You’ve completed the free 10xTravel e-course: Check!

You’ve joined the 10xTravel Insider’s Facebook group: Check!

You’ve decided that now is the time to open your first travel rewards credit card: Check!

And that’s what has landed you here. You’re committed to the points and miles journey and you’ve done the work to understand all of the benefits that come with it. Now that you’re plugged in and ready to open your first card, you may be wondering which one that should be.

I’m here to tell you that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the best beginner credit card, and truly an all around great card to hold onto long term.

There’s a lot of times in life where one small move starts the momentum towards something great. Let’s take a look at why this small move may just be the best one you can make towards a life of free travel and rewards.

Best Beginner Travel Credit Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Is The Best Beginner Card Because of Its Bonus

You learned in Chapter 4 of the e-course how points and miles work. It is a continuous cycle of earning and redeeming points. One of the keys to the cycle is being sure you’re picking the best cards for where you’re at in your points and miles journey.

Every month we update what we believe are the best credit card offers available currently. If there’s one card that is almost always near the top (if not holding the #1 spot itself month after month), it’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Although there are a lot of other reasons (that we will get into later) that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is always near the top of our list, one of the most compelling reasons is its sign up bonus.

Unlike some cards where the sign up bonus can fluctuate, the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign up bonus is consistently either 60,000 or 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting the minimum spend. Some other cards may jump around between very low offers of 20,000 or 30,000 points, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred is consistently high.

To put this into perspective, the points earned from the sign up bonus are worth 1.25 cents each. This means the bonus you’re earning is worth anywhere between $750 and $1,000 when you redeem the points for travel.

Earning at least $750 in free travel from your first sign up bonus is a great way to get started in the points and miles game. This level of value is one of the reasons why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best beginner credit card.

airline loyalty program

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a Reasonable Annual Fee

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say “why should I pay the bank for the privilege of using their credit card?”

Up front, annual fees are counterintuitive. But it’s not annual fees that should be evaluated, it’s the mindset. Annual fees aren’t just so you can use the card, rather, they’re there to help cover the cost of the benefits that you get with a credit card.

Some cards come with discounts on luxury rental cards. Others offer various travel insurance, or lounge access. The fee isn’t for the privilege of using the card, rather it is for the benefits that are associated with it. That’s why you’ll rarely see a card with no annual fee that has quality benefits.

When you’re a beginner, it is much harder to swallow a $550 annual fee that you’ll pay on some of the more premium credit cards out there. There’s a reason why those cards are popular, but there’s absolutely no reason to jump right into one of those when you can choose a card with a more modest annual fee.

Yet again, the Chase Sapphire Preferred shines. The annual fee is only $95 a year. That’s it. And while there are a lot of benefits that come with it, it is easy to see why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best beginner credit card.

Remember the value of the bonus? It’s $750 at a minimum. Ignoring all of the other benefits that you get with the card, you’re getting $750 worth of points for an annual fee of just $95.

The value makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred one of the best beginner cards because you get to start seeing the value of points and miles with a small financial barrier to entry. Its reasonable annual fee is a great way to get started.

HOT TIP

The easiest way to redeem your points is through the Chase Travel Portal. You can book any flight, any hotel, even rental cars with your points. You’ll get 1.25 cents for each point you redeem this way.

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall | Photo Credit: Hyatt

There’s Plenty of Ways to Redeem the Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus

Points you earn don’t mean anything if you’re unable to redeem them. The ease of redeeming your points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred is what makes it one of the best beginner credit cards.

The easiest way to redeem your points is through the Chase Travel Portal. You can book any flight, any hotel, even rental cars with your points. You’ll get 1.25 cents for each point you redeem this way.

Another common way to redeem points is by utilizing transfer partners. Rather than book through the travel portal, you can transfer your points to a number of hotel and airline loyalty programs.

Looking to book an all inclusive hotel in Mexico? You can transfer to Hyatt and book the Hyatt Ziva or Zilara. Need a flight to Europe? You can transfer to United and fly on a number of Star Alliance partners.

