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 valuable benefits associated with the card.

But, is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth it? When would a different card make more sense?

Let’s take a look at the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred to see if it’s worth it.

What Do You Get With The Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Welcome Bonus

One of the biggest draws to consider when asking yourself if the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth it is how much value you can get from the welcome bonus.

New cardmembers are eligible to receive 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months from account opening.

There’s a lot of ways to determine the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but the simplest way is by how much you can redeem them for. WIth the Chase Sapphire Preferred you get 25% more value when you redeem your points for travel. The base redemption amount is one cent per point, but with 25% more value you can redeem points for 1.25 cents per point when you book through Chase travel.

At this level, the welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth $750 when redeemed for travel. That gives a good baseline for the value of the card in the first year.

Bonus Categories

The bonus categories on the Chase Sapphire Preferred help add additional value to the card. While you’ll get the most value from opening another card and earning another bonus, there’s plenty of reasons why you might not be in the market for another card.

Maybe you’re letting your 5/24 status cool down a bit, maybe you’re planning to apply for a mortgage in the next few months. Whatever the reason, having a card with quality bonus categories can help maximize your everyday spend when not pursuing a new card bonus.

The bonus categories on the Chase Sapphire Preferred are fairly broad, covering a wide range of different options.

CategoryEarning RateNotes
Travel through Chase Travel5X points per dollarNo earn on any credits
All other travel2X points per dollarBroad travel category
Dining3X points per dollarIncludes takeout and delivery services
Online Grocery Purchases3X points per dollarExcludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs
Select Streaming Services3X pointsNo clarification from Chase on what streaming services are included

For starters, you can earn 5X points for every dollar spent through the Chase travel portal excluding any credits you might get. All other travel purchases outside of the Chase travel portal earn 2X points per dollar spent.

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 are all typically included as travel.

When you’re planning on eating out, you can earn 3X points per dollar spent on dining. This also includes eligible delivery services and takeout.

If you’re willing to order your groceries online you’ll earn 3X points per dollar spent on online grocery purchases. This does exclude Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs, but other grocery stores are included.

Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, you can earn 3X points per dollar spent on select streaming services. Chase doesn’t say explicitly which streaming services are included, but most major ones should code appropriately.

So how does this add up?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spends $4,643 on groceries per year. That will vary a bit, but using an average value helps set a baseline.

They also say an average household spends $3,000 a year dining out. JD Power determined that the average household spends $55 a month, or $660 a year on streaming services.

Although there is the opportunity to earn more on travel through the Chase travel portal, if you’re here at 10xTravel then the goal is to minimize the amount of money spent on travel. Of course there will be some, but we won’t include it for our calculations.

Using these values, and assuming you buy all of your groceries online, the bonus categories add up to the following values:

  • Groceries: 13,929 points earned per year
  • Dining Out: 9,000 points earned per year
  • Streaming Services: 1,980 points earned per year
  • Total: 24,909 points earned per year

At a value of 1.25 cents per point, that’s worth $311.36.

Transfer Points to Airline and Hotel Loyalty Programs

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 eleven airline partners and three hotel programs. Partners include:

Aer Lingus AerClubHyatt Hotels - World of HyattSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Air Canada AeroplanIberia PlusSouthwest Rapid Rewards
Air France/KLM Flying BlueIHG RewardsUnited Airlines MileagePlus
British AIrways Executive ClubJetBlue TrueBlueVirgin Atlantic Flying Club
Emirates SkywardsMarriott Bonvoy

With this variety of options, you have lots of opportunities to maximize the value of the points you earn with this card. Oftentimes you can get more than 1.25 cents per point when transferring to partners, but it can be difficult to quantify a specific dollar amount.

credit cards with car rental insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred Primary Rental Car Insurance

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.

The rates that rental car agencies charge for their collision damage waiver (often referred to as CDW) tend to be between $10 to $30 per day. If you like to rent a car while on a trip this can really save you a lot of money.
Even at $10 per day, you’ll save $70 by paying for your rental car with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card on a seven day trip.

Purchase and Travel Protection Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

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.

Premium Travel Benefits of Chase United Club℠ Infinite Card

Complimentary One-Year DoorDash DashPass Membership

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.

Chase Sapphire Has No Foreign Transaction Fees

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.

