What To Do When A Couple Has The Sapphire Preferred & Sapphire Reserve

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Reader Adi_T asked the following question in the Ask Lucky forum:

I have the Sapphire Preferred card (have had it since 2013). My partner just got the Sapphire Reserve and added me as an authorized user. We intend to both use, and share the benefits of the card going forward.

I’m thus wondering if when the time for the next annual fee on my Chase Preferred arrives, whether it’s worth keeping the card.

Anyone have any thoughts? Unless I’m missing some perk or hidden advantage, it seems silly to pay a second annual fee for a card when another card provides everything and then some.

The other options are to cancel it or downgrade to a non-fee card. If the former, my credit may take a hit, but then I could reapply at a later time. If I downgrade, which card would they offer I wonder?

I imagine many people are in similar situations. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been around for years, and is one of the most well rounded credit cards out there. Meanwhile the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card was introduced a bit over a year ago, and it’s a card that many people have picked up and found useful.

With that in mind, what’s the best thing for a couple to do in a situation like this?

There’s no reason to have both the Sapphire Preferred & Sapphire Reserve

Both of these cards have fantastic benefits, but they overlap:

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 2x points on dining and travel, great travel protection, and car rental coverage
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card offers 3x points on dining and travel, great travel protection, car rental coverage, a Priority Pass membership, a $300 annual travel credit, and much more

Since Adi_T has been added as an authorized user on the Reserve Card (the cost per authorized user is $75, and is a great value), there’s no reason to have the Sapphire Preferred in addition to the Sapphire Reserve, assuming your intent is to pool points.

Should you cancel or downgrade the Sapphire Preferred?

Obviously the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could be outright canceled to avoid having to pay the annual fee, though personally my strategy in the above situation would be to downgrade the card. There are two best no annual fee options here:

  • You could downgrade to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, which offers 1.5x pints on everyday purchases
  • You could downgrade to the Chase Freedom® Card, which offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 of spend per quarter

I’m not sure if Adi_T has either of these cards, though personally I think the best option is to downgrade to one of them:

  • My first choice would be to downgrade to the Freedom Unlimited, since it’s a great supplement to the Sapphire Reserve, as it offers 50% more points on non-bonused spend (you could even get an authorized user card for your spouse, and then you can each earn 1.5x points on your non-bonused spend)
  • My second choice would be to downgrade to the Freedom, since the 5x points in rotating quarterly categories can quickly add up

Then since your spouse has the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card you could transfer all your points to that account, and then the points could be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase, or transferred to any of the Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel partners.

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  1. I just got married and both my wife and I have the CSR. Does it make sense for both of us to have it or should I make her an authorized user?

  2. Personally I think not only you should not keep both, you also don’t have to be authorized user either. it is $75 annually , equivalent to ~4000 point. Do you think you can ear that much by having another physical card?

    A lot of purchasing were done online, when offline, you can use APPLE Pay or Android pay with your spouse’s CSR on travel and dinning. You only missing on those places do not take mobile pay and more than $2500 spending in those situation?

  3. @Marsh: I was on the same boat as you last month. I asked my wife to downgrade the CSR(after using her 2018 travel credit) to a freedom card. I made her an AU on my CSR.

  4. Yeah, unless you eat and travel a lot without your spouse, I would also consider downgrading and not necessarily worrying about an AU. The fee is almost the same as having a “premium” card of some sort ($75 vs $95) that fits the spending pattern of whatever the person without the CSR going forward would need.

  5. Main reason I have my wife keep the Preferred is for referrals. Even getting one referral for 10k outweighs the AF.

  6. The reason we both have CSR is b/c of the primary car rental insurance. I think CSP also has that, but the AF differential is only $55, right?

    I could add spouse to my CSR as AU and still get the insurance, but w/out CSR or CSP there’s no transferring of points from Freedom to partners.

