Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

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Long term, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is definitely the superior card. But you may want to open the Chase Sapphire Preferred first because the Sapphire Preferred often offers a higher welcome bonus than the Sapphire Reserve After keeping the Preferred open for a year you can then upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve. You must wait 1 year to upgrade due to a federal law called CARD Act.

Cards mentioned in this episode:

You can also compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Optimal order to open credit cards in while you're in the military. You can maximize the benefits of military annual fee waivers rapidly by opening up credit cards in this order.

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #21 Links

Outline of Episode:

  • Chase five out of 24 rule
  • Three tiers of Chase cards
  • What are the points worth and what can you do with them?
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits
  • How to earn points on the Chase Sapphire reserve? How many points do you get for spending?
  • What would be a scenario where the preferred might be a better option?
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits

Military Money Manual Podcast Episode #21 Transcript

[00:00:00] Spencer: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Military Money Manual podcast. I'm the founder of, Spencer, and join today as I am every week with my good friend, Jamie. 

So today on the podcast we're talking about the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

My main takeaway for these two cards is if you're going to get a card in the military and it's going to be an annual fee waved like the Amex Platinum or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. We'll get into this, but it is going to be one of those cards that I'm going to recommend. So if you're brand new to the Travel Hacking Game, and let's say you've heard about the Amex Platinum Fee Waiver, go ahead, open up an Amex Platinum, and join the Cool Kids Club. Everybody at your unit probably has one of those cool metal Amex Platinum cards. 

But honestly, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a contender. It is arguably, a lot of people could say that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is an even better card than Amex Platinum.

Little controversial I know. 

[00:01:08] Jamie: Scandalous today here on the podcast.

[00:01:10] Spencer: That's right. Hot takes. Hot takes all day. 

So today we're going to get into just some of the details on the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and we'll differentiate between those two cards. We'll talk about some of the annual fees, which you don't have to worry about if you're in the military, and we'll talk about how to get those annual fees waived.

We'll talk about Chase Ultimate Rewards points, how Jamie and I value them, how you can think about them, and what you can use them for. I think that's, especially if you're new to the game, you see these 100,000 point welcome bonuses and you're like, what does that get me?

Can I just get a tote bag from NPR? Or what am I actually getting with that? And then we'll talk about like our thought process of, which one should you open and can you get both of them and we'll get into all those details. 

So we'll start off with Chase 5 out of 24. We'll just, Jamie, do you want to briefly walk us through what the Chase five out of 24 rule is?

[00:02:06] Jamie: Yeah, absolutely. So like we said before, Chase is a little bit more stringent on how many cards you can have open with them. It's commonly referred to as the 5 out of 24 like you said, Spencer. That means you can open no more than 5 cards in the previous 24 months. That's with any bank, not just Chase.

They will not allow you to get another Chase card if you already have all those spots filled. That's based on the date of account opening. It's it basically is the date you apply and are approved for the card is the best way to do that. So within 24 months of that, you use up five spots and you cannot get another card until the oldest one drops off 25 months later, basically.

But there are some tricks to that. We've talked about that in previous episodes of, waiting an extra month or two to make sure that it fully falls off and you can get in with your next card. So that's an overview of the 5 out of 24 rule that Chase has.

[00:03:06] Spencer: Yeah. Another thing that you should know about the Chase Sapphire cards is there are three tiers of them.

So the highest tier is known as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, or you might hear us refer to it as the CSR, which I think is the same number of syllables anyways, so it doesn't save that much time but sounds cooler. Yeah. 

The CSR is $550 annually, that's a $550 annual fee, but that annual fee is completely waived for military spouses and active duty military service members, or Guard and Reserve on Title 10 orders of 30 days or more. The best way to check that is just Google “MLA database” and you can look up to see if you are in the MLA database.

It's especially relevant if you are a military spouse because sometimes when they put you into DEERS, they forget to put your social security number in. Or maybe if you are a foreigner and you picked up a social security number later in life and you weren't born with one, then it might be a little bit trickier to make sure that you're in the MLA database or new to active duty too.

So if you've just commissioned or you just enlisted, probably want to give it a few months and just double-check the MLA database before you go ahead and apply for any of these cards. So we talked about Chase Sapphire Reserve being the top tier, and Chase Sapphire Preferred is their mid-tier.

