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Updated July 21, 2014

Chase Sapphire vs Chase Sapphire Preferred: What's the Difference?

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With solid rewards programs and generous bonuses, both the Chase Sapphire and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards offer a good value, but the upgraded Sapphire Preferred card earns points faster, has a larger bonus, and offers more perks to cardholders. In exchange for these benefits, the Sapphire Preferred card changes an annual fee of $95 (waived the first year), while the regular Sapphire card has no annual fee.

Overall, most cardholders will get a better deal from using the Sapphire Preferred Card. Its benefits are much more generous, and its $95 annual fee is reasonable given the more lucrative sign up promotion.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% (Variable)
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

However, if you rarely use your card or have trouble with the idea of paying an annual fee, the standard Sapphire Card is also a good choice.

Chase Sapphire Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Card
  • 10,000 bonus points when you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening - that's $100 in travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards(SM)!
  • 2,500 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Points never expire and there are no limits on how many points you can earn
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash back and more
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • No Annual Fee!
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% (Variable)
$0

Rewards Program

Every time you buy something on either Sapphire card, you earn reward points. These points are good for travel rewards, gift cards, merchandise, and cash back. Both cards earn an unlimited 1 point per dollar spent on most purchases. They each also offer bonus categories for extra points. Both cards earn 2 points for every dollar spent dining at restaurants.

The Sapphire Preferred Card also offers a few extra ways to earn bonus points:

  • This card earns 2 points for every dollar spent on travel.

  • In addition, when you redeem your Preferred Card’s points to book travel through Ultimate Rewards, you receive an extra 20% discount.

Signup Bonus

As a new cardholder of either card, you are eligible for a signup bonus.

  • The Chase Sapphire bonus is smaller but may be easier to get. If you spend at least $500 on your card during the first 3 months, you receive 10,000 bonus points.

  • With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you need to spend at least $3,000 on your card during the first 3 months. Once you reach this target, you receive 40,000 bonus points. As an added sign-up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card waives its annual fee for the first year ($95 annual fee).

A disadvantage of both cards is that neither offers a 0% introductory APR. If you plan to carry a balance, you may want to consider a low interest credit card instead.

Travel Benefits

These cards also include a few other benefits. On both cards, Chase offers 24/7 customer service that connects you to a live person right away; you don’t need to fight with complicated computer phone systems.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a couple other perks. You can transfer your reward points on a 1:1 basis to a large selection of participating frequent flyer programs. This card also no foreign transaction fees, so you don’t have to worry about extra foreign transaction fees while travelling abroad.

Bottom Line

Both are decent programs, overall. However, if you can afford the $95 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a better deal, as its extra benefits quickly pay back the annual fee.

Read our side-by-side comparison to see which one is best for you.

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Follow @CreditDonkey or write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com
David R is a financial writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

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