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Should you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Freedom® credit card? Which credit card is better for daily spending? Here is my comparison and review of these two popular rewards cards to help you decide.
Sign-Up Bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in 3 months.
The Chase Freedom card currently comes with a sign-up bonus 15,000 bonus points, which can be redeemed for $150 cash back, after spending $500 in the first 3 months of account opening.
Eligibility for the two cards is the same since they are both issued by Chase bank. From the terms and conditions on the application page of the Chase Freedom credit card:
This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this 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 Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card obviously comes with the larger sign-up bonus, but it does require a larger minimum spending requirement to meet. Still, 50,000 (or $625 in travel) Ultimate Rewards points is a lot sexier than 15,000 points.
Spending Perks: Chase Freedom or Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Freedom has rotating 5x earning categories. You will earn 5% cash back each quarter on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in that quarter’s bonus categories. 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, and department stores are a few examples of the previous 5x categories. All other spending earns 1% cash back.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you 2x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on dining and travel, and 1x on all other purchases.
The Chase 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.
Benefits: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Freedom
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (CSP) 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 Chase 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 a positive credit history with no worries.
I like all the travel benefits the Sapphire Preferred offers, but the Chase Freedom is a no annual fee rewards card. This category is tough.
Points System: Freedom or Sapphire Preferred
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. But the real value of Ultimate Rewards points is in transferring them out to one of their travel partners.
Flights and Hotels
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.
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.
I’ve transferred my UR points to Hyatt for swanky hotel rooms that I could never afford. The Ultimate Rewards hotel partners include IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and World of Hyatt®. You can see my reviews of the Andaz 5th Avenue, Park Hyatt Vendome, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, and Grand Hyatt in Macau.
Ultimate Rewards Partners
Here is a list of current Ultimate Rewards partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- World of Hyatt
The point is, there’s great value in being able to transfer out your Ultimate Rewards points to their travel partners. 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 Chase 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.
Conclusion: Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom Rewards Card
The Chase Freedom is a solid card. It has no annual fee, you can earn 30,000 valuable points annually by maximizing on its 5% cash back quarterly categories. However, I wouldn’t have the Freedom unless I already held the Sapphire Preferred. This way, I can combine my points and have the ability to transfer them out to one of the travel partners.
If I was to pick one card, it would be the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card, because it comes with a much larger sign-up bonus, more flexible points, and has better travel perks.
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