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How to get more than $3,000 in value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred in the first year

Nov. 11, 2021
10 min read
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is currently offering 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That bonus alone, worth $1,200 according to TPG valuations, might be enticing enough to get you to apply without reading further down the benefits list.

But when considering any travel rewards credit card, it’s important to look ahead and make sure that you will get enough value that keeping it will be worthwhile. Fortunately, it’s not hard to maximize the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s many, many benefits in order to offset the $95 annual fee.

Here’s how you can get more than $3,000 in value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred in the first year, thanks to a ton of benefits and ongoing perks.

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Sign-up bonus: $1,200

At 60,000 points, the sign-up bonus is a sizable haul of points.

Each Ultimate Rewards point earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth 1.25 cents toward travel booked through the Chase portal. That puts the sign-up bonus at a value of $750 if points are redeemed in that manner.

However, we currently peg Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents apiece because of how versatile and valuable they are when used for travel with Chase’s 11 airline and three hotel partners — including United, British Airways, Air France-KLM and Hyatt — for even more high-value rewards. In those terms, a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points is worth closer to $1,200.

Think that’s too high a valuation for credit card points? Consider this: You could transfer 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. From there, you’d be able to redeem them for a one-way ticket in Delta One from the U.S. to Europe (excluding the U.K.). Meanwhile, the cash fares range from $1,100-$2,400 for these flights — exceeding TPG’s value of 2 cents apiece. But that’s just one option — the sky’s the limit.

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Use your points with Hyatt at Andaz Mayakoba. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Annual prepaid hotel credit: $50

The Moxy Hotel in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Stella Shon/The Points Guy)

When booking a prepaid hotel stay through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you can receive up to $50 in statement credits per year. This annual perk alone can cover more than half of the $95 annual fee, and it's relatively straightforward to use this credit. The only caveat is that you may want to avoid booking chain hotels if you have (or are trying to earn) elite status, since reservations that aren't booked directly with the hotel will likely not count toward elite nights or garner any of your elite benefits, like room upgrades. Note: The first $50 in Ultimate Rewards hotel purchases will not earn rewards points.

DoorDash DashPass: $400

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can get a minimum of one complimentary year of DoorDash DashPass when they activate by March 31, 2022. DashPass normally costs $9.99 per month and includes $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on eligible orders of over $12 on DoorDash and Caviar.

If you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred now and register for this offer, you’ll receive at least 12 months of the service complimentary — around $120 in value. DoorDash estimates DashPass saves users around $4-$5 per order. If you order DoorDash once per week as I do, that’s around $250 in value per year. Altogether, you’re looking at nearly $400 in value from this one perk.

Related: Dining out, taking out and ordering in: These are the best credit cards for foodies

Lyft bonus points: $15

(Photo by d3sign/Getty Images)

Chase also has a partnership with ride-hailing service Lyft that includes enhanced earning on rides for those with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Instead of the usual 2 points per dollar on travel that Lyft rides would normally earn, you’ll accrue 5 points per dollar through March 2022 — over double the normal rate. Every 5 points per dollar you earn is like getting 10% back, based on our current valuations.

Let’s say you spend about $50 per month on Lyft rides. That’s about $250 in rides from now through the end of the promotional period. Calculate your extra earnings, and that’s around $15 more back on your spending than the normal rate of 2 points per dollar.

Related: Best credit cards for Lyft and Uber

Travel protections: $1,000

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

For a credit card whose annual fee is just $95, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers one of the best suites of travel protections out there.

While things hopefully don’t go too wrong on the road for you usually, there are bound to be a few bumps along the way as travel rebounds post-pandemic. Chances are, there will be some missed flight connections and mishandled bags as airlines ramp up service. Or perhaps there may even be a ding or dent as more folks who have been stuck at home try to rehabilitate their parallel parking skills (in an unfamiliar rental car) on the road trips everyone seems to be taking.

For that reason, we’re going to value these benefits at around $1,000 for the first year. Your value may come in higher or lower than that mark, but even if it saves your plans just once, it can easily be worth that much.

Related: Your guide to Chase’s trip insurance coverage

Purchase protection: $100

If a kitchen appliance you buy gets damaged within 120 days, file a purchase protection claim. (Photo courtesy of Benchmark Management)

Like many other cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers purchase protection that can save you money and headaches even when you aren’t traveling. It covers items up to 120 days after purchase against theft or damage when you pay with the card. These claims are capped at $500 each and $50,000 per account.

While you’re probably not going to be a frequent user of this benefit, it’s not outrageous to think that something you purchase will get damaged. That said, you shouldn’t be using this card for large purchases, given its low per-claim maximum. We’ll lowball the value of this perk at around $100 a year, in case you need to call upon it for one or two small things.

Related: Best credit cards for purchase protection

Visa Signature hotel benefits: $330

(Photo courtesy of Rosewood London/Facebook)

Even frequent travelers sometimes forget that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a Visa Signature card (hence all those travel and purchase protections). One of the most overlooked perks of that designation is that it allows cardholders to book stays through the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.

Doing so confers elite-like benefits at over 900 hotels worldwide, some of which participate in the major points programs, like Marriott Bonvoy, but many do not. Focus on the latter since you wouldn’t want to miss out on earning hotel points and elite night credits by booking through a non-direct channel like this.

The benefits of booking with the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection are:

  • Automatic room upgrades upon arrival, subject to availability.
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, when available.
  • Complimentary breakfast for two.
  • A $25 food or beverage credit.
  • VIP guest status.
  • Late checkout upon request, when available.

Let’s say you book two, two-night stays per year via the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and focus on a few of those perks (room upgrades are subject to availability, and their value can vary wildly depending on the property and your dates). And let’s also say you get lucky and get a one-category upgrade on both stays, valued at $20 per room per night. That’s $80 value in the first year right there. Add in $50 for those food and beverage credits, and then let’s also peg breakfast at $50 per day (easy at a hotel restaurant!), for a total of $250 in value for two, two-night stays.

All told, you’re looking at $330 in value.

Bottom line

Before you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, it's important to keep in mind the card’s other benefits and see which of those may also be worth considering in your situation.

Even without utilizing every single element offered here, getting several thousand dollars in value from this one card should be pretty easy in the first year. From the card’s travel and purchase protections to the Visa Signature hotel benefits and the points you earn on everyday spending, the value adds up even once you get past the 60,000-point welcome bonus.

Official application: Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon.

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