That's $95 annual fee, again, completely waived for military spouses. Then the bottom tier card, which not a lot of people talk about because it's not as great as the Chase Sapphire card and it's just Chase Sapphire. There's no preferred, there's no reserve on the end.

It's just a vanilla Chase Sapphire card. We're not even going to talk about that one today because it's not even really worth your time. Yeah. So we will talk about the Sapphire family, when we refer to that, really what we're talking about is the top-tier Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

And you might be asking if the annual fees are waived, why would I even look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred? And we'll get to that in just a second. But one thing to note before we get into this is if you've had a Chase Sapphire bonus. So you've received a welcome bonus or a signup bonus in the last 48 months from a Sapphire product, you are not eligible for another Sapphire product. 

So I actually had this exact scenario come up recently, Jamie, where I applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve in 2017. I can't remember what month. It was probably summer, but it was in 2017. I applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve when they were offering a 100,000-point bonus.

And I was approved and I got the 100,000 points I had Chase Sapphire Reserve for years, but this was also before the annual fees were waived for active duty. So I was paying, at the time, it was a $400 annual fee on the card. It was worth it to me because as we'll get into it, this card has a lot of benefits and I think even for civilians, it justifies the annual fee if you do any kind of traveling.

So I opened the card in 2017 and then I closed the card in 2019 and my wife opened up her Chase Sapphire Reserve because of the new MLA rules, her annual fees were waived. So now we, and then she had me as an authorized user. So now our family has a Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

I don't have any Chase Sapphire cards, but the last time I got the bonus was in 2017. 2021. Chase Sapphire Preferred comes out with another 100,000-point bonus. That was earlier this year in 2021. The current bonus you can find on my website, if you go to, they change all the time, but it's not current.

As of the recording of this podcast, it's not offering 100,000 points anymore. Anyways, long story long. Because I'd opened up the card in 2017 and then closed it, I did not have any Chase Sapphire products under my name. It had been 48 months since I had gotten a bonus.

Actually, it had been more than, that had been like 50 or 52 months, and therefore I was eligible for another Chase Sapphire family bonus. So I applied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred in 2021 and I was approved, annual fees waived, and I earned another 100,000 points. So there's just a personal example of the 48-month rule.

That's another one of those Chase gotchas. Then the final one that I'll add is the actually, do you want to take it, Jamie? It's the Chase Sapphire family rule. 

How many Chase sapphires, can you apply for and be approved for at a time?

[00:07:53] Jamie: The Chase Sapphire makes it difficult.

You pretty much can only have one at a time except for upgrading. 

So let me just recap real quick what Spencer was talking about with a signup bonus. In order to get another Sapphire bonus from the Sapphire family you cannot have any Sapphire product open and you cannot have received a bonus for a Sapphire product in the last 48 months.

If those are met, like you close your card for whatever situation like Spencer talked about, you can do it. The only other way, the only way to have multiple products, not talking about the welcome bonus, but just having multiple Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred Cards is to then get a free card, like the Chase Freedom or Freedom Flex, Freedom Unlimited, one of those, and then upgrade after a year to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

So you can get multiple products eventually, but not multiple welcome bonuses without dancing around a little bit. Then it becomes a little complicated to track. So we're going to do another quick guide later about how to upgrade. It's a more advanced method of travel hacking but is a really nice way to accumulate a large stockpile of Amex Platinums or Chase Sapphire Reserves.

And you multiply all those benefits like your travel credits, your uber credits, your airline credits, or whatever the card is offering when you have multiple of the same product available.

[00:09:16] Spencer: Yep. Good points. Thanks for summarizing. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the CSP, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, when you open the accounts, you're going to earn a welcome bonus. So as is recording this podcast, and again, this is all, this is, they change these welcome bonuses all the time. So check out my website,, and on the homepage there, you should find a link to the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, whichever you prefer, and you can go ahead and see what the latest welcome bonus is.

But right now they're offering on the Sapphire Reserve, they're offering a 50,000 Chase Ultimate rewards welcome bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening the card. 

So Jamie, 50,000 Chase ultimate reward points. Sounds like a lot. Is it worth anything? What can you do with those points?

[00:10:09] Jamie: Chase points are pretty valuable. In general, I would value them. I think you as well agree with 2 cents per point for Chase Ultimate Rewards. They have a number of travel partners you can transfer to, which is great. Sometimes some of the sweet spots of redemptions are international airline travel partners that you can transfer to.