  7. Hi Lucky,

    I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now, and although I’m not exactly a points guy (yet), reading your posts has given me lots of insights and gotten me more intrigued to say the least. My question is this. I’ve been reading into some of the credit cards that are out there and would like to sign up for either the Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Something to keep in mind is that I’m an airline employee, so I already travel a lot on standby, especially internationally. I like the idea of the Amex Platinum because of the SPG Gold (and Marriott Gold by status match) and Hilton Gold status perks (the breakfasts and upgrades) given that I try to book exclusively with these hotels whenever I can on my travels. Additionally, the Priority Pass, Centurion Lounge and Delta Sky Club access would be further benefits during my travels and longer airport sits. And then there’s the Global Entry and Uber credits. My one beef with the card versus the Sapphire Reserve is that instead of a travel credit for virtually any travel related purchase, it is an airline fee credit. Being an employee I don’t check bags or tend to buy food onboard. Also the 5X points on airline bookings (which would come in handy for standby bookings on other airlines) doesn’t seem to translate into points nearly as frequently as the Reserve’s 3X points on travel and dining. My friend brought up a good point too that Amex isn’t nearly as widely accepted internationally as Visa. Again, I feel like I’m leaning more towards the Amex for almost all the Reserve’s benefits and then some, but am wondering what you would do in my situation? Also after reading this post above, I’m wondering whether it might be a good idea to get the Amex Platinum for all the perks I want above and maybe the Sapphire preferred for the 2X travel and dining? $550 + $95 (after the first year) is a hefty amount but maybe that’s more worth it? What do you think? For reference, I currently only utilize a MileagePlus Explorer Card. From reading your blog it’s not the best out there, I know ;), but it’s cost isn’t a factor.

    Sorry for the lengthy post but I appreciate your knowledge into this. Despite having employee travel on certain airlines in premium classes, I just recently redeemed miles to fly my dream of Lufthansa First and wouldn’t mind getting more into the points game to try other airlines international premium products and complement my employee perks – they’re two different worlds but ultimately the thrill and perspectives are similar.

    Thanks! Keep up the good work!

  8. I’m in this boat myself (spouse has CSR, I have CSP). I could have downgraded the CSP to CFU, but then I’d miss out on the bonus for opening a new CFU (15K). So my plan is to keep the CSP for a while, cancel it, then apply for my own CSR (to get 50k bonus). Then I’ll transfer spouse’s UR points to my account and cancel her CSR.

  9. When my husband got his CSR I downgraded my CSP to Freedom 5 to keep the length of credit history going (made that mistake before canceling cards) and became an AU on his CSR. I’m probably going to drop that too though because we almost always travel and dine together, and I get into Priority Pass with him and plus have 10 visits with my AmEx Hilton card.

    I’m also considering getting my own AmEx Business Platinum (and then could cancel my Hilton and SPG cards which get me gold) or getting the Citi Prestige for the 4th night free.

    There’s so many good cards out now, but the best strategy varies from person to person.

  10. Beck, I just transferred all my UR points to my spouse’s CSR. Then I figure I can let my other UR points keep building up, and in the future when I have a lot I could become an AU again and transfer them again.

  11. Thanks, Ben for writing a post based on my question. This is most useful information. I do have the Chase Freedom Card, so may downgrade to the other one.

    One thing:
    “Then since your spouse has the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ you could transfer all your points to that account, and then the points could be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase, or transferred to any of the Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel partners.”

    I didn’t know you can do that. I knew I could transfer within accounts, but I didn’t think you could transfer from one person’s account to another (I’m the primary on the preferred and he’s the authorized user; he’s the primary on the reserve and I’m the authorized user).

  12. How about one has the sapphire reserve and the other downgrades to the freedom (1.5ur points is beat by both amex blue business 2xmr points, the boa travel 2.625% on all with plat preferred honors, ir sign up bonuses on other cards), and one has the citi prestige (only if you use the fourth night free, otherwise a premier). The citi has price rewind (which i use with the att access and more instead of the prestige for most purchases, since they are online), the ticket insurance protection is nice, it allows two transferable programs, and the travel insurance on paid tickets generally beats the reserve. Both get PriorityPass, and while the 2x ty points on dining is less than the three times on the sapphire reserve, it does cut the difference down. When possible use apple pay or just dining together and using the sapphire reserve.

