The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred are two extremely popular travel credit cards.
And while both cards have the same credit card issuer and similar-sounding names, there are some key differences between the two.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with more perks and statement credits than the Sapphire Preferred, but also much higher annual fees.
Still, all the added travel rewards and perks for travel purchases and bonus categories may offset the extra fees and make the Sapphire Reserve worth it.
If you’re considering upgrading from the Preferred to Reserve Chase card, this article will cover what you need to know.
Can You Upgrade From Chase Sapphire Preferred To Reserve?
Yes, it’s possible to upgrade from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
If you’ve had your Preferred account for at least thirteen months and your account is in good standing, you’re likely to be approved.
Any account upgrade from one card to another is not an automatic given; you would need to apply for and be approved for it.
- Look for an invitation for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card in the mail. The letter may indicate you are pre-approved or pre-qualified. You still need to apply, but this indicates you have strong odds for approval.
- Reach out directly to the bank. Call the number on the bank of your Chase Sapphire Preferred card and talk to the rep about upgrading.
When you apply make sure you comply with the Chase 5/24 rule. It’s an unofficial rule that means you should not open more than five credit cards, or other lines of credit, within 24 months if you want to be approved for a Chase credit card account.
Why Stay With The Chase Sapphire Preferred?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred could be the better choice for you. For starters, the annual fee is only $95 compared to the $550 a year you’ll pay for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has many outstanding high-value card benefits:
Why Upgrade To The Chase Sapphire Reserve?
If you love your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you may want to stay the course. It is a solid card with some nice perks.
But it’s important to know what the Chase Sapphire Reserve card can offer, as for many consumers this card offers more than enough bang for your buck.
Key Benefits the Chase Sapphire Reserve Offers:
There are also other partner benefits, like free yearly subscriptions to Instacart and DoorDash and free partner hotel and resort upgrades.
If you’re thinking about upgrading, consider how frequently you travel or book trips through the Chase travel portal.
Keep Reading: Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards
How To Upgrade From The Chase Sapphire Preferred To Reserve?
Note that your Chase Sapphire Preferred card will not automatically be upgraded to a Reserve card.
1. Request an Upgrade
For current Chase cardmembers, you have to formally request an upgrade.
- Contact customer service by phone. Call the number on the back of your card.
- Log into your Chase bank account and submit a request through Chase’s secure online messaging.
Existing Sapphire cardholders are not guaranteed approval. But if you’ve maintained a good credit score and managed the Chase Sapphire Preferred card responsibly (for a minimum of 13 months), the odds are in your favor.
When you upgrade directly from the Preferred Sapphire to the Reserve Sapphire, you will not get the 60,000 welcome bonus. In Chase’s eyes, both Sapphire cards are so close that there is no product change.
2. Apply as a Brand New Chase Cardmember
There is a workaround to switch from the Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve, but this is a more involved process.
You’ll need to first cancel your Sapphire Preferred card, and then apply for a Sapphire Reserve card. You will need to make sure at least 48 months have elapsed since you received your initial point bonus for your Sapphire Preferred card. If you apply sooner, you will be ineligible for that bonus.
It’s important to evaluate any possible ramifications for closing your Preferred account. If you have other credit cards with a high balance or low spending ceiling, then closing your Preferred credit card could artificially spike your credit utilization ratio and lower your credit score.
With a lower credit score, you might not qualify for a new card.
Also if your Chase Preferred card is your oldest line of revolving credit, then it could be extremely beneficial to your credit history and you might not wish to close it until your other lines of credit are more established.
What Happens To Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?
If you do decide to upgrade from the Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire Reserve, you can keep your Chase Ultimate Reward points. You’ll need to call Chase and ask for a card upgrade with a bonus points transfer.
You can call 1-800-493-3319 or the number printed on the back of your credit card.
Other Ways to Use or Transfer Points
If you decide to close your Sapphire Preferred account to then apply for a Sapphire Reserve card and get the sign-up bonus, you could forfeit any reward points unless you redeem them first.