And if you're lazy and just want to make it easy, you can redeem from the Chase travel portal for 1.50 cents per point. So it's like a little 50% bonus. Of course, you can get like gift cards and use them on Amazon and crap your redemptions like that. So we would encourage you to try to get 2 cents per point at a minimum through the Chase Travel portal.

You can get 1.50 cents per point, so it's a $750 value there through the Chase Travel portal.

[00:10:56] Spencer: Yeah, we have a good friend who will remain named Brad. He frequently uses his Amex points for Amazon purchases which is one of the worst uses of Amex. Not even one. Yeah. Point seven.

So less than 1 cent per point where you could just go book an airline or a hotel through the Amex travel portal, at least you'd get 1 cent per point.

[00:11:24] Jamie: Brad, we're really embarrassed. We're really embarrassed.

[00:11:27] Spencer: If you're listening to this podcast which we know you're not start listening, man, and take my course,

[00:11:36] Jamie: Great point. Yeah, the course is a, we talked about before, but just a really good summary and building a strategy, how to redeem points, how to use points, how to look at redemption options. That is free. It's a five-day series of emails. Spencer will send you no spam or anything, you can un unsubscribe anytime.

And it's As you said, highly recommend that if you have not gone through that yet, I'm a graduate of the program as well.

[00:12:05] Spencer: Yeah, I think you were of the first beta testers on that, so thanks, Jamie. 

So 50,000 Chase ultimate reward points. So if you're valuing those at 2 cents per point, that's a thousand-point bonus right there. Just for signing up for the card and meeting the minimum spend. Now, again, we always, encourage people if they can't naturally meet that minimum spend, then find a card that you can, or, and just wait until your lifestyle inflation and lifestyle creep catches up, and that you can meet that minimum spend naturally.

And whether it's on groceries or gas or rent or whatever, there are lots of ways to meet those minimum spends. 

The other things that we'll talk about specifically now about the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It comes with a whole heap of benefits, and I think one of the biggest ones that you and I both agree on, Jamie, is the $300 annual travel credit.

So is this like the Amex one where it's not that flexible or is this like, probably one of the best deals ever on a credit card?

[00:13:11] Jamie: I'll go with B please, Alex. It's, it is very loose travel credit. It covers gas, hotels, airline tickets, and any kind of travel-related expenses. It's not limited to airline incidental fees like the Amex platinum benefit is.

So that's what, this is one of the main reasons why people value this card. So highly is because it's just 300 free dollars. You will spend $300 a year on gas or uber fares or any kind of travel-related expenses. So you'll guarantee to get at least 300 back.

[00:13:45] Spencer: I will caveat the gas thing. I think that's just until the end of 2021.

I'm not sure. I'm not sure if they made gas permanent yet, but they might. But transit tickets, airfare, tolls, taxis, Uber, and hotels. If you go TDY and always use your GTC obviously, but sometimes the GTC doesn't work and you can get $300 anytime you check into a hotel, just use that to pay for your hotel and then you're going to get $300 back. 

The other good point that we, I think brought this up in another recent show about Amex versus visa acceptance worldwide. I think it's always a good idea to have a Visa card in your pocket.

And the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a Visa card, so that's a big benefit there when you're traveling, especially internationally or you're stationed overseas you're going to want to have a Visa card in your wallet just in case American Express is not accepted wherever you're traveling. 

On top of that, no foreign transaction fees with this card. So another good bonus there. 

Since we're talking about travel a little bit, this is definitely one of the ultra-premium travel rewards cards. I'm just going to run through some of the other benefits, and travel perks that the card has. Then I'll turn over to you, Jamie, to talk about one of your favorite features of the card with the rental car coverage.

Just like we talked about if you listen to the best hotel credit cards for military service members, Episode, we mentioned $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit. That's a great one. Make sure you sign up for Global Entry if you're on active duty, even if you're a military spouse.

Also, sign up for global entry even if you just travel once internationally in the next five years, it's you're going to come back through US Immigration. You're going to appreciate that you get to skip the line and go to the front of the line with that global entry. It comes with TSA precheck, which I have noticed has probably saved me even with a little bit of traveling I've done during Covid, it's probably saved me like 20 hours of waiting in TSA lines. 

I'm serious. Every time I could fly through Honolulu, not during Covid, but more recently, not the peak of covid, but more recently there maybe looks like an hour-long line.

