Chase Sapphire Preferred Travel Spending Bonus Not Going Away
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
On Sunday, I answered a reader question about possible credit-card pairings for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which is probably my top all-round travel card thanks to great benefits like waived foreign transaction fees, Smart Chip technology, primary rental car insurance and bonus earning categories of dining and travel.
However, some readers seemed to be a bit confused about the travel bonus category. Chase announced changes to the card both last year and earlier this year including:
- Raising the sign-up bonus minimum-spending requirement from $3,000-$4,000
- Canceling the 7% annual points dividend
- Ending the ability to purchase Ultimate Rewards points outright
- Ending the First Friday 3x points bonus on dining in 2016
- Ending the Pay Yourself Back feature using points (which was a bad option anyway)
- And finally… beginning January 1, 2016, no longer offering an extra 1x bonus point per dollar spent on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
However, this does not mean the Chase Sapphire Preferred is ending its 2x bonus on travel purchases. It just means that, instead of the 2x points plus a bonus point per dollar you earn by booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal now, you will just earn the standard 2x bonus whether you book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, directly with an airline or hotel, or through online travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, etc.
Though it’s a blow to the program, it’s not a major one in my opinion. That’s because, for the purposes of this bonus, Chase defines travel as “airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, operators of passengers trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferries, tolls, bridges, highways, and parking lots and garages.”
So it’s a very broad category that includes the usual suspects as well as more out-of-the-box expenses like taxis and Uber. That is an important point of departure from other similar cards like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, which offers 3x points but just on airfare rather than several travel categories, for example, or the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve, which offers 5x points on airline and car rental purchases and 10x points on Hilton hotel purchases, but not other travel merchants.
As a reminder, here are the current sign-up bonus and card details for the Sapphire Preferred:
- Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists.
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.
For more information on the Chase Sapphire Preferred and its benefits, check out the following posts:
- Why I Use Chase Sapphire Preferred for Most of my Purchases
- Which Purchases Count as Travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Announces More Benefit Changes
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Ups Auto Coverage, Nixes Dividend
- Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Maximum Value
- Ways to Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Partner
- Sapphire Preferred vs. Arrival Plus for International Travel
- Chase Sapphire Preferred First Friday – 3x Points on Dining
- Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Amex Premier Rewards Gold