Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Get The Most Value For Your Travel Rewards
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I have to confess, I felt kind of sleazy when I applied for this card. The only reason I bothered was that it offered a great sign-up bonus. Yet more than a year later, I continue to use the card regularly. So what is it about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card that made me think of it less like a one-night stand and more like a long-term relationship?
It's the Rewards That Count
This card delivers its rewards primarily in the form of Chase's Ultimate Rewards points. You get 2x points on travel and restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. The annual fee is $95, which is waived the first year.
The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of opening an account, plus 5,000 miles if you add an authorized user within the first three months of account opening. These bonus points can be transferred to miles or points with their partner airlines or hotel chains. And if I don't want to hunt for elusive airline awards, I can just use my points to book travel directly through Chase's online portal and get 1.25 cents worth of travel for each point I spend. That means that the 50,000 point sign up bonus is actually worth $625 in travel rewards.
The Real Value of Sapphire Is Points Transfers
Frankly, it's the points transfer option that I use most, as I find far more value in each point than the 1.25 cents I get from booking travel directly through Chase. While other travel rewards credit cards allow points transfer, many do not offer a 1:1 transfer rate. The bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 50,000 partner miles or points with partners including Southwest Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines and more. You do have the option to also redeem your points for cash, travel, gift cards, and merchandise.
Hotel Point Transfers
When it comes to hotels, I find the Hyatt transfer option the best, considering that an award night at their most expensive properties, including many that cost over $1,000 per night, is a mere 22,000 Hyatt points. Other hotel partners include IHG, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton.
Combine Points with Chase Freedom
Cardholders can transfer points from other Chase cards to their Sapphire Preferred accounts. For example, a Chase Freedom card earns Ultimate Rewards points that cannot be transferred to airlines or hotels. But you can move those points to your Sapphire Preferred account and use them for booking travel through Ultimate Rewards at 1.25 cents per point or for making point transfers to airlines and hotels. So the Sapphire Preferred increases the value of the points you already have.
Great for International Travel
There are no foreign transaction fees when I use this card internationally, which can save as much as 3% on foreign purchases.
- $0 Intro fee for the first year. $95 after that.
- Regular APR: 16.24%-23.24% Variable
- Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- $0 Foreign Transaction Fee
Great Sign-up bonus. 50,000 points that can be transferred to airlines and hotels, or used for $625 worth of travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. If you choose to redeem for cash or gift cards, the bonus can be worth at least $500, which is still among the highest sign-up bonuses offered by travel rewards credit cards.
Bonus points for spending. Earn double points on travel and dining, and even more points when you make purchases through their Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Further, you can receive a 20% bonus if you redeem your points through Ultimate Rewards.
No foreign transaction fees. Feel free to leave the country and make foreign purchases with the card without being hit with this useless fee.
Annual fee. While the fee is $0 the first year, the subsequent $95 annual fee is significant if you aren't able to take advantage of the sign-up bonus or earn enough rewards with the card to help cover it. (See also: Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards)
Who This Card Is Best For
This card makes great sense for those who want a premium travel rewards card that offers the chance to earn flexible points. Those who regularly travel will appreciate the extra value in the 1:1 point transfer opportunity, as well as the 20% off travel when redeeming points through Chase's travel portal. Those who are able to leverage the points and miles earned with the available partners and travel packages Chase offers would find this card extremely valuable.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.