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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has become a household name in the travel rewards world – and there’s good reason for that. With its striking metal design and a reputation for offering some of the most generous travel perks in the industry, it's no wonder that this card has captured the attention of travelers and points enthusiasts alike. There's a world of silver linings and benefits when you travel with the right credit card; here's how Sapphire Preferred could fit well into your credit card rewards strategy.
To help you decide, we’ll dive into the key features and benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, examining what sets it apart from the competition and whether it lives up to its hype as one of the top travel rewards cards on the market. To start, here are some highlights to consider:
- Generous welcome bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a substantial welcome bonus (60,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months), making it an attractive choice for those looking to jumpstart their travel rewards journey.
- Flexible redemption options: Cardholders can redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, where points are worth 25% more, or transfer them to 14 airline and hotel partners.
- Travel and dining benefits: The card offers a range of travel perks, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, rental car coverage and no foreign transaction fees. The card also earns extra points on dining and travel expenses, making it an excellent card for foodies and frequent travelers.
- Affordable annual fee: Despite its premium features, the Chase Sapphire Preferred boasts a relatively low $95 annual fee compared to some of its competitors, making it accessible for those looking to get started with points and miles while keeping costs in check.
Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Overview of the Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a popular choice for travel enthusiasts looking to maximize their rewards. With its solid sign-up bonus, bonus rewards in multiple categories and transfer partners, it provides a versatile way to earn and redeem points. The main perk of this card includes a substantial welcome bonus worth $750 towards travel purchases. You can also transfer them to 14 airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio. If you frequently travel outside of the United States, it's important to know that this card waives foreign transaction fees.
- Generous welcome bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a 60,000 welcome bonus when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. This bonus could be a substantial boost to your rewards balance and increase your travel budget.
- Flexible rewards program: The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a valuable rewards program. Cardholders earned points on every purchase and they could redeem these points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, for statement credits or travel partner transfers.
- Travel benefits: This card provides useful travel benefits, including primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and no foreign transaction fees, making it an excellent option for those who travel frequently.
- $95 annual fee: While the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred isn't as high as other premium travel cards, it still comes with a cost you have to factor into your decision.
- Limited bonus categories: The highest travel bonus category is limited to direct Ultimate Rewards bookings and the grocery bonus only applies to online purchases.
- Chase 5/24 rule: If you’ve applied for five credit cards in the last 24 months (across any bank), Chase likely won’t approve your card application.
Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has many benefits, including a substantial welcome bonus, a generous reward structure and valuable travel protections. It’s ideal for travelers but also comes in handy for everyday use, thanks to valuable perks. Here’s a closer look at each of these benefits and why you might want to consider adding this card to your wallet:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. This bonus is valued up to $750 when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal. However, you can get even more value by transferring points 1:1 to one of 14 airline and hotel partners. This flexibility is key for those new to points and miles, as well as seasoned travelers who want to get the most out of their points.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns up to 5 points per dollar on travel purchases through Ultimate Rewards and 2 points per dollar on all other travel expenses. The card is also great for everyday spending, earning 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs) and select streaming services. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.
For a limited time, cardholders earn 5X points on Peloton purchases over $150 and Lyft rides through March 31, 2025.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a range of travel benefits that can enhance your trips. In addition to a $50 annual statement credit towards Ultimate Rewards hotel bookings, cardholders receive valuable travel protections. These include up to $20,000 in trip cancellation/interruption insurance per trip, primary rental car insurance and baggage delay insurance. With these protections in place, you don't have to worry about unexpected expenses or damages during your travels and can often skip buying travel insurance.
Other (limited-time) benefits
Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders receive limited-time benefits, including a complimentary DoorDash Dashpass subscription through May 31, 2024, and six months of Instacart+ membership. The Instacart membership must be activated by July 31, 2024, and includes up to $15 in monthly credit.
Lastly, cardholders receive the fourth night free at Ennismore Hotels, plus daily complimentary breakfast, a $30 food and beverage credit and room upgrades. These practical, everyday perks can easily offset the card’s $95 annual fee and help you save on existing expenses.
