other benefits from the card. A good example would be trip delay — how much do you value travel insurance? It’s subjective and depends on which home airport you fly out of.

Conclusion

In our example, the difference in value we would get from the CSR over CSP is $105. For most people who travel often, the CSR will come out ahead in calculations.
Depending on the numbers you enter, the CSP may make sense if you can’t utilize the perks. The value may also vary depending on how you plan to redeem points.

Important: Don’t get the CSR if you don’t have the liquidity to pay the $450 fee right away.

Year 2

Be sure to enter numbers in Year 2 of the spreadsheet to see if the CSR or CSP will give you long-term value.

Breakeven Year 2 (via travel portal)

In case you’re curious about the breakeven point for Year 2 and onwards:
x = Spend on travel and dining

The formula we’re using to solve for x:
CSR = CSP
0.045x + 300 credit — 450 AF = .025x — 95 AF
0.045x — 150 = 0.025x — 95
0.02x = 55
x = $2,750

If you spend more than $2,750 a year on travel and dining, you should apply for the CSR. If you spend less, then apply for the CSP.

You can view credit card offers by going to the "Credit Card Offers" tab. Find offers for the respective cards in "Travel Rewards Credit Cards." You don't have to use our links, but we're grateful when you do. Thank you for supporting AskSebby!