Why I Upgraded my Sapphire Preferred to Sapphire Reserve (Without Getting a Bonus)

By: Bryce Conway

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Hi Travel Junkies,

Anyone who has been reading 10xTravel for longer than a couple weeks can tell you that I am adamantly opposed to upgrading credit cards. The mere thought of doing so causes me physical pain.

By upgrading a credit card instead of applying for it separately you voluntarily give up any sort of sign-up bonus offered by the card, which is basically throwing away free money.

But, I had to break my own rule recently when I upgraded my Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Chase Sapphire Reserve.

I finally caved and upgraded my CSP to a CSR

We’ll talk about why I did that in a moment, but first let’s cover the basics.

Here are the details on the Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • 3x points on dining and travel, 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Points transfer 1:1 to many major airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • $450 annual fee not waived first year
  • $300 annual travel credit good for any form of travel
  • Priority pass membership, which gives you (plus guests) access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Up to $100 credit for application fees for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

I’ve been using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card as my primary credit card for more than 5 years now and have been very happy with it. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has allowed me to earn 2x points on dining and travel (two things I do a lot of) and comes with a whole host of other benefits such as primary rental car insurance, trip interruption insurance, and the ability to transfer points to many major airline and hotel loyalty programs. All for just $95 a year.

Until recently the Chase Sapphire Preferred was considered by many to be the one of the best travel credit cards on the market.

So, why did I decide to make the switch?

I’ll give you 4 reasons.


1) The Chase 5/24 rule prevents me from getting a new Sapphire Reserve

I would be lying if I told you the Chase 5/24 rule didn’t play a key role here. I have opened quite a few credit cards in the past 24 months and had absolutely no shot at getting approved for the Sapphire Reserve if I applied for it separately.

Getting the sign-up bonus points offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve was not an option for me.


2) Holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve makes Ultimate Rewards points more valuable

Using my Chase Sapphire Preferred for most of my day-to-day spending has allowed me to earn quite a few Chase Ultimate Rewards points over the past 5 years. Even though I spend them like the kid from the movie Blank Check, I regularly have between 50,000 and 100,000 points in my Ultimate Rewards account.

Having the Chase Sapphire Reserve lets me redeem Ultimate Rewards points to book travel via the Chase travel portal at a value of 1.5 cents per point (vs 1.2 cents per point with Sapphire Preferred).

What many people don’t realize is that you can transfer Chase points from one of your cards to another, meaning that my entire stash of Chase points could be moved to my Sapphire Reserve and become 30% more valuable.

This is a particularly good move for anyone sitting on a boatload of Ultimate Rewards from the Chase Freedom card, which are worth just 1 cent each in the form of cash back.


3) Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with Priority Pass Select, a $300 travel credit, and more

Many people are intimidated by the hefty $450 annual fee charged for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and don’t bother to consider the card’s many benefits. They’re extensive, to say the least.

For starters, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a $300 travel credit per cardholder year. This credit works for just about any travel purchase made with the card (airfare, hotels, rental cars, Uber, etc.) and is credited automatically. So, unless you spend <$300 a year on travel, you are going to get $300 of that $450 annual fee back.

I’ve already used more than $80 of my annual credit in the first week alone without realizing it. These credits were issued without any reimbursement request or effort on my part.

Sapphire Reserve travel credits happen automatically, up to $300 per cardholder year

Throw in a Priority Pass Select membership, which grants access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, and a $100 credit to cover your Global Entry (or TSA Precheck) application fee and the $450 fee looks like a bargain.


4) Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x on dining and travel

I still spend quite a bit of money on dining and travel so the opportunity to earn 3x points instead of the 2x that Sapphire Preferred offers is big for me. This was just the icing on the cake that was my decision to make the switch.

Of course, if you don’t have this card yet you can still sign up and receive the sign-up points. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great card even if you can only upgrade from the Chase Sapphire Preferred. With the sign-up bonus, it is arguably one of the best cards on the market.

Happy Travels,


P.S. I’m throwing a 10xT Reader Meetup in Columbus on July 22nd. If you like craft beer, talking about points/travel, and meeting the 10xT team you’re going to want to RSVP here.

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