Redeeming points and miles isn’t always easy – loyalty programs were designed that way. If all you want is a straightforward way to book travel with cash or points, the Sapphire Preferred offers several options. Cardholders can redeem points towards select everyday purchases or travel expenses. Alternatively, you can transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio for added value. Here are all the ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
The Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal allows cardholders to book flights, hotels and other travel arrangements directly through the portal using points. This means you have more flexibility when planning your trips because you're not limited to specific airlines or hotels. Plus, your points are worth 1.25 cents each, which is good for a cash-equivalent redemption.
The great thing about this option is that you can provide your frequent flyer number at booking and earn miles through your favorite loyalty program – in addition to the miles you’ll earn from your credit card. It’s simple, straightforward and you can often find great deals on hotels and activities.
Transfer to Chase travel partners
Chase has 14 travel partners you can transfer points to at a 1:1 ratio, including 11 airlines and three hotel loyalty programs. This gives you flexibility and possibly a higher redemption value if you use points for business or first-class travel and luxury hotels. Sometimes, Chase will even offer 20-30% bonus points when you transfer points to select travel partners.
Here’s a complete list of Chase travel partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Iberia Plus
- IHG Rewards Club
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- World of Hyatt
Popular Ultimate Rewards transfer partners include World of Hyatt, Air Canada Aeroplan and Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue. Hyatt has a vast hotel portfolio with free nights starting at just 3,500 points. Flying Blue is a Delta Air Lines partner with much lower redemption rates than Delta SkyMiles. It’s a great choice for international travel, especially since you can score up to 50% off award flights through the Promo Rewards program.
Aeroplan recently revamped its loyalty program, so award flights are more reasonably priced. It’s a great choice for international flights. Lastly, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has one of the cheapest international award tickets. You can fly between the East Coast and London for just 10,000 miles each way in economy class – that’s lower than what most airlines charge for a domestic flight.
Pay Yourself Back
Chase Pay Yourself Back allows you to use your points for statement credits on eligible purchases for 1-1.25 cents each. It's easy to use - simply make a purchase, then redeem your points towards that purchase. Each point is worth 1 cent towards Pay Yourself Back, so 1,000 points equal $10 off your bill.
If you redeem points towards select charitable contributions, they’re currently worth 1.25 cents each. During the pandemic, when travel was at a standstill and some people lost their jobs, the Pay Yourself Back feature became a great alternative to offset everyday expenses. However, we don’t recommend getting a Sapphire Preferred if you’re going to redeem your points for cashback. You might be better off with a no-annual-fee cash-back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card or Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card.
How the Sapphire Preferred compares to other cards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers a unique combination of travel rewards and benefits that set it apart from other cards in its category. However, it’s not for everyone, and plenty of other cards offer perks that might better align with your travel needs. Here’s a look at how the Sapphire Preferred compares against similar credit cards:
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is Big Brother to the Sapphire Preferred, offering more premium travel benefits in exchange for a higher annual fee. The Sapphire Reserve has a higher annual fee of $550 compared to the Preferred's $95. In exchange, cardholders get airport lounge access, an annual $300 travel credit and higher earning rates on dining and travel purchases: Up to 10X points on Chase Dining purchases and hotels and rental cars booked through Chase. The Sapphire Reserve and Preferred both earn 5X points on Ultimate Rewards travel bookings and 3X points on dining and all other purchases. The Sapphire Reserve has a higher 3X point earn rate on all other travel purchases, as opposed to 2X with the Sapphire Preferred.
Sapphire Reserve cardholders who redeem points through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal get a higher redemption rate of 1.5 cents each rather than 1.25 cents. Both cards offer the same welcome bonus, so the difference comes down to its benefits. If you utilize the annual $300 travel credit from the Reserve, the Priority Pass Lounge benefit and TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or NEXUS fee credit (every four years), then the Sapphire Reserve can be worth the upgrade.
