Several years ago Chase launched the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. Ever since then it has been considered one of the best travel reward cards on the market. In fact, I will almost always recommend this as someone’s first starter rewards card.
I love this card because I think the points you earn with this card are the most valuable out there. With so many redemption options, the points are flexible and really easy to use. To me, being able to easily use my points for what I want is definitely worth something. The card does charge a low $95 annual fee, but considering all of the benefits, it’s definitely manageable. If you’re considering this card, let me show why I think so highly of it.
Generous Sign-Up Bonus
Chase currently offers a great welcome bonus of 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of being approved for the card. These points are worth $1,000 if you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That’s right, $1,000 you can use towards your next vacation on virtually any airline or hotel. This alone is a great reason to have this card in your wallet. Plus, you’ll also get up to $50 in statement credits on grocery store purchases made within the first year.
The Sapphire Preferred card gives you a standard one point for every dollar you spend with the card. There are also two bonus categories associated with this card. You will also earn 2 points for every dollar spent on all travel and restaurant purchases. Chase is also really generous about what they consider to be travel and dining.
Travel – Your typical travel purchases like plane tickets, hotels and car rentals will all earn you double points. Purchases at parking garages, toll roads and with Uber and Lyft will also earn you 2x points.
Dining – You can earn double points on almost every restaurant you can think of. From your favorite fast food lunch spot, to the nicest restaurant in town and everything in between. You’ll earn 2x points at almost any restaurant world wide.
The Sapphire Preferred card also comes with a lot of extra perks just for having the card in your wallet. Some of these can really come in handy and could potentially save you a lot of money. Considering the card only charges a $95 annual fee, these really are some great benefits. While not an exhaustive list, here are a few of my favorites:
Primary Rental Car Insurance – If you pay for your rental car with your Sapphire Preferred card, you’re covered. This means you can decline the insurance offered by the rental company which saves you money. If something happens, this policy will cover the damage, up to the policy limits, before you would have to file a claim with your personal insurance.
Trip Interruption/Cancellation Insurance – We’ve all heard the horror stories of problems arising while on vacation. If you use your Sapphire Preferred card to book your travel, you’ll be covered if something happens. You’re covered up to $500 per ticket if you’re flight is delayed for over 12 hours or requires you to stay overnight.
You also get $10,000 in trip cancellation insurance if your trip is cut short due to qualifying events. Plus, there’s additional coverage if your luggage is lost or delayed. This insurance not only covers you but also some family members.
Extended Warranty Coverage – How many times have you had something break soon after you buy it or stop working right after their warranty expires? If you purchased it with this card, you don’t have to worry about it. Your purchases are covered by the purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. I’ve used this benefit repeatedly and this alone has more than covered the cost of the annual fee.
Redeeming Chase Points
What I love most about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is just how flexible and easy the points are to use. The first option, is you can redeem your points for cash at a rate of 1 cent per point. I would NEVER recommend doing this because they are worth more elsewhere but it is a simple, straightforward option.
Another easy option for redeeming your points is through the Chase travel portal. You can book travel through this site at a rate of 1.25 cents per mile. For example, if you earned the 60,000 point welcome bonus, you could redeem those for $750 worth of travel if booked through the travel portal. Here you can book your travel with any airline or hotel and not have to worry about award availability or blackouts.
The best way to get the most value out of your Chase points is by transferring those points to some of their 13 airline and hotel partners. While doing this takes a little work doing some research, you can really unlock a lot of value. This is how I was able to find a sweet spot that allowed me to book flights to Hawaii for my family using only 25,000 points per person.
As I mentioned above, here is a list (in alphabetical order) of the travel partner programs you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to. You can redeem UR points to any of these programs at a 1:1 ratio.
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Avios
- Iberia Plus
- Jet Blue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World Of Hyatt
In my opinion, this Chase Sapphire Preferred card is perfect for anyone who is looking to get started in the points hobby. I think Chase Ultimate Rewards are the most valuable and easiest to use of any card issuer. Before you apply, keep in mind that this card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule. Also, you can only earn one sign-up bonus from the Sapphire family of cards every 48 months. If neither situation applies to you, you should strongly consider having this card in your wallet.