Get The Most Value For Your Travel Rewards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
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I have to confess, I felt kind of sleazy when I applied for this card. It offered a great sign-up bonus and I couldn't pass it up. 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?
How This Card Works
This card delivers its rewards in the form of Chase's Ultimate Rewards points. Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. It has an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95.
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus, earn 5,000 miles if you add an authorized user and make a purchase also within the first three months of account opening. These bonus points can be transferred to miles or points with partner airlines or hotel chains. (See also: Best Credit Cards that Offer Bonus Cash for Sign Up)
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. (See also: Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Miles)
In addition to partner airlines, Sapphire Preferred points can be transfered to partner 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. (See also: Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Hotels)
Combine Points with Chase Freedom
Cardholders can transfer points from certain 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 can get on some of these other Chase credit cards.
Extra Travel Protection Included
This card also includes valuable travel protection benefits, which can help save you money and travel more comfortably. Some of the additional travel benefits you get just for being a cardholder and using your card for your travel purchases include the following:
- Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. If you need to cancel a trip because of sickness, severe weather, or other covered situations, you can receive a reimbursement up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses. This can include passenger fares, tours, and hotel stays.
- Baggage Delay Insurance. If you are traveling and your baggage is delayed more than 6 hours by a passenger carrier, you can receive a reimbursement for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing up to $100 a day for 5 days.
- Trip Delay Reimbursement. When your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours, or you are required to stay overnight because of a delay, this benefit covers you and your family members for unreimbursed expenses such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
- Lost Luggage. If your luggage is lost, you can receive a reimbursement for the luggage and its contents, up to $3,000 per insured person, per covered trip.
- Travel Accident Insurance. This card also includes up to $500,000 in loss of life coverage when you charge your fare to the card.
Great for International Travel
There is a $0 foreign transaction fee when I use this card internationally, which can save as much as 3% on foreign purchases. (See also: Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees)
- $0 Intro fee for the first year. $95 after that.
- 16.49%-23.49% Variable APR
- Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- $0 Foreign Transaction Fee
Annual fee. While the fee is $0 the first year, the subsequent $95 annual fee is significant if you aren't able to earn enough rewards each year that covers the cost of the card. You should spend enough in travel and dining to take advantage of the bonus points, and be able to use the points to book travel through Chase or transfer to one of their partners. (See also: Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards)
BankAmericard® Travel Rewards Credit Card: Get 1.5 points per $1 spent on every purchase, with no limits or expiration dates with the BankAmericard® Travel Rewards Credit Card. There's a 10% points bonus if you have a Bank of America® checking or savings account. New cardholders can earn 20,000 online bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days (redeemable for a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases). Since you redeem points as statement credit toward travel purchases, you don't have to deal with blackout dates, booking award flights, or dealing only with certain travel partners. This card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar on all purchases with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Redeem your miles for statement credit toward travel purchases. New cardholders get a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles after spending $3000 within the first 3 months (equal to $400 in travel). The $59 annual fee is waived the first year.
Who This Card Is Best For
This is an extremely popular travel rewards card, for good reason. Each Sapphire Preferred point is worth at least 1.25 cents, but really, they're worth a lot more when used to redeem for award flights at partner airlines or free stays at premium hotels. You can also accrue points a lot faster than other travel cards by using the strategy of transferring points from your Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited cards, and using Sapphire Preferred for all your dining and travel expenses.