These are two of the hottest Chase cards on the market right now, but how do they stack up against each other? Here’s a head to head comparison of the Freedom vs Sapphire…
- Annual Fee: $95 annual fee (waived the first year).
- Rewards: 1 point per dollar on purchases. 2 points per dollar on dining (and that includes fast food!). 2 points per dollar on travel. Points can be used towards travel, merchandise, cash back… just about anything you can think of.
- Lucrative redemption options: The Sapphire Preferred gives you 20 percent off when you redeem your points for travel via its portal. In addition, you can transfer your points into several travel loyalty programs (for airlines and hotels) on a one-for-one basis.
- Unique Benefits: Top-notch, dedicated customer service. Chase’s selling point is that you can speak to someone without having to press numbers. Phone concierge service. A wide array of benefits on eligible travel purchases, including auto rental collision damage, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation insurance and lost luggage reimbursement. Chase just improved the benefits on the Sapphire Preferred to include primary (rather than secondary) auto rental coverage and $10,000 in trip cancellation/interruption insurance (formerly $5,000).
- Go here to see the current bonus for the Preferred
- Annual Fee: None
- Rewards: 5 percent cash back in various categories, which rotate each quarter and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. The 5 percent earnings are typically capped at $1,500 of spending per quarter within the categories.
- Unique Benefits: The high cash back is the most unique aspect of this card. The other benefits are comparable to what you would find on many other no-annual-fee credit cards.
That depends what you want to get out of your card. If you’re looking for the highest percentage of of cash back rewards, then the Freedom is the way to go. The Sapphire can’t beat the 5 percent back that the freedom gives you in category spending. However if you are looking for great rewards, premium customer service and benefits geared towards travelers, then the Sapphire Preferred is the clear winner.
However the best approach is to have both! Why? Because you can transfer and combine the Chase Ultimate Rewards points among your accounts. So, a great strategy is to use the Freedom for the 5 percent categories, but transfer the points to my Sapphire Preferred account and redeem through that account. That way you can redeem the points for travel through Ultimate Rewards and spend 20 percent fewer points – i.e. $371 plane ticket would only cost 29,680 points, instead of 37,100. Or, you can transfer your points, via the Preferred, to the card’s partner airlines and get real frequent flier points.
Written or last updated Feb. 12, 2016