There are a few options to do so:
- Transfer unused points to a hotel or airline partner before closing your card
- Transfer unused points to any Chase card your spouse has like the Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Apply for a non-Sapphire card and transfer the points to that Chase credit card
When you transfer points to a different credit card product in the Chase family, the points could downgrade in value. While the value may go down, redeeming them is still better than a forfeiture.
How Will Upgrading Affect Your Credit Score?
Applying for a new credit card, or getting approved for an upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve card, will impact your credit score.
Being declined itself won’t drop your score but the hard inquiry on your credit report can temporarily drop your FICO score by up to 5 points. Even if you are approved, that same hard inquiry can cause a similar decrease in your score.
Given the impact of this credit pull, it makes sense to look over your credit report and get a general idea of whether or not you will be approved now or improve certain areas before you apply.
Consumers approved for the Sapphire Reserve have an average FICO score of 785 and a low credit utilization ratio.
Eventually, your credit card upgrade should improve your credit score if Chase grants you a higher line of revolving credit for your Sapphire Reserve card and you maintain the account in good standing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Income Do You Need for Chase Sapphire Reserve?
Chase Bank’s target audience for the Sapphire Reserve card is millennials earning 6-figure salaries, but there’s no hard and fast income requirement.
Most approved Sapphire cardholders report an annual income ranging from $50,000 to $180,000, although in some instances consumers with lower household incomes may be approved.
Beyond income, Chase also looks at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, mortgage and other monthly expenses, and credit score. While a minimum score of 670 may suffice, we recommend a score of at least 720. Most customers have a 750 or higher.
Can you have both Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve?
No, Chase allows customers to have one card or the other. The Chase Sapphire and Reserve cards are considered the same product so you cannot double up.
You’re not missing out though. The cards feature the same family of travel perks and benefits, so there’s no point in paying two different annual fees. You’ll need to decide if you want lower card fees with the Preferred card or more generous benefits with the Reserve.
Can I upgrade Chase Freedom Unlimited to Chase Sapphire Reserve?
Yes, it’s possible. You can request an upgrade by calling Chase, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved. Sapphire cards do have higher income and credit score requirements, and there will be a hard credit pull in order to review your application.
If you do have excellent credit and are interested in the upgrade, don’t let the tighter guidelines or credit pull scare you off. But you should wait at least 13 months from the date you opened your Freedom Unlimited card before applying for other lines of Chase credit.
Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve Have Foreign Transaction Fees?
No, there are no foreign transaction fees for either Chase Sapphire card but there is a 5 percent balance transfer fee or a minimum $5 fee.
This is a common perk with travel cards and can save you 1 to 3 percent in international fees.
Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve Have a Higher Credit Limit than the Preferred?
Yes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card generally offers a higher credit limit than the Credit Sapphire Preferred card.
Sapphire Reserve limits commonly range from $10,000 to $50,000 and some cardholders report limits as high as $80,000.
Sapphire Preferred limits generally range from $5,000 to $20,000 with some card members reporting limits as high as $50,000.
How Much Should I Spend to Break Even on the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
To break even on your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you would need to spend at least $18,333 a year on travel and dining or $55,000 a year on non-dining and non-travel purchases.
Other built-in yearly perks — if you use them — can offset the $550 annual fee and lower the amount you would need to spend to break even.
- Annual travel credit worth $300
- Lyft Pink All Access membership worth $199 (bi-annual membership)
- Instacart membership worth $99
- Instacart monthly credits worth $180 ($15 a month)
- TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit worth up to $100 (every four years)
- DoorDash memberships worth $96
- DoorDash monthly credits worth $60 ($5 a month)
- GoPuff monthly credits worth $120 ($10 a month)
- 10-point bonus for account anniversary
Is It Worth It To Upgrade From Chase Sapphire Preferred To Reserve?
If you will use the travel benefits, then yes. The Sapphire Reserve card is by far Chase’s best travel card. Its annual fees are much heftier than the Preferred card, but its benefits pack an equally larger punch.
If you’re not completely sure you’ll use enough of the benefits to break even on the $550 fee, then you may want to stick with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for another year or two — or start out there if you don’t already have a Chase credit card.