scorecardAfter 3 years with my Chase Sapphire Preferred, I finally decided it's time to upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve for 2 reasons
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After 3 years with my Chase Sapphire Preferred, I finally decided it's time to upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve for 2 reasons

chase sapphire reserve upgrade


The author is not pictured.

As far as credit cards go, I'm fairly modest. There are only three cards I keep in my wallet, two of which I use on a regular basis.

For about three and a half years, my go-to rewards card has been the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I first got the card back in 2016 and waxed poetic about the 50,000-point spending bonus any chance I got. Hey, over $600 worth of free travel is a big deal to a new-ish college grad living 3,000 miles from home.

Chase soon debuted an even more exciting heavy-metal card: the Sapphire Reserve. Initially, the card offered an eye-popping 100,000-point spending bonus, but unexpected popularity led the bank to quickly slash it in half. But the card still commanded a $450 annual fee - over $350 more than the annual cost of the Sapphire Preferred. I'm an overthinker when it comes to spending money, so I decided to stick with my first choice.

I've begun traveling more frequently in the years since then and just can't keep ignoring the bigger and better benefits that come with the Sapphire Reserve. When I found out how easy it is to upgrade, I decided it was time.

The Reserve has a higher annual fee, but 2 perks make it worth the cost for me

I've been paying just $95 a year for the Sapphire Preferred since 2017 (the annual fee was waived the first year), so $450 seemed like a lot to stomach. But once I realized that the combination of benefits effectively wipe out the annual fee, I decided it's an unbeatable deal.

Ultimately, my decision to upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve was driven by two benefits.

  • $300 annual travel credit. For the first $300 I spend every year (a year is measured from the account opening date) on travel-related purchases like airfare, hotels, car rentals, discount travel sites, I'll automatically get a statement credit that wipes out those costs. That cuts the annual fee down to $150 right there.
  • TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee credit. The Sapphire Reserve will give me a $100 credit every four years to cover the cost of a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership. This is something I've been aching to get for a while. Every person I talk to who has TSA PreCheck swears by it, so why not sweeten the deal and get it for free? This cuts my annual fee for the first year down to just $50 (since it's only applicable once every four years).

These certainly aren't the only benefits that make the Sapphire Reserve one of the best rewards cards out there. I'm also looking forward to earning 3x points on dining and travel and gaining access to Priority Pass lounges so I can hurry up and wait in comfort.

The process to upgrade was simple. I called the number on the back of my card and waited about five minutes to speak to a customer service agent. Before she could upgrade my card, I would need to shuffle some of the credit line from my other Chase credit card to get my limit up to $10,000, which is the minimum for Sapphire Reserve cardholders. And that's it. Less than 10 minutes of work to unlock hundreds of dollars in benefits.

Learn more about the Sapphire Reserve »

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