Chase Increases Regular Sapphire Bonus to 25,000, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Still a Better Deal With 50,000 Point Bonus
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available View the current offers here - Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase 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?