With so many options, the Sapphire Preferred makes it easy to redeem the points from your first credit card to help offset the costs of your next trip. If you need some inspiration, check out some of the ways that the 10xTravel team would put the points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to use.

car rental

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Has Extra Travel Benefits

Remember that idea about “why should I pay a bank for the privilege of using their card?” I mentioned that there were a lot of additional benefits that typically come with credit cards that have an annual fee. Let’s take a look at some of those extra benefits that help make the Chase Sapphire Preferred the best beginner credit card.

One of the biggest travel benefits that you get is a variety of travel insurance. Think back to the days when you always paid cash for travel (this will soon be a very distant memory). When you go to checkout, whether you’re booking directly with an airline or through a third party like Expedia, you always get prompted to purchase their travel insurance.

It usually isn’t much, but it might add an extra $20 or $25 a day to your trip. A five night trip may cost $100 or more to add on this insurance. But isn’t it nice to know you won’t have to worry about it if your trip is delayed due to weather? That’s why a lot of people buy into it. Or maybe you book a rental car, but then when you go to check out it’s an extra $30 a day for insurance.

Well, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get much of the same insurance included when you use your card or points to pay for your trip.

For a flat annual fee every year, you’ll get trip cancellation insurance, trip interruption insurance, delayed baggage insurance, lost luggage insurance, trip delay insurance, and rental car collision damage waiver insurance.

Although I hope you’ll never have to use any of these, it sure is nice to know you’re covered in case you do need it.

Why Should A Beginner Choose the Chase Sapphire Preferred Over Another Card?

There are plenty of other cards out there that you could get, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best beginner credit card because it is the full package.

Rather than digging into the details too much, here’s the biggest benefit you get from the Chase Sapphire Preferred: momentum.

Like most things in life, one of the biggest challenges is simply getting started. Taking that first step into something new creates inertia.

This is precisely where the Chase Sapphire Preferred shines. It comes with a big sign up bonus that is consistently high. You don’t have to worry about if you’ll get a lot more points if you wait to sign up.

There’s also many types of travel protection that you get with the card. And it doesn’t cost much, as the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is reasonable enough to create a low barrier to entry to someone looking to get started with points and miles.

But here’s the biggest thing that makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred the best beginner credit card. It’s the fact that the points earned with the card are easy to use.

Whether you choose to go through the Chase Travel Portal or utilize transfer partners, when points are easier to use, they’re just more valuable to you..

The easiest way to keep your momentum in points and miles is when you can experience the value from points and miles. You can read as many reader success stories as you can, but the best motivation to keep moving along and earning more points and miles is after taking that first trip. The easier it is to use your points, the sooner you’ll experience this value.

All those other cards? They’ll still be around later. You’ll have plenty of time to get more cards, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best beginner card because it will set the foundation for you as you get more points and miles cards in the future.

Final Thoughts

Let me be the first to welcome you to the points and miles world. Hopefully you’ve taken the time to complete our complimentary 10xTravel e-course which has taught you all of the fundamentals that you need to know about points and miles. If you haven’t gone through it yet, I highly recommend it. You will accelerate your learning curve and give yourself the fundamentals that you’ll need to know.

Once you’ve finished the course, or if you already have, you’ll be looking to open your first points and miles credit card. That’s where the Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes in.

There are a few things you should look for in a beginner card. You should look for a card with a good sign-up bonus that you can easily redeem so you can feel the value of points and miles.

Experiencing your first trip covered, even partially, by points and miles makes it easy to build the necessary momentum to keep going forward. While there are plenty of cards out there, you’ll always be able to get them later. You’ll learn how to redeem other points, but making it easy from the start begins the cycle of earning and redeeming points.

Picking your first points and miles credit card will set you off on a journey of travel for years to come. When it comes to choosing the best credit card for a beginner, there’s no better choice than the Chase Sapphire Preferred.