Chase Increases Regular Sapphire Bonus to 25,000, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Still a Better Deal With 50,000 Point Bonus

by on May 20, 2011 · 22 comments

in American Express, Chase, Credit Cards

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Update: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus offer is now reduced to 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase has two Sapphire cards:

The regular Sapphire Card, which comes with no annual fee, but does not allow transfer to airline, hotel and train partners like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. In general, 1 point = 1 cent and points can be redeemed for airfare, hotel, giftcards and merchandise. This card has a 10,000 point sign-up bonus ($100) when you spend $500 within the first 3 months. The only way I could justify recommending this card, would be if someone couldn’t get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - for example a student who wants a no-fee, simple rewards card. 1 cent per dollar spent is certainly better than using a debit card and it would help build better credit so they could take advantage of better offers in the future.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card, as I wrote about Monday, is a much better deal – at least for the first year. They are offering 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 within the first three months. Those 50,000 points can be redeemed for travel/merchandise just like the regular Sapphire card, but they offer a 25% bonus. So it would equal $625 when redeemed that way. The best bang for your point will come from transfer to either British Airways, Continental, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club and Amtrak. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also waives foreign transaction fees, so its a solid card for an international traveler who likes flexibility when it comes to point redemptions.

I’m a self professed American Express junkie (and Platinum cardholder), but the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card has me sold since Amex Membership Rewards biggest weakness, in my opinion, is the lack of value when transferred to hotels. For example, Starwood transfers are 3:1, so 1,000 Amex points = a measly 333 Starpoints. I am waiting 30 days from my British Airways application date and then will apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. 50,000 points for no annual fee for the first year is just too good to pass up!

What are your thoughts? Is Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program actually becoming a formidable competitor to American Express Membership Rewards?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Mike L

    With Chase, can you sign up for the Preferred and then before the annual fee next year, have them downgrade it to the regular Sapphire without annual fee?

  • John S

    TPG – On Wednesday, I received an invitation promotion for the Chase Sapphire card for 50,000 points (same 3k in 3 mos spend criteria as the Preferred offer you like so much). I called the number, but they were not willing to help me compare and contrast between the 2 cards. The Preferred one you link to states the 50k is worth $625. My mailer for the Chase Sapphire Card states “50,000 bonus points – that’s $500 toward two roundtrip flights or any reward – no annual fee.”

    Do you think the Preferred is better than this offer assuming I will probably only hang onto it for the first year unless they waive the year 2 fee for me?

  • Ted

    I already have a CO from Dec, BA from last month, and a Freedom as my oldest card. What are my chances on the Sapphire Preferred if I wait till 6 months after applying for CO, so I can cancel if need be?

  • The Points Guy

    @mike- yes, just make sure you use/transfer all of the valuable preferred points before you downgrade the card

    @John- the preferred card with the fee waived for the first year is a MUCH better deal- points are worth 25% more, a ton more flexibility and no foreign transaction fee. The regular card points are pegged at 1 cent a point max- no transfers and a foreign fee

    @Ted- there is no 6 month rule. I’d wait 35 days from the British airways app and then apply. IF you are denied, offer to close freedom or shift that line of credit to sapphire preferred. That should work like a charm- don’t close freedom before you apply because you’ll lose a bargaining chip.

  • 4Health

    Do you know when the 50k Chase Preferred Sapphire deal expires?

  • The Points Guy

    4health- I asked my ad rep and he says there is no expiration, so hopefully it’ll stick around for a while

  • Brandon


    I think Ted is referring to the 6 month rule of keeping a Chase card before cancelling so they don’t try to “claw” their miles back, not the 6 months between applicaions rule.

  • Lantean

    Is Sapphire preferred MasterCard or Visa? I just found out retarded con Edison NYC doesn’t take Visa! :-(

  • Steve

    I just signed up for the Sapphire Preferred deal, and while I haven’t received my card yet, I did a bit of poking around in the Ultimate Rewards section and was quite impressed. I have never had an Amex Membership Rewards card, but I have looked at those benefits, as well, and the only advantage I see Amex having is a wider range of Airline partners to transfer to.

    On a related note, I was approved for the Chase Hyatt card a month ago yesterday. Already spent, received, and booked my two free nights at the Paris Vendome. These have been my first two experiences with Chase, but so far they are at least 3x better than Citi, who I had most of my prior cards with.

    Thanks for the pointers!

