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I had the opportunity of capturing both bonuses on the Preferred and the Reserve, but in the end I did away with the Preferred. As good of a card as it is, differing spend categories and amounts may make another card more appealing over another.

Here we will make the comparison between the Preferred and Reserve to find out when someone should choose the Reserve over the Preferred.

Reserve Preferred
Annual Fee: $450 Annual Fee: 1st year waived then $95
3X points at restaurants and travel related purchases 2X points at restaurants and travel related purchases
1.5X redemption value on Chase portal 1.25X redemption value on Chase portal
1:1 point transfer to travel partners (United, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Hyatt, Marriott, etc) 1:1 point transfer to travel partners (United, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Hyatt, Marriott, etc)
$300 annual travel credit  
$100 Global entry credit  
Complimentary Priority pass membership  

 

For the sake of simplifying this calculation we’ll exclude all the Reserve’s benefits other than the annual $300 credit.

Every year for the Reserve, we’re paying $150 ($450- $300). In order to justify that cost we have to be able to redeem our points for a value of at least $150. Since we will only be using the Reserve for restaurant and travel purchases at 3X points, that comes out to $5000 in spend. Remember $5,000 is equal to 5,000 points and at 3X points, $5,000 in spend turns into 15,000 points.

If you were to cash out those 15,000 points, you would receive $150, but that’s not where the value in Chase points are. With the Reserve you get a 1.5X multiplier when the points are redeemed on the Chase portal for travel. That means 1 point is now worth 1.5 points.

Take a moment to work this backwards and you’ll see that the required $5,000 in spend to earn the equivalent of $150, turns to $3,333 to get your money’s worth.

For those of you who are interested, it looks like this. You take the total number of points you need to accumulate (15,000) and divide it by the point multiplier (3). Then you take that value and divide it by 1.5 instead of 1.

It looks like this: ($15,000/3)/1.5 = $3333

Don’t forget, this doesn’t take into account the whopping 50,000 point sign-up bonus or the other great benefits that the Reserve offers. But if you’re confident you can spend $3333 to $5000 a year on restaurants and travel, the Reserve is absolutely worth it.

The Sapphire Preferred’s value can be calculated the exact same way as the Reserve. The Preferred has a $95 price tag starting the second year and in order to justify the cost of the annual fee, we need to redeem our points for at least a $95 value.  The Preferred’s 2X points on travel and restaurants means we need to spend at least $4,750.

Let’s incorporate the 1.25X multiplier and see how that changes the value.

($,9,500/2)/1.25 = $3,800

That means we need to spend at least $3,800 a year on travel and restaurants to justify the $95 annual fee.

The irony is that even with a price tag of $450, the extra point on restaurants and travel and the 1.5X multiplier make it a much more valuable card than the Preferred. The Reserve is absolutely my favorite card and I’m certain it will be yours too.

There are always ways to earn more points, and just a little extra effort can turn into a lot of extra points. Make sure to always consolidate your points on the Reserve or Preferred to get that point multiplier when redeeming through the portal.

And remember, if you apply at ThePointsMarket.com, you’ll get an extra sign-up cash bonus from us!

Transforming travel from a possibility to a reality. 

 

 

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