Should I Upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve?

If you're about to do a lot more traveling, an upgrade might make sense, but consider the higher annual fee.

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of our absolute favorite starter travel cards. From flexible and valuable points to wide-ranging travel protections, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a lot of valuable benefits for just a $95 annual fee card.

However, after building up a balance of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, you might be wondering if it's worth it to upgrade your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to a Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Doing so would boost the value of your points, unlock even higher earning rates in certain categories, and add valuable perks like airport lounge access and TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement. The downside: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® charges a much higher annual fee.

So, is it worth it to upgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®? And if so, how would you even go about doing it? Let's take a look.

Comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Before you can decide whether or not it's worth it to upgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you need to know the key differences between the two cards. Here's an overview of what each card has to offer.

Card feature

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Annual fee

$95.

$550 plus $75 for each authorized user.

Earning rate on travel purchases.

5x total points on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal. 2x on other travel purchases.

10x total points on hotels and car rentals and 5x points on flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal. 3x on other travel purchases.

Earning rate on dining

3x points.

10x total points on Chase Dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and 3x points on all other dining.

Other bonus categories

3x points on online grocery purchases and select streaming services. 5x total points on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025.

10x total points on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025.

Anniversary point bonus

10% of your total purchases in the previous year.

N/A.

Point redemption rate through Ultimate Rewards® portal and Pay Yourself Back

1.25 cents per point.

1.5 cents per point.

Travel credits

$50 in statement credits toward hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

$300 annual travel credit.

Other travel perks

N/A.

Priority Pass Select. Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS application statement credit every four years. Access to Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.

Travel insurance

Yes.

Yes.

Foreign transaction fees

None.

None.

Other perks

Complimentary DashPass for at least one year through Dec. 31, 2024. $10 monthly Gopuff statement credit through Dec. 31, 2023.

Complimentary DashPass for at least one year through Dec. 31, 2024. $10 monthly Gopuff statement credit through Dec. 31, 2023.

Can you upgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card holders can upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve®. However, you will need to wait at least one year after opening your card before being eligible to make this change.

Also, Chase technically refers to this as a "product change" — not an upgrade — so that's the terminology that you'll hear Chase agents use during this process.

Should you upgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®? As you can see in the chart above, these two Chase cards offer quite different earning rates, travel perks and a very different annual fees. When comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card versus the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a compelling value when you're first signing up for a card.

However, there's an argument for upgrading to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® once you've had a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for a bit.

Boost the value of your Ultimate Rewards® points

Say you've built up a balance of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards® points through a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You have the option to redeem those points for $1,250 through the Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.

However, by upgrading to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, these same 100,000 Ultimate Rewards® points are suddenly worth $1,500 when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards® portal. That's a 20% boost to the value of your Ultimate Reward® points.

And the larger your point balance, the more valuable this upgrade will be. A Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card holder who has built up a balance of 300,000 points would see a whopping $750 increase in the value of their points just by upgrading to a Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Upgrading your travel perks

Another reason to consider an upgrade from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to a Chase Sapphire Reserve® is to boost your travel perks. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a ton of valuable travel protections — including auto rental collision damage waiver and baggage delay insurance. However, the card doesn't provide a lot of travel perks.

Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers premium travel benefits like Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, a $300 annual travel credit, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee reimbursement, and more. These perks can be precious for those traveling more frequently.

So, you might consider upgrading to a Chase Sapphire Reserve® shortly before you start traveling more. Make sure to upgrade far enough in advance that you have time to enroll in Priority Pass and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Downsides to upgrading the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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Despite its much higher annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® falls short of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in a few ways. Make sure you factor these aspects into your decision of whether or not to upgrade your Chase card.

First, you will lose the 10% anniversary bonus when you upgrade a Chase Sapphire Reserve®. If you've spent a significant amount on your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in the past cardholder year, you may want to wait until after your anniversary bonus has been posted before you upgrade your account.

Also, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card holders earn 3x points on online grocery stores and streaming services. These purchases only earn 1x points when charged to a Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Finally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card now offers up to $50 in statement credits each account anniversary year for hotel stays purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. If utilized, this perk offsets more than half of the card's annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® $300 annual travel credit also offsets more than half of that card's annual fee and is much easier to use. However, it's one more aspect to factor in when comparing the two cards.

How to upgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

To upgrade from a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you'll need to call the number on the back of your card to speak with a Chase customer service representative. That agent can check if you're eligible for a product change and submit your request.

Keep your card handy, as you'll need to have the last four digits of your card and the ZIP code on your account to verify your identity before you can discuss your account options.

If you're considering an upgrade from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® are excellent travel cards. But the right card for you will depend on your spending patterns, how much you travel and what perks you want while traveling.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent card for those just starting out. But, current cardholders that are about to start traveling a lot more may consider upgrading their card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Doing so will increase the value of your Ultimate Rewards® points and add travel perks like airport lounge access and $300 in travel credits.

However, upgrading isn't going to be right for all travelers. Consider the much higher annual fee and loss of perks like the 10% anniversary points bonus, $50 hotel credit and bonus points in certain spending categories.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

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