Should you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Freedom rewards card? Which credit card is better for daily spending? Here’s my comparison and review of these two popular rewards cards to help you decide.
Best Sign-Up Bonus
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in 3 months. Plus, you will receive an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the same time period. Note: Being an authorized user doesn’t make you ineligible for applying for the card yourself.
The Chase Freedom card currently comes with a sign-up bonus of $150 cash back or 15,000 points after spending $500 in 3 months. In addition, you will receive $25 or 2,500 points if you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the same time period.
Eligibility for the two cards are the same since they are both issued by Chase bank. From the terms and conditions on the application page: “This new cardmember bonus offer is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this consumer credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this consumer credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this consumer credit card within the last 24 months.” Basically, you can’t get the sign-up bonus if you currently hold the card you’re applying for, or if you have received a bonus on the specific card in the last 24 months.
The Sapphire Preferred obviously comes with the larger sign-up bonus, but it does require a larger minimum spending requirement to meet. Still, 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points is a lot sexier than 12,500 points.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Best Spending Perks
The Chase Freedom has rotating 5x earning categories. You will earn 5x points or 5% cash back per $1, up to $1,500 per quarter. That’s a total of 7,500 points each quarter, or 30,000 points annually, if you’re able to maximize the 5x categories. Restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, movie theaters, department stores, and Starbucks are a few examples of the 5x categories. If I’m unable to meet the $1,500 quarterly tier, then I will buy gift cards from a 5x category store for future use. You can activate your Chase Freedom for this quarter’s 5x categories here. All other spending earns 1 point per $1.
The Sapphire Preferred gives you 2x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on dining and travel, and 1x on all other purchases.
The Sapphire Preferred has a solid dining and travel bonus of 2x, but I prefer to earn 5x points. The Freedom comes out on top for me, even if its 5% categories are rotating and have spending/earning limits.
Winner: Chase Freedom
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card waives its $95 annual fee for the first year. The CSP doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, has chip & signature technology, primary CDW on car rentals, $10,000 trip insurance/cancelation coverage, and 24 hour access to dedicated customer service representatives.
The Sapphire Preferred and Freedom are both a part of the Visa Signature card family, which means you save on wine tastings, hotels, movies, and much more. Both cards also let you earn extra points for shopping through their specific shopping portals.
The Chase Freedom is a no annual fee card. I love that! Having a no annual fee rewards card is sweet because you can keep it forever, creating positive credit history with no worries. It also comes with 0% apr for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
I like all the travel benefits the Sapphire Preferred offers, but the Chase Freedom is a no annual fee rewards card, so this category is a toughy.
Better Points System
The Chase Freedom earns cash back in the form of statement credits or direct deposit. You can also redeem your points for gift cards or for travel through its online portal. 10,000 points = $100 in travel or $100 in gift cards.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards, which can be used for cash/statement credits, gift cards, or to book travel through its Ultimate Rewards website, where you also receive a 20% discount. But the real value with Ultimate Rewards points is in transferring them out to one of their 11 travel partners.
I have used my Ultimate Rewards points for domestic flights by transferring them out to British Airways. You can fly American Airlines with British Airways Avios since they are both in the One World Alliance. Here’s how you can book AA flights with Avios miles.
You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards points out to Southwest Airlines or United for domestic airfare.
I’ve transferred my UR points to Hyatt for swanky hotel rooms that I could never afford. You can see my reviews of the Andaz 5th Avenue, Park Hyatt Vendome, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, and Grand Hyatt in Macau.
And I’ve been able to fly in a Suite on an international Singapore Airlines flight a few times. These flights would’ve cost close to $15,000 or more. If premium cabin travel isn’t your goal, you can fly United to Europe for only 60,000 miles round-trip. That flight is easily worth $1,500.
The point is, there’s CRAZY value in being able to transfer out your Ultimate Rewards points to their travel partners. And this is something that you can do with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but you can’t do with the Chase Freedom.
However, it’s worth mentioning that if you have both the Sapphire Preferred and Freedom, you can combine your points together. This will allow you to use your Freedom points to transfer out to a travel partner of the Ultimate Rewards program.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Freedom is a very solid card because it has no annual fee and you can earn 30,000 valuable points annually by maximizing its 5x quarterly categories. However, I wouldn’t have the Freedom unless I already held the Sapphire Preferred, so I could combine my points and have the ability to transfer them out to one of the 11 travel partners.
If I was to pick one card, it would be the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, because it comes with a much larger sign-up bonus, more flexible points, and has better travel perks.
Hope this helps if you are trying to decide if you should apply for the Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom! Questions? Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email at geoff @ noobtraveler.com.
Link: Chase Freedom®
Apply Now: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.