Reader Ken writes in with a question I receive often:
Hi Angelina, I currently have the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire (not preferred). I was wondering if you could tell me the difference between the three and if I can some how upgrade my Chase Sapphire to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and still get the sign-up bonus. Thanks, Ken
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Thanks for reaching out. I understand where your question is coming from, and I do know that it’s quite easy to be confused about the Chase Sapphire vs Chase Sapphire Preferred, because not only are their names similar, but both cards also earn Ultimate Rewards points – and heck, they even look similar!
To start, both the Chase Freedom and the Chase Sapphire are no-annual fee cards, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred currently comes with the first year free, and then a $95 annual fee thereafter. Also, the Sapphire and the Freedom are both considered “intro” cards that might be easier to get approved for/can be used to build credit and a relationship with Chase, while the Sapphire Preferred Visa is considered a premium card (Visa Signature Card).
Before getting into the details of all of the cards you’ve mentioned, let’s take a look at a face-to-face comparison of the Sapphire vs Sapphire Preferred:
|Chase Sapphire Card||Chase Sapphire Preferred Card|
|Current Sign-up Offer||10,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $500 spend in 3 months||40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $4,000 spend within 3 months|
|Spending Bonuses||2x points per $ spent at restaurants||2x points per $ on dining and travel (including airfare, hotels, cruises, mass transit, tolls, taxis, parking and more)|
|Redeeming Points with Transfer Partners||N/A – Points can only be redeemed at a fixed rate for travel, merchandise or cash back through Ultimate Rewards||Points transfer 1:1 several airline/hotel partners including British Airways, United, Korean Air, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club & Amtrak|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||3%||No foreign transaction fee (HUGE perk for using the card abroad)|
|Annual Fee||No annual fee||No fee first year, then $95 thereafter|
|Other Features||Can use points for fixed-value travel, gift cards and cash back in the form of statement credits||25% bonus when redeeming points for travel through UR, 7% yearly bonus on all points earned, including sign up bonus|
|Other Notes||Basic credit card, good for building credit||Premium credit card (Visa Signature Card), zero wait time when calling customer service, access to Visa Signature travel concierge/perks, impressive shiny, sleek, and heavy card design|
As you can see right off the bat, the Chase Sapphire Preferred definitely has a few advantages over the Sapphire card, making it a distinguished travel credit card. I personally have bypassed the no-fee Sapphire card and went directly with the Sapphire Preferred back in November of 2011, and let’s just say it has pretty much been my go-to Visa. I also travel abroad frequently, so having the zero-transaction fee benefit that comes along with the card is a major perk to me.
What’s even better in your current situation is that you already have the Chase Freedom card, which is what I would say the Sapphire Preferred’s best friend – since you have the “freedom” (cheesy, I know) to combine UR points from both cards and transfer 1:1 to the airline & hotel partners. The Chase Freedom and the Sapphire Preferred are the ultimate power couple, especially when you activate Chase Freedom’s 5% quarterly bonus categories, allowing you to earn up to an additional 7,500 UR points per quarter from just strategically maximizing the category spend with the Freedom and then combining the points.
If you want to even take it a step further, Chase checking customers can earn an additional 10% bonus on all purchases. Do know that you need a daily balance of at least $1,500 (or monthly direct deposit) in order for the Chase checking account to come without any fees. If you can maintain that easily, you’re in for a fun ride earning extremely generous amounts of UR points – some call it the Chase “trifecta” when one strategically uses their Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and their Chase checking account in harmony with one another.
As far as upgrading your Sapphire card to the Sapphire Preferred card to still get the 40,000 UR point sign-up bonus, this is what I’d recommend:
Apply for the Sapphire Preferred under the current 40K offer. Once approved, call Chase and see if they can manually switch your current Sapphire account to the Sapphire Preferred account (or move credit lines around), then mention that you applied under the 40K offer so they could make note of that in your account.
I’d do it that way rather than calling Chase and directly asking for an “upgrade” because they might deny you the 40K sign-up bonus, arguing that it’s for “new customers only”. YMMV.
Readers, if you’ve had any personal experience “upgrading” the Sapphire to the Sapphire Preferred, please do share your outcomes.
My Final 2 Cents: Keep the Freedom, Go for the Sapphire Preferred, Bank with Chase & Have fun spending your Ultimate Rewards points on the trips you’ve always dreamed of!
Hope that helped!
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