  • 2B

    This is a fascinating site! What does everyone do with all of these credit cards? Don’t the annual fees start to add up after a while? How many credit cards do people usually hold onto? Or do you cancel them before the first year is up? I’m very new to all of this. Thanks! ~2B

  • The Points Guy

    @Brandon/@Ted- don’t cancel the CO card- cancel Freedom if necessary. They won’t claw the points back if Chase recommends closing the CO card in a worst case scenario.

    @Lantean- they issue Mastercard and Visas, though there is no choice. Chances are yours will be a MC (most Chase cards are), but you can call and ask them to make sure its a MC

    @Steve- I dont have my Sapphire card yet- can you confirm if the online Ultimate Rewards will let you transfer to Hyatt? I’ve always been told thats an option, but someone recently said that Hyatt is no longer a transfer partner, which I hope isn’t true

    @2B- welcome! While we try to avoid annual fees, spending the fee is usually worth it if you are getting a 50,000+ point payday. You don’t have to keep the card forever, so you can always cancel before the next years fee hits if you arent “satisfied” with the card. The credit card game is probably the quickest way to build huge point balances :-)

  • Jack

    I am a little confused about the points that the Sapphire Card and Sapphire Preferred Card earn. These are both Ultimate Rewards Points, right? If so they are able to be transfered from one to the other given the same name account holder? If so, the Sapphire Card points can also be transfered to airline and hotels? I ask so because I also have the Chase Freedom Card and Sapphire Card, the points can be transfered instantly.

    If the above is not true then will one get approved for the Sapphire Preferred Card if he already has the Sapphire Card?

  • Steve

    Yup, I just checked on my Ultimate Rewards account, and Hyatt is still listed. Multiples of 1000 at a 1:1 ratio – it says to allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of the points to your account, but they could just be covering in case of delays.

  • The Points Guy

    @Jack- just like American Express has different types of Membership Rewards Points (Express points that are pegged at 1 cent each or regular/first Membership Rewards that can be transferred to airlines/hotels), Chase has the same. Basically they allow people to have a fee-free card as long as they accrue points and redeem them for a max value of 1 cent each. The Preferred card is meant to compete more with Membership Rewards, which offers the flexibility of partners to transfer the points to. Any savvy person should realize that the Preferred card is MUCH better than the regular Sapphire. However, I’d recommend the Sapphire card to a newbie who isn’t willing to get a card with an annual fee, but still wants to earn some sort of reward.

  • The Points Guy

    @Steve- Thanks- I was nervous for a minute!

  • Jack

    I was confused because when I emailed chase about my last month approved Sapphire card 25K bonus points and the new Sapphire Preferred 50K bonus points, I was immediately creditted 25K bonus points… but at that time I didn’t know the difference between Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred and thought it was the same card and have the same points reward program, I was like why not try “it doesn’t hurt to ask” like everyone else did, :) So I might get upgraded to the Preferred card or its reward program?

  • The Points Guy

    @Jack- you should upgrade to the Preferred so you can transfer those 50k points into a valuable program instead of using them at 1 cent a piece!

  • Richard

    Doing a mileage transfer seems to be the big (only?) win here.

    If you’re going to use UR for points, it’s a loser. Cap1′s Venture gives you 2 instead of 1.25 per dollar and their annual fee is 59 not 95. And they gave you 100K, not a measly 50K…

    I’m waiting a little bit for a couple inquiries to fall off and 30+ days to pass since my CO & BA were approved… :-)

  • Marty

    TPG –

    I have the Chase Continental card, but I just saw the T&C say new cardmembers only with new accounts. So does this mean I’m out?

    I applied using your link… excellent credit, so I doubt I’ll get denied, just don’t want to bother with it if I’m not going to get the offer… I suppose I could just cancel the card when I get it if that’s the case.

  • Lantean

    Still no answer on whether this is MasterCard or Visa?
    I’m thinking Visa but I’m not certain.

  • Russ

    Just got mine the other day. @Lantean, it’s a Visa. Also, it is a very sexy card. It’s heavier than other cards (it might be metal, i’m not sure). Kinda cool, and cashiers notice when I hand it to them.

    The other thing I noticed while reading through all the T&Cs: The lost luggage benefit doesn’t cover electronics. The Price protection doesn’t cover online ads. That could be the case for all cards, but just letting you know.

  • maksimk

    So I just got the Chase Sapphire card in the mail and have yet to activate it. Do you know if the 3 month time frame to rack up $3000 in spending starts the moment they send out the card or the moment you activate it? If it starts when I activate it, I’m thinking of delaying activation for a few weeks since I’m still trying to rack up the necessary expenses for some of the other credit card offers that I did recently.
    Have a great time in Japan!

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