[00:16:09] Jamie: Yeah, That line gets crazy for sure. Yep.

[00:16:13] Spencer: A couple of other things. They have lost luggage coverage, travel and emergency assistance, trip cancellation, trip interruption, and trip delay. Make sure you check and dig into the details of what's actually going to be covered.

It might make sense to purchase a USAA travel insurance policy because they have a specific military clause in there. So if your leave is revoked for whatever reason, then you can get your travel insurance paid out. That's a pretty easy process. I know when I was like a lieutenant, I got sent on a last-minute TDY and it was they took like the first captain in my chain of command and the first O-3 and just signed a memorandum and they paid out.

So USAA travel insurance I think is a really good option. It's usually pretty cheap. I remember when I was lieutenant and a captain and I think it was like 20 or 30 bucks to insure a multi-thousand dollars trip. So that's a really good option there if you're not sure that your credit card travel insurance is going to cover things.

And then Priority Pass. So that's another really good one. It's better than Amex's Priority Pass. It allows I think, is it more guests.

[00:17:27] Jamie: It's mainly the restaurant. So the restaurant Priority Pass through Chase has some locations in an airport where you can get, usually something like $28 worth of food for you.

And a guest at a restaurant, Amex a couple of years ago got rid of all the restaurants in the prior, in their version of the Priority Pass benefit. I'm not a hundred percent sure if the guest policy is different, but for sure there are more options under Priority Pass if you sign up through Chase compared to Amex, but you don't get access to the Amex lounge through this card.

That's why it's a good compliment to the Amex Platinum. If you're only going to do two cards, these are the two cards to get Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

[00:18:07] Spencer: Then you're covering both of the best travel, yeah. The most valuable points programs, the Chase Ultimate Rewards and the Amex membership rewards as well.

When you open up both of those cards, I think it's a no-brainer if you're in the military. Everybody knows about the Amex Platinum, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It should be a no-brainer as well. Yeah, like everybody should know about the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Okay, Jamie, primary rental car coverage.

Why is that a big deal? And do you put all of your rental cars on your CSR?

[00:18:40] Jamie: Yes, and everyone should, and I'll tell you why. So primary rental car is different from secondary rental car insurance, which almost every other credit card, including the Amex Platinum, has secondary rental car coverage.

What that means is if you're in an accident while you're running a car, they're going to make you go to USAA or Geico or whatever else first, and then the credit card may cover the remainder of the bill to Hertz or Avis. With primary rental car insurance, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve has, you go to Chase first and make them pay and you don't have to make a claim on your USAA or Geico Auto insurance.

We all know that the more claims you make, the more your policy can go up. So that's a nice benefit of USAA or Chase never needs to know that someone dinged my car or whatever the case may be. I don't know. Hopefully, I'm not giving out legal advice. Consult with your to the terms of your policy just to be sure.

[00:19:41] Spencer: Make sure you ring your attorney

[00:19:43] Jamie: It makes sure that Chase covers the bill and not your policy and minimizes the risk of your policy premium going up in the future. It also puts it all on Avis and the credit card to deal with it, or, Herz and the credit card. You're not having to be the middleman between them and USAA. 

There are also some differences here between international and domestic reservations, so keep in mind again, dig into the terms, and make sure you understand your benefits. But for primary rental car insurance, I had a visitor one time visit us in Hawaii, and when we got to the budget counter they said, do you want the car insurance?

And he said, yes. It was like a four or five-day reservation, the insurance added $945 to a $270 reservation. Wow, if you don't need to worry about the rental car insurance and some of your USAA and Geico, it may cover it, but the benefit of this, again, is primary. Make chase pick up the slack, not your USAA or Geico-type primary auto insurance.

[00:20:50] Spencer: The other good thing that I caught this the other day when I was looking through the terms and conditions because that's what I do on a Friday night, but USAA oftentimes will not insure a rental car that's rented outside of the United States but credit card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, will.

So again, check what your primary insurance, your daily driver, USAA, Geico, Allstate, whoever it is, check to see what kind of coverage they give rental cars, and then just double check to see what the Chase Sapphire Reserve or whatever credit card you're going to use.

Another one I think that's doing primary is Capital One. I think the new Capital One Venture X is doing primary. The Capital One Venture X new card, not annual fee waived for the military, but I just opened it up recently and I'm pretty impressed by so I'm talking it up.

