The long-anticipated and still-buzzy Apple Card is a cash-back credit card while the now-classic Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a bonafide travel card. Still, pitting these two cards against each other proves that new and shiny isn’t always better.
For most people, the veteran Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will be the better choice over the Apple Card, mainly because it’s more broadly rewarding. The Apple Card, on the other hand, has a niche market of fiercely loyal users who can make the most of what the card has to offer.
Here’s how to decide which card is right for you.
At a glance
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Unlimited 3% Daily Cash back when you use the card with Apple Pay at:
Apple (including Apple stores, within the App Store and for Apple services).
Walgreens and Duane Reade.
T-Mobile (in-store only).
Nike (in U.S. stores, on Nike.com and on Nike apps).
Exxon and Mobil gas stations.
Unlimited 2% Daily Cash back on all other purchases made with Apple Pay.
Unlimited 1% Daily Cash back on purchases with the physical Apple Card.
Earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards® Hotel Credit.
Earn 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
Earn 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
Earn 3x points on select streaming services.
Earn 2x on travel purchases not booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 1x per dollar spent on all other purchases.
0% APR always available on new purchases from Apple
Rewards may be redeemed as soon as transactions post to account.
Anniversary bonus points equal to 10% of your total purchases made the previous year.
Up to $50 in statement credits each account anniversary year for hotel stays purchased through Chase.
Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is better for most people
It can be easier to rack up rewards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s rewards rate tops out at 5x points, but the Apple Card’s best rate is 3% cash back. And while the Sapphire Preferred only earns 5x on travel booked through Chase’s travel portal, it also earns 3x points in a range of popular spending categories for many consumers, namely dining, streaming services and online grocery orders.
Plus, earning 3% from the Apple Card comes with caveats: You must purchase using Apple Pay, and it only comes from a handful of retailers. Digital wallet die-hards could easily add a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for contactless payment.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card holders also get a points bonus on each account anniversary equal to 10% of the total purchases made in the previous year.
The Apple Card doesn’t have a welcome offer for new cardholders, but even if it did, it would be hard to beat the one from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Sapphire Preferred cardholders can get the following sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Tons of travel-related perks
As to be expected from a travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card boasts a slew of travel-related benefits that even the once-a-year vacationer can enjoy. The card offers:
Travel protections, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance and primary car rental insurance.
Up to $50 in statement credits each account anniversary year for hotels booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.
25% more value on Ultimate Rewards® when used to book travel through the Chase travel portal. Each Ultimate Rewards® point is worth 1.25 cents when redeemed this way.
The ability to get even more value from rewards by transferring them to one of Chase’s hotel and airline partners at a 1:1 ratio.
Full list of Chase transfer partners
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card‘s robust collection of travel perks can make up for the card’s annual fee — and then some.
Who might prefer the Apple Card
You don’t like fees
If you’re resistant to paying anything for a credit card, you’ll likely balk at getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with its $95 annual fee. By contrast, the Apple Card’s annual fee is $0, and it also does away with late fees, a rarity among credit cards. Other cards can charge as much as $41 for a single late payment. Note that while you won’t be charged a fee for a late payment, you will be on the hook for any interest accrued.
You’re loyal to the Apple ecosystem
The Apple Card’s biggest rewards are reserved for purchases of Apple products and those made with Apple Pay. If you’re a regular at the Apple store and prefer paying with a digital wallet, then the Apple Card rather than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is probably the better fit.
Apple Card holders get 3% Daily Cash back on Apple goods and services, which includes Apple TV+ and purchases from the Apple online store, iTunes and Apple Music. That 3% rate only applies to purchases directly from Apple, so buying an iPad from Amazon wouldn’t qualify, for example.
The Apple Card also earns 2% Daily Cash on any purchase made with Apple Pay. Keep in mind, though, that some merchants don’t accept digital payment methods.
You’ll earn more rewards when you pay for Apple purchases with the Apple Card, but they’ll be more protected with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which covers against damage or theft for 120 days. The Apple Card offers no such purchase protection.
You want near-instant reward redemption
The Apple Card joins a small list of credit cards that offer almost instant rewards, meaning that you can redeem rewards almost as soon as they post to your account rather than wait until the end of the billing cycle. Daily Cash earned with the Apple Card may be immediately deposited into an Apple Savings high-yield savings account or onto the Apple Cash card. Money loaded onto the Apple Cash card may be used to send money through iMessages or make purchases with Apple Pay.
In the case of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, cardholders can see how many Ultimate Rewards® are pending each month, but they can’t redeem those rewards until after their credit card’s closing date.
Which card should you get?
If you don’t mind paying an annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a superior choice to the Apple Card. The Sapphire Preferred has above-average rewards rates plus myriad opportunities to maximize the value of the card’s Ultimate Rewards®.
Yes, the Apple Card’s 3% cash-back rate is attractive, but the shine wears off once you realize that it only applies to purchases at just 11 merchants. Similarly, its 2% rate is excellent but limited to certain transactions. A better rewards card with no annual fee might be the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: It earns 3% at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. online retailers (which would include Apple.com), and U.S. gas stations, up to a $6,000 cap in all three categories. After that, the card earns 1%. (Terms apply.)