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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.

Travel rewards credit cards tend to make headlines for big sign-up bonuses and premium perks, but there are plenty of other factors that deserve your consideration. Today, TPG Contributor Richard Kerr offers insights into some of the more subtle benefits of one of my favorite cards.

There are a multitude of travel rewards credit cards available from dozens of card issuing banks. A few years ago, while deciding which card to use for everyday spending, I began to look beyond the most publicized card benefits to see what other perks might provide real value. In this post, I’ll cover five relatively unknown benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, three of which have saved me over $1,500.

Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the most popular travel rewards options out there, and comes with a number of well-known benefits:

These benefits are among the reasons Sapphire Preferred consistently makes TPG’s list of top card offers, but let’s look at five lesser-known benefits that helped me decide to make it my everyday spending card:

A board full of canceled flights is every traveler’s nightmare. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

1. Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance

If your trip is cut short or interrupted by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations (deemed so by the Benefit Administrator), you can be reimbursed for pre-paid, nonrefundable travel expenses (like plane tickets, hotels and tours) up to $10,000 per trip. This coverage is available to you, a traveling companion or immediate family member when you pay for the trip expenses with your Sapphire Preferred Card.

Just this past week I invoked this benefit for the first time. I was in Kuala Lumpur on business, staying at the (now newly renovated) Le Méridien, and I had brought my wife and 9-month-old son along to see the city and enjoy the hotel while I was at work each day. From Malaysia, we had non-refundable AirAsiaX tickets from Kuala Lumpur to Busan, Korea. The day before our flight, my son awoke with a terrible cough. We decided a trip to Korea may not serve his best interests, and it was time to send my wife and son back home to Japan and our doctor.

I called Chase at 3am ET to inquire about having their AirAsia tickets to Busan covered by the benefit. Within 10 minutes I had an email requesting the plane ticket itinerary showing as canceled, a doctor’s note and the credit card statement showing where the tickets were purchased. Today, I confirmed the Benefit Administrator had received my documentation, and I was told a $625 credit would be issued back to my Sapphire Preferred card. That’s pretty fantastic! (And in case you’re wondering, my son is doing better.)

I feel like standing at the luggage carousel is equivalent to playing a slot machine.
I feel like standing at the luggage carousel is equivalent to playing a slot machine.

2. Baggage Delay Insurance

If your checked baggage is delayed by more than 6 hours, you can be reimbursed $100 per day for up to 5 days for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing. Last year, my mother’s checked suitcase did not arrive on Air Canada’s flight from Toronto to Tokyo. I immediately called Chase from Narita Airport to inquire about the benefit.

I was told to get a baggage delayed report from the baggage service counter and then to keep receipts for any essentials she purchased, up to $100 a day, until the suitcase arrived. The suitcase was finally delivered to my Japanese address four days later. In the meantime, we took full advantage of the benefit, with my mom buying $400 worth of clothes, shoes, and toiletries to get around Japan during her stay.

I sent the Benefit Administrator a baggage delayed report, a courier note when the bag was finally dropped off, receipts for my mom’s purchases and the credit card statement where I had paid for her ticket. Since she had flown on an award ticket, I had only paid for the fees with my Sapphire Preferred card (and not the whole fare). I was nervous this would make us ineligible for the perk, but a short time later we received a $400 check to cover the expenses.

Along these same lines, you may be eligible for up to $3,000 in lost luggage coverage. However, this benefit requires you to produce almost all of your original receipts for what was in the luggage and the luggage itself, making it much harder to get full value.

Sapphire Preferred allowed me to purchase a new (and better) TV for free when my old one died. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

3. Extended Warranty Protection

This benefit can really save your bacon. Receive an additional year of coverage on eligible purchases with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years of less. Boats, automobiles, aircraft, medical equipment, leased or pre-owned items and items for commercial use are ineligible.

In 2010, I purchased what was then a top of the line flat-screen TV for $1,200, with a manufacturer’s warranty of two years. One day in April of 2013, my wife and I were watching a football game when a loud pop occurred and a puff of smoke appeared from the back of the TV.

I called Chase, and a representative asked for a copy of the original purchase receipt and a letter from the TV manufacturer stating it was out of manufacturer’s warranty. I was then instructed to get an estimate from a TV repairman (yes, they still exist) of what it would cost to fix the TV. I flipped through the yellow pages, and a few days later had an estimate saying the TV was broken beyond repair. After I submitted the estimate, I got a credit back for my original purchase price of the TV from 2010, as well as a credit for the TV repairman’s fee.

I then bought a TV for $800 that was better than what I had paid $1,200 for three years earlier. Chase promises reimbursement within 5 business days of receipt and validation of all required documents. Needless to say, I was pretty excited this benefit was on the card. Today, I make all large purchases with my Sapphire Preferred for the extra year of coverage.

Coverage from a retailer or credit card can cover damage on items within 90 days of purchase. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Sapphire Preferred offers 120 days of coverage for damage or loss of eligible items. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

4. Purchase Protection

This benefit covers eligible personal property (purchased using your Sapphire Preferred card) in the event of theft, damage or involuntary and accidental parting with property. If something happens to an item within 120 days of purchase, it will be repaired or replaced for a value of up to $500.

There’s a lengthy list of excluded items, including animals, antiques, anything with an engine, perishable items and used/pre-owned items. Still, when I bought my latest iPad, I felt a bit more at ease knowing I had 120 days of coverage in case I spilled coffee on it or left it behind while traveling.

Plenty of other cards offer similar benefits (like Amex purchase protection), but it’s good to know Chase is keeping up with the competition.

5. Trip Delay Reimbursement

Have you ever been on the last flight of the day to your destination only to have it canceled? If it’s due to weather or any other cause that allows the carrier to deflect blame, you might get a preferred rate from the local airport motel or be out of luck altogether, but either way you’ll likely be forced to pay out of pocket.

If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, Chase Sapphire Preferred covers you and your family for up to $500 per ticket of non-reimbursed expenses such as meals and lodging. Thankfully, I’ve never had to put this benefit to use, but knowing I could stay in a nice place for free would make the situation a bit more tolerable.

Bottom Line

Several of these benefits have provided excellent value for me and made life easier when I could have otherwise been out of luck. As always, make sure you read the fine print for benefit terms and conditions. Clearly defined and labeled documentation submitted in a logical order has made the claim processes rather painless for me.

The above five benefits are by no means the only lesser known perks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Travel accident insurance, price protection, return protection, zero liability protection and travel and emergency assistant services could all make a sour situation a little bit sweeter.

The card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. You can also earn 5,000 points for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first three months of account opening. For more info on the card and its benefits, check out these posts:

Have you used any of the less publicized Sapphire Preferred benefits? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.

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More Things to Know
  • 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 on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.