Capital One Venture X. It's got 100,000 welcome points at the time we recorded this podcast. It's a good card there

[00:22:05] Jamie: What about earning potential? Spencer, how do I earn on this card? How many points am I going to get for spending?

[00:22:12] Spencer: Yeah, so that's the other really good thing about having the Chase Sapphire Reserve in your pocket is because the Amex Platinum, it comes with a ton of great benefits, and it looks cool. It usually has a great welcome bonus. Annual fees are waived for the military. It doesn't actually earn that many points in a lot of categories. Yeah, it's pretty weak. In most categories, it's only 1x points except for airfare booked directly with the airline or through It's 5x points. So that's where it shines. You can get 5x points and if value an Amex membership reward point at 2 cents per point, then you're getting, 5x times 2%, you're getting about 10% cash back, or not cash back, but the cash value of your points whenever you book an airline ticket to, depending on how much you travel or if you travel with a family, that can be really valuable. 

But the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a lot better bonus categories, and earning categories. So they just increased this recently in 2021.

Chase travel portal. If you book a hotel or a rental car, you're going to get 10x points again. If you're valuing Chase points at 2 cents each, and sometimes I've gotten, 3, 4, or 5 cents for a Chase Ultimate Reward point when I transfer it to a travel partner. But if you're just, a conservative 2 cents, 10x times 2 cents, you're getting 20% basically back from whatever you spend on a hotel or rental car that you book with the Chase Travel portal.

Now, I haven't done this. Usually, you're not going to get the best deal through the travel portals. Yeah. And airfare. However, I have noticed that. At least through the Amex travel portal and Capital One. Even the, actually I have booked quite a bit of airfare through the Chase Travel portal using my 1.5 cents redemption for ultimate rewards points.

The airfare is usually the same, or sometimes it's even cheaper than what you can find on Google flights or booking directly through the airline. Yeah, and I know Amex has a program. I think it’s called Amex preferred flights or something. Something like that. Yeah.

Yeah. But that one they take like another 10% off the, just the cash price off the top. I think you have to use points though, usually to book it. But yeah, so 10x hotels and rental cars that you book through the Chase travel portal, 3x on airfare, which is good, but not as good as the 5x, that you can get in the Amex Platinum, and 3x on dining. That's a big one. 

So yeah, that's good. Chaser Sapphire Reserve, if you're not going to use the Amex gold card, which is 4x in dining, or if you're targeting Chase Ultimate Reward points, and you don't care that much about Amex points, you're just not trying to accumulate Amex points at the moment. Then 3x points on dining is great with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and then 3x on all travel stuff.

As we talked about earlier, everything that falls into that travel. So hotels, taxis, Uber, trains. All that stuff. Then anything you book through the Chase travel portal is going to get you 5x points. Then they usually throw in just random annual benefits. So for 2021, they're doing Peloton.

For any Peloton purchase, you get 10x points and $120 a year towards membership. So that's a great benefit right there. Usually, they'll probably change it for something different for 2022 and 2023. But Chase Sapphire Reserve has consistently rolled out new benefits for their members to juice it up and just give something back to their cardholders, which as a military service member or a spouse, you're not paying any annual fees. So say thank you and just enjoy the ride. Don't be surprised when I think that's what an episode that we should do one day is, I would not be surprised if MLA and SCRA benefits go away one day.

I think it's a hell of a deal and, Amex alone is probably losing a hundred million dollars a year. 

[00:26:19] Jamie: Yeah, but they're still posting billions of dollars a quarter. Do you think they even know? Do you think anyone even cares? I don't know.

[00:26:25] Spencer: Someone, there are some accountants in some department at these credit card companies that are doing the numbers and is saying, ohhhh.

[00:26:32] Jamie: They are making so much money off of us.

Still, even if you think about what they pay per swipe, even if they're paying, most people are not taking full advantage of the benefits. Like I said, they're posting billions of dollars of profit a quarter. I don't think they care that much, but you're right. It's always a possibility.

But, okay, so obviously we love the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It's a great card. Like we said, we went through all the benefits. The next kind of tier-down that we talked about or introduced earlier was the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Spencer, when would someone want to target the preferred first? What would be a scenario where the preferred might be a better option, or at least initially?

