The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is consistently ranked as one of our top credit cards due to its generous sign-up bonus for new cardholders, its reasonable annual fee, and the amazing value of the points it earns.
But, is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth it? When would a different card make more sense?
We’ll get into all of that below.
In This Article
- Earn 2x Ultimate Rewards Points on Restaurant and Travel Purchases
- Transfer Points to Airline and Hotel Loyalty Programs
- Redeem Points Through the Chase Travel Portal for 1.25 Cents Each
- Primary Rental Car Insurance
- Purchase and Travel Protection Benefits
- Complimentary One-Year DoorDash DashPass Membership
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
For many frequent travelers, restaurant and travel purchases represent a major chunk of their monthly spending, so the fact that the Sapphire Preferred offers 2x Ultimate Rewards Points for every dollar spent in these categories is a major win. And you’ll earn bonus points in these categories anywhere in the world that Visa is accepted – there are no country restrictions.
In addition, Chase has a broad definition of what qualifies as travel spending: “airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.”
One of the reasons Chase Ultimate Rewards points are so valuable is the ability to transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to your choice of ten airline partners and three hotel programs. Partners include:
|Airline Partners||Hotel Partners|
|United Mileage Plus||World of Hyatt|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||InterContinental Hotel|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue|
|British Airways Executive Club|
|Singapore Airlines Krisflyer|
With this variety of options, you have lots of opportunities to maximize the value of the points you earn with this card.
While all Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards allow you to redeem points for airfare, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and activities through the Chase Travel Portal, not all cards are created equal.
With the Sapphire Preferred, your points are worth 1.25 cents each – 25% more than a no-annual-fee card like the Chase Freedom. This offers a flexible and valuable option for redeeming points, especially since airline tickets purchased this way will also earn miles with airline frequent flier programs as if you paid with cash.
If you rent a car and pay with your Sapphire Preferred card, you can decline the collision damage insurance offered by the rental car company – Chase will provide that coverage automatically, anywhere in the world, and you won’t have to file a claim with your personal auto insurance.
One of the most valuable aspects of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the variety of purchase and travel protection benefits you receive just by using your card. When you make travel purchases with the Sapphire Preferred, you’ll automatically get coverage for trip interruptions or cancellations, and reimbursement for expenses related to trip delays or delayed baggage.
And for other purchases, you’ll benefit from purchase protection (up to $500 in coverage against theft or damage for 120 days from purchase) and up to an extra year of extended warranty coverage (up to $10,000 per claim). Using any of these benefits just once would likely more than makeup for the card’s modest annual fee.
Save money on food delivery with a complimentary one-year DashPass membership, which offers reduced service fees and waived delivery fees on orders of $12 or more. This benefit must be activated by December 31, 2021.
While this is a standard perk of credit cards with an annual fee, it’s a particularly important benefit for frequent travelers, since foreign transaction fees (around 3% in most cases) can add up quickly if you use a card that charges them.
Like most Chase credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is subject to the Chase 5/24 rule. That means if you have opened five or more new credit cards in the past 24 months, you will automatically be declined if you apply for this card.
If this sounds like you, here are some other options to consider.
If you’re willing to get a bit creative with your airline redemptions, the Citi Premier Card ($95 annual fee) is a worthy competitor to the Sapphire Preferred. You’ll earn 3x Citi ThankYou points on travel and 2x on restaurants and entertainment. However, starting August 23, 2020, this will be 3x on air travel, hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and groceries.
These points can be transferred to 16 different airline partners including Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Avianca Lifemiles, and Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles. While these programs may not be familiar to US-based travelers, many of them offer compelling sweet spots for both domestic and international travel with a variety of airline partners.
You can also redeem points through the Citi Travel Center for 1 cent each. The major downside of this card is that Citi doesn’t offer any travel protections, so it’s not an ideal card for purchasing plane tickets.
If your travel patterns have you consistently flying the same airline, you might also consider a co-branded airline card like the United Explorer Card, AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card, or JetBlue Plus Card.
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
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Each of these cards have a similar annual fee to the Sapphire Preferred, and while they typically earn you fewer miles per dollar spent in various categories, you’ll get perks when flying that airline like free checked baggage, priority boarding, and inflight discounts.
For maximum flexibility, many frequent travelers find it useful to have both a card that earns transferable points like the Sapphire Preferred as well as one or more airline-specific cards.
For frequent travelers interested in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, the Chase Sapphire Reserve may be a better option. Although it has a hefty $550 annual fee, it’s loaded with perks that help offset that price, including the following:
- $300 annual travel credit (applied automatically to all travel purchases),
- complimentary access to Priority Pass airport lounges and restaurants,
- $60 DoorDash credit (in both 2020 and 2021),
- One-year Lyft Pink membership (including 15% off all Lyft rides),
- $100 Global Entry credit or $80 TSA PreCheck credit
- enhanced travel protections.
You’ll also earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on dining and travel, and your points are worth 1.5 cents each when redeeming for travel through the Chase travel portal.
Also worth considering is the American Express Gold Card. With an annual fee of $250, you’ll get the following:
- $100 annual credit for airline incidental fees (like checked bags and seat assignments)
- $10 monthly credit ($120/year) for select restaurants and food delivery services.
- 4x Membership Rewards points on restaurants worldwide,
- 4x Membership Rewards points on U.S. grocery store purchases (up to $25,000 per year)
- 3x Membership Rewards points on air travel
Amex points can be transferred to over 20 different airline and hotel partners including Aeroplan, Delta, and British Airways.
If you’re not ready to pay an annual fee, the Citi Double Cash Card is a great option. You’ll earn an effective 2% cashback on all purchases (1% when you make purchases and another 1% when you pay on time).
If you’d rather earn points, you can convert your cashback to Citi ThankYou Points at a rate of 1 cent per point if you also have the Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card.
Also worth consideration is the Amex EveryDay Credit Card. You’ll earn 2x Membership Reward points at grocery stores (up to $6,000 per year) and 1x point everywhere else, plus 20% bonus points when you make 20 transactions with the card during your statement period.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best entry-level flexible rewards credit cards on the market today. If you usually travel with a specific airline, it could make sense to get that airline’s co-branded card instead of or in addition to the Sapphire Preferred.
Similarly, if you’re a very frequent traveler, it could make sense to get a more premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Either way, you’ll be glad to know you’re using one of the best travel rewards cards out there which will make your shopping and dining that much more enjoyable!
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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.