There are a lot of options to consider from when it comes to picking a travel rewards credit card. Do you value hotel nights over air travel? Need the best quality insurance coverage? Or are you just looking for a travel credit card that provides good value? While all factors are important and each can be satisfied with various cards, no one does travel credit cards better than Chase.

The only question you should be asking yourself when you’re ready to get a travel credit card is if you want the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. To help you decide which one is better suited to your travel needs, here are the biggest differentiators between the two:

The annual fee

If you can swing the $450 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is a better option, and it’s really not as bad as it sounds. It will earn you points that you can transfer to 13 different airline and hotel partners, and you can rest assured that you will receive the highest quality travel protection. Plus, with a $300 annual travel credit, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit, and Priority Pass lounge access, this card really pays for itself. However, if there are more than two credit cards in your wallet that you use for daily spending and large purchases, the Chase Sapphire Preferred might be a smarter choice. The annual fee is a reasonable $95. You won’t get the premium benefits with this card like lounge access and the travel credits, but you will still have insurance protection.

Insurance protection

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers more liberal coverage and protection to its cardholders, the Preferred still offers cardholders a generous protection policy. Where the Reserve truly stands out is in its trip delay coverage. If you are delayed more than six hours or overnight, you can submit a claim to Chase and have up to $500 per passenger in expenses covered. This short delay coverage can be quite meaningful, and offers a serious edge over the Preferred.

No matter which card you choose, rest assured knowing that you will have options should you find yourself in an undesirable situation, whether it’s stuck in an airport or in the break-down lane. As a Reserve cardholder, you will benefit from free roadside assistance and higher trip cancellation insurance, travel accident insurance, and higher purchase protection. As a Preferred member, you stand to benefit from the same insurance options, but the requirements and limits are different. Most notably, for trip delay coverage, your flight must be delayed for at least 12 hours.

Travel and dining

If travel and dining is where you do the majority of your spending, the Chase Sapphire Reserve far outweighs the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining, where the Preferred earns 2x point. Plus, when you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, you will earn a 50% bonus as a Reserve member compared with a 25% bonus as a Preferred member.

With an effective annual fee of $150 after the $300 travel credit, the Chase Sapphire Reserve seems like a clear choice over the Chase Sapphire Preferred, especially if you take lounge access into consideration. However, you don’t plan to make use of the airline lounges and you don’t spend more than $4,000 a year on travel and dining, the Preferred is a smarter choice because you likely have other cards you alternate spending on that offer equally advantageous rewards. Think about where you do most of your spending, how much you value trip protection, and if a higher upfront annual fee poses an issue. With either card, you really can’t go wrong.

Learn More about the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Learn More about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Still not sure? Try getting started with Travel Freely. Their free service helps beginners earn tons of points and miles in simplest way possible.

Caroline has traveled all over the world on miles and points. She joins us today from Travel Freely – a free service that takes the guesswork out of finding the best travel rewards credit cards. The Travel Freely system is for beginners who have no idea how easy it is to travel for free.

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