Chase Sapphire Reserve℠
Reader
Question

Sapphire Preferred or Arrival Plus for General Spending?

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The sign-up offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has been increased from 40,000 to 50,000 points after $4,000 spent within the first three months. You can earn an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months as well.

TPG reader Kenny emailed me to ask:

“I have both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. I’ve already met the minimum spending requirements to get the bonuses. For all of my travel and dining, I use Sapphire Preferred on top of the Chase Freedom bonus categories. For all my other spending, where I’m only earning 1pt/$1 with Chase, should I use my Barclaycard Arrival Plus to take advantage of the 2 points per dollar, or should I just stick with Ultimate Rewards ?”

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus are always among my top all-around travel rewards credit cards, and each has their own perks.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you get 11 strong transfer partners that can help you extract huge value from your Ultimate Rewards points. You also earn two points per dollar on all dining and travel expenses, which includes things like taxis, boutique hotels, tolls, and even parking. The earning and redeeming features are strong on this card, and it has no foreign transaction fees; that’s why it’s one of my favorite cards and I have it with me wherever I go.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus gets you two points per dollar on all purchases. There are no transfer partners, but miles can be redeemed for travel at 1 cent apiece plus a 5% rebate, so you effectively get 2.11% back on your spending. The neat thing is that you can use your Barclay card miles for non-traditional travel options; for example, this past summer I went from New York City to the Hamptons via helicopter. It was a bit of a splurge at $575, but I was able to use the miles to wipe that charge from my statement. Basically, the sign-up bonus and a small amount of spending on the card got me a free 45 minute helicopter ride – something I wouldn’t have been able to do with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. I have plenty of miles and hotel points, but having an experience like that for free was awesome.

I like to mix my spending on the Arrival Plus and Sapphire Preferred. For general spending that doesn’t fit in a bonus category, which card you use really depends on your future travel plans. Because of the flexibility of Arrival miles, I recommend you use the Arrival Plus for at least some of your spending. Even if you’re booking award tickets through Ultimate Rewards and its transfer partners, you can pay for taxes and fees with the Arrival Plus and then wipe those charges off your statement. That way you’re truly getting a free flight.

It's always a good idea to diversify your miles and points by using different cards. Shutterstock.
Diversify your points and miles by using different cards. (Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

In summary, It depends on your travel style and plans, but I would firmly suggest keeping both cards, and putting around half of the general spending on each of the Arrival Plus and the Sapphire Preferred so you build up both accounts and diversify your points and miles. This percentage can and should be altered when you decide how you want to organize your travel spending and expenses throughout the year.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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