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Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred w/Freedom/FU Math

Valued Contributor

Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred w/Freedom/FU Math

I've been at this for a while and I am actually not going to do anything right now...but I will be applying for CSP or CSR next year. A lot of this math has been done already but I seldom see exact numbers for how much spend is needed to make Reserve better than Preferred when one has Freedom or Freedom Unlimited. I know that you need to account for $55 (after $300 travel credit) extra to make CSR break even with CSP in value...and of course, any more just goes deeper in favor of CSR. Any less and CSP is better. If you have to make it all up in 3% travel and dining for someone like me who doesn't travel but once or twice a year, it seems like a daunting task. However, I have Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited as well. So my question is this: How much category spend across Freedom do I need to make to cover that $55 difference between CSP and CSR?


I did some math but I'm not good at this. Here's what I got per card:

Freedom = $1,100 

Freedom Unlimited = $3,667


1) Does this look right?

2) If this is right, then do I only need to spend $1,100 on Freedom category spend and transfer to CSR to make it a better value? (Not even factoring a lot of spend on Freedom Unlimited as well or dining spend on CSR)


A lot of guides out there only compare the two cards directly but I know that the balance changes completely if you have Freedom to rack up points on.


P.S. I'm not applying not because I just got FU and am going to make use of the 0% APR for a lot of my purchases since I just moved.  Also, I had the check mark on CSP before I app'd for that the new card, my CLI with Freedom, my mortgage and my HELOC are all reporting (lol)...I no longer have the green check mark for CSP as it should be.

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Message 1 of 5

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred w/Freedom/FU Math

That doesn't sound right. If you spend 1100$ on categories on the Freedom in a year, you will get 5500UR, which is worth 68.75$ when used for travel with the CSP, and 82.5$ when transferred to the CSR.

The correct way to look at it is to see when the extra 25% on redeeming in travel will overcome the 55$ fee. That would be (1.5*x-1.25*x)=55, which gives x=220$, or 22000UR, which equates to 4400 category spend on the Freedom in a year, which is getting closer to the 1500 per quarter max. Of course all this analysis is excluding the other perks of the CSR, and the 3x earning on travel and dining instead of 2x.

Message 2 of 5

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred w/Freedom/FU Math

And roughly 15k on the FU

Message 3 of 5
Established Contributor

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred w/Freedom/FU Math

If one wants to they could get a BBR for the sole purpose of using the rewards to eliminate most of the CSR fee.  Put a monthly bill on the card to keep it going.  Then just use CSR as normal happy go lucky.

Message 4 of 5
Regular Contributor

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred w/Freedom/FU Math

If you want to maximize rewards, you won't be redeeming at 1.25 or 1.5, anyway. Both cards transfer points at the same rate.
AmEx Blue Cash ($25K), Chase Sapphire Reserve ($22.6k), Chase Freedom ($17.5K), Fidelity VS ($17K), Chase Freedom Unlimited ($15K), US Bank Cash+ ($5K), Kohl's ($2K)
Message 5 of 5