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

May 20, 2011

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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?

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.

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