  13. My wife and I each had a CSR. She also has the Freedom and I have the Freedom Unlimited. We kept my CSR and product changed hers to a regular no annual fee Sapphire (no preferred, no reserve). That way for dining, she’ll still earn the same 2x as the CSP and we’ll just book all travel on my CSR. Points still transferable between our accounts so they all get funneled to my CSR account. I figured $75 to add her as an AU to my CSR isn’t worth 1 extra UR on dining.

  14. There’s one very good reason to keep both cards. If you often eat out with friends and split the check in a way where everyone puts in a card, putting in the CSR and an authorized users CSR will cause one of the transactions to fail.

    So having a separate CSR or CSP may be worth it if those situations are common for you (and they are for me).

  15. @Martin – I’m not Lucky but you have the right idea in your post; Chase Sapphire is for the points earning potential and AMEX Platinum is for the benefits. That being said Lucky just recently posted that the Platinum 100K cardmatch offer is back http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2018/02/16/amex-platinum-100k-2018/ . There are also loopholes you can read online on the AMEX $200 airline credit where you can purchase airline gift cards that count towards the credit. If you are thinking of getting both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and AMEX Platinum cards, start with Chase since they have a 5/24 rule i.e. they reject any card application where one has applied to 5 or more cards in 24 months.

  16. Since much of the discussion is focusing on the value of being an authorized user on the CSR, I’ll chime in with my situation. My college-age son has the CSR, but my wife and I are far above Chase’s 5/24 rule and cannot get the CSR, so I had my son add me as an AU. I pay the bill anyway, so I might as well get the travel protection for my wife & me, which is worth far more to me than $75 per year.

    Indeed the CSR travel protection is one of the only ones I know where you can pay the taxes & fees of an award ticket and then be fully covered with travel insurance for those flights. Since my son no longer gets to go on all of our adventures, being an AU on his CSR card protects my wife and me on our trips. A couple travelling together for all leisure travel would not have this strong argument for making the other an AU, but consider it if you travel separately or if the primary on the CSR is another family member.

  17. This is a very beneficial post. Thanks! Regarding AU and the dreaded 5/24; wife has CSR and CSP. I am AU on CSP. If we product switch the CSP to either of the no fee cards and I am an AU on the new card how does that affect 5/24 for either of us? I have my own CSR which for our circumstance is worth the difference from the AU fee.

  18. Here’s my question. If I downgrade a CSP to a Freedom Unlimited, for example, if I apply for the CSR two years later, can I earn the signup bonus?

  19. Ben – Where can I have the 1.5 pints delivered to for every dollar spent. At that rate I’ll drink free forever! Sorry, I had to have a bit of fun with your typo.

  20. @ Adi_T @ Lucky –
    I do not agree with all of the recommendations.
    I agree that you should either cancel your card or downgrade, but I think if you are deciding between one of the Freedom cards then I would suggest the lower card. The Freedom card only makes sense if you use it for the 5x rewards on rotating categories, and then because your spouse would be getting the bulk of the Chase points, you could send your points to her to consolidate.
    The thing is that the higher Freedom card does not participate in the rotating categories and besides you would not be using it for “other purchases anyway” since most things fall in travel or dining. This, however, depends how the merchant has coded the transaction.

  21. Martin – one thing to keep in mind…I love my CSR card but I do not use it abroad because I find the Chase Visa conversion rates to be less advantageous as a rule than AmEx currency conversion. I paid a hotel bill with the Chase card and charged a meal on the AmEx card on the same day. When the bill arrived at home for both, I would have saved over $100 had I charged the hotel on my AmEx due to the difference in the currency exchange rates. Bottom line, I now use AmEx for expenses abroad as often as possible and if not that, then Mastercard.

  22. Lucky, is the conversion rate difference between Amex & Chase
    (mentioned in ProfPeabody’s comment) worth the difference in the number of points accrued- 3x for travel w Chase vs 1x w Amex (if you haven’t booked the hotel thru Amex travel?

  23. Can a spouse that has the Freedom card transfer points to the spouse with the CSR? or does she need the no fee CSP?

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