Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire

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This is post #7 of a series regarding the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

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One of the most popular point and mile promotions out there is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card. As of today, the current offer is 40,000 bonus points when meeting the minimum spend requirements plus an additional 5,000 points when adding an authorized user and the user makes a purchase within the first 3 months from account opening.

This card has provided some confusion over the past few years as there is a “preferred” version and a “regular, not preferred” version. So with both credit cards out there, you might ask yourself, what is the difference and which one should I keep. Since the Chase Sapphire card is no longer available to new applicants, this post is really only relevant to those that already have the card.

So let’s start with the basics:

Chase Sapphire Preferred: With this card you’ll earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You’ll also earn an additional 5,000 points after adding an authorized user and the user makes a purchase within the first 3 months of account opening; This card also has no foreign transaction fees. The card does, however, come with a $95 annual fee a year (although waived for the first year).

Chase Sapphire® Card: This card is no longer available to new applicants, but if you already had this card you can still earn and redeem points. This card a 3% fee on foreign transactions, but no annual fee!

Points earned on purchases:

  • Travel:
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2x points per dollar spent
    • Chase Sapphire: 1x point per dollar spent
  • Restaurants:
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2x points per dollar spent
    • Chase Sapphire: 2x points per dollar spent
  • Everything else:
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 1x point per dollar spent
    • Chase Sapphire: 1x point per dollar spent

Redemption differences: 

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 1:1 point transfer to participating frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • Chase Sapphire – Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash back and more (does not allow you to directly transfer your points to a partner loyalty program)

Ultimately, the big difference in my opinion comes down to the redemption options and the annual fee. If you do not have either card, then clearly the Chase Sapphire Preferred is your only option. Unfortunately, you can no longer downgrade from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to the Chase Sapphire card.

Key Links:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred application – 40,000 bonus points with $4,000 spend in 3 months plus an additional 5,000 points after adding an authorized user and the user makes a purchase within the first 3 months of account opening; Introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95
  • Chase Sapphire – 10,000 bonus points when you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, plus an additional 2,500 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening; no annual fee. This card is no longer available to new applicants.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links where I get paid a small commission if you apply and get approved for a credit card. I will only list the best credit card offers as my goal is for you to travel for free!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. You missed the biggest reason not to cancel Preferred – the 7% bonus which is based not just on points earned from spend but also points earned at the UR mall. In my case that’s a lot of bonus points (from 100K UR earned at the mall in the last quarter of 2011 which posted in January 2012 so will be included in next year’s bonus). That 7K bonus will easily cover the annual fee. For anyone that shops much at the UR mall the Sapphire Preferred is a no brainer to keep.

    • @HikerT – Thanks for your comment! This by no means is suggesting folks to cancel the card. However, I do get that many are not a fan of cards with annual fees and it really depends on their spending patterns. Next blog post – to cancel or not to cancel 🙂

  2. Right, I was responding to the comment about “getting the card for the sign up bonus and planning on cancelling the card before the yearly fee hits…”
    You would lose the 7% bonus if you cancel or downgrade, so it’s critical to consider the potential bonus you may be giving up. I was thinking about downgrading my Sapphire Preferred (since I just got Ink Bold) but when I realized I’d be throwing away a 7% bonus on more than 100K points I changed my strategy. A lot of people did the Sears 10x double dip late last year and earned a bunch more points from the UR mall around Christmas. Those points would have posted in January so I suspect the downside of downgrading or cancelling Sapphire Preferred is bigger than most people realize.

    • @HikerT – Got it. The 7% bonus is a great perk and you absolutely do not want to cancel nor downgrade prior to January/February.

  3. I would say a great strategy when paired with a spouse is to bonus up two cards for a year, then keep only one Preferred in the family to warehouse all the points. Keep everyone in the game, though, with a Freedom each and a Total Checking each. Every little bit helps.

  4. Can you transfer Chase Sapphire points to someone else’s Chase Sapphire Preferred points? For example…if my wife has points she got from Chase Sapphire (or Chase Freedom), could she transfer those points to my UR account with my Chase Sapphire Preferred?

  5. Please note, you can NOT transfer points between different Sapphire Preferred accounts (i.e. to friends and family)- it’s against T&C’s. They author is wrong again (in multiple articles)- Chase only allows UR point transfers to spouses and/or domestic partners or you risk having Chase close your card or your UR account. I’m not sure if points can be transferred from a non-preferred Sapphire to a Sapphire preferred between friends/family as this article claims, but I’d think it’s only between spouses/domestic partners (if that)

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