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If you’re part of the 10xTravel Insiders Facebook Group (if you’re not, what are you waiting for?), you probably realize we spend a lot of time encouraging new members to get Chase cards, and in particular, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Granted this is due in part to the Chase 5/24 rule, but also because this card has a great sign-up bonus, earns valuable points, and is actually worth keeping year after year.
Today, I want to take a look at why exactly you should keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred past the first year and why it’s worth every penny of its $95 annual fee, even if you’re not a globe-trotting frequent traveler.
1) Transfer partners
One of the best reasons to keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred year after year is, of course, their many transfer partners. With 9 airline transfer partners and 3 hotel transfer partners, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most versatile points out there. This is especially true considering all partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio and most transfers happen almost instantly.
This means I can use 25,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points to book the Andaz Maui hotel that typically costs $500 per night which is an excellent value of 2 cents per point used. I have also transferred points to Iberia to get transatlantic lie-flat business class tickets that cost $4337 normally for only 68,000 points and $229 in taxes and fees.
With that Iberia flight, I received more than 6 cents per point in value. To put that in perspective, if you used the entire 60,000-point sign-up bonus Chase is currently offering, at 6 cents per point, the sign-up bonus would be worth more than $3,500 in travel. This is why we often recommend transferring points.
Many Chase cards including the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ink Business Preferred also offer these transfer partners. However, we understand that the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee can be intimidating and you can always product change a Sapphire Preferred to it later. Therefore, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is usually the easiest Chase card with transferable partners for a new travel junkie to obtain.
1.25 cents per point redemption rate on travel
While the transfer partners are fantastic and offer quite a bit of value, sometimes you just need to get between point A and point B. In many of these cases, there may not be award availability for the dates you need or one of Chase’s points transfer partners may not have a hotel in that city or a flight between the two cities you’re looking to book.
In these cases, it’s great that you can book many travel expenses directly through Chase’s travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. You can use the Ultimate Reward Points to book rental cars, hotels, flights and cruises through the portal.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve also offer increased value through the portal. The Ink Preferred also allows you to get 1.25 cents per point in the Chase portal while the Chase Sapphire Reserve gets 1.5 cents per point.
2) Useful bonus categories
Another great aspect of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the bonus categories. You will earn 2X Ultimate Rewards points every dollar you spend on travel and dining The best part about this is how broad the travel expenses category is.
For those of you who spend money on a bus or public transit pass, putting that expense on a Chase Sapphire Preferred is a no brainer. It will also count taxi rides, uber/lyft, baggage fees, and your typical plane and hotel expenses as part of this travel category. To give you an idea of how flexible this category is, I’ve even had it count parking meter fees and a parking ticket as part of the “travel expenses” category.
All of this means that this card will be earning you bonus spend in your everyday life and not just on vacation.
3) Refer-A-Friend Program
My personal favorite reason to keep this card year over year is because it’s relatively easy to have this card pay for itself. Every year I owned this card, I actually made money by keeping it.
Chase has always had a “refer-a-friend” program where they typically offer 10,000 points for each referral. This means that when I had the card (before my shutdown), I was making at least $100 in value for each referral, which, when redeemed through Chase’s partners was actually much closer to $200.
By referring a few family and friends I was able to make Chase pay me to keep the card every year.
Now this deal is even sweeter. At the time of writing, Chase is currently offering 15,000 points for each friend your refer. This means you get an absolute minimum of $150 for each person you know who gets the card.
The best part about all this is that they still get the same sign up bonus they would normally get, so you’re helping them to earn some points as well. Then, to be an even better friend, you can tell them about 10xTravel so they know how to use those newly earned points.
4) Travel Benefits
One of the most alluring aspects of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the travel benefits it provides, especially when compared to its annual fee. For $95 per year, you get trip cancellation/interruption coverage, trip delay insurance, baggage delay insurance, and primary rental collision damage insurance.
All of these benefits have terms and conditions for them to take effect but many aren’t significant and just require you to book with your Chase Sapphire Preferred (which you should be doing anyway for the bonus spend).
Citibank is removing many of these same benefits from its cards like the Citi Premier as of September 22, 2019. This move by Citi cements the Chase Sapphire Preferred as one of the absolute best cards with an annual fee under $100.
5) Free authorized Users
For those parents out there trying to help their children build credit and also teach them how to responsibly use credit cards, there’s no better way than to make them an authorized user on your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Authorized users get their own card, get the same benefits and bonus categories, and can be easily monitored by the account owner. Best of all, the credit history you have gets factored into the authorized user’s credit score.
This means that as long as you’re responsible with your credit, both your positive payment history and your credit length are factored in to the authorized user’s credit profile, often making it jump considerably.
6) Can make no annual fee cards even better
Do you want your $100 in cashback to magically be worth a minimum of $125 toward travel? If you’re reading this article, I think it’s safe to say of course you do.
One of the best benefits of the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Ink Business Unlimited and the Chase Ink Business Cash cards is the ability to earn points faster. However, the points you earn with these no annual fee cards will come in the form of cashback unless you have the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Preferred or Sapphire Reserve.
If you have one of these no annual fee cards, the points you earn can be moved to your Sapphire Preferred. This will then allow you to transfer your points to any of Chase’s airline or hotel partners. You can also take advantage of the increased value of your points in the Chase travel portal.
In short, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is truly one of the most versatile cards on the market right now and definitely worth a permanent spot in your wallet. Even if you don’t feel comfortable with the higher annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can get many of the same top of the line benefits at a lower annual fee with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It really is one of the cards that’s without a doubt well worth its annual fee year over year.
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.