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi Premier® Credit Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Premier® Card are both great cards if you want to earn high rewards on recurring spending. Both cards offer 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. The Citi Premier has more transfer partners than the Sapphire Preferred – 17 instead of 14. Granted, most of these partners are foreign carriers that the average traveler may not be familiar with, but they offer exceptional value if you don’t mind doing a little research.
The Citi Premier offers a competitive rewards structure with bonus points on dining and travel. Cardholders earn up to 10X points on hotel and rental car bookings through the Citi Travel portal. All other air travel, hotel, restaurant, gas station and supermarket spending earns 3X points. The supermarket category is superior to the Sapphire Preferred’s bonus, limited to online spending only.
The card also offers an annual $100 hotel savings benefit, which eclipses the Sapphire Preferred’s annual $50 hotel credit. However, it’s worth noting that the Citi Premier’s credit only applies to hotel bookings of $500 or more.
The card has no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad, but that’s where the travel perks end. The Citi Premier has no travel or purchase protections, giving it a huge disadvantage over the Sapphire Preferred. If you rely on credit cards for travel insurance, then the Citi Premier is not a good option.
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a $95 annual fee and offers a more simplified reward structure than the Sapphire Preferred. Cardholders earn 5X miles on Capital One Travel bookings and 2X miles on all other spending. This flat earning structure works great if most of your spending falls outside of the Sapphire Preferred’s bonus categories.
The Capital One Venture also offers a higher welcome bonus than the Sapphire Preferred: 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. The card’s $95 annual fee is partially offset by a $100 TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit issued every four years.
Capital One currently has 18 airline and hotel transfer partners, outnumbering Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also redeem miles towards travel purchases at 1 cent each. The card also offers travel accident insurance, which isn’t as robust as the travel protections provided by the Sapphire Preferred.
The Capital One Venture is a good option if you want a simple rewards structure and a high welcome bonus. However, the Sapphire Preferred is a better option if you prefer a card with comprehensive travel protections and mostly domestic transfer partners.
Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth getting?
Deciding if the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good fit depends on your travel habits and financial needs. If you enjoy traveling and want to earn rewards towards flights, hotels and other travel expenses at a reasonable annual fee, this card could be a good fit. Redeeming points can be as simple as using them for statement credits or more complex if you want to transfer them to airline and hotel partners for higher value. If you're looking for a travel credit card with a low annual fee and excellent trip protection, this could be the right card for you.
While the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers many benefits and perks, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind. First, this card has an annual fee of $95, which may not be ideal for everyone. If you’re not earning enough points or saving enough on foreign transaction fees yearly to justify the cost, you might be better off with a no-annual-fee card like the Bilt Mastercard® or Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card.
If you're looking for premium travel benefits like airport lounge access or higher rewards rates on dining and travel purchases, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the Sapphire Preferred is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. If you’ve applied for five or more credit cards over the past 24 months (with any bank), then you likely won’t get approved for a Sapphire Preferred. So make sure you’re under 5/24 before you apply.
Consider all these factors when deciding if the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card aligns with your needs and preferences.
Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred still a good card?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a good credit card despite some competition. However, you should evaluate the card’s perks and annual fee to determine if it’s a good fit for you.
How do I earn rewards with Chase Sapphire Preferred?
You can earn rewards by using your Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card for everyday purchases. You will earn up to 5 points per dollar spent, which you can redeem for travel, dining and other expenses. The card also offers a 60,000-point welcome bonus when you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening.
Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred a metal card?
Yes, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a metal credit card.
How much are Chase Sapphire Preferred points worth?
The value of Chase Sapphire Preferred points can vary depending on how you redeem them. When you redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, each point is worth 1.25 cents. For example, if you have 10,000 points, they would be worth $125 when used for travel bookings like flights, hotels, car rentals and more through Chase's platform. You can get more value by transferring your points to airline and hotel transfer partners for premium redemptions.
Is it hard to qualify for Chase Sapphire Preferred?
To be approved for a Chase Sapphire Preferred, you generally need good to excellent credit. However, Chase takes a lot of other factors into consideration when determining your ability to manage credit and repay your debts.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.