Annual 10% Points Bonus

Chase now offers a 10% points bonus on every dollar spent annually. This isn’t tied to bonus categories, but just on base dollars spent. What this means for you is that you’ll get 0.1 Ultimate Rewards points on every dollar spent on your account anniversary.

So if you spend $20,000 on the card a year, regardless of what you spent it on, you’ll get an additional 2,000 points per year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credits

It’s important to consider all credits when determining if the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth it or not. There’s a few different credits available to Chase Sapphire Preferred card holders.

Annual $50 Hotel Credit

On every anniversary that you have your card, you’ll be eligible for a $50 statement credit for hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

In most places that won’t cover a full night, but it will definitely help cover the cost of one night. This is great to have the flexibility to book hotels that may otherwise not be bookable with points.

Peloton Credits

Through December 31, 2021 you can get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership. Plus, through March 2022, you can earn 5X total points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $1,800. So this really only applies if you’re buying a Peloton bike.

hotel-stay-category-spend

So Is The Chase Sapphire Preferred Worth It?

With all of this, you’re armed to determine if the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth it. Let’s recap:

  • The welcome bonus is worth $750 at a minimum if you redeem for travel through Chase
  • Bonus spend categories are worth $311.16 for the average American household
  • Rental car insurance can save you $10 per day or more
  • $50 hotel credit for hotel stays booked through Chase travel every year you have the card

I’m not adding in the Peloton credits because unless you already have a Peloton they don’t add value. Although Pelotons are popular, most people won’t be taking advantage of the credit. If you can, feel free to add it into your own value calculations, but for the sake of the average consumer, I won’t include it here. I’m also not including the points bonus because that will vary in value depending on how much spend you’re putting on your Chase Sapphire Preferred card for the year.

This means for your first year of card membership, excluding the benefits that are a bit more challenging to put a value on, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth $1,121.16 assuming you rent a car for at least one day in your first year.

After that, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth around $471.16 for the average household, assuming you rent a car for at least one day in your first year.

Considering the annual fee of $95, it is pretty easy to see why so many people think the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth it. The value in the first year is tremendous, and even after that first year the potential value still more than makes up for the annual fee.

What Other Cards Should You Consider in the Same Price Range?

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.

Citi Premier Card

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 at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.

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.

Airline-Specific Cards

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, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card, or JetBlue Plus Card.

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.

enhanced travel protections benefit of credit card

When Would It Make Sense to Pay for a More Expensive Card?

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 5x Ultimate Rewards points on flights purchased through the Chase travel portal after the $300 annual travel credit is applied. You’ll also earn 3X points on all other travel worldwide after the annual travel credit, 3X points on dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, and 10x points on Chase Dining purchases. 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 (rates and fees), you’ll get the following:

  • Up to $100 annual credits for airline incidental fees (like checked bags and seat assignments)
  • Up to $10 monthly credits ($120/year) for select restaurants and food delivery services.
  • 4x Membership Rewards points on restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • 4x Membership Rewards points on U.S. grocery store purchases (up to $25,000 per year)
  • 3x Membership Rewards points on air travel booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel

Amex points can be transferred to over 20 different airline and hotel partners including Aeroplan, Delta, and British Airways.

Brex Welcome Offer and Earning Rates

When Does a No-Annual-Fee Credit Card Make More Sense?

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 cash back to Citi ThankYou Points at a rate of 1 cent per point if you also have the Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card.

Another good option if you’re easing into points and miles is the Chase Freedom Flex℠. With the Freedom Flex you’ll earn 5% back on the first $1,500 you spend in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. You do have to activate it each quarter, but it’s pretty easy to do by just logging into your account. You’ll also earn 5% on travel purchased through the Chase travel portal, 3% back on dining at restaurants including takeout and delivery, and 3% on drugstore purchases.

If the idea of different categories makes your head boggle then the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is the right card for you. You’ll earn the same bonus categories as the Freedom Flex, but 1.5% back on all other purchases. There’s no rotating categories to have to worry about.

Although these are marketed as cash back cards, if you later open a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Sapphire Preferred you can combine your points and redeem them for travel and access transfer partners.

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best entry-level flexible rewards credit cards on the market today. It’s easy to see why so many people think that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth it year after year. Your average family can earn more value in points than what you’d pay for the annual fee, while getting a lot of travel and purchase protections as well.