[00:27:10] Spencer: So if you are serious about the travel hacking game and you are not just getting into it for the immediate benefits, but you're you want to play the long game, I would almost always recommend that Chase Sapphire Preferred to people instead of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. A lot of times I get blank looks and people like why would I do that?

But the reason is usually the Chase Sapphire Preferred the CSP is offering offers a higher welcome bonus than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the CSR. So at the time of this recording, the CSP is offering 60,000 points, which is 20% more than the CSR 50,000 points. So it comes down to really how you value the points.

If 10,000 ultimate reward points, if you look at it and you think, ah, I don't know, if you value points at 2 cents per point, then you know, 10,000 ultimate reward points is really only worth $200. But if I open up a Chase Sapphire Reserve the first year, I get a $300 annual travel credit.

So why would I give up the $300 annual travel credit? So that's the calculation you have to make is the $300 annual travel credit worth more to you, or is the 10,000 extra points.

[00:28:22] Jamie: Sometimes it is a much bigger gap between the two. We've seen the Chase Sapphire Reserve be 60,000 and the Chase Sapphire Preferred be 100,000.

So if you're comparing a 40,000 point difference compared to a $300 travel credit, those are the ones where you have to figure out. , do I have a redemption coming up where I really want the 40,000 extra points, or do I want $300 of basically cash immediately?

[00:28:46] Spencer: Exactly. Yeah. So I know for myself personally, especially with Chase, because you're locked out of Chase cards until you hit your 5 out of 24, you're locked out of Chase cards for almost two years since you opened the last one.

And once you've hit the reserves and the freedoms you can move onto business cards, but you run out of options pretty quickly to generate Chase Ultimate Reward points just through signup bonuses, and you realize pretty quickly. That is the be-all-end-all to this travel hacking game is signing up for the cards and earning the welcome bonuses.

That is the fastest way to earn a ton of points. Once that option's cut off from you and you can't earn more points that way, it can slow down a lot unless you're doing a lot of spending in some of the bonus categories.

[00:29:39] Jamie: For sure. It gets a lot less exciting for a little bit.

That's where my wife and I are right now we've maxed out for a little bit, so we're in the plateau of we don't really have any other welcome bonuses or anything we can do right now we're both in Amex jail, so we're just chilling, stabilizing, and hopefully, in a couple months, we'll be able to apply for another card or two.

Some of the other benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is they have a new benefit that includes a $50 annual hotel. When, and I'm pretty sure Spencer, correct me if I'm wrong, that has to be booked through the Chase Travel portal to get that $50 hotel credit.

[00:30:15] Spencer: Which in my mind reduces the credit a little bit because Yeah. It's just one more layer.

[00:30:24] Jamie: I hardly ever book hotels through a travel portal. I find any time you have to change it or cancel it, we've done some fine hotels and resorts through the Amex travel portal, but whenever you introduce a middleman, basically a travel agent is what it is, it's a lot harder to change it or update anything on your reservation. It's a pain in the butt, so you really want to get value out of it. If you're going to book through a travel portal versus direct, some big redemption or earning or other benefits.

[00:30:55] Spencer: So I'll just run through the other benefits real quick.

5x points on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, 3x points on dining, so same as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and that includes takeout, delivery, and dine-in, just like on the CSR, 2x points in all our travel purchases. So you're not really going to earn that many points with this card unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but there are a couple nice features. 

You can use the pay-yourself-back feature. So points can just go back to your statement for 1.25 cents each, which is a good way if you have a ton of points and you want to pay off some charges and basically, it's putting cash back in your pocket.

No foreign transaction fees too. So if you're going TDY or PCSing OCONUS, great card to have in the wallet. Again, it's a visa so you don't have to worry about the Amex problem. It also has primary rental car insurance, which is pretty good on a $95 annual fee card, but again, that fee is completely waived for military service members. 

Some of the temporary 2021 benefits were they had unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee, and they reduced service fees on orders over $12 for one year with Dash Pass, which is DoorDash.

It's one of those home delivery services. I don't think I ever activated that one. 

[00:32:18] Jamie: So I actually just canceled mine. My free trial for 12 months and then applied my wife's, so now we get 11 more months.

So it's okay if you're going to do DoorDash, it saves you five bucks for a delivery fee or whatever. It's, yeah. If you're going to use it, it's cool. It's not the end of the world if you don't.

[00:32:40] Spencer: Yep. Then finally you can upgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Chase Sapphire Reserve after one year.

