Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

SPG Amex or Sapphire Preferred for Rental Cars?

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We’ve seen some significant changes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s benefits in the last few weeks, prompting me to answer a question from TPG Reader Victor:

@thepointsguy Which credit card is better for rental cars – Starwood Preferred American Express or Chase Sapphire Preferred?”

Quite frankly, I admit that I also chose this question because the answer is easy: Chase Sapphire Preferred is clearly the better choice.

Sapphire Preferred is one of my top all-around travel cards; it earns you 2 points for every dollar you spend on travel – including rental cars. Plus, if you grandfather in the recently eliminated 7% annual point dividend, you’re actually getting 2.14 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent on rentals, a much better rate of return than the 1 Starpoint per dollar you’d get for a rental car spend (as a non-Starwood purchase) on the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. Even though I value Starpoints highly, I’ll always take 2.14 Chase Ultimate Rewards points over 1 Starpoint.

Unlike the SPG Amex, the Chase Sapphire Preferred also incurs no foreign transaction fees, and as part of its recent wave of benefit changes, the card now offers primary auto insurance coverage in the event of collision or damage to your rental car.

Sorry, SPG Amex, but you’ll have to come up with some pretty good perks to beat Chase Sapphire Preferred in the car rental department! Hopefully, we’ll see some benefit improvements from this card in the coming months.

Have any other questions? Please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit