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I’m planning to open a new credit card and asked my friends for their recommendations.
All of them said they use the Chase Sapphire Reserve® – but I’m not convinced it’s right for me.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a higher welcome bonus and is a better fit for my needs.
I’m currently in the process of breaking up with the only personal credit card that I’ve had and used in the past five years. I’m parting ways with that card because the benefits are limited and I’m eager for change. After doing research online there are a handful of options that I’m considering, which led me to wonder about my friends and the credit cards that they adore.
I recently sent an email to all of my close friends (about eight people in total) and asked them what credit card they use and how they felt about it. Every single one of them replied back saying the same exact card – the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Not only was it ironic, but it made me invest an entire Sunday afternoon in doing some deep-dive research into that card to see why they loved it and if it made sense for me to get.
It turns out, while my friends might adore the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card, it just isn’t right for me. Here are the three main reasons why it’s not on my list of potential new credit cards anymore – and the better alternative I’m considering instead.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Sapphire Reserve charges a very high annual fee
I’m very picky about credit cards with annual fees. My current credit card does not have one and the most I have ever paid for an annual fee (and that was only for two years) was $99 and then I eventually downgraded to their lower-tier card with no annual fee instead.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is infamous for its high annual fee of Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This is just not something I’m willing to consider for a credit card when there are other great rewards cards out there – like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which has a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card annual fee, or the American Express® Gold Card, which has an annual fee of American Express® Gold CardAmerican Express® Gold Card – Rates & Fees – with similar benefits but lower annual fees.
When I brought this up to my friends, they shared that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® does have benefits and credits that offset that Chase Sapphire Reserve® cost. For example, the card offers up to a $300 annual travel credit to offset flights, hotels, and other travel, up to $60 in DoorDash credit for 2021, and other travel and shopping benefits.
While some of the perks balance out the Chase Sapphire Reserve® fee, it still doesn’t even it out entirely. I don’t want to find myself hunting for ways, every single year, to offset that fee or use benefits from companies that I don’t care about just to feel like I am bringing that fee down (like a free year of Lyft Pink membership, which waives the $19.99 per month fee).
The welcome bonus is better on the Sapphire Preferred card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Since this is the first time I am applying for a new credit card in a very long time and I’m looking forward to traveling a lot this year, I want to open a new card with a big welcome bonus.
During my research, I found that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is offering Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is only offering Chase Sapphire Reserve® after you meet the same spending requirement. That difference right there could be an extra night, or two, at a hotel or a round-trip flight to see my family in Florida.
Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred makes more sense for me
While I’m considering a variety of different credit cards at the moment, I felt comfortable crossing off the Chase Sapphire Reserve® while keeping the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card on my list.
Not only is the annual fee drastically lower on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, but the basic benefits aren’t too different. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1x on everything else. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 3x on travel (after earning the travel credit) and dining and 1x on other purchases.
Since most of the purchases I put on my credit card fall into the “everything else” category (shopping, everyday items, miscellaneous items, etc.) there’s not a huge loss in redeemed points for my lifestyle by going with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, between these two cards.