And that one-year limitation, I do get a lot of questions about this, so I want to address it. The one-year limitation is because of the US Card Act. You can Google this. It was a law passed and I think 2009 or 2008, like right around the global financial crisis. Congress clamped down on a lot of the practices that credit card companies were doing at the time.

And one of them was moving people from a no-annual-fee card to an annual fee card right after they applied. So this is one of the fallouts of that because the Chase Sapphire Reserve charges a higher annual fee. Chase cannot upgrade you per the law until you've hit one year, and that's, it's a loose one year.

I know with Amex, I've been able to upgrade Amex Green cards and Amex Platinum cards in like about 11 months or so. Sometimes I've even heard data points of 10 months. It might not be exactly a year, but if you wait a year you can upgrade your Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Chase Sapphire Reserve.

This is the primary difference here, if you book through the travel portal with Chase Sapphire Preferred, you're going to get 1.25 cents per point. But if you book through the Chase Travel portal with a Chase Sapphire Reserve, you're going to get 1.5 cents per point of value.

So for me, I've got a Preferred card. My wife has a Reserve card. Chase, unlike Amex, actually allows you to pool your points within a household, which is awesome. So I just move all my preferred points to her card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and then we go and book our Delta and our United Tickets through her Chase Sapphire Reserve account, and we get 1.5 cents.

So we boost our point value by 25% there. Awesome. Pretty yeah, pretty good. Pretty awesome. So Jamie if you were starting from square one, let's say you just listened. You just found out you just took the Ultimate Military Credit Cards course,

You're super stoked about military travel hacking. You're brand new, or not, maybe brand new, but you've been in the Air Force for a couple of years now. What are you thinking? Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred?

[00:35:02] Jamie: So I'm going to go, of course, I'll give the textbook answer to the instructor first.

The points are valuable. Right now it's only 10,000 is the discrepancy between the two card signup bonus. I personally would tend towards getting the immediate $300 travel credit, but, it just depends on your strategy. I think opening up the Preferred first and maximizing your points and then upgrading after a year is a great answer.

I think if you want to go straight to the Reserve and get a little bit better earning on what you swipe it for and you get the $300 travel credit right away, that's also a great answer. 

I don't think you're going to go wrong and either. I haven't said this in a while. Do something and you'll be okay, and you're going to take advantage of some of the great benefits Chase has.

Again, these are great cards, either one, you're not going to go wrong with. Just be careful a little bit, think about it a little bit because you can only do it once. It's not like you can cancel it and a couple of months later change your mind. So it's going to take a kind of a more long-term commitment to which one you choose.

But either way, you're not going to lose out big time.

[00:36:09] Spencer: Yeah. My answer to that question would be if I was starting all over again, I would go for the Preferred, I would get the extra chase ultimate reward points just because knowing what I know now of the value of the points I would rather have, for some reason, it's just so much easier to book an airline ticket when you're paying for points than when you're paying for cash.

Yeah. The 300 travel credit is great. Yeah. I would. Upgrade to a reserve, and as soon as I hit my one-year mark but I just know the way that my brain works, the points, it's easier for me to spend points than it is to spend dollars.

[00:36:47] Jamie: Yeah, absolutely. So to recap what we talked about today, if you're just starting out or you only have the Amex Platinum or everyone's always told you about the Amex Platinum, the Chase Sapphire family, either the Reserve or the Preferred is a great next card for you.

You have to do it early in your strategy because of the limitations of the Chase five out of 24 rule and If you haven't ventured into the Chase game, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great card. Chase Sapphire Preferred usually has a slightly higher signup bonus, so pay attention to those,  venture out and I think you'll be very happy with the Chase Ultimate rewards, redemption options, or travel partners and how they're valued when you go to redeem them.

[00:37:28] Spencer: And as always, you can see the latest offers for these cards and any other cards we talk about on the podcast at I'm Spencer, founder of The Military Money Manual and author of the new Military Money Manual book, which is available at If you're hearing this before Christmas, you still probably have time to get it shipped to you or to a loved one before Christmas.

Check it out. Yeah, it's getting some good reviews on Good Reads. I'm pretty stoked about it, and I will say that it is coming to Amazon soon. So good. Yeah. Awesome. Look for it there once you listen to this podcast. All right. Thanks for listening